Why You Should Plan An All-day Elopement Experience!

I was so excited to chat to the lovely Oli & Steph from Oli and Steph Photography about their favourite elopements. One thing (of many things!) that we agree on, is that elopements can and should be an all day experience. So I asked them to write their reasons why you should plan an all-day elopement experience from a photographers point of view. Take it away, Oli & Steph...

So, you’ve decided to elope, and now it’s time for the planning. It can be overwhelming working out the details; what to wear, where to elope, how long your ceremony should be… And let’s face it, you likely want to elope because you want a relaxed, easy experience, without the stress and all the unnecessary extras of a big wedding. But how much time should you be planning for your elopement?

We’re Oli and Steph, Scotland based elopement photographers, and we eloped ourselves in 2018. Our experience has made us passionately believe that elopements are just as important as a traditional wedding day and they shouldn’t be cut short. Elopements are about experiencing one of the most important days of your life together in a truly intimate and intentional way, that’s all about you as a couple. So why limit that to just a 2, 4, or even 6-hour long experience?

Choosing to elope means you can personalise your day precisely as you want it, and make it about the things you love doing together that are special to you. We love some obscure seabirds called albatrosses, Steph studied them in the sub-Antarctic, as did Oli’s late father. So, we decided to get married in the middle of an albatross colony on a Hawaiian island. Because they are uniquely special to us. You don’t need to search out exotic wildlife but thinking about what your perfect day would look like, and choosing some activities that you like doing together, whether hiking, drinking cocktails, having a picnic on the beach, or exploring new places makes the experience so much more personal.

Our eloping couples are often surprised when we help them plan their timeline by how much of the day is filled by getting ready, having a first look, the ceremony, eating, champagne popping, and exploring different places for photos and adventure. If you also include an activity like hiking or kayaking, it becomes a challenge to fit it all into a single day, which is why we offer multi-day elopement packages. Eloping should never feel rushed.

Here are a couple of example elopement timelines:

Beach Lovers Elopement Timeline

10:30 am- Go for a morning walk with your lover

11:30 am- Grab some lunch at a cosy cafe

1:00 pm- Head back to your accommodation and exchange wedding gifts/letters

1:30 pm- Start getting ready separately and then head outside for your first look

3:00 pm- Get in the car and spend a couple of hours visiting beautiful spots to take photos and have a quick explore.

5:00 pm- Arrive at the beach and meet a few close friends and family.

5:30 pm- Say your vows to each other

6:00 pm- Walk along the beach and enjoy your first moments as a married couple

6:30 pm- Eat a picnic dinner on the beach with live acoustic music

8:00 pm- Have your first dance by the sea

8:15 pm- Watch the sunset with your feet in the sea

9:00 pm- Head back to your accommodation

9:30 pm- Relax outside with beer and cake

Sunset Ceremony for Hiking Timeline

12:00 pm- Enjoy your favourite lunch together at your accommodation

1:00 pm- Start getting ready together, get professional hair and makeup done

2.30 pm- Drive to the start of your hike

3:00 pm- Set off hiking up into the mountains taking photos on the way up

5:30 pm- Arrive at the top of the mountain, change into your wedding clothes and have your first look

6:30 pm- Say your vows to each other

7:00 pm- Explore the area and enjoy your first moments as a married couple

7:30 pm- Eat a picnic dinner by a mountain lake

8:15 pm- Have your first dance by the lake

8:30 pm- Change out of your wedding clothes to head back down the mountain

10:00 pm- Get back to the car and drive back to your accommodation

10:30 pm- Relax around the firepit back at your cottage and do some stargazing

As elopement photographers, we are privileged to share these adventure-filled days with our couples and honestly can’t think of anything more special than guiding you through your elopement day. We believe that photography is even more important for an elopement compared to a traditional wedding. Only a few of your family and friends will be at your elopement to share it with you, and if you’re choosing to elope alone, then no one will. Therefore, the images from your elopement allow your loved ones to feel part of your adventure, and as memories fade, you can look back on every minute of the day. An elopement isn’t just a ceremony and a photo shoot; it’s a full day love story, so we believe it’s essential to document the whole story, from sunup to sundown.

For all these reasons it’s essential to choose your photographers very carefully. After deciding you like their work, we recommend meeting on zoom before committing to anything to check that you have a connection and good feeling about them and that they will tell the whole story of your day and not just a couple of hours of it. You need to get on and feel comfortable with them, as they will share your day with you. Unlike a big wedding where the photographer is just one of the numerous suppliers, on an elopement it may be only the two of you and your photographers and officiant all day, and they can even be your witnesses.

Imagine thinking back to your elopement in years to come when you want to relive one of the best and most important days of your lives. You dig out the elopement album and look back through a day full of awesome experiences and fun memories. It’s your wedding day, and you deserve to enjoy a full day together.

How does this sound to you? Are you ready for an all day adventure with your love? Get in touch and check out more of Oli & Steph's gorgeous work here and if you'd like help to plan an experience like no other, get in touch today!