Planning your elopement timeline (and how to include your family in your elopement)

Planning your elopement timeline

I usually only share this with my elopement and micro-wedding couples! But today, because I am feeling SO grateful for how much my business has grown (seriously – you all had me hopping last month!), I wanted to give you all a little something extra on today’s blog. As an Arizona desert elopement photographer, I usually like to customize an elopement timeline for each couple. But some things work well so if you are planning your elopement timeline, I think this will help!!

If you aren’t familiar with me or my work yet, HI. I’m Krissy, and I am a micro wedding and elopement photographer who loves couples in love. I believe elopements and micro weddings were a gift from 2020 that we didn’t know we needed. Any couple that is so in love they don’t want to wait ANOTHER MINUTE to make it official – they are my people. And if you are willing to wear comfy shoes and hike to a remote spot to exchange vows? Match made in heaven. I’m going to share my timeline tips with you here, and because I know so many of you wonder how to include your family in your elopement, I’ve added that to this post too!

Groom dips bride in black dress at desert elopement
Groom dips bride in black dress at desert elopement

Planning your Elopement Timeline

The first step to planning your elopement timeline is deciding exactly what elements of a “traditional” wedding day you want to include. Here are a few examples (some are more for a micro wedding – but I know people are using the terms interchangeably so whatever your elopement looks like, I got you covered!).

  • Getting ready with friends and/or family
  • Having hair & makeup professionally done
  • Picking up florals/your wedding bouquet
  • A first look before the wedding ceremony
  • Potentially a little hiking to reach your perfect desert elopement location
  • The wedding ceremony
  • Wedding couple portraits
  • Photos with family
  • A wedding reception (or dinner for two)
  • First dance
  • Toasts
  • Bouquet Toss/Garter Toss
  • Cake Cutting (one-tier cakes are really popular!)
  • Dancing
Desert elopement details - hat, bouquet, wood, desert
Bride and groom hold each other with pampers grass and moody bouquet
Bride in black wedding dress got twirled by groom in black suit

Building a Timeline for your Elopement

Once you have decided what elements to include in your day, you can decide what time to start! Typically, elopements start a bit later in the afternoon because you don’t have ALL the elements of a wedding day (only one or two people are getting their hair and makeup done, for example!). I suggest planning your timeline WITH your photographer, who can give you. a better idea of how long things should take. Golden hour (an hour before sunset) tends to be one of the most flattering for photos so consider having your ceremony or portraits around that time! Remember, if you want a little help with this, feel free to contact me and talk about your wedding day!

Vow books with wedding ring
Groom embraces bride in moody black wedding dress

How to Include Your Family in Your Elopement

In regards to your family, there are so many ways to include them in your elopement – before, during, and after! One of my favorites is having a reception after your intimate desert elopement. Who doesn’t want to say vows in private and then party with their nearest & dearest? Alternatively, you can always get together with them BEFORE your elopement for a dreamy send-off dinner.

In smaller ways, you can also invite them to wedding dress shopping or even get ready with a few family and friends the morning of the day. Ultimately, your friends and family just want to celebrate with you. They will be grateful however you chose to include them in your special day.

Wedding details for dark purple light blue white and moons
Groom dances with bride in black dress at Arizona desert elopement

COVID restrictions causing you to downsize your guest list

Consider Livestreaming the ceremony: software like Zoom makes it easy for an informal, casual feel! You can also hire a videographer for a more polished video of your wedding day. You’ll appreciate the emotion only a professional can capture. Your family and friends will feel like they were there. Another unique way to include your family and friends in the ceremony is to have them write love letters that you can read at your elopement.

Groom dances with bride in black dress at Arizona desert elopement
elopement timeline planning for bride and groom
elopement timeline planning for bride and groom

I’m already excited thinking about your elopement!

If you are getting married in the Arizona desert (or let’s face it – I’m always up for an adventure!), make sure to reach out here. I would love to get your wedding date on my calendar right away! In the meantime, I have all kinds of elopement planning advice (and encouragement to do things your way) on the blog. To read more about working with me: check out the Krissy Mae Experience here! You’ll quickly see how my photography enters around making you feel and look as beautiful as I see you!

elopement timeline planning for bride and groom

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Whether you're seeking adventure or prefer a more relaxed vibe with easy walks and scenic views, we'll find the spot that suits both of you. Because your wedding day should reflect your unique love story every step of the way.