Here you'll find actual elopements to inspire your own and resources to help you through the planning process. 

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Actual Elopements

How to elope

About Venturing Vows

Actual Elopements

How to elope

About Venturing Vows

How to Elope

February 14, 2023

How to Schedule a Full Day Elopement – Oregon Coast Photographer

Unique activities and sample timelines for how to have a full day elopement experience.

Oregon Coast Elopement

So you decide to elope. You need to have a ceremony and you want some photos. Now what? That’s really not much of a wedding day. But what are you supposed to do with very few or no guests?

The answer is anything. That’s the beauty of elopements. It disregards what weddings are supposed to be and creates the day you want.

The first step is to narrow down what you would enjoy doing if you could plan your perfect day.

What do you love to do? Hiking, exploring downtown, kayaking, eating at your favorite restaurant, trying something new?  All of those are on the table if you chose to elope. Whatever makes you happy is an awesome option for your special day. Eloping gives you the opportunity to take on any adventure for your wedding day.

Let’s chat about potential timelines and activities for your elopement day!

Picking Activities for Your Elopement

Olympic National Park elopement at Hurricane Ridge

Y’all, the options for how you fill your elopement are so cool. I see new ideas all the time that you wouldn’t even imagine as an option. When you’re considering activities, the first thing you should think about is what you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a stereotypical wedding day activity to enhance your experience. AirBNB experiences is also packed with unique activities based on the location you want to go to. Even if you don’t book through them, it can give you some out-of-the-box ideas to get you started while you’re searching. Here’s some ideas just to get you started:

  • Hiking of any length
  • Kayaking or paddle boarding
  • Snowboarding/skiing/snowmobiling/snowshoeing
  • Swimming (you can even hike to a secluded water hole or waterfall for swimming for some extra adventure)
  • Boating or jet skis (if you want an easier going recreation, rent a boat and enjoy the water; you can also break out skis, wakeboard, surf board, etc. if that’s your jam)
  • In-home style portraits before getting ready (make coffee together, eat breakfast, stick to your normal morning routine, etc.)
  • Pre-elopement hike before getting ready (spend some quiet, relaxing time together before the bustle of the day; especially good if you’re including family/friends)
  • Go to a local coffee shop 
  • Stop by a local brewery
  • Enjoy food at a favorite restaurant or local favorite
  • Return to a location that has meaning. Maybe where you met, where you proposed, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be special to you.
  • Have a picnic in a beautiful place. 
  • Write letters to each other, keep a journal of the journey leading up to the elopement day to read each other
  • Have family members/friends not present write letters or record videos to read/watch,
  • Incorporate some kind of unity ceremony.
  • Helicopter/airplane tour (you could even use this to get to a secluded ceremony spot)
  • Go fishing, bird watching, whale watching, etc.
  • White water rafting or easy-going floating
  • Four-wheeling, side-by-side, or motorcycle
  • Biking
  • Take a Jeep or backcountry driving trip
  • Get crafty (paint class, cooking class, woodworking class, pottery, glassblowing, etc.)
  • Gondola or chairlift ride
  • Rock climbing
  • See some live music at a concert, festival, or hire a musician
  • Bookstore crawl
  • Horseback riding
  • Visit a farm/petting zoo (great way to include kids)
  • Sailing or easy going boat tour
  • Visit a museum or art gallery

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Unique Elopement Activities

Example Elopement Timelines

Once you sit down and start actually laying out a timeline, you’d be amazed how much time you’ll need. You’ll want to make sure you account for extra time for each item so you’re not rushing. Creating a comfortable timeline that gives you space to experience your day is essential.

Here’s some timeline examples to help you visualize how various lengths of time can lay out day of:

Actual Oregon Coast Elopement Timeline (8 hours, no guests)

Brookings, OR and Redwood National Park

Oregon Coast Elopement Timeline

1:00 pm – Getting Ready Photos at Vacation Rental

This couple started with getting ready photos. This is a great way to have a slow start to your day and get comfortable with your photographer hanging around. It also captures some beautiful images of the process of getting ready for your day. You’ve put a lot of thought into your outfits, incorporating meaningful detail, and getting ready for this momentous day. Getting ready tells the complete story of that process.

2:00 pm – Flat Lay Photos and Letters

One of the first thing you’re going to forget is the details. The shoes you wore, the look of your flowers, and the accessories you wore. These bright and colorful images are also a great addition for album layouts. Since this couple didn’t have any guests, they had friends and family write them letters to read on their elopement day.

3:30 pm – Leave for Redwood National Park hike

Most couples opt for multiple locations during their day. This gives you lots of variety for images and allows you to customize each location to the event you’re going to have there. More private locations for your vow exchange and maybe a more popular (but very beautiful spot) for your portraits since it’s not as intimate of a moment. Because of this, up to 1 hour of driving is included with my packages without counting towards the photo time.

4:00 pm – Redwood National Park Hike

The forest is a great place to start for portraits. The lighting looks great in the forest while it is still harsh on the coastline. The Redwoods are packed with 1 mile, mostly flat trails that are a great fit for hiking in wedding attire.

Redwood National Park Elopement
Redwood National Park Elopement

6:00 pm – Cliffside Ceremony

7:00 pm – Picnic with a View

A picnic in a beautiful place is basically an elopement requirement. Every food item tastes better on the beach, it’s a scientific fact (okay, not actually but close enough). This is another great opportunity to give you time to just enjoy each other’s company. You picked to elope to have a low stress day, let’s keep it as low key as possible.

Picnic during an elopement on the Oregon Coast

8:00 pm – Sunset Portraits

Your day is so much more than just a photo session…but I always recommend at least parts of the day be dedicated to portraits (don’t worry, we make them super fun).

Oregon Coast elopement

Actual Intimate Wedding Timeline (10 hours, with guests)

Cape Kiwanda, Oregon

Intimate wedding timeline for an Oregon Coast elopement

11:00 am – Getting Ready Photos

If possible, including important guests/family members to help you get ready is a great touch.

Flat lay photo with bouquet and veil

12:00 pm – First Look at Vacation Rental

A vacation rental with a nature backdrop is one of the best options for a first look. It’s logistically very easy and allows you to have that special moment in complete privacy. Then we can go about the rest of the day without worrying about if you see each other.

1:00 pm – Forest Hike

3:00 pm – Beach Adventure

Elopement portrait

5:00 pm – Ceremony with Family

These two picked a venue space, Pelican Brewing, for the ceremony with family.

Intimate wedding ceremony at Pelican Brewing

6:00 pm – Dinner with Family

They wrapped up the guest part of the day with a family dinner. We snapped some family photos, brought out the cake, had toasts, and just enjoyed quality time together.

Family dinner during elopement at Pelican Brewing

8:00 pm – Sunset Portraits

I always recommend couple portraits at the end of the day because it’s the best lighting. I want you to have the most epic portraits of you two!

Oregon Coast elopement at Cape Kiwanda

As you can see with these timelines and activities, there’s so many options for crafting your day. You can land anywhere on the spectrum from basically a smaller scale traditional wedding to a day that’s entirely unique to you. Elopements really can be anything you want. The whole point is to refocus on the people and things that truly matter to you. 

Your elopement holds just as much value as any traditional wedding. It can be so much more than just a quick ceremony and photos. Make sure you’re not selling your day short and you’re creating an experience you will cherish the rest of your life. I hope this gets your ideas going on what your perfect day looks like for you. There’s freedom in eloping and you owe it to yourself to create the perfect day for you. 

Enjoying this resource? Check out these other resources!

The Ultimate Guide to Eloping on the Oregon Coast

How to Tell People You’re Eloping

Everything You Need to Know About Eloping

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How to schedule a full day elopement