• kathleenelizabethphotos

What Do You Do During an All Day Elopement?

Updated: Jun 28

A bride and groom on their elopement day at Gold Creek Pond in Washington

First off, what is an elopement?

Simply put, an elopement is an intentionally intimate, deeply meaningful celebration of your relationship and love that is completely focused on the two of you. Elopements prioritize what matters the most- two people exchanging their vows and committing the rest of their lives to one another!

People elope because they want the type of wedding day that they truly enjoy- a day that embodies who they truly are as a couple. A day they want to relive time and time again. (Read about more reasons why couples choose to elope!) Typically, elopements include only the couple getting married. However, they can also include their closest family and friends, often referred to as an "intimate wedding".

So... what does an adventure elopement or adventure intimate wedding mean then? An adventure elopement or intimate wedding usually adds in some degree of, for lack of a better word, adventure- whether that's hiking, traveling, kayaking, flying in a helicopter, etc.

The term elopement can't be put in a box- your elopement can be whatever you want it to be.

There are a lot of misconceptions around eloping, with one of the biggest being that elopements are "less than" a big, traditional wedding. That they are less important, less special, and deserve less documentation. I am here to say that these statements are completely and utterly false!

Elopements are just as important as traditional weddings & they deserve just as much celebration and documentation.

The way you get married matters! Your wedding day will be your anniversary for the rest of your life- your elopement is so incredibly special. You deserve to have your ENTIRE adventure captured (not just your vows and some quick portraits!) for you to relive time and time again.

A couple hugging during their adventurous elopement in the mountains of Washington
A couple hiking in the mountains on their wedding day

So, what do you do during an all-day elopement? Is it just an 8 hour photo shoot? What else is there to do after you exchange your vows and get some quick portraits?

As an adventure wedding and elopement photographer, my packages range from 6 hours to 2 days (yes! two days.), with the average package being somewhere between 8-12 hours. At first glance, that sounds pretty crazy right? I mean, what the heck do you do on your elopement for 8-12 hours and why would you want a photographer there with you that long? One of the whole points of eloping is intimacy right?

I hear you. When I first tell people that my couples hire me for 8-12 hours, I get a lot of wild looks.

Trust me when I tell you these three things:

1. It is not an all-day photo shoot where you feel awkward the entire time.

2. Time goes by incredibly fast.

3. Not one couple has ever regretted having an all day elopement experience. Instead they're often saying it was the "best day ever" and want to relive it over and over again.

I know I have a different opinion than a lot of other people (and a lot of other photographers). It's just because I am coming from a place where I truly believe that elopements matter- and that they are the best way to get married. I love how intimate and romantic they are, and how they really bring the focus back to what matters most. Elopements strip away the fluff and the production of it all. Instead, they are centered around having an amazing experience versus all of the "stuff".

Your wedding day deserves documentation, whether it's just the two of you or with 150 guests.

It is standard for a traditional wedding to get full day coverage, from the getting ready photos to the big send-off, every moment gets to be documented. Is it really so crazy to have your entire elopement documented too?

A couple enjoying their day on the beach during their wedding in Washington
A couple snuggling in the mountains during their snowy, hiking elopement in Washington

Trust me when I say, this is NOT an all-day photo shoot.

I am not going to be directing you all day into uncomfortable, awkward poses or fabricating emotions or moments to get "the shot". In fact- it's not about me at all. It is completely about you. My whole goal as your photographer is to make sure you have the absolute best day of your lives.

Wait.. shouldn't my only goal be taking amazing photos? Well, in an indirect way yes- absolutely. But, it is my belief that if you are having the time of your lives, totally in the moment and enjoying every second- beautiful, amazing photos will follow.

Think of me as your adventure buddy, or professional third wheel. I'm just along for the ride, documenting your entire experience. From the amazing scenery, your unique details, your vows, and to the love you and your partner share- I'm there to capture it all. When taking photos, I take a more "documentary approach", with one of the goals being that you get so comfortable you forget the camera is even there!

With me, you can feel 100% confident to truly be yourself, be deeply connected with one another, and let your personalities shine. I love capturing you and your relationship authentically and in a way that represents who you are. I know what it's like to feel awkward in front of the camera, or to get photos back and think "these don't even look like me". That's not what this is.

Personally, I hate being in front of the camera. So, I apply that towards my own posing style, taking a very natural approach. No forced smiles, "okay now look at me" (I mean, we will get the "fridge shot" for your parents, but besides that!) or fake moments- just documenting the love you share. But don't worry, you won't be standing there wondering what to do either!

Sounds pretty great right? Yeah I think so too. Get in touch with me and we can start planning the elopement of your dreams!

When it comes to eloping, the options on "what to do" are truly endless. Whenever I first start talking to a couple considering eloping, I love to ask them to imagine their perfect day- from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep. I ask, if you could do absolutely anything- what would you do?

Now, I want you to try it. Give yourself no limits, truly think about the perfect day for you and your partner. What sort of activities do you want to do? Where would you go, what does the scenery look like? What would you eat and drink? Who would be there with you? Answer these key questions and you'll be well on your way to planning your dream elopement. Think of your elopement as you and your partner's perfect day. You're in an amazing location, doing all of your favorite activities together, eating your favorite foods, having a great experience and you happen to get married too!

To help you imagine what your elopement could look like, I created a few drafts of timelines for you to check out. Remember, there are no limits here. You can make the day you get married the most amazing adventure ever.

1. Adventurous Helicopter Elopement

12:00 pm- Photographer arrives at Airbnb. Getting ready photos and detail photos

1:15 pm- First Look, do legal ceremony (photographer signs as officiant)

2:00 pm- Leave for launchpad

2:30 pm- Arrive at launchpad

3:00 pm- Helicopter takes off, visit multiple spots where we can explore, take photos, the two of you can read your vows

7:00 pm- Helicopter lands back at launchpad

7:30 pm- Sit down for dinner at a restaurant

8:30 pm- Dinner finished, head back to Airbnb

9:15 pm- Arrive back at Airbnb, build campfire

9:30 pm- First dance at campfire and smores

10:00 pm- Photo coverage wraps up

2. Intimate Hike Followed By a Ceremony with Friends and Family

3:00 am- Meet at trailhead, start hiking up and stargazing

5:00 am- Arrive at summit, get changed & ready for sunrise

5:15 am- Alpenglow begins, First look, private vow reading

5:30 am- Watch sunrise, couples photos, first dance, explore around summit

7:00 am- Start hiking back down

8:30 am- Arrive back at trailhead, head to ceremony site, meet up with family and get ready for ceremony

9:00 am- Ceremony with family and friends present

9:30 am- Ceremony finished, photos with family & friends, pop champagne to celebrate!

10:15 am- Family photos finished, head to have a brunch celebration

12:00 pm- Photo coverage wraps up

3. 2-Day Elopement- Celebrating with Loved Ones Followed By a Couple’s Hike

3:45 pm- Arrive at ceremony location and get ready for first look

4:00 pm- First look

4:15 pm- Family arrives and gets set up for ceremony (scenery photos, detail photos, get people gathered)

4:30 pm- Ceremony begins

5:00 pm- Ceremony ends, pop champagne to celebrate

5:15 pm- Family and Friend photos

6:00 pm- Family photos wrap up, family goes into town, begin couples photos

6:45 pm- Sunset, head into town

7:45 pm- Arrive at restaurant, dinner, drinks, toasts, cake

8:45 pm- Photo coverage wraps up

-Next Day-

3:30 am- Meet at trailhead, start hiking

5:15 am- Arrive at summit, change into wedding attire

5:30 am- Sunrise, couples photos, explore around

7:30 am- Start hiking down

9:30 am- Arrive back at trailhead

4. All Day Adventure Elopement with hiking and kayaking

4:00 am- Photographer arrives at Airbnb, Getting ready photos and detail photos

5:15 am- Leave for lake

5:45 am- Arrive at lake, get ready for sunrise

6:00 am- Alpenglow begins, First look

6:15 am- Sunrise, exchange vows, couples photos, first dance, explore around

7:45 am- Inflate kayaks and go out onto the lake

9:15 am- Come back to shore, deflate kayaks

9:30 am- Pop celebratory champagne, have a picnic brunch

10:00 am- Break in photo coverage

-Later that day-

3:45 pm- Meet at trail head, start hiking

5:15 pm- Arrive at top, explore around, take photos

6:00 pm- Sunset

6:45 pm- Begin hiking back down

8:00 pm- Arrive back at trailhead, head to Airbnb

8:30 pm- Arrive at Airbnb, have dinner cooked by private chef, snuggle by fireplace

10:00 pm- Photo coverage wraps up

What does your perfect wedding day look like? What can you imagine you and your partner doing? The options are endless- let your imagination run wild. If you want help planning your day and dreaming up ideas, I've got you. Contact me and we can get started!

Want more resources to help you plan your own elopement? Check out Everything You Need To Know Before Your Hiking Elopement and The Top Places To Elope In Washington. Or, learn more about how the logistics of an elopement ceremony works!

Or, check out a real adventurous elopement in the Mount Baker Wilderness for some inspiration!

If you're thinking about having your own adventurous elopement or intimate wedding, I'd love to talk to you- even if you don't have all the details figured out yet. I love helping couples plan their wedding day, and would love to help you too. Let's start planning your greatest adventure.


A couple smiling at one another on their adventure wedding day in the Mount Baker Wilderness
A couple toasting champagne during their engagement photos on Ruby Beach in Washington
A couple laughing during their elopement day in the woods in Oregon
A couple enjoying the view of the mountain ranges in the Mount Baker Wilderness during their elopement day

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Meet Your Elopement Photographer

Hi! My name is Kathleen and I'm an adventure wedding and elopement photographer (and your new friend!). I'm here to help guide you to having the ultimate wedding day experience, and to document every single moment of it. I would love to help you plan your elopement and answer any questions you may have! I'm based in Washington and Arizona and would love to document your special day.

Get in touch with me and let's start planning your dream adventure.


Washington adventure wedding and elopement photographer who specializes in hiking and adventure elopements

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