What is a Full Day Elopement All About and Why Should We Have One?

everything you need to know about why couples love full-day elopement experiences

So you’re eloping. And you want to have a freaking blast. But you also want the breathtaking, hair-blowing-on-the-mountainside photos that elopements are known for. I’m going to let you in on a secret: the best way to get the show-stopping elopement photos you’re seeking along with the perfect adventurous elopement vibes is to have a full-day (or heck, even a multi-day) elopement! Yes, it’s more fun than you’ve ever imagined, and no, I’m not just chasing you with a camera for 12 hours straight.

So then what is a full-day elopement, you ask? Let’s get into the details!

What’s a full-day elopement?

A full-day elopement is when you and your spouse-to-be enjoy a full day of adventure and love and celebration, not just the few hours of dusk when you exchange vows. Full-day elopements include 9-12 hours of photography coverage, starting early in the morning and going until just after the sun sets or even later. From the cozy morning coffee on the front porch of your airbnb to the s’mores shared by the fireside at the end of the day, your photographer will be along to document it all.

Should we have a full-day elopement?

I highly recommend full-day elopements! They’re SO fun, and they allow for the wiggle-room to snag the amazing pictures you want without stressing about the sun setting or time running out.

Let’s go through all the reasons why I believe full-day elopements are the way to go:

Your love story deserves more than a quick photo session.

Just like you wouldn’t cram a traditional wedding into three hours of coverage, squeezing a full elopement gallery into that timeframe is surprisingly hard, too. My couples who have booked a full day have a much more extensive, impressive gallery to memorialize their special day. If you just book a few hours, you’re stuck with one location and barely enough time to truly show who you are.

You can plan the fun, unique, adventurous elopement day of your dreams.

You’re probably eloping because your love story doesn’t fit into a box. You dare to dream for something a little different—a wedding day with a little more zest packed in. You aren’t a cookie-cutter couple—and you never plan to become one. So why would you let your elopement day be cookie-cutter, too?

That’s the beauty of a full-day elopement: you don’t have to fit in a box. You can say your vows at sunrise on the mountaintop and spend the rest of the day offroading through stunning mountain vistas. You can hop on a boat and enjoy the sun and salty air all day, pushing your vows off until after dark. You can do anything your heart tells you!

You have the intimate, quiet moments with no camera, too.

Your full-day elopement isn’t a 12 hour photo-shoot. It’s a fun, relaxing day with your loved one, with me stepping back to let you two enjoy the day. I’m a master at disappearing when the moment calls for it, as well as not overwhelming you with constant picture-taking. Say you’re having a picnic in a wildflower-strewn field. I’m not going to say, “okay, now feed them the grape like this.” I step back and let you two naturally be in that moment, capturing it quietly with my camera.

What kind of activities should we do in our full-day elopement?

Eloping for a full-day is so. freaking. fun. Here’s a list of great activities to do on your elopement day:

  • Take a sunrise hike to an alpine lake and share donuts while the sun rises over the lake.
  • Sip coffee on the front porch of your airbnb while waves crash on the beach in the distance.
  • Go offroading in the most epic mountain ranges you’ve ever seen. Cue wind-blowing-in-hair magnificence.
  • Eat fresh fish at a quaint seaside cafe, followed by a dip in the ocean and a spontaneous milkshake-run. (Like Morgan and Cameron’s Oregon Coast Elopement.)
  • Get matching tattoos and hold each other’s hands for the painful part.
  • Eat s’mores by the campfire underneath the scattered stars overhead.
  • Have a relaxing spa day and dip in a few hot springs.
  • Enjoy champagne on a stunning rooftop restaurant.
  • Rent a camper van, put your dogs in the back, and explore the forest roads with some great music playing. (Like Sariah and Parker’s Montana Vow Renewal and Adventure Session.)

The world really is your oyster when it comes to full-day elopements. You have the freedom and flexibility to craft the day that reflects YOU. And if you’re not the most adventurous type? No worries—we can keep it chill, too. You guys can crush each other in Mario Kart in your oceanside Airbnb or dance together to your favorite songs while surrounded by red rock formations. Or just hang out by a stunning alpine lake, like Victoria and Andrew.

I love crafting the perfect day for my clients, and would be over the moon to get to do it for you, too!

We’re sold. What does a full-day elopement timeline look like?

Great! Let’s get into some of the finer details of your all-day elopement timeline:

Mountain elopement example timeline

For locations think: Ouray, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole, Vail, Telluride, Crested Butte, or Glacier National Park.

  • Morning: sunrise hike to a gorgeous vista. Cook breakfast on a camp stove or eat pop tarts at the top.
  • Back to the airbnb to shower and change.
  • Lunch: go to a cute cafe in town. Stroll through the streets hand-in-hand.
  • Afternoon: hop in a jeep and go off-roading. Stop at the prettiest spots for some knockout photos!
  • Late afternoon: back to the airbnb to change for the ceremony
  • Evening: vow exchange/ceremony on a mountaintop. Enjoy the sunset together.
  • Night: dinner back in town and some champagne toasts on a rooftop.

Desert elopement example timeline

For locations think: Moab, Joshua Tree, Sedona, Garden of the Gods, Great Sand Dunes, Red Rock Canyon (outside Vegas), Bryce Canyon, or Zion

  • Morning: get the hike done for the day now, because it’s gonna get HOT (and crowded)! Take advantage of the early morning desert light and get some crazy-gorgeous red rock photos.
  • Lunch: head back to the camper, van, or tent and cook up some camp lunch together.
  • Afternoon: head into the nearest town for some art-gallery browsing and collectible-shopping. Desert towns are full of incredible treasures!
  • Late afternoon: back to the camper/van/tent to change for the ceremony.
  • Evening: vow exchange in the most picturesque spot we can find!
  • Night: s’mores under the incredible milky way. Stargazing is top-notch in the desert!

Spa/Hot Springs elopement

For locations think: Steamboat Springs, Dutton Hot Springs, Banff, Durango, Chico Hot Springs, or Glenwood Hot Springs:

  • Morning: enjoy a slow, relaxing morning at the airbnb. Sip coffee, make pancakes, and lounge on the couch.
  • Late morning: hit the hot springs! Relax with your spouse-to-be in mother nature’s most amazing gift.
  • Lunch: head into town to check out the restaurant and shopping scene.
  • Afternoon: get couples massages, masks, and maybe even walk over some hot coals together.
  • Late afternoon: back to the airbnb to change for the ceremony.
  • Evening: vows on a mountaintop or surrounded by desert beauty.
  • Night: Get the luxury treatment at a swanky local resort.

See how much you’d miss without a full-day elopement?

A TON, that’s how much. With a full-day elopement, you can get a gorgeous elopement gallery and have the most fun day of your lives.

Ready to book? I’m ready for ya.

Head to my contact page to let me know what kind of elopement day you’re dreaming of!

Looking for additional elopement planning resources?

Head over to my blog for everything for a variety of resources from the best places to elope to how to write your vows!