Once you have your vision for the day and all the things you want to experience, then its time to bring it all together. Below are some key points to consider when creating your elopement timeline.
YOUR GUIDE TO YOUR
Truly, I'm grateful to be your elopement photographer! I'm so excited to hear all the exciting details as your day comes together. Throughout this entire process, I'm here to help in any way I can so that you can fully embrace this sweet journey of yours.
Over the years, I have learned some honest advice that I want to share with you when it comes to planning your day. Let this guide be here for you to come back to as needed, for guidance, inspiration and reminders.
I take a very natural and documentary style approach with a focus on genuine connection and moments that truly reflect who you are. I won't make you pose but I will give direction when needed, in the most natural and simplistic way. For the most part, I keep a photojournalism style, focusing on your love and what matters most to you.
As you plan for your elopement, I encourage you to lean into your heart and imagine your day. Take time to reflect on what is meaningful to the both of you and how you want to celebrate your wedding. It’s so important to enjoy this process with a mind free of hurry, embrace the unexpected and everything in between.
MY STYLE & APPROACH
LEAN INTO YOUR HEART
& IMAGINE YOUR DAY
The morning of your wedding, you wake up in a rustic cabin overlooking the ocean.
As you sit down to read your favourite book, the quietness of sunrise hour allows you to prepare your heart and mind for the day ahead.
You grab your hot cocoa and join with your love and best friends on the beach for breakfast/brunch.
Afterwards, you take a drive, hike to a waterfall or explore a new place.
During sunset, you head back to the beach to say your vows, followed by a celebration of good food, donuts, meaningful conversation, bonfires and guitar jams.
You say your goodbyes and head back to your cosy cabin, as husband and wife.
CREATE A MEANINGFUL
IMAGINE YOUR DAY
Lean into your heart and imagine your day. From the time you wake up until you go to bed, what would your day look like?
MAKE THE BIG DECISIONS
The biggest decisions are typically the location/where you want to get married, the date and if you want to invite family/friends or have it just be the two of you.
PLAN ALL THE DETAILS
Plan all the things you want to experience in the day, including activities, how long do you want to do each thing for etc.
CREATE YOUR TIMELINE
Once you have all the details planned out, you can then create your timeline.
- What would the weather be like?
- What would you see when you look out the window?
- What is the first thing you want to do when you wake up?
- What would you want to eat for breakfast?
- Where would you want to explore?
- What would your ceremony look like?
- Where do you want to say your vows? Do you want to plan multi locations?
- What do you want to wear? multiple outfit changes? change on the way?
- Does the place have meaning/significance to you?
- Who can you see there with you? is it just you two, or your family/friends?
- Is everyone going to be just as excited about the experience as you?
- Is there accessibility between locations? transportation, lodging etc
- Is there anyone who would try to shift your focus away from what matters?
- Consider backup locations, permits, accessibility
- How would you celebrate? bbq, dances, bonfire, donuts, games etc
- brunch on beach, lounge in hammocks
- cozy next to fire, stargaze, sea/sky lanterns
Don’t be afraid to think outside the traditional box. The most important thing about your wedding outfits is how it makes you feel. Be authentic to that.
Many websites such as Etsy, Lulus, Free People have affordable options for wedding attire, rather than the common bridal stores. Consider a custom made dress or rentals.
*photo on the right – my hubby and I on our wedding day (my mom made my dress). The guys wore khaki shorts and boat shoes.
Whether its just the two of you or a few, its up to the both of you! However, if you decide to invite your family/friends, make sure they are on the same page with your vision and understand that you are not having a traditional, big wedding but a unique celebration, tailored to who you are.
There are many beautiful ways to include family/friends even if they are not physically with you during vows. You can include them in other intimate moments throughout the day, or plan a celebration afterwards. Also, you could split up the day - sunrise private vow reading just the two of you and then later in the day rejoin your guests for a ceremony and celebration.
Carefully consider your getting ready space. Whether its your apartment, airbnb, or ceremony location. It should be free from clutter and provide natural light. It also makes things run smoothly if both of you (bride + groom) get ready at the same location, or within walking distance. Travel times can add up!
During the final touches of getting ready, this is where I begin shooting. Detail shots are typically what I begin with first (rings, stationary items, dress, veil, shoe, vow booklets). After I finish up with the detail shots, I then photograph the groom with final touches and head back to where the bride is slipping into her dress. Give yourselves at least 30 minutes so you don't feel rushed!
I recommend bringing a bag, one that is easy to carry and big enough to hold all the things you want me to photograph. This way, I can begin shooting details first and that will give me more time to capture the two of you getting ready.
GETTING READY DETAILS
First looks can be a very private and intimate moment for the both of you to connect, and really embrace all those emotions together, as one. However, some couples prefer to wait until the aisle to see each other. It doesn't matter what you decide, as long as it stays true to who you are.
If you're undecided about whether or not you want to have a first look, I encourage you to think about your day and how much time you want to spend on photos. Choosing to have a first look will give you more time to spend with your guests after the ceremony and not feel rushed for photos. Bridal party and father and bride first look can also be done during this time as well.
Carve out at least 30 minutes for the both of you for a first look, to have the time alone and 15 minutes for other first looks. Don't rush it, let the moment soak in.
I recommend you leave at least 30 minutes for family photos and keep it to 10-15 combinations. I begin photographing the largest combination first and then work down to the smallest.
It can help if you choose one family member/friend that knows your family well, who can be your gatherer for the day. This person will be my point of contact to make sure everyone is brought together for photos. It also helps to have a printed list of all the combinations you want in your photos and then have the gatherer coordinate putting those groups together.
Ideally, you want to spend 20 minutes on Bridal party photos and 30-45 minutes on intimate photos, taken on site or nearby location.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
When it comes to your ceremony location, there are a few things to keep in mind. Sharing all the details with me (especially if I haven't shot in the location before), will help me be prepared and ensure you have great photos in return.
- Is there enough space for me to walk through the perimeter of the ceremony? If so, this will allow for more variety in your images.
- will there be any restrictions during ceremony? ie. live cameras, video? all this limits me as your photographer.
- outdoor ceremonies on bright sunny days, will need some form of shelter from the sun to block harsh shadows from your faces, whether that is having you stand underneath a patio or trees.
- what will the available lighting be? is there natural light or artificial? Hanging lights or candles are always great. However, if you plan on having a candlelit ceremony, the more candles the better!
- If you are getting married in a church, what are the photography restrictions? Churches are typically dark, so the more natural light from windows the better.
- what lighting are you providing dinner with? hanging lights, candles? all of these will impact mood and photos and will change the temperature of your skin. For example, if the lighting is pink, then everything that is white will have a pink tint to it. Candlelight and string lights allow for warmer skin tones.
- where will you be seated and what is behind you? I would suggest checking to make sure there is nothing too distracting.
- If you are having a Dj/band, I would avoid directional and spotlighting. No one likes spotted skin. I would have clear communication with everyone involved with dances, and to turn off any colourful/spot lighting.
things to consider
SUNRISE & SUNSET
If you choose to have a sunrise ceremony, the ideal lighting occurs 90 minutes before sunrise. If you choose to have a sunset ceremony or have photos during that time, the ideal light is 90 minutes before sunset.
Don't forget to account for travel time between locations. Travel times can really add up and therefore, if not accounted for, it can set you behind schedule, depending on your timeline.
For an outdoor ceremony, I recommend having your ceremony 2-3 hours before sunset. During summer months, the times you want to avoid are from 10am-3pm as the sun is the harshest. Indoor ceremonies (churches) are typically dark, so the more natural light coming in, the better.
MULTI-LOCATIONS & BACKUPS
Depending on your amount of coverage, you can have multi-locations! It's also important to consider back up locations, in case something were to happen to your original location. However, make sure you love your backup location just as much as you love your original spot.
DIFFICULT LIGHT SITUATIONS
Outdoor locations will need to have some form of shelter from sun to block harsh shadows from your faces. Indoor locations will need lots of window light, candles, hanging lights. Avoid spot lights.
CELEBRATION MEAL OR PARTY
Think about your style of celebration and if you prefer sit down formal dinner, casual bbq/appetizers, food trucks etc. What kind of lighting are you providing dinner with? Whats the set up like? Is there anything too distracting?
Below are sample timelines depending on the amount of coverage. I offer 5 and 8 hour coverages, but open to customize to suite your needs.
Keep in mind every couple is different and therefore, each wedding is unique to them. I encourage you to begin with the ceremony and celebration time. From there, you can work backwards to fill in the blanks. If you need more or less time, adjust accordingly.
8 HOUR PHOTO COVERAGE
11:30-12:30 brunch with family/friends
12:30-2:00 lounge around, walk, read
2:00-3:00pm get ready
3:00-3:30pm drive to ceremony
3:30-4:00pm vows, ceremony
4:00-5:30pm couple photos on site/nearby
5:30-6:00pm drive to reception site
6:00-7:30pm celebrate with bbq, dances, bonfires
5 HOUR PHOTO COVERAGE
3:00-4:00 get ready
4:00-4:30 first look
6:00-7:00 portraits of family/friends
7:00-8:00 portraits of couple
GALLERY + PRINTS
Your images will be delivered as high-resolution, digital edited images presented to you in an online gallery, to download, share and print. It's important to back up your images in multiple locations (hard drives) so that you can look at your images whenever you want!
The print store is from a high quality and professional printing company in Toronto. Its by people who love what they do and create beautiful work. If you choose to print your photos yourself, please avoid Walmart, Costco and Shoppers.
The problem with these companies is the quality is much lower and it distorts the images. Also, because we live in a humid environment, the images will wrinkle over time, and when that happens you'll end up spending more money to replace them.
Choosing to have an intimate wedding is about enjoying the process of getting married and making decisions that are the most "you". I encourage you to put away your phone, grab a journal and dedicate some time to get honest with yourself about what you actually want your day to look like.
Above all else, prepare your mind and heart. Embrace the unexpected. Don't forget the reason why you decided to get married in the first place - the commitment and joy of becoming one and gathering with those close to your heart.
I'm so excited to be part of your sweet journey and help you create a meaningful experience that reflects who you are. I can't wait to meet you! In the meantime, I'll be right here answering any questions you have, and help you in any way I can.
Hugs! - Nia | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org