How to Pick the Time Of Day for Your Elopement Ceremony

Let me guess – you’re in the middle of planning your adventure elopement, dreaming up ALL the things you want to include!! You’re stoked to make your elopement ceremony visions come true and finally marry your boo. 


Buuut you’re struggling with some of the logistics – maybe you know your date, but you realized you don’t know what time you’re going to actually elope. 

elopement ceremony

It can be hard to figure out what time of day to hold your elopement: sunrise or sunset? Morning or afternoon?


So here are my top tips on how to pick the time of day for your elopement ceremony & the rest of your elopement activities!!

elopement ceremony

How to Pick the Time of Day for Your Elopement

1. Think about crowds

Something that manyyyy couples may forget to consider is CROWDS!! If you’re eloping somewhere epic outdoors, such as a national park, you’ll probably run into tourists + visitors most times you go there. 

elopement ceremony

Especiallyyy if you elope during the busy season of that spot (usually summertime is busiest for outdoor locations in the PNW), you’ll end up sharing the park with tons of other people wanting to see those views. 


And if you’re wanting to elope in private, or have a quiet, intimate ceremony, you probs won’t want to have 50 tourists around you clicking their cameras.

elopement ceremony

So if you want to avoid crowds at the location of your elopement, here’s what I recommend!!

  • Look up what time of day is busiest & least busy
    1. Look up what seasons are busiest (typically late spring through early fall)
    2. See if there are other, more secluded spots you can choose from (even if they’re a farther distance to travel)
  • Elope at sunrise instead of sunset – typically, touristy spots aren’t as crowded at sunrise as they are at sunset!
  • Elope on a weekday instead of a weekend – weekends are when most people have time off, so on weekdays you shouldn’t find as many people!!

elopement ceremony

2. Consider the lighting

Lighting is everythingggg when it comes to your elopement photos!! It affects the mood of your elopement ceremony as well as what the location looks like. For example, if you’re eloping in the mountains, you’ll have to remember that the sun sets EARLIER! It’ll disappear faster than usual behind the mountain peaks, so plan ahead to do photos earlier than you would in wide-open field, where the sun didn’t disappear till the very last moment of the sunset. 

elopement ceremony

Sunrise and sunset also offer two totally different lighting scenarios. At sunrise, we’ll likely arrive when it’s still dark out, so you’ll get to see the sky transition from pitch black into a calm blue hour, into soft golden hour, into harsher daylight. And at sunset, you’ll obviously see the opposite – daylight turns into golden hour, turns into blue hour, turns into dark.

elopement ceremony

Do some research on your location ahead of time (or ask me for help!) and see if you can find photos of where the light hits at different times of day! Mostly, look at sunrise & sunset and see what you like better. Google Earth can be super helpful for this!


Want to see an example of different lighting at different times of day?


Check out Ricki + Jake’s sunrise elopement, and then Page + Taylor’s sunset elopement at the exact same location!!

elopement ceremony

3. Figure out your activities

The next thing that will help you decide on the time of day is to figure out what activities you’ll be including in your elopement! Plan out everything you want to fit in on the day, and then base your ceremony time around that. 


If you’re wanting to do a sunrise hike to get to a mountaintop, and then chill the rest of the day with your loved ones at your Airbnb, do a sunrise elopement ceremony.

elopement ceremony

If you’re not an earlybird and would rather sleep in, take the day to chill & explore, and then say your vows as the sun goes down, go for sunset instead!


Sunrise elopements are the bomb because they allow you to have the WHOLE rest of the day to celebrate however you want to!! Whether you want to explore the area you’re in, visit local restaurants or shops with your loved ones, go horseback riding or do outdoor activities, etc. you’ll have the whole rest of the day to do it all.

elopement ceremony

4. Decide what kind of photos are most important

It’s important to decide what kind of photos are most important to you! What parts of the day will be most meaningful that you want to be captured?


Maybe you’d really cherish a slow morning with your boo, cooking breakfast and drinking coffee, having it all photographed.

elopement ceremony

Or maybe you’re night owls and you want to sleep under the stars, break out the tents, and get some epic late-night photos with the stars in the sky.


Consider what activities you would normally do, or that would make your day super special, and think about whether those happen in the morning or evening!

elopement ceremony

5. Consider travel time + accommodations

Don’t forget to take travel time + accommodations into account!! If you’ll be traveling to multiple spots throughout the day, plan for how much time the driving/walking will take you. And calculate how long it’ll take you to get from your elopement ceremony spots to your Airbnb! It’s easy to forget about getting from one location to another, and potential obstacles you could run into. For example, if you know you hate traffic and would get stressed by it, try to plan your driving early in the morning when there will be fewer cars on the road!

elopement ceremony

6. Look into permits + potential restrictions

Make sure you look into permits and potential restrictions at your location, so you know when you’re even allowed to be at the location. Some state parks don’t allow visitors in until a certain hour, or until the sun is up. So make sure you know when you can enter/exit your location and if there are any other time restraints you have to be aware of!

elopement ceremony

7. Think about the weather

Finally, don’t forget about the weather! Sunrise is the for elopements, but it IS much colder early in the mornings. If you know you’ll be miserable if you’re cold, maybe sunrise isn’t for you!! But if you know you’ll embrace the early morning cold and make it an amazing adventure, so that you have the whole day left to celebrate, do itttt.

elopement ceremony

If you loved these tips, I’ve got tons more helpful info & resources for you!! Check them out below!



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