Full Day Elopements: What are they and WHY in the hell would you want one?!

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I'm a Colorado-based destination elopement photographer who helps couples have unforgettable elopements in the Rocky Mountains and destinations worldwide.

I'm Jen Dz

Whenever I talk to folks outside the elopement world about what I do one of the things they are surprised about is just how much time I spend with my couples on their elopement day (which is typically 8-12 hours!). They’re envisioning something along the lines of an hour or two – which makes sense, right? Traditionally elopements have been very short – a quick vow exchange and maybe a few portraits but that is NOT what elopements are like today – so let’s talk about all day elopements!

What is an “all day (or “full day”) elopement”?

Obviously you are free to define your elopement however you want but for me, I consider an elopement all day anytime we spend 8 or more hours together and it’s the option that 95% of my couples go with. While some couples choose to do a shorter package more often than not, after we talk about what their day could look like, almost everyone decided to go for the full day.

couple hiking at winter elopement in Colorado

Why should you do a full day elopement?

There are so SO many reasons!!

Full Day Elopements are Less Stressful

I know this may sound surprising because being in front of a camera for 8 hours sounds SO STRESSFUL but the truth is that having more time typically means we can take the day more slowly, do less rushing from place to place (or activity to activity) and really take the time to soak it all in. I NEVER want an elopement to feel like a long photoshoot and by being able to have more down time in the day it often ends up feeling even more like an adventure than a photoshoot!

Full Day Elopements Give you More Opportunities for Good Weather

If you’re concerned about rain or possibly snow on your elopement day, having more time booked with your photographer will give you double or triple the chance to get a good weather window. In places like Colorado and Iceland rain tends to move in and out relatively quickly which means that a day that started super rainy may end with a giant rainbow – giving yourself a bigger window for good weather will let you experience more of it! This is especially true for couples who choose a package that lets them split up their day between sunrise and sunset – two shots at good light and good weather dramatically increases your shot at perfect photos and dry skies!

Full Day Elopements Let you See and Do More on Your Day!

Having double the time means double the fun! Want to go on a longer hike (and get away from those crowds!)? You can do that. Want to have your first look, ceremony, and picnic all in different, vehicle-accessible spots? With more time we can do that!

You Get More Bang for Your Buck

While the price of an all day elopement is obviously higher than a half day (or shorter) elopement, the cost per hour is dramatically less. The reason for this is that elopement photographers put SO MUCH TIME into planning your elopement that that is quite a bit of what you pay for so tacking on those extra hours? They come at a much better rate!

You Get to TRULY Savor Your Day

This is the big one. Your elopement day is NOT a quick vow exchange and a photoshoot. It’s the day you are committing your life to someone and that story should be remembered and told. This day is going to freaking FLY by, even more so if you are rushing from one place to the next, take some time to savor it ALL!

two brides drinking champagne at Colorado hiking elopement

Ok, but what the hell do you DO for all that time?!

Oh man, there are SO many options. I can only speak for my couples, the elopements I’ve helped plan and how I do things (and every photographer is different) but I can tell you that the possibilities are endless. Every elopement is different and custom designed around the couple, the things they love, and the places that speak to them.

Typically I meet up with my couples at their AirBnB or wherever they are staying to get some photos of them getting ready. Often we’ll do their first look there or head to somewhere beautiful for it and then from there how the day goes WIDELY varies!

Some couples choose to go for a long hike to their ceremony site. Some rent a Jeep and we go spend the day exploring. Some want to grab cocktails or visit a brewery (liquid courage never hurts!). Some want to hang off the side of a cliff (no seriously). A lot of the time we’ll plan an epic picnic, have a first dance, cut the cake, pop champagne, and do any number of other things. Other options? Go dog-sledding or snowmobiling. Take a helicopter or hot air balloon ride. Have a chef come cook you a meal at your AirBnB. Go to a concert or festival. The options are literally endless.

A lot of the time we’ll end the day after the sun sets, chilling on a blanket, eating some charcuterie, and starting at the starriest skies you’ve ever seen.

couple under the milky way at elopement

But what if being in front of the camera for that long sounds …. not fun?

Trust me when I say I’ve heard this before!! I promise that there is a TON of time during these days that you DON’T spend in front of the camera. I generally try to get enough shots of what we’re doing that you have lots of photos to remember it by …. and then step back and let you just enjoy the moment. My goal is ALWAYS for this to feel like a fun adventure …. and for you to have the photos to remind you of how it all went down.

Ok, an all day elopement sounds awesome but … we have NO idea where to start!

This is where hiring an experiences elopement photographer comes in! A good elopement photographer will have tons of experience putting together a day that exceeds your wildest dreams. Dreaming up epic elopements is what we eat and breathe and we are here to help you put together a timeline, figure out the logistics, and make sure your day is freaking incredible!

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