How to Plan Adventure Elopement Itinerary You Love
After having a vision for your elopement and knowing where and approximate time to do it now it's time to tackle down the elopement itinerary!
There’s no right or wrong way how to elope, as long as you have fun! Planning an elopement itinerary is basically not that different than planning a vacation in our opinion. And we love planning trips - building up all the excitement! It’s good to do your homework and have a good plan A (And Plan B, Plan C - because things often never go according to plan!), but being flexible and leaving room for spontaneity makes it all the more fun.
Basically planning an elopement itinerary boils down to three parts:
- Travel arrangements from your home location to the elopement location
- The timeline of the elopement day itself & Itinerary for the adventurous day(s) before/after.
Elopement Itinerary Example
Let's study the example below - the itinerary we put together for Hiuman & Victor's safari elopement in Morocco.
D A Y 0 :
- Meet up at the hotel. Getting know of each other.
- Slowly warm up and build up the foundation for the adventure with a super mini shooting in Marrakech Medina.
D A Y 1 : Marrakech - Tizi -n-Tichka - Ait Benhaddou - Dades Valley/Gorges
- Start our journey from Marrakech to Dades Gorges.
- Cross the Tizi-n-Tichka Atlas pass to the traditional High Atlas Berber village of Telouet.
- Continue to Ait Benhaddou to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou. Shooting a lots of photos of you wandering around here.
- Continue to Dades valley and try to reach here 1-2 hour before sunset to have a mini couple shooting at sunset. Shooting at the beautiful hotel.
- Spend the night in a riad/hotel in Dades Gorges
D A Y 2 : Dades Gorges - Todra Gorges - Tinjdad Erfoud Merzouga Night in desert Merzouga
- After the breakfast, we start moving from Dades Gorges to the Erg chebbi Sahara desert in Merzouga. Berber villages are scattered along the way, we’ll pass through Tinjdad, Jorf and Erfoud.
- Camel ride to take us on an adventure in the sand dunes. We need 2 hours for the ride to have abundant time for some epic photos
- Goal is to reach the camp at sunset so you can have the romantic candlelight dinner, drinking wine and eating and enjoying the desert view during twilight.
- Spend the night in the luxury camp (We need a tent with a clear view for you) with drums music in the middle of the Sahara, we can do some mini shooting at night with the starry sky and you two sitting in front of a bon fire, seize the moment and enjoy the grandeur of nature before going to sleep.
D A Y 3 : Elopement Day - Camel Trekking back to Merzouga - Berber Villages - Ouarzazate
- Taking photos of both of you waking up early, doing morning wash, having some breakfast
- You will be getting ready and dressing up in wedding outfits in separate tents.
- Doing a first look in a dune nearby when Victor sees Hiuman first time in the wedding dress and vice versa.
- The symbolical ceremony. Something very simple and authentic (maybe we just need one carpet for you to stand on - but that’s it, no clutter, nothing over the top). A local berber person to perform the ceremony and some musicians playing moroccan traditional music would be a very nice touch but it’s optional - we can do it without if logistics doesn’t allow. The ceremony may takes 10-20 mins max. It has to happen not too long after sunrise for the best light.
- Shooting and riding with the camels on wedding outfits (1 hours) back to Merzouga.
- Going back to Ouarzazate.
D A Y 4 : Ouarzazate - Berber Villages and Atlas Mountains - Back to Marrakech
- Since we already shot and visited Ait Ben Haddou on Day 1, we won’t return there. We can also visit Skoura.
- Going back to Marrakech.
Research your elopement destination region
Read on its climate, sceneries, people, history, politics, religion, art and culture. Use different resources and search the hell out of it:
- Google: use different search terms. Also take advantage of Google Map, 3D Google Earth, Google Street View...
- Pinterest, our go-to resource planning a trip. This is our favorite trip planning resource. You can also create a board for your trip to gather all the details in one place. Almost every travel blogger is using Pinterest extensively so from Pinterest you can come across a lots of blogs which dedicated entire their sites for outdoor activities and adventures or in-depth article about one location with real world end user experiences.
- If you're based in North America or want to elope to the US/Canada, take advantage of helpful websites such as:
+ nps.gov (If you’ll be visiting or hiking in a national park)
+ recreation.gov (you can book campsites, cabins and lookouts, groups campsites, tours, picnic shelters and wilderness permits on federal lands administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, USDA Forest Service and many others.)
+ trails.com - loads of informations of thousands of trails.
- Ask the locals in your friend/acquaintance's circle or someone who has been there before.
- Instagram: hashtags, geo-tag...
- Smartphone apps like: Komoot, PeakVisor, Weather Live, Gaia GPS, Night Sky,Maps 3D, Alltrails, Roadtrippers, Airbnb, Kayak, Trover, ...
- Through the website of a hotel / resort / ecolodge / wilderness retreat in the region you're planning to elope to, although you're not having your elopement on their property. They tend to have a lots of useful infos on their website!
- Local Websites such as the definitive guide to outdoor activities in Northern Ireland, Europe Travel Resources, Paris Travel Guide and similar
- Guide books: Although we're not really fans of travel guide books, there are many remote, under the radar locations that we can only find a lots of helpful information in a guide book. When planning our three-week trip to Georgia Republic, we found this Georgia Bradt Travel Guide incredibly helpful and packed with awesome insider tips that you can't find on internet.
Elopement Day Timeline
The good thing about multi day adventure elopement is that the elopement day (when your ceremony takes place) doesn't seem to be that important as people make it to be. Of course it's going to be one of the climax that we're slowly building up from the beginning but the other days are just as much as important and not just filler photos. Your elopement is like a slice of your life, an endless stream of collected moments. And we tend to treat every moment equally because let's be honest, it's the small, trivial moments that make up our life like a puzzle and we can't live without them.
So what's the usual elopement day timeline? We're going to go into details of each part too!
- Getting Ready
- First Look (Optional)
- Couple Portraits
- Adventure Session in wedding outfits
- Elopement Reception
Pro Tip when planning an elopement timeline:
1. Plan the ceremony part first then working backward and forward to other parts of the day.
2. Our opinion is simply our opinion, a mere guideline and not a fact since we see it from a photographer/videographer's perspective after shooting so many elopements. Yours can be totally different and it's okay. It's your elopement so do whatever you want it to be!
Other tips to take away
1. Have a plan, map out your route and stops but don't cling on it too tightly. Every trip has delay and detour. Overschedule your journey, packing it with a long check list is number one fun killer. We want you to have great photographs but more importantly, great fun! Traveling on a rush to cross things off the list is tiresome. Let alone you're going to need a lots of time having photos taken. While travel prep is key for adventure elopement, as soon as your departure day arrives, just sit back and relax, plan plenty of breaks and let the open road take you on a journey of discovery.
2. Plan your itinerary around your elopement day and ceremony. Tackle it first. Where and when do you want to do the ceremony? Sunrise / Sunset when possible? Because they are the best time of the day. Is it easy to get to before sunrise or get off after sunset? Any accommodation in the nearby? Where does it locate relatively on your journey map? Should you do it at the beginning or at the end of your trip? Get it done first. Then you can plan your entire route, other activities you want to do, other locations you want to see and other days' itinerary around it.
3. Lighting is the most important factor to have great photos / films!
4. Get some local reinforcements. Tour company, planner, coordinator, or even your accommodation... They can source the best local tours, attractions, and activities. And they pre-vet them all to make sure you always have an exceptional experience so you don't have to do it by yourself.
5. Pack your trip with activities you love doing!
7. Do your homework and bring enough gears to help you while being out there, especially off the grid trip. Double check everything.
8. Music you love is essential!
9. Be respectful. Leave No Trace. Stay Safe, stay healthy. Know your limitation. Understand different cultures. Support ethical, sustainable traveling and local businesses.
10. Prepare yourself for physically challenging adventures like hiking, trekking, multi day backpacking, mountains climbing... Learn necessary outdoor skill set, basic survival knowledge.
11. Sometimes it isn’t just about the famous stuff - they can be overrated, but actively seeking out adventures your friends back home haven’t heard of.
Travel Arrangements to Elopement Location
1. Booking your flight: Ultimate Guide to Find Cheap Flights
2. Find the best accommodation for your need: How To Find Best Accommodation
3. Find Overland Transports. Rome 2 Rio is great, it allows you to find a way to get from Point A to Point B the best way possible. If you need a rental car, booking online in advance will always get you a better deal than getting one at the airport. And it’s easier and quicker. The last thing you want to do after a long flight is negotiate a deal when being ripped off.
5. Mandatory Requirements: passport, visa, health insurance, travel insurance, vaccinations, permit, other important documents...
Looking for an adventure elopement photographer and videographer? Let's chat!
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