How to Elope in Scotland

by | Nov 9, 2019 | Featured, Guides

So, you want to elope but maybe you haven’t figured out where. Or perhaps you’ve already decided that you want to elope in Scotland but you’re not sure where to start. This blog is for you.

Glencoe, Scotland

I am seriously passionate about elopements. They allow couples to really dial back and focus on the things that matter most like marrying each other! Rather than get swept up in a sea of table arrangements, expensive venue charges, and perhaps even family drama, couples are able to get swept up in each other + some beautiful scenery. Another thing I am seriously passionate about is Scotland. Let me tell you, this place. I am so in love with the vast, dramatic landscapes, the way the colors blend together in those landscapes. I adore the people who inhabit this magical country. There is pretty much no better place on earth. One day my husband and I dream of living there with a couple of fuzzy Highland cows and some cute chickens, but for now I try to take a couple of trips here each year because I just can’t stand to be away for too long. This place will impact your heart in a big way. So when you combine elopements + Scotland, you have pretty much the ideal.

Eloping in Scotland can be very simple, even though it may seem like a lot to take in at first thought. There are some things you’ll want to consider and weigh in your decision to plan a destination elopement.

Getting Married in Scotland

This is arguably the most important part of the equation! You definitely want to know how to go about getting married in Scotland if you intend to have your ceremony performed there. Whether you are a UK citizen or traveling from abroad, you’ll want to make sure to get a feel for the process in Scotland. The good news is, this is the only country in the UK to allow for legal ceremonies outside of a venue so elopements are perfectly allowable! A good resource is the National Records of Scotland website which can tell you all about the process. If you are traveling in to get married, you will need to obtain a visa to get married here. There are some strict guidelines to being legally married in the UK, including submitting your marriage paperwork in the suggested timeline of three months in advance. This isn’t really the spot for any sort of last minute planning, so it will take coordination. You are also required to have two witnesses present, so if you plan to wed with a handful of your closest people this is easy but if you plan on eloping just the two of you, I’ll need to be your witness along with either another vendor (such as a videographer) or my second + husband. If this all seems a bit complicated and you are traveling in, consider going to your local courthouse before you leave for your trip and having the legal side done where you live. You can then choose to exchange vows privately or have an officiant perform a symbolic ceremony for you in Scotland. Think about what feels best when you consider the process and decide from there. And no worries, if you choose to work with me I will help guide you when you need a hand!

Where to Elope in Scotland

The next important piece you’ll want to consider is where to elope in Scotland. If you plan to have your legal ceremony on your elopement day, then you will want to have this decided before starting that process as a location is necessary. This is an expansive country and you’ll want to do some work envisioning what scenery will best suit your style as well as what is nearby. There are so many epic spots around this land that you really can’t go wrong when choosing a location! I have quite a few incredible places in mind that I have explored and we can talk about what will make your heart happiest in terms of the land. You can choose anything from the stunning, urban views of Edinburgh to one of the many mythical spots nestled in the Scottish Highlands. The Highlands are a lovely mix of steep-sided mountains, winding rivers, and beautiful waterfalls. You might even catch a glimpse of a proud stag while traversing the many valleys of this region. There are also breathtaking isles of unique geographical formations, medieval castles, cliffs, and lochs. You can stay in quaint villages with colorful buildings and absorb the local charm! You need only to let me know what sounds best to explore and I will send a list of suggested locations after we’re all booked.

When to Elope in Scotland

This is another important piece of the Scotland wedding puzzle. You will want to determine the time of year you would like to elope based on the sort of weather you’re most likely to have and what you would like to witness while you are there. Some spots have more wildlife present in the summer, so if you’ve been dreaming of seeing puffins you might consider the summer months! It’s also a bit more seasonable during that time of year. The springtime can be quite beautiful, if a little chilly, but there is nothing more rewarding than curling up by a crackling fire with a warm cup of tea after being out in the cold so it has charm as well! I have always loved visiting in March because there is still some snow, but it’s not too crazy cold. No matter what time of year you go, you should remember that the Highlands can be wild. Even in July, you may have high winds and misty rain! Be prepared for any sort of weather and embrace the beautiful mood it will lend to your images. If you are planning to legally marry in Scotland, you will need a date for the paperwork so we can work together to find the best date for you!

Choosing Your Team

With elopements, you can have as little or as much happening as you would like. Obviously, you’ll likely want to have a photographer there to capture your elopement and perhaps an officiant if you are legally marrying there but what about the other details? There are plenty of talented artists in Scotland who can make floral visions come to life, create fun picnics for you to enjoy, or film the magic so that you can relive it again and again. Suggesting vendors who I believe are great to work with is a part of every elopement package and I will have your back for as many or as few people as you’d like to bring on to your elopement team 🙂

Scottish elopement wedding

Telling a Story

With elopements, the beauty is that you can really opt for any amount of time that you’d like to spend on the day. There’s no set number of hours like with traditional weddings, so the freedom to decide is yours. The one thing I would ask you to consider when deciding how many hours of coverage is right for your day is to think about telling a story. Rather than have tiny pieces of the day, if you opt for longer coverage you can tell the whole story of the day. The butterflies you felt while getting ready together (or apart), the feeling of stepping into your dress or seeing your flowers for the first time, the anticipation as you make your way to the ceremony spot, the tears during vows, the fleeting moments post-ceremony, and all of the emotions that follow in the hours after. Often, you can cover this in about six hours of coverage depending on where you are getting ready and how many spots are included in the schedule. Some couples also like to have a more casual session the day before and opt to add this in as well to really get the most of their travels. The great part is, I do this with couples often and can help you bring your thoughts together to decide what coverage works best for you! Planning help is included with all of my elopement packages.

The Fun Part

Once you have these bits and pieces in order, the fun of planning to elope in Scotland can begin! A lot of people wonder what to wear for a Scottish elopement, especially in the Highlands. The answer is that you’ll likely want to have layers. Dressing smartly for the weather will ensure that you stay comfortable throughout your day. Consider wearing tights beneath your dress or thermal layers beneath a suit if the weather is possibly going to be cold. Wear appropriate shoes (such as hiking boots) if you want to elope in Glencoe or Isle of Skye, pretty much anywhere the terrain is rougher and could have puddles. Bring a pretty tartan blanket and make sure you have a jacket you can put on if the wind gets too chilly. Since the land is so dramatic and textured, dresses that stand out and play well in the wind are a great option. Consider long sleeves and heavier fabrics if you get cold easily. Take a browse through the collections from Rue de Seine, Dreamers and Lovers, Daci Gowns, and Daughter’s of Simone as these extraordinary gowns have colors, textures, and flow that will really complement the landscape. Thinking of donning a kilt? Check out the dos and don’ts of wearing a kilt 😉

It can also be a fun idea to start a mood board that you can share with your florist and other creative vendors so we can get a feel for your vision. This also helps you to really narrow down what ideas matter the most to you! Think about what you’d like to do after the sun goes down, as well (keep it out of the gutter people, I mean dinner hahaha). Do you want to celebrate with a fun dinner at a pub? Do you want a small reception at a distillery or other small venue? Or would you rather go and spend the evening at an old castle treating yourself to a grand dinner and the spa the next day? Whatever you want to do, it’s at your fingertips with Scotland. Love falconry and want to fly a bird of prey at a castle? You can do that, I have! It’s amazing. You’ll be able to craft a truly memorable experience and spend your hard-earned money on those moments rather than on stationary and china service.

Traveling to Scotland

If you don’t live in Scotland, this is another item you’ll want to consider. Sign up for notifications from Scott’s Cheap Flights and check out this guide to scoring great prices on flights! Think of the places you’d most like to see during your visit and plan enough time for both your elopement and honeymoon. You’ll want to give yourself a couple of days to adjust to the time difference and be well rested for your elopement day, so plan accordingly. You’ll also want to look at the types of places you’d like to stay. I have stayed at some fantastic Airbnbs in Scotland, so don’t hesitate to see what’s available there. There are also a lot of adorable bed & breakfasts that will give you all the charm + scones. If you are after a one of a kind experience, make sure to see what castles you can stay at. We stayed at Dalhousie Castle just outside Edinburgh and loved it!

Yep, that’s me with an owl and Harris hawk!

Looking for other wild places to elope? Try these: Sao Miguel, Portugal and Yosemite National Park

 

We’re Convinced, How Do We Book?!

YAY! I am SO stoked you found this blog on how to elope in Scotland helpful and want to inquire to get started on planning your Scottish elopement wedding today! This is the easiest part, I promise. Just fill out this form and I will get back to you within 48 hours Monday through Friday!

Hey! I'm Randi

I’m an elopement photographer + intimate wedding photographer based in Hawaii. I document real love stories around the world that you can read about here! You’ll also find insightful planning guides along with other resources to help you visualize your best day ever. Happy reading! 

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9 Comments

  1. Christine Dopp

    So much great information!!!!!

    Reply
  2. Lucy

    Ummmm ok I’m not even in a relationship but I think I need to elope in Scotland now…

    Reply
  3. Jeff Brummett Visuals

    Ah! It looks so incredible there! I love the earthy tones it seems like are everywhere.

    Reply
    • Raini

      This is such a handy guide for locals (me!) And visitors alike. Lovely images 🙂

      Reply
      • Melissa

        Okay, you convinced me! Not that I needed convincing, I love Scotland!

        Reply
  4. Stephanie Betsill

    I love how you have a ton of different couples to show what an elopement can look like for each individual couple! Eloping in Scotland seems like a dream 🙂

    Reply
  5. Aimee Flynn

    This is such a terrific resource! And your images are STUN-NING! I love how while they are and the snow on those mountains! Ugh. So pretty.

    Reply
  6. Caroline Ellis

    These are such great tips for eloping in Scotland! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  7. Kate Hampson

    Great tips on how to elope in Scotland, and the photos are just swoon worthy!

    Reply

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