Elope in Scotland in 2021
Table of Contents
- 1 Elope in Scotland in 2021
- 1.1 Why elope in Scotland?
- 1.2 Places to elope in Scotland
- 1.3 Seasons
- 1.4 What to wear for a Scotland elopement
- 1.5 How to get legally married in Scotland
- 1.6 Witnesses
Why elope in Scotland?
Eloping or having a micro wedding is a great way to remove stress and expectation from your wedding day. It gives you the freedom to create something that truly represents your values. When you elope, you aren’t limited by wedding venues and their availability. As a result, you can choose any month and day of the week that feels right for you. Eloping allows you to invest in an authentic experience instead of the stuff we are told we need for a traditional wedding.
Scotland is an incredible part of the world to elope with magical mountains, forests, lochs, castles and landscapes to explore. In this guide, I share my ideas and tips to help you start planning your elopement in Scotland – one of the most spectacular and breathtaking places in the world!
Places to elope in Scotland
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is a popular tourist destination spot. Skye is a place of dramatic scenery, with a variety of spectacular landscapes to explore. Wandering amongst the clifftops along the Quiraing will leave you feeling like you have travelled to another world. A short drive away from here is the Fairy Glen, where it feels like you’re walking through a real-life fairytale, with its enchanting grassy hills and unique landscape. No trip to Skye would be complete without a visit to the famous Talisker Distillery.
Isle of Skye accommodation ideas
The Crofters House | A cosy cottage by the bay
Skye Red Fox Retreat | Central location for Skye’s famous Quiraing and Storr
Taigh Dan | Cosy Airbnb in near Talisker Distillery
Kinloch Lodge | Luxury hotel, great for foodies
57 Nord | Modern cottage with panoramic views
Places to eat
Torridon is a hidden gem on Scotland’s West Coast. Rugged mountain tops, sometimes dusted in snow, stand tall above tranquil bays and secluded woodlands. This region is a favourite for lovers of all types of outdoor activities (including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and many others) and yet the area has not become crowded or lost its charm.
Torridon accommodation ideas
Lochside cottage | Stunning views
Seaside cottage | Traditional highland cottage
Eagle Rock Applecross | Eco-luxury self-catering lodge
Places to eat
The Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms is a truly wild and desolate area in Scotland, full of natural wonders, castles and lochs. This area is quieter and less well known than areas such as Skye or Glencoe. Loch Garten and Loch An Eileen are two stunning ceremony locations.
Cairngorms accommodation ideas
The Castle Byre | Cottage with castle views
Glen Dye Cabins | Luxury cabins surrounded by wilderness
The Lazy Duck | Award winning off-grid cabins
Places to eat
For many, Glencoe is the heart of the Scottish highlands. It features jagged mountains, gushing streams, secluded glens and tumbling waterfalls. While the area is popular with tourists, and with good reason, there are still many places here to find yourself alone in nature, and some are not as far off the beaten path as you might imagine.
The landscape truly does have something for everybody here, and while it looks stunning covered in winter snow or glorious in summer sunshine, my favourite season in Glencoe is Autumn. The landscape takes on a radiant golden hue, which adds colour to the greyest of highland days and positively glows in the morning sunshine.
Glencoe accommodation ideas
St Mary’s Space | Creative space for eclectic couples
The Old Byre | Scottish Highlands seclusion
The Kingshouse Hotel | In the heart of Glencoe
Ardrhu House | A restored manor with sweeping views
Camisky Lodge | Victorian lodge in the countryside
Luxury Eco Cabin | Views of Ben Nevis
Places to eat
History enthusiasts will love getting lost in the maze of cobbled laneways through Edinburgh’s historic stone buildings. The city’s skyline is defined by a mix of natural and man-made landmarks but nestled on a peak of its own, somewhere between the crags of Arthur’s Seat and the monuments of Carlton Hill, sits the castle which looks down onto the city streets below. A day spent wandering can be a full-body experience as the sound of bagpipes is often heard echoing through the streets and in the right weather, the smell of malted barley and hops from the city’s breweries lingers through the air.
Edinburgh accommodation ideas
16th-century cottage | A building out of a fairytale
Westside Woodshed | Luxury hideaway in the Pentland hills
Places to eat
Other location ideas
There are so many stunning spots and hidden gems around Scotland. Here are a few more areas that may be less well known but equally beautiful.
Kylesku Lodges | North West Coast
Alladale Wilderness reserve | Scottish Highlands
Guardswell Farm | Perthshire
Dun Aluinn | Perthshire
Inver Restaurant & Bothies | Award-winning restaurant on the West Coast
Inverlonan Bothies | Luxury remote bothy in Oban
Argyll & Bute
Isle of Mull
Spring | March – June
The days start to get longer as we come out of Winter. The air is still cold and the weather can be sporadic. There is a chance that snow may appear in early Spring. The landscape starts to transform from browns to greens, and flowers are beginning to grow again.
Summer | June – September
The daylight hours are long in Summer. Light starts to appear around 5am in the morning and sunsets extend through to 10pm. The best time to take photos in Summer is early in the morning or late in the evening, where the light is softer.
Scotland transforms into a vibrant green landscape, with flowers and grass flourishing. The country is much busier with warmer temperatures and increased tourism. Carparks are more full and popular spots have high numbers of people visiting every day.
Autumn | September – December
I love the orange and golden colours of Autumn! The temperature starts to drop and some early snow may appear on higher grounds. The days become shorter and the temperatures aren’t as bitter as Winter yet. The warm orange colours in the landscape are beautiful to photograph in.
Winter | December – March
In Winter, the daylight hours are very short, but the light is soft and beautiful to shoot in all day. The temperature can get very cold, particularly when combined with the wind chill or rain. The landscape turns from orange to a beautiful and moody brown. Personally, I think the cold temperatures are worth embracing to have the incredible colours of Winter, potential snowfall and also very few tourists!
Roads may close due to snow, however, this is rare and you can always find a Plan B in place. Many shops in remote areas close over Winter, but the advantage is that there are fewer tourists and many popular areas such as the Isle of Skye are very quiet.
What to wear for a Scotland elopement
Whatever you think the weather is going to do in Scotland, it will most likely do the opposite. The weather constantly changes, but it’s this changing weather that creates beautiful light and spectacular photos. Be prepared with the right gear, be flexible, patient and ready to embrace anything.
My best piece of advice if you want natural and spontaneous photos is to wear an outfit you can move in. This will give you more options for portraits, and you’ll feel much more comfortable during the entire experience.
I recommend shoes that will keep your feet dry and are comfortable to walk in. Thermals, wool leggings, gloves and wool socks are all a must in Winter! Be prepared with lots of warm layers and waterproof clothing so that you’re ready for anything that the unpredictable Scottish weather throws at you in any season. The Tartan Blanket Co sells stunning scarves and blankets to keep you extra warm – they are a very popular choice with the couples I work with!
How to get legally married in Scotland
In Scotland, you have the freedom to get married anywhere you choose! You can get married in nature as long as you have a registered celebrant. You may choose a religious ceremony, a registrar or a humanist ceremony (which is non-religious).
“Eloping to Scotland is relatively straightforward and I always direct couples here for the official guidelines. Every country has different requirements but, ultimately, all you need to be legally married in Scotland is a date and location, the correct paperwork, someone authorised to conduct your wedding you and two witnesses. The interesting bit, ‘how’ you get married, is up to you.
Think of the most boring wedding you’ve been to. Beige office, boring legal words, married. Congratulations.
Now, imagine the absolute opposite. Imagine you’re in muddy boots on a heather-laden hillside or bare-footed on the stony shores of a loch. A friend is telling your story whilst you hold the hand of the person you’re about to marry and you’re remembering how you felt when you met, got together, got engaged…. Between you, you’ve created a wedding ceremony filled with warmth, honesty and love. It’s quiet, beautiful and damn near perfect.
Or maybe you’re surrounded by the people you love. You’re all on a grand adventure and you’ve gathered them around you in the most glorious castle (we have loads). The sun is setting. You’re about to get married. Whisky glasses clink, candles flicker and your guests settle back and lose themselves in a ceremony full of love and laughter, a million miles from home and it’s everything you’ve ever dreamt of.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? That’s a Humanist wedding ceremony for you!”
Scottish humanist celebrants that I highly recommend:
Are you planning to elope with just the two of you? You will require two witnesses, whose details need to be filled out before the day. So, how do you find two people to witness your ceremony? Luckily, your photographer can count as a witness! Other ideas include your videographer, bagpiper, florist, musician, hotel or venue staff member. Your celebrant may also be able to bring a witness, so it is worth talking to them as well.