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Elope in Scotland in 2021

 

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.

Wedding Inspiration

Winter Isle of Skye Elopement

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

The Three Chimneys

 

Torridon

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.

Wedding Inspiration

Autumn Torridon Elopement

Torridon accommodation ideas

Lochside cottage | Stunning views

Seaside cottage | Traditional highland cottage

Eagle Rock Applecross | Eco-luxury self-catering lodge

Places to eat

The Torridon

 

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

Fife Arms Hotel

 

Glencoe

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.

Wedding Inspiration

Glencoe Proposal

Kilchurn Castle Wedding Anniversary

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

Mhor 84

 

Edinburgh

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.

Wedding Inspiration:

Summer Edinburgh Elopement

Edinburgh accommodation ideas

16th-century cottage | A building out of a fairytale

Westside Woodshed | Luxury hideaway in the Pentland hills

Places to eat

Timberyard

Cafe St Honore

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

Loch Lomond

Isle of Mull

 

Seasons

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.

Two deer standing on a mountain in the scottish highlands

 

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).

Claire Digance (a celebrant with the Humanist Society Scotland) provides her guidance below:

“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:

Rona Burstow

Claire Digance

Kathryn Hanson

 

Witnesses

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.

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What an incredible resource for couples trying to decide where to elope, or thinking about eloping in Scotland!!! I’d love to visit sometime and check out some of these destinations just for fun – seriously beautiful work!

Wow! Gosh this makes me want to go to scotland. This is such an incredibly informative resource for any couple that wants to elope in Scotland!!

Oh my gosh, LINA!!! This is such great insight! One of my favourite parts was where you added in the eco-friendly focus. I think that’s an aspect so many people overlook when wedding planning! Amazing post!

Wellllll Scotland just moved up to number one on my bucket list! Amazing job!

I LOVE Scotland! i was there in 2014 and 2016 and I’ll never forget always wanting more time to explore. such an amazing country. maybe we’ll make a trip there for our 10th year anniversary for some vow renewal, I’ll be hitting you up for suuuuure!

I am such an advocate for Scottish elopements! Nothing beats that moodiness that Scotland has to offer!

Holy smokes! This makes me want to travEl to scotland so badly. Your work is so inspiring and this Blog post is perfect for anyone planning their scotland elopwment.

Umm are you kidding me?! Low-key wish we weren’t already married so we could elope in Scotland; these photos are stunning! And yes to all your eco-friendly tips!! I actually got my wedding dress for $25 from a secondhand shop haha.

yasss to eloping in scotland, yasss to these pics and yasss to the eco friendly tips!

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