A guide to eloping in Scotland
Table of Contents
- 1 A guide to eloping in Scotland
- 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 A humanist ceremony
- 1.7 Witnesses
Why elope in Scotland?
In this guide, I share my ideas and inspiration to help you elope in Scotland. Eloping or having a micro wedding gives you the freedom to create a stress-free day. When you elope in Scotland, you can get legally married anywhere outside in nature! You aren’t limited by wedding venues or weekend dates. Eloping allows you to invest in an authentic experience instead of the stuff we are told we have to include in a traditional wedding. Scotland is an incredible part of the world to elope with magical mountains, forests, lochs, castles and landscapes to explore. It truly is one of the most spectacular and breathtaking places in the world.
Places to elope in Scotland
Assynt is a spectacular place with lochs, waterfalls and rugged mountains. Being in nature here feels like you’ve travelled back to a time before humans existed. Assynt also boasts white sand beaches, including the popular Achmelvich Beach.
Assynt accommodation ideas
Kylesku Lodges | A rustic hideout
The Albannach | 200 year old highland home
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 An Eilein has beautiful woodland and a castle situated on the loch – a stunning backdrop for a ceremony!
Cairngorms accommodation ideas
Loch an Eilein Cottage | Located on the shores of Loch an Eilein
The Queen’s Hut | Log cabin with water views
Gairnshiel Lodge | Luxury hideaway lodge
The Boat House, Rothiemurchus | In the heart of the Cairngorms
Killiehuntley Farmhouse | Immersive Scottish experience in guesthouse or self-catered cottages
Glen Dye Cabins | Luxury cabins surrounded by wilderness
Glenfeshie cottage | Modern conservation estate
The Lazy Duck | Award winning off-grid cabins
Dell of Abernethy | A hideaway near Abernethy Forest
Fife Arms Hotel | Luxury boutique hotel
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
Raeburn Place | Apartment with city views
The Dunstane Houses | 5 star luxury boutique hotel
Linton Collection | Serviced apartments + studio flats in city centre
Porteous Studio | In the heart of the city
Westside Woodshed | Luxury hideaway in the Pentland hills
The Pavilion at Lamb’s House | Hidden gem in Leith, Edinburgh
For many, Glencoe is the heart of the Scottish highlands. 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.
Glencoe accommodation ideas
St Mary’s Space | Creative space for eclectic couples
Glen Dessarry | Highland Scottish Estate in a wilderness location
Bishops Bay Luxury Cottage | Self catering cottage near Glencoe
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
Isle of Skye Elopement
The Isle of Skye is a popular destination for travellers and tourists. 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
Mint Croft | Luxury self catering cottage
Skye Red Fox Retreat | Central location for Skye’s famous Quiraing and Storr
Blackhouse | Modern cottage with stunning views
Taigh Dan | Cosy Airbnb in near Talisker Distillery
Kinloch Lodge | Luxury hotel, great for foodies
Harlosh | A stunning hideaway
57 Nord | Modern cottage with panoramic views
The Black Shed | Award-winning architecture
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. Torridon is one of my favourite hidden gems in Scotland, and a unique place to elope in Scotland.
Torridon accommodation ideas
The Net Store | Holiday home on the Applecross Peninsula
Coulin Farmhouse | Stunning tucked away country farmhouse
Torran Cottage | Peaceful and secluded cottage
The Torridon | Luxury hotel
Shieldaig Lodge | Highland lodge retreat
Other location ideas
There are so many stunning spots and hidden gems around Scotland. Here are some more locations that may be less well known but equally beautiful.
Alladale Wilderness reserve | Scottish Highlands Luxury
The Croft Collective | Off-grid wilderness in Oban
WildLand Cottages | Design-led highland escapes
The Dundonald | Luxury accommodation in the historic town of Culross
The Douglas Boathouse | Cosy space overlooking Loch Fyne
Guardswell Farm | Eco-considered and design-led accommodation
Lundies House | Stylish boutique hotel in north west highlands
Inver Restaurant & Bothies | Award-winning restaurant on the West Coast
Inverlonan Bothies | Luxury remote bothy in Oban
Kilmartin Castle | Rustic charm in a 500-year-old castle
Spring & Summer (March – 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 and more flattering.
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 likely to be full and popular tourist locations have high numbers of people visiting every day.
Autumn & Winter (September – March)
I adore the muted browns and golden colours of Autumn & Winter. The temperature starts to drop and the mountains start to get a dusting of snow. The daylight hours are very short, but the light is soft and beautiful to shoot in all day. Personally, I think the cold temperatures are worth embracing to have the incredible colours of Winter, potential snowfall and also very few tourists.
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. To elope in Scotland, you need to 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 comfortably. I also recommend shoes that will keep your feet dry if you’re getting married in Autumn or Winter. Thermals, wool leggings, gloves and wool socks are all a must in the colder seasons! 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. The Tartan Blanket Co sells stunning scarves and blankets to keep you extra warm – they are a very popular choice for the couples I work with.
How to get legally married in Scotland
When you elope 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).
A humanist ceremony
“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!”
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.