Elope in Scotland
Table of Contents
- 1 Elope in Scotland
- 1.1 Why elope in Scotland?
- 1.2 Places to elope in Scotland
- 1.3 Seasons
- 1.4 What should I wear?
- 1.5 Scotland Accommodation Ideas
- 1.6 Can I have guests at my elopement?
- 1.7 How to get legally married in Scotland
- 1.8 Witnesses
- 1.9 Wedding vendor recommendations
- 1.10 Eco-friendly ideas
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.
Portree is the main town in Skye with places to eat, shop and it is also the starting point for boat tours. You might like to drop by the famous Talisker Distillery if you’re a whiskey fan. You can hire a private chef for your elopement, have a picnic made of local produce, or dine at the famous Three Chimneys Restuarant.
See more: Sarah & Phil’s Isle of Skye elopement
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. The Torridon is well-known for its luxury accommodation and good food.
The Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms is a truly wild and desolate area in Scotland, full of natural wonders, castles and lochs. Many locations require a lot of time and effort to get to. As a result, this area is quieter and less well known than areas such as Skye or Glencoe. However, there are still many beautiful places that are accessible to visitors. I also recommend visiting the famous Fife Arms Hotel for a traditional meal and an incredible Scottish experience.
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.
If you are looking for an indoor venue space, St Mary’s Space is a beautiful spot for intimate weddings and elopements in Glencoe.
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. When your feet are too tired to carry you any further, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to drinking and dining. A few places I recommend dining at are Timberyard and The Free Company.
See more: Sabrina & Angus’ Edinburgh elopement
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 should I wear?
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. Wool socks are warm and dry quickly. Be ready 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 is a local business that sells beautiful, high-quality wraps and other products too.
Scotland Accommodation Ideas
Your accommodation will be your base and set the mood for the day. It is most likely where you will get ready and spend the morning and evening of your day. Here is a list that includes some of my favourite places that I’ve visited, and also some that are on my dream list.
The Crofters House | Isle of Skye | A cosy cottage by the bay
Hen House | Isle of Skye | Remote and wild
Kinloch Lodge | Isle of Skye | Luxury hotel, great for foodies
Dun Aluinn | Perthshire | Exclusive use venue for those with guests
Guardswell Farm | Perthshire | Beautifully designed and eco-focused
16th-century cottage | Edinburgh | A building out of a fairytale
Westside Woodshed | Edinburgh/Pentland Hills | Luxury hideaway in the hills
Kilmartin Castle | West Scotland | Luxury B&B
57 Nord | Scottish Highlands | Modern cottage with panoramic views
The Castle Byre | Cairngorms National Park | Cottage with castle views
The Lazy Duck | Cairngorms National Park | Eco huts
Glen Dye | Aberdeenshire | Cabins & cottages surrounded by forest
Inverlonan | Oban | A luxury off-grid cabin, only accessible by boat or foot.
Can I have guests at my elopement?
Eloping is about choosing to create a day that is important to you, without any judgement from others, where you can be present and take in every moment of the experience. An elopement doesn’t have to mean running away with just the two of you. You can choose to have guests at your elopement! Choosing the people who are closest to you and truly accept you as you can bring even more joy to your day. When you choose to elope, the focus is on you. Every guest you choose to invite is there to support and celebrate with you, not to draw attention away.
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 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!”
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 a videographer, another vendor (such as a bagpiper, musician, makeup artist), asking a hotel staff member or bringing a friend along. Your celebrant may also be able to bring a witness, so it is worth talking to them as well.
Wedding vendor recommendations
Lea Macleod | Bagpiper | Scottish Highlands & Skye
Claire the Humanist | Celebrant | Scotland-wide
Kathryn Hanson | Celebrant | Scotland-wide
Rona | Celebrant | Isle of Skye
Narcissus Flowers | Florist | Edinburgh
Studio Seapink | Florist | Edinburgh
Gloam | Florist | Central Scotland
Wild Gorse | Florist | Scottish Highlands
Lunchbox Boys | Private Catering | The Cairngorms
Hitched in the Highlands | Wedding Planner | Scotland-wide
Nature provides us with incredible backdrops and it’s important that we take care of it. There are a few things that I recommend to make sure we are respectful of the earth.
- Offset your carbon emissions by donating to organisations such as Team Trees and Greenfleet.
- Choose second hand where possible – some of my favourite wedding outfits have come from a charity shop
- If you choose to include flowers and other items, ask who made them and how. Is there a better alternative?
- Choose eco-friendly vendors where possible, who align with your views.