Have you thought about planning and Elopement to Scotland, but aren’t sure where to begin? Want to know why eloping to Scotland can be one of the greatest things to do?
I’ve put this guide together to help you plan an elopement in Scotland and hopefully it helps you with your plans! I have more recently put together a guide on why elopements are so great, which you can view here If you are currently engaged, and have thought about how a big traditional wedding just isn’t for you, perhaps consider eloping to Scotland. Think about it, committing yourselves to each other in a meaningful and intimate way, just the two of you with a stunning backdrop, without the hustle and bustle of a full wedding day jam packed with details, caterers and strict timelines. Eloping is the perfect idea if you want a relaxed, and stress free that that allows you the freedom to do what you want to do.
Why not? Scotland is the only place in the UK where you can legally get married anywhere! ANYWHERE! I think that is one of the coolest things about it! You do of course need to have the ceremony officiated by a registered celebrant, however having the freedom to marry in any location means you get to choose somewhere special and perhaps meaningful to both of you. Maybe you both took a trip here prior to being engaged and fell in love with a particular part? That could be the place or perhaps you want to get married with an epic and gorgeous backdrop behind you and it’s your first time visiting, which allows you to include this amazing place as a part of a new story in your lives. Scotland offers up some amazing and romantic locations, everything from beaches, pine forests and abandoned castles, to pine forests lochs and epic mountains. The options are endless.
How to pick a location:
This could be a hard part! Planning an Elopement in Scotland can be hard, only because there are so many beautiful places to choose to get married! I like to ask couples what type of landscapes they love, whether that is coastal vibes, or being in the mountains. Because Scotland has so much diversity to offer, it would give me a better idea in what recommendations to give you so you can get the best out of this experience! Once you have sorted out your location, you will need to include this in the paperwork you submit for your ceremony. So you will need to decide this ahead of time.
What time of year is best?
Once you have sorted out a location, you will then have to decide WHEN you want to get married! I am always happy to make suggestions based on my previous experiences photographing Elopements in Scotland. I absolutely love September – November, as I believe it’s the best time for the colours in Scotland. You get these beautiful burnt oranges and reds. Later in this season you may also get some snow capped mountains along with these autumnal colours. This time of year also tends to be less busy than the summer months, and you also don’t have to contend with the infamous midges!
Spring time ( April- May) tends to be less rainy and typically much more sunnier, Just ahead of its busy summer season, it is also a great time to visit to avoid big crowds and busy locations.
As you can see, Summer time, June- August typically are the busiest months in Scotland. Prices for accommodation are typically higher, and are harder to come by, so its important to book well in advance. Because its the high season during these months, some locations for photographs may be busier than you may have hoped them to be. But its also easy to find some lesser known spots to beat the crowds. The mountains and glens are a beautiful green, full of lush ferns. Just make sure to bring some tick spray.
Finding A Celebrant:
Now that you have your date and location sorted out, you will want to ensure that you have someone to officiate your outdoor elopement ceremony. I am happy to put you in touch with celebrants I have worked with in the past, alternatively you can visit the following resource that can help you get in the right direction.
It’s important to think about the type of ceremony that you want. It’s also a great idea to find a celebrant you believe will be the right type of person for you. Some celebrants are matter of fact and quick and straight to the point, some are more extrovert and may provide many laughs during the ceremony. A humanist ceremony may be the perfect option if you are looking to have an outdoor ceremony in the beautiful wilds of Scotland. They are usually well equipped and used to doing a little bit of hiking. So depending on where your ceremony is, you should be able to find the right celebrant for your needs.
The Legal Stuff & Paperwork
Foreign Nationals who do not live in the UK, are free to get married in Scotland, however depending on where you are coming from to get married, you may still be subject to immigration control. If you are from a country outside the EEA- European Economic Area, and Switzerland and you are wanting to elope in Scotland, you will need entry clearance. What does that mean? Well for example, if you are travelling from Australia, Canada, or the United States to name a few, you will need clearance. I suggest heading to the GOV.UK. website for further information where you can apply for a marriage visitor visa. The current cost for a visa is £95 and applies to couples who do not intend to live in the UK after their wedding.
Once you have chosen your ceremony location, date and celebrant, you can start the fun part- the paperwork! It’s pretty straightforward to get married in Scotland and luckily the process isn’t too much of a hassle. All you really need is yourselves, your celebrant, two witnesses ( over the age of 16-your photographer can be one! ) and a Marriage Schedule- this is a form completed by yourselves, your witnesses and the celebrant on the wedding day. Your Marriage Schedule is granted by the registrar local to your wedding venue and can be collected up to 7 days before the wedding day in person. To be issued the Marriage Schedule you must fill in a Marriage Notice Form, also known as a M10 form. This form must be submitted along with the £70 processing fee no earlier than 12 weeks, and no later than 29 days before your wedding day. Other documents needed will be your birth or adoption certificate, passport and proof of residents. ( Divorce certificates and Certificates of No Impediment are also required for couples coming from abroad)
Where are the best places to Elope in Scotland?
Probably one of my favourite locations for couples to eloping to Scotland, is Glencoe! It always makes my heart skip a beat. This area of Scotland is absolutely breathtaking. Everything from its beautiful glens, to rolling valleys and hills. Stunning rivers, waterfalls and forests. It really is a perfect place that holds so much diversity which means plenty of amazing opportunities for your wedding photographs. Glencoe is approx. 1.5-2 hours drive from Glasgow and 2 hours from Edinburgh. One of the more popular areas to visit, means that Glencoe can get very busy in the summer. So keep this in mind when looking to have your elopement here, as you will want to book your accommodation in advance.
Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye has a stunning and rugged landscape and it never loses its appeal every time I return. Eloping here will lead to epic backdrops, no matter the season or weather. From breathtaking mountain ranges, to cliffside beaches and glens, Isle of Skye is really something else. A little further than Glencoe, Skye is about 5.5 hours drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Isle of Skye has a wide range of locations from top to bottom so its definitely a top spot for an adventurous elopement.
Cairngorms National Park
A lesser known spot than Isle of Skye or Glencoe, but equally as beautiful is the Cairngorms National Park. Here you will find quiet lochs, mountains and stunning ancient pine forests. Loch an Eilein is a peaceful and beautiful location surrounded by stunning trees, a ruined castle in the water and abundant wildlife.
Perhaps you are looking to elope to Scotland but aren’t wanting it to be too wild and outdoorsy, and would rather incorporate more architecture and history into the mix. This is where eloping in Edinburgh might be a great option. The city is beautiful and rich in history and has a stunning park located close to all the sights which has a stunning ruined chapel that is the perfect place to hold a ceremony before adventuring through the city streets. It’s a great city, full of amazing cafes, galleries and music.
Things to consider:
The weather in Scotland is always changing, so its always best to prepared for everything! My one piece of advice is to just embrace the elements and enjoy yourselves.I love to be outdoors, and I don’t mind getting a bit wet, but I always believe in being flexible and will work around whatever mother nature throws at us 🙂 If it rains, it rains. But in Scotland, I think that can really add such a romantic and authentic element to your wedding day. The weather can in turn dramatically change the look and mood of your photographs, and can provide us with amazing light.
What to wear:
I recommend bringing layers and waterproof clothing. Its really important to me that you are warm and comfortable during your experience! I want to make sure you both enjoy your day and make the most out of it. Well made waterproof footwear always makes a difference as we will more than likely be exploring and adventuring around the Scottish landscape, so sometimes that means a puddle or two. Things can get boggy! Another great recommendation is perhaps getting a lovely tartan woollen wrap, which can also be used in photographs to keep you warm instead of wearing a waterproof jacket. It adds to the Scottish element of your day, looks fashionable, all the whilst keeping you warm and dry.
Scotland Elopement Packages
If you are looking for a photographer for your elopement in Scotland, I would absolutely love to photograph your story for you. I am lucky to photograph elopements in Scotland very often, and can provide useful knowledge to ensure your day is filled with incredible memories and beautiful images to remember it by.
My Packages for elopements start at £2000. Please get in touch, I would love to hear from you!