THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT IN SCOTLAND – TIPS, VENUES AND LOCATION IDEAS

Scotland is the land of the brave, of the wilds, of the adventure lovers, and is the best destination for couples looking for an incredible, beautiful, peaceful adventure for their elopement. With wrikled mountains, deep lakes, mystical forests, ancient castles and delicious food, Scotland has it all. And to be honest, it has always been my favorite location for an adventure elopement.

So if you’re thinking of Scotland for your elopement, you’re on the right page! In this article I will tell you everything you need to know to elope in Scotland: venues, tips, places, and everything in between so you will be able to plan the most peaceful, amazing elopement.

what is an elopement

First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:

1) What is an elopement?

To make it short, and elopement is a way to get married that involves only a few people (or nobody at all) with the couple on the day of their wedding. Many years ago, an elopement was a way for a couple to get married in secret, but nowadays it’s more intended for couples looking for an amazing, just them experience for their wedding day. Elopements avoid family drama, the stress of planning a big wedding, and can happen pretty much everywhere at all.

If you wish to make your elopement the official day of your marriage, and you are not a citizen of the UK, you can legally get married in Scotland. You will both need to apply for a marriage visa and contact beforehand the attorney general of the state you’re planning on living in the USA to check if your marriage licence will be valid there (which is the case in most states of the US). Same-sex couples can legally get married as well. Your ceremony will need to be performed by a recognized celebrant from the religion of your choice, or no religion at all like a humanist celebrant.

2) Why you should elope in Scotland

scotland elopement photographer

Amazing nature

If there is something that should truly move you when you visit Scotland, it’s its nature. The diversity is absolutely amazing and the panoramas are gorgeous, especially when you go north of the city of Stirling. You may have heard of the Highlands, the Loch Ness, or the Isle of Skye. But Scotland is such an exciting place to visit, and there is way more than that to see. Deep lakes, mysterious forests, little tiny houses lost in the middle of amazing landscapes, dramatic cliffs…there is is much to see and so many places to celebrate your Scottish elopement!

Great history

When you’re not walking in beautiful, painting-like landscapes, you can discover the second reason why Scotland is famous around the world: its heritage. Scotland is scattered with ancient castles, some of which you can visit nowadays, filled with folklore, tales and legends. The Lords of Scotland truly have an amazing history and you can discover it while walking in the beautiful corridors of a 12th century castle. The northern part of Scotland also has a very rooted Nordic culture. If you’d like to know more about vikings, visit the Shetland Islands and be part of the Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, that happens every january, it’s amazing. 

Landscape diversity

It is a little bit like the “nature” part of this chapter, but it truly is worth mentionning. Landscapes is Scotland truly are jaw-dropping, and anywhere you will go will be a treat for your eyes. In the central part of Scotland, you will find beautiful, snowy mountains perfect for hikes and exchanging your vows at sunset with a view. This part also boasts with lakes (and to be honest, the Loch Ness is not the most beautiful one). The western part is flatter, with beautiful little islands scattered all around on the coast. The Hebrides are worth their while, and you can enjoy them with a short boat ride from the mainland. The eastern part is filled with castles and forests, so be sure to check them out! As for the northern part, it is my favorite. Flatter than the center, it is filled with dramatic cliffs, beautiful sandy beaches, sheep everywhere…and you can go to the northern post office in the UK by visiting the Shetland Islands by boat. They truly are a treat for the eyes.

3) The best locations for an elopement in Scotland

Florida is an exciting and exceptional state known as the Sunshine State. There are many places that you will find that will give you a fantastic experience.
Here are some of the great ways you can have an adventure elopement in Florida:

how to plan an elopement in scotland - isle of skye

Isle of Skye

Widely known for its beautiful landscapes mainly linked to fairies, the Isle of Skye is a mysterious island you can reach by car via a little bridge from mainland. Once you set foot on the isle, it’s hard not to get lost in its little winding roads leading to beautiful peaks and secluded beaches, all lit by out-of-this-world sunlights.

how to plan an elopement in scotland - ardnamurchan peninsula

Ardnamurchan peninsula

You might know that for some places, what matters is not the destination, it’s the journey to get there. This is true for the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The road to get there is long, beautiful and filled with amazing spots you can definitely enjoy from the road. Lakes, mountains and forests are waiting for you, and at the end is waiting for you an amazing lighthouse with a 180° view on the ocean. The perfect spot for your elopement in Scotland.

how to elope in scotland - harris and lewis

Isle of Harris and Lewis

Part of the hebrides, the Isle of Harris and Lewis is a beautiful place for your wedding ceremony in Scotland. The Isle of Harris is filled with scarreted fishing houses with a beautiful view on the ocean. You can drive around the whole island from south to north and enjoy secluded artsy cafés, ancient churches, amazingly beautiful beaches and a trip back in time with some thatched houses.

how to elope in scotland - loch lomond

The Loch Lomond Area

This might be the most touristic place in Scotland, but there is a lot of secluded, secret places to visit that will allow you to avoid the crowds (which are pretty much always nonexistent especially if you’re not visiting in July or August). Try to visit the Loch Arklet for example for a very special treat!

how to plan an elopement in scotland - shetland islands

The Shetlands

It is hard to go to the Shetlands if you only have a few days to visit Scotland since the boat to get there takes half a day to reach it. However, the Shetland islands might be my favorite place on earth. They are windy, bald lands filled with amazing wildlife and dramatic, beautiful landscapes. You will find peace there for sure, and even might be able to exchange your vows under the northern lights!

These are just examples of general areas where you can elope in Scotland. I have planned two 1-month long personal road-trips to Scotland, plus a 2-months long road-trip while living in a van, and I still feel like I haven’t discovered it to the fullest. If you’re thinking of Scotland for your elopement, definitely ask a photographer who is used to visit there (like me!) and will be able to help you pick the perfect spot for your ceremony.

4) The most beautiful elopement venues in Scotland

If you want something accessible – at least to exchange your vows!

5) The best time to elope in Scotland

Scotland is a pretty cold area of the world, however, thanks to its oceanic climate, it is almost never snowing on the coast. The Highlands and the Glencoe region are the coldest ones, and you can even ski there in winter!

winter elopement in scotland

Winter

It can get pretty cold in Scotland during winter. The Highlands have some great ski resorts you can enjoy during winter, after your elopement if you wish. Winter is also the calmest, most peaceful season in Scotland. If you don’t like hordes of tourists, it might be the best season for your elopement in Scotland.

spring elopement in scotland

Spring

Spring also is a very nice moment for a small wedding in Scotland. Daffodils are blooming everywhere and nature is going out of its hibernating state. The weather gets milder (while still being pretty cold) and you can enjoy hikes in most parts of Scotland, even the highest peaks. In May, you can elope anywhere in Scotland, and even hike on top of a mountain to exchange your vows!

summer elopement in scotland

Summer

Like everywhere else on the globe, summer is THE peak touristic season, and this is why I don’t recommend visiting Scotland during the months of July and August. The weather will be nice (even if rain is almost a daily thing in Scotland regardless of the season) but it won’t worth the hordes of tourists in the form of slow campervans on the little roads, tourist vans coming from Edinburg and Glasgow for a day-trip, packed hotels and restaurants, and in general people everywhere.

fall elopement in scotland

Fall

Fall is the best season for surfing, if you’d like to catch the waves after your elopement in Scotland. If it also a beautiful, dark season when trees become absolutely gorgeous and make the best background for your pictures. But don’t forget Scotland mainly has pine trees so they don’t shed during the autumn. It is a very nice, still warm, less crowded season for your special day.

6) What is the cost of an elopement in Scotland?

High-end elopement

Travel to and from Scotland: $2 500
Marriage certification: $120 (approximately)
5 nights in a high-end accomodation // $2 500
Elopement photographer // $6 000
Private chef or full board // $1 000
Officiant // $1 000
Floral arrangements/Florist // $500
Rentals // $500
Wedding dress and accessories // $4 000
Suit and accessories // $1 000
Total for a high-end elopement in Scotland: $19 120

Budget elopement

Travel to and from Scotland: $2 500
Marriage certification: $120 (approximately)
5 nights in an airbnb // $1 000
Elopement photographer // $4 000
Food // $250
Officiant // $500
Floral arrangements/Florist // $200
Wedding dress and accessories // $2 500
Suit and accessories // $500
Total for a budget elopement in Scotland: $11 570

7) What to wear for your elopement in Scotland

An elopement doesn’t mean that you go quick about your wedding and get it over with in an hour or so. It can also be an aesthetic, beautiful, thoughtful day you will put a lot of love into, and you will have lots of fun designing from the beginning to the end. And the beginning might be this: what to wear for your elopement day.

scotland elopement photographer

The dress

Since Scotland is VERY windy, a flowy dress that will go with the wind always is a great option. Talk with your dress designer about chiffon, crepe, silk or batiste as they are all lightweigth, flowy and amazingly beautiful fabrics for your elopement wedding dress.

Try to avoid huge, princess-like dresses that will slow you down on your adventure and add a lot of weight on the day. Dresses that are easy to put on are always best for an elopement in Scotland since you won’t want to be naked in the wild for too long if you decide to put your wedding dress on the site of your vows exchange.

scotland elopement photographer

The shoes

I always love vintage leather hiking boots as they add a touch of intemporality to your pictures, plus they are amazingly comfortable to hike with. Normal hiking boots are also great. In any case, avoid shoes you won’t be comfortable walking long distances with, high heels, sandals, etc.

The same goes for men, as the classical wedding shoes might be too uncomfortable to walk long distances with. Don’t forget Scotland is very humid and plan accordingly!

scotland elopement photographer

The suit

You have tons of different options when it comes to suits, and you can even go the Scottish way and choose a tartan to get married in the Highlands! However, if you want something more classical, you can find tons of inspiration online on different wedding blogs. The rule is: be comfortable. Like the dress, you will walk a lot in your suit and will probably jump on rocks, avoid mud, do silly things, etc. So you HAVE to feel awesome in it, but choose something that will also be comfortable for a whole day of adventure.

scotland elopement photographer

How to keep warm

Scotland can be cold in any given season. It’s very changing and you might have a beautiful sunny day followed by 6 days of non-stop rain. So plan accordingly when you elope in Scotland, and buy some warm clothes. A fluffy, big plaid is always beautiful in pictures, and if you go the jacket way, pick something that won’t pop too much on camera (avoid bright colors for example) and that won’t cover you too much (huge fluffy jackets might not be the most flattering for your elopement).

Pack some hand and feet warmers as well, they are lightweight, practical and you never know when you’ll need them!

8) Eloping in Scotland – your checklist

Think about where you’d like to go

Like I said before, Scotland is huge and offers a lot of variety landscape-wise. You have tons of option for your elopement in Scotland, so whoose wisely! And if you’re not sure, ask around and find inspiration on Pinterest, you will find secret and amazing places for sure!

Pick a date

Once you have chosen the perfect place for your ceremony, pick a date for your elopement day. Once again, try to avoid the big summer months and prefer late spring or fall as the weather will be perfect and you will avoid crowds of tourists. For even more choice in your vendors, you can also pick a weekday, they all are generally more flexible and available than weekends, especially if you’re planning only a few months in advance!

Find more informations about travel visas and wedding certificates

Travels visas are a must to travel to any country, so please plan a lot of time in advance and check your government’s website to see what you need to travel to Scotland for your elopement. Don’t forget about the whole process to obtain a legitimate wedding certificate. To do so, you will find all the infos on the official government website.

Book your accomodation

Once everything is in order and you’re good to go, you can start booking your accomodation. This will be intimately linked to the place you chose to exchange your vows, so don’t forget to check websites like AirBnB, Homeaway, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com and some others. You will find the best accomodation options around the site of your ceremony and will be able to book online as well.

Book your photographer

Once you have this done (or even before, as your photographer can also help you choose everything from the beginning!) you can contact the photographer of your choice and ask about her services for your elopement in Scotland. All photographers don’t offer the same amount of hours for your day, and some (like myself) also offer you a whole travel experience that will take your elopement to the next level and will be an unforgettable experience. Don’t overlook your photographer’s experience in travelling and shooting elopements as this is the most important part: being stuck with a photographer who is not ready to follow you where you have decided to exchenge your vows, or who won’t be able to recommend an amazing place to do so if you haven’t decided yet, can totally kill your day!

Find a place to exchange your vows

And this is when your experienced, seasoned and passionate photographer will help you pick the very best spot to exchange your vows. You have chosen the region, you know where you will sleep, now is time to pick THE place to say “I do”. Check out diverse hikes around your accomodation, and pick the one that seems to be the least used by travelers (avoid crowds) and which will offer a unique and amazing panorama. Definitely ask your photographer to help you with this as choosing a spot with the best light at the right time of the day is definitely something only a pro can do.

Book your other vendors

Don’t forget you will need a officiant to make your elopement legal in Scotland. You can also book a florist for your bridal bouquet and boutonniere, a private chef if you’d like to indulge for a few meals (and a wedding cake!), etc. Don’t forget to buy your wedding rings, and a beautiful addition to this day can also be a vows book to bring with you on your ceremony.

Plan your travel

Scotland is huge and there is a lot to see. It might be a great option to actually plan a huge road-trip across Scotland before, during or after you exchanged your vows. This will transform your wedding day into an amazing experience to remember, filled with discoveries, peaceful landscapes, adventures and memories to share – forever.

Live your dream elopement

Enjoy!

9) Galleries of elopements in Scotland

A beautiful elopement in Scotland filmed by Heart Stone Films


How to plan your peaceful elopement in Scotland with me

I.

Schedule a non-sales call

Everyone truly hates sales calls (me included) so I refuse to fo them. We simply chat about what your dream day and travel plans look like to see if we’re a match!

II.

Book your date

We find the perfect date together and you’re officially booked!

III.

I’ll plan your dream elopement

From itinerary planning to vendor suggestions all the way to helping you with permits, I plan everything.

IV.

Live your adventure

You live a peaceful, meaningful wedding day on an itinerary that’s custom created just for you.

V.

Relive this day forever

I deliver your pictures and your choice of album from my collection, to remember this adventure, and share it for years to come.

Let’s plan your peaceful elopement

Where you can be you. Feel. Breathe in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket list dream.


elopement adventure in france

Need more inspiration for your elopement?

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