Planning to Elope in Scotland? My Guide to Getting You Started in 2023!
My guide as an experienced wedding and elopement photographer on how to elope IN Scotland in 2023.
Advice on locations, legalities, and weather!
Are you looking to make your wedding a truly unique experience and an adventure? I have had the honour to have captured many weddings for couples who have chosen to elope to Scotland. With its vast and diverse landscape, from ancient cities to the epic Scottish Highlands, Scotland makes the perfect place to create extraordinary shared memories and tales to tell for years to come!
In this guide, I hope to give you the information to start you on your journey toward an amazing wedding adventure!
How to Elope in Scotland Guide - Quick Links
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 1
Find your Elopement Location (Places to elope in Scotland)
When you are looking for your perfect location for holding your Scottish elopement, the choice is endless, and may be the most difficult part of planning to elope to Scotland! Our laws mean that you can hold your ceremony almost anywhere and In Scotland there is a setting to suit everyone. As a Scottish native, I have lived and worked in Scotland my whole life and also spend my leisure time exploring the country. Below I am going to make some suggestions of my favourite places to elope in Scotland, but I am more than happy to give advice if your dream location is not listed, please do get in touch!
The dramatic and ancient landscape of the Scottish Highlands has rightly proved very popular with many of my elopement couples over the years. The landscape is varied and provides many breathtaking options from monumental mountains to golden sandy beaches.
The Isle of Skye
Gairloch and the Wester Ross Area
Assynt and Sutherland
Cairngorm National Park
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Situated only one hour from Glasgow, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is ideal for those looking to be close to the city, while still having access to the beautiful landscape of the Scottish Highlands!
Argyll and Bute
City Elopements - Glasgow and Edinburgh
Looking for an urban buzz and historic architecture a city elopement might be for you!
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 2
Decide on your Date (When is the best time to elope in scotland?)
The next step is to decide when you would like to elope in Scotland. My favourite time of year to shoot weddings is in Spring and Autumn. The Spring months of April, May and June bring fresh leaves and snow-capped mountains while the Autumn months of September, October and November bring golden foliage and gentle low light. As these months are outwith the main tourist season of July and August (plus early September) the crowds are lessened and accommodation more readily available. For the more adventurous and those working to a budge the winter months of January, February and March can provide dramatic and atmospheric conditions.
With regards to what time of day to hold your ceremony, I would advise in the Spring and Autumn to go for late morning or mid-afternoon to catch the gentler light of the lower sun, avoid the harsher light of 12-2pm. In the winter months, the amount of day light is limited (it can get dark at 3pm in poorer weather conditions) to a time of no later than 1pm would be advised.
These times, of course, are only advisory, and can be dependent on the availability of your celebrant and the weather conditions, especially if having an outdoor ceremony.
Autum Brings Golden Light and Golden Colours
Clear Light and Snow-capped Mountains in Spring-time.
Dramatic Weather for Adventurous Winter Weddings
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 3
Book Your Elopement Celebrant
Getting a celebrant for your elopement booked is one of the first things to organise. Humanist weddings and traditional handfast weddings are very popular and celebrants can get booked up quickly! Once you have decided on location to elope to in Scotland, you can begin looking for a celebrant local to the area (though some celebrants will be happy to travel). The Humanist Society of Scotland has a database of celebrants, and you can search by area.
You can also use a local registrar to conduct your ceremony, this can be organised by contacting the local authority of the wedding location. If you are looking for a religious ceremony, some ministers/ religious celebrants may also be willing to conduct an outdoor ceremony, but it would be advised to check with the local religious institution to be sure.
Plan your Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 4
Organise the Paperwork
- Marriage Notice form
You’ll both need to complete and send a Marriage Notice form (M10 Form )to the registrar in the area you will be married in. You should do this between three months and one month before your wedding date.
If your form is not with the registrar at least 29 days before your wedding date, you may need to postpone.
When you send in your Marriage Notice form, you’ll need to include:
- a fee to register your marriage – check with your registrar office how much this will be.
Some other documents you need to provide to get married.
- Your birth certificate.
- Evidence of where you live.
- Your Passport.
Please check out the Scottish Governments website for the full list.
Marriage Visitor Visa
If you’re from a country outside the European Economic Area, you will need a Marriage Visitor Visa, which you can apply for no earlier than 3 months before you travel – it also allows you to stay for up to 6 months.
You can check if you need a visa by clicking here.
Plan your Scottish Elopement - Step 5
Choose Your Witnesses
To have a legal wedding in Scotland you are required to have 2 witnesses with you, who must be over 16. If you are coming alone, I would be delighted to act as one of your witnesses, as I have done for many couples in the past 🙂 For your second witness have a chat with your Celebrant who should be able to help with suggestions.
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 6
Book Your Elopement Photographer
Choosing to elope in Scotland and get married away from your loved ones is a significant decision, and you don’t want them to miss out on this special moment in your life. It’s important to keep in mind that elopement photographers often have busy schedules, and their availability can fill up quickly. To avoid any disappointment, it’s a good idea to start thinking about booking your photography early on in your planning process, giving you peace of mind that your special day will be captured beautifully.
As an experienced elopement photographer (all the photographs in this guide are taken by myself), I can capture every moment of your day and create beautiful memories that you and your family will treasure forever. On the evening prior to your wedding, we’ll have a pre-wedding meeting to discuss your plans and ideas. It’s essential to me that we’re on the same page, so I capture everything that’s important to you. On the day, I’ll be there to capture your final preparations, your ceremony, and a photo shoot in the surrounding area. We can travel around as much or as little as you like, and I’m more than happy to take your lead on this.
My elopement coverage includes 200+ individually and professionally edited photographs in both colour and black and white. Each photograph is carefully edited to ensure it looks its best, so you can relive your special day again and again. I’ll also provide you with a password-protected online gallery, where you can access all the edited photographs in high-quality printable file size, without any copyright or watermarks. This gallery is perfect for sharing your memories with your friends and family or on social media!
If you need any tips or advice on your elopement planning journey, I’m here to help. Whether you’re unsure where to start or need some guidance along the way, I’m happy to share my knowledge and expertise with you. We’ll work together to make your elopement journey as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
Weekend Coverage Pricing (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) : From 825
Weekday Coverage Pricing (Monday – Thursday) : From 695
I have limited availability left for 2023, so if you’re interested in working with me, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact me now to check my schedule and secure your photography.
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 7
Plan for the Weather (What should you wear to elope in Scotland?)
Scotland is famous for its unpredictable weather conditions! My advice would be to have no expectations for what the weather for your elopement in Scotland will be and prepare for all eventualities and embrace what comes your way! While packing to elope in Scotland, it is always wise to bring a warm coat, waterproof shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses!
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 8
Organise Your Accommodation
There are loads of amazing accommodation options in Scotland from quirky cabins, traditional cottages, modern hotels and stately homes. During the summer months, book early as accommodation can get booked up incredibly quickly. booking.com, Airbnb and Visit Scotland are great places to start when beginning your search.
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 9
Organise Your Elopement Suppliers
As with accommodation, it is always good to get your suppliers for your elopement in Scotland booked as early as possible. Along with photography (essential in my opinion and I have a photography package specially for elopement weddings!), you may also want, videography, hair and make-up, flowers, a piper or a wedding cake!
Plan your Elopement in Scotland - Step 10
Enjoy the Experience!
No matter the location, time of year or weather, having a wedding adventure by choosing to elope in Scotland, is a once in a lifetime experience! I hope the information I have provided helps you on your way to a dream wedding and if you have any questions please do get in touch, I am always more than happy to help!