Everything you need to know to plan your Scottish elopement wedding.

      Are you currently engaged, but struggling to get excited about planning a traditional wedding? Do you love the idea of pledging yourselves to each other in a unique and meaningful way amidst a stunning setting? Do you want your wedding to be a relaxed, stress-free day that you will look back on with pleasure for many years to come?

      Then an elopement in Scotland might be just right for you!

      Elope in Scotland road running through mountains Wester Ross Eloping in Scotland Shieldaig Lodge Hotel Scottish elopement couple on hillside in Wester Ross at sunset

      WHY ELOPE IN SCOTLAND?

      Well, first of all, because you can! Scotland is currently the only country in the UK where you can legally get married anywhere – providing your ceremony is conducted by a registered celebrant.

      This means that you can choose an elopement location that’s special and meaningful to you: it might be somewhere that holds happy memories, somewhere that you’ve always yearned to visit or simply a place that makes your heart sing and your spirits soar.

      Scotland has it all when it comes to romantic elopement locations: epic mountains, pristine beaches, ancient woods and magical lochs. Any one of these could be the backdrop to your elopement wedding ceremony.

      Scotland elopement married couple on hillside in Wester Ross Scotland elopement married couple on mountain in Scottish highlands

      ELOPING IN SCOTLAND SOUNDS GREAT – HOW DO WE START PLANNING OUR SCOTTISH ELOPEMENT?

      STEP ONE: Decide on a location.

      First of all, you need to decide on a location as you will need to specify this when you apply for your paperwork — see details on this below. If you would like some advice on this, we are always happy to help!

      We have lived in Scotland for many years, and have family roots here. We’ve explored the length and breadth of the country, so we know lots of scenic spots.

      If you give us a bit more information on the sort of settings you love (be it waterfall, woodland, cityscape or mountainside) we can offer some suggestions on elopement locations that would be just right for you.

      Elope in Scotland Scottish landscape Loch Maree and cottage in winter

      STEP 2: Pin-down a date

      Along with your elopement location, you will also need to specify the date on your marriage paperwork. We can offer you advice on which month to choose. Our personal favourite season in Scotland is September-November, when you get glorious autumn colours, and atmospheric mists. April and May tend to have some of the driest and sunniest weather that Scotland gets all year — so these are great times to visit, too.

      June to August are usually the busiest months in Scotland. So if you are planning your elopement during this period, it’s a good idea to book your accommodation well in advance.

      Elope in Scotland married couple on hillside in the Isle of Mull

      Eloping in Scotland elopement couple on hillside on the Isle of Mull

      STEP 3: Find a celebrant.

      If you would like an outdoor elopement ceremony that embraces the beauty of nature and Scotland’s incredible scenery, then a humanist ceremony could be perfect for you.

      The Humanism Society Scotland is a great place to start. They have an extensive database of registered humanist celebrants who can legally marry you in your chosen elopement location. We have worked with a wide variety of celebrants over the years, so do ask if you would like us to suggest someone who’s going to be just the right fit for you.

      Elopement locations in Scotland Wester Ross landscape road running through snow covered mountains Elope in Scotland couple walking down country lane in Wester Ross Eloping in Scotland elopement ceremony on the shores of Loch Maree in Scotland

      STEP 4: Get stuck into the paperwork!

      Regardless of whether you are having a civil, belief or religious ceremony, you need to contact your registrar/celebrant before completing your paperwork. They will have married couples many times before, so don’t be afraid to ask them any questions you might have. A good guide is the National Records of Scotland information leaflet (RM1 – Marriage in Scotland [PDF]).

      You will need to submit your marriage notice form (also known as an ‘M-10’) by post to the registrar of the district in which your elopement ceremony is taking place. Each couple must submit one form per person, along with your fee. However, always phone your selected local Registrar before filling in the M-10, because there are subtle differences in how each registrar operates.

      Scottish elopement bride wearing flower crown on hillside on the Isle of Mull

      Additional documents that you will need include: your birth or adoption certificate, evidence of your residence and a valid passport.

      Other paperwork that you may need are a decree of divorce or dissolution (if you have previously been married) and a CONI or ‘Certificate of No Impediment’.

      If you are travelling from North America to elope in Scotland, you will also need a Marriage Visitor Visa. This costs £93, and you should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. A Declaration of Immigration [PDF] is something else that you will need to look into.

      Isle of Skye elopement moody Scottish landscape featuring misty mountains a loch and white cottage Elope in Scotland bride puts on pink boots in darkened room

      STEP 5: Submit your marriage paperwork

      Your marriage notice must be submitted within the 3 months before the date of your elopement.

      The absolute latest that it can be submitted is 29 days before your ceremony.

      We highly recommend that you don’t leave it until the last minute — it may force you to postpone your wedding if they aren’t able to process your paperwork in time!

      There is further information & guidance notes and M-10 form [PDF].

      Scottish elopement couple walking away amidst the mountains on the Isle of Mull in Scotland

      STEP 6: Decide who is going act as your witnesses

      To legally elope in Scotland you will need two witnesses to be present at your elopement ceremony. If you are being accompanied by family and friends, then they can witness your marriage. However, if you are planning an intimate elopement — with just the two of you — we are happy to act as your witnesses. We have done so with many couples in the past, and it always feels like a real honour. The celebrant and witness details form [PDF] needs to be submitted to the Registrar with the M-10 form.

      Elope in Scotland Loch Coruisk elopement wedding ceremony

      STEP 7: Collect your marriage schedule

      Once your marriage has been approved, you will be issued with your marriage schedule. This is a super-important document — do not lose it, and remember to bring it to your wedding ceremony, as you cannot get married without it!

      Your marriage schedule will be issued no earlier than 7 days before your wedding day. You will get a call from the registrar to let you know that it is ready, and you will need to collect it from them in person.

      Isle of Skye elopement Loch Coruisk elopement ceremony Isle of Skye elopement couple embrace at Loch Coriusk

      STEP 8: Return your marriage schedule

      After your elopement ceremony, you need to submit your marriage schedule to the registrar’s office within 3 days of your wedding — note that is this is three consecutive days, not three working days! — otherwise your marriage will not be considered legal, and how disappointing would that be?!

      Scottish elopement couple walking through woods celebrating with champagne


      WHERE TO ELOPE IN SCOTLAND – 5 ROMANTIC ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS

      1) Isle of Skye elopement

      The Isle of Skye has to be one of the most spectacular parts of Scotland. However many times we return, Skye never fails to take our breath away. Eloping on Skye will always be spectacular, in all weathers and all seasons!

      Skye is about 5.5 hours drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh. So if you’re planning to travel to Skye for your elopement, you might want to turn it into a bit of a road trip and spend several days there. It’s a large island, with lots to explore and very narrow, winding roads, so it takes time to get around. Don’t rush it!

      Isle of Skye elopement couple walking away along a road through the mountains Isle of Skye elopement couple standing on the Quiraing Isle of Skye elopement couple embracing in the mountains

      2) Glencoe elopement

      Glencoe encapsulates everything that is breath-taking about the Scottish highlands. This location really has it all: stunning mountains, rivers and waterfalls, and quiet lochs. Glencoe is about 1.5 hours drive from Glasgow, and 2 hours drive from Edinburgh — an epic backdrop that feels remote, but is actually very accessible from the city.

      It’s worth noting that Glencoe does get pretty busy during the summer months. But we’ve sought-out some off-the-beaten-track spots where you can hold an intimate elopement ceremony away from other visitors.

      Glencoe elopement still loch with reflections of snow covered mountians Glencoe elopement ceremony by loch with snow covered mountains in the distance Glencoe couples shoot couple walking through mountains at sunset

      3) Scottish Highland elopement – Wester Ross

      We love this wild and remote part of Scotland. It might appeal to Game of Thrones fans — both in name and in landscape — as it could easily be taken for one of the Seven Kingdoms that GoT fans around the world have come to know and love.

      Compared to better-known locations like Skye and Glencoe, Wester Ross is relatively off the beaten track, but includes iconic landscapes such as Torridon on the coast and the Great Wilderness that trails north of the craggy fortress of Slioch. At about 5 hours drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s a similar journey to Skye, but a lot less busy.

      Wester Ross is part of the now well established North Coast 500 route, which makes for a spectacular drive through some of Scotland’s most breath-taking scenery. Why not combine your elopement wedding with the road trip of a lifetime!

      Scotland elopement locations Wester Ross loch and snow covered mountians Elope in Scotland couple standing on hillside at sunset and by Loch Maree

      4) Cairngorms National Park elopement

      On the opposite side of the country to Glencoe sits the Cairngorms National Park. It’s a spectacular setting for a Scottish elopement — combining mountains, ancient Scots pine forests, and peaceful lochs.

      One of our favourite locations in the Cairngorms is Loch an Eilein — a stunning setting nestling amongst Caledonian pine forests. It’s a real haven for wildlife: if you sit quietly in the woods for long enough, you can see red squirrels, pine martens and the shy western capercaillie.

      Scottish elopement couple standing by Loch an Eilean Scotland elopement couple embracing at sunset by Loch an Eilean Road running through pine forest in Cairngorms National Park

      5) Edinburgh elopement

      If you’re looking to elope in Scotland, but would prefer your Scottish elopement location to be a bit less wild and windswept, and involve a bit more art and culture, an Edinburgh elopement could be the perfect answer.

      Not only is it a richly historic and beautiful city, but it boasts incredible restaurants, world class galleries, a vibrant theatre and music scene and a great cafe culture.

      Plus, you have Arthur’s Seat (a 251m extinct volcano) on your doorstep if you want to get out of town stretch your legs and watch the sun go down over the city.

      View over Edinburgh from Carlton Hill Scottish elopement couple exploring Edinburgh including Stockbridge and Carlton Hill Scottish elopement couple watch sunset over Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

      OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR SCOTLAND ELOPEMENT: What about the weather – what if it rains?

      The weather in Scotland is notoriously changeable — the old saying about having a ‘four seasons in one day’ very often proves true here! It doesn’t matter whether you are getting married in July or in January, we get anything and everything. We always say: ‘embrace the elements, hold each other tight, and enjoy it!’

      Isle of Skye elopement couple battle against the weather on hillside holding umbrellas

      We’re outdoorsy people and we aren’t afraid of the rain (and our cameras are waterproof), but we’re always very happy to be flexible on the day, and work around whatever the weather throws at us!

      In our experience, most wedding celebrants are, too. It’s worth mentioning that some of our favourite and most romantic images have been taken in the wildest weather!

      Isle of Skye elopement couple standing amidst the mountains in rain holding umbrellas Isle of Skye elopement couple embrace in front of a misty mountainous backdrop Isle of Skye elopement couple on hillside with hair blowing in the wind

      Scotland’s weather is part of what makes it such a dramatically spectacular country and gives it such amazing light.

      The weather fronts often move through very quickly…so, the chances are that if you are due to get married at noon, and it’s pouring, if you give it half an hour, the shower will have blown over and the sun will come peaking-out from behind the clouds.

      Scottish elopement couple embracing on mountainside at sunset Scottish elopement couples at sunset in Scotland Edinburgh wedding photographer couple on Arthur's seat at sunset


      WHAT SHOULD I WEAR FOR A SCOTTISH ELOPEMENT?

      Lots of people ask us about how to dress for their elopement in Scotland. The main thing we advise is, do not underestimate the Scottish weather!

      Do bring waterproofs and do bring lots of layers. It’s really important that you are warm and comfortable, if you’re going to be able to enjoy and really make the most of your elopement day.

      Elope in Scotland couple on boat travelling to Loch Coruisk for their elopement Isle of Skye elopement couple under vast misty mountain

      While waterproofs work great for getting you to and from your elopement location comfortably if the weather is wet, woollen wraps work far better for photos. Check out the recycled wool blankets and shawls at The Tartan Blanket Company in Edinburgh — they’re super-warm, amazingly windproof and look very at home in the Scottish highlands. If you’d like one for yourself, do get in touch as we have a special discount code!

      Isle of Skye elopement couple walk through moody mountain scenery Isle of Skye elopement couple explore muddy hillside Elope in Scotland couple wearing walking boots

      We love to spend time exploring the location with our couples before and after their elopement ceremony. Sturdy waterproof footwear is also a must if you want to get out an explore the spectacular landscape.

      It’s a really fun way to turn your Scottish elopement into a bit of an adventure, and take some spectacular, unposed images along the way!

      Elope in Scotland couple wearing rucksacks embrace in the woods Scotland elopement couple post on rock with dog

      Some thoughts on their Scottish elopement from one of our previous couples, who decided to ditch their original wedding plans and elope in Scotland instead:

      “We were supposed to get married today. We had it in the diary. We’d told the odd person to save the date. But then we got cold feet. Not ‘that’ kind of cold feet. We just weren’t sure if the ‘big’ wedding was for us. A day that wasn’t entirely what we wanted, one day that we were trying to make fit all, but would ultimately not fit some…

      So we cancelled. Without telling anyone (except our parents — who were very supportive). We eloped. We were supposed to get married today, but instead, we did it our way – we had a Scottish elopement — so now we’re already married and we’re back where we feel most comfortable.

      We’ve never regretted our decision. Do more of what makes you happy!”

      Scotland elopement couple celebrate with a toast with family Edinburgh wedding couple walk on Arthur's seat at sunset Edinburgh wedding photography couple embrace on Arthur's seat at sunset

       

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      COMMENTS

      Absolutely breath-taking! A Scottish elopement looks like the most romantic thing ever… Maybe one day… 😉

      Wow – so many awesome images! If I wasn’t married already, I’d definitely be down for eloping in Scotland!

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