Are you thinking of eloping to Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands? Or are you already in the process of planning a Glencoe elopement wedding?
That’s so exciting, we love outdoor elopement weddings! In our experience, it’s the most unique and personal way to exchange your vows and to celebrate your love. As Scotland elopement photographers, we know Glencoe extremely well. We’ve photographed elopements here in all months, in all seasons and in all weather! We’re here to share our knowledge and experience with you and give you all the insight and guidance that you need to plan an adventurous mountain wedding surrounded by the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.
In this planning guide, we’ll give you the low-down on the best places in Glencoe for an elopement wedding ceremony. We offer practical advice on the logistics of planning a relaxed and fun elopement wedding day in Glencoe (including the legal elements) and some characterful accommodation options to ensure that you have the best time during your stay!
Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be a lengthy, stressful procedure. We’ve had couples organise an amazing elopement wedding day in just six weeks. We’ve done the work so that you don’t have to. So grab a cup of coffee, a notebook and pen…and read on!
Covered in this guide:
- Where are the best places to elope in Glencoe?
- Adventurous hiking mountain elopement weddings in Glencoe
- Best Glencoe elopement accommodation
- Pubs and restaurants
- The legal details
- Accommodation and supplier recommendations
- Glencoe elopements and weddings through the seasons
- What to wear for your Glencoe elopement wedding
- Glencoe elopement wedding photographer
Welcome to Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands!
Glencoe has to be one of the most dramatically beautiful and other-worldly places in Scotland. This steep-sided glacial valley in the heart of the Scottish Highlands is known for its breath-taking mountains including Buachaille Etive Mor and Bidean nam Bian, its heather-clad landscape, its foaming rivers and waterfalls and its wildlife—including red deer and golden eagles. This spectacular part of Scotland has even featured in films such as James Bond’s Skyfall and several Harry Potter movies! The long, straight route that runs through the length of Glencoe takes you through the heart of an ancient volcano and it has to be one of our all-time favourite road trips! No matter how many times we drive this route, it takes our breath away every time!
WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO ELOPE IN GLENCOE?
The 5 Best Glencoe Elopement Ceremony Locations
We’ve photographed many elopements and outdoor weddings in Glencoe. Whatever the season and whatever the weather, Glencoe is always spectacular. It’s worth noting that Glencoe is popular with tourists (and with very good reason), especially in the summer/ autumn months (May-October). So as Scotland elopement photographers, we want to give you a bit of insider-knowledge into a few of our favourite places to elope in Glencoe that will allow you to get away from the crowds.
1. BUACHAILLE ETIVE MÒR
Buachaille Etive Mòr is one of the best known and loved of all the Scottish Munro peaks. The epic view of the mountain from the main A82 road is spectacular. This iconic view makes an epic, but easily accessible ceremony location. Imagine having this in the background as you exchange your vows!
For adventurous couples, you could combine your elopement wedding ceremony with a bit of a hike! We love nothing more than a mountain wedding. The hike up Buachaille Etive Mòr is 13km/8 miles and takes around 7 hours in summer, but you don’t have to go the whole way up to the summit to enjoy some incredible views!
2. GLENCOE COTTAGE
The picture postcard view of the lonely white cottage (known to locals as the Lagangarbh Hut, which operates as a mountaineering bothy) in the foothills of the mountains is another iconic Scottish Highland view. Due to its fame and easy accessibility, this spot draws a lot of tourists. If you would like this backdrop as the setting for your elopement wedding ceremony, we would recommend heading there for sunrise or sunset to avoid the crowds. Do keep in mind that sunrise and sunset times vary considerably in Scotland throughout the year, so check what time sunrise/sunset times will be on your wedding day.
3. GLENCOE LOCHANS
One of the things that we love about Glencoe are the lochans (small lakes) that are scattered throughout the glen. Their peace and tranquility creates a beautiful contrast to the drama and majesty of the mountains. These spots are often more sheltered on days where the wind is strong or the weather is wet. We have a few favourite secret and quiet spots that we are happy to share with the couples we work with. If you would like to be one of them…
4. THE PASS OF GLENCOE
There are several epically beautiful mountain pass locations that only require a short walk for these incredible views. They’re perfect spots for a peaceful mountain wedding and are tucked-away from the main tourist route, allowing you to get away from the crowds and exchange your vows in splendid isolation. If you feel that this might be the ideal backdrop to exchange your vows, just get in touch, we would love to document your Glencoe elopement adventure!
5. GLEN ETIVE
Off the main Glencoe Valley lies the smaller, more peaceful Glen Etive where you will often encounter herds of friendly deer! A varied landscape of mountains, rivers, waterfalls and forests. It’s a lovely spot to exchange your vows amidst the beauty of nature and have fun exploring with your love afterwards, perhaps with a picnic along the way! There are also some great wild camping and wild swimming locations in Glen Etive, too, for anyone planning a Scotland road trip in a camper van for their honeymoon! If you would like more information about eloping in Glen Etive, please get in touch.
6. HIDDEN PLACES & SECRET SPOTS
We find that, especially at weekends during the summer months, the Glencoe locations mentioned in the list above can all be quite busy. We know that picking the perfect elopement wedding ceremony location can be tricky, especially if you haven’t been to the area before and/ or, if you are travelling to Scotland from abroad to celebrate your wedding. We are always happy to recce a romantic off-the-beaten-track Glencoe elopement wedding ceremony location just for the two of you!
If you would like to discuss some bespoke ceremony locations for your Glencoe Elopement, feel free to contact us.
ADVENTUROUS HIKING MOUNTAIN ELOPEMENT WEDDINGS IN GLENCOE
If you’re an adventurous couple who loves the mountains and would like to incorporate a hike into your elopement wedding day, we’re totally up for that! Jim is a qualified Mountain Guide and we both love spending time in the hills! We can recommend outdoorsy, nature-loving celebrants who would be happy to marry you on top of a mountain, too! If you want to start early to catch sunrise on top of a hill, or skew things later to watch the sun set on an empty Glencoe Valley, we can totally do that!
To start planning your unique and adventurous Scottish mountain wedding, get in touch.
BEST GLENCOE ELOPEMENT ACCOMMODATION
Romantic Glencoe elopement wedding accommodation & venues
It’s worth noting that the Glencoe Valley is very sparsely populated (which is what gives it its wild and rugged beauty). But it means that there aren’t a vast amount of accommodation options in Glencoe itself. So we’ve put together a list of some characterful places to stay that are either in, or within an hour’s drive of, Glencoe.
Remember that the accommodation you choose for your elopement wedding day will also be the backdrop for your ‘morning preparation’ photos. So it’s worth choosing your accommodation carefully and picking somewhere that’s going to make for atmospheric and artistic photographs.
Glencoe House Hotel is a beautifully restored historic house with stunning loch views. There are 14 luxurious suites and an excellent restaurant. It’s a 15-20 minute drive to Glencoe.
Mhor 84 is a super-cool boutique hotel that does amazing food. Simple, stylish rooms and a cool Scandinavian-vibe. We would suggest booking the cottage or one of the largest of the rooms – to allow enough room to capture the best ‘morning preparation’ photos. It’s a very scenic 45 minute drive to Glencoe.
Kingshouse Hotel is a modern and newly refurbished hotel within the Glencoe Valley. The rooms have amazing views and you have Glencoe right on your doorstep! Just personally, we find it’s perhaps not the most characterful option. But what it lacks in character it makes up for with convenience!
Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a characterful, classy hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant situated in the foothills of Ben Nevis. It’s a 40 minute drive to Glencoe.
Dalness Estate – Sleeps 14. The Dalness Estate is set amidst stunning scenery in Glen Etive, which branches off Glencoe, this characterful shooting lodge is the perfect setting for a weekend house party with your nearest and dearest. There’s also a cottage sleeping two, for couples eloping alone.
Glenceitlein Cottage – Sleeps 4. Set in a secluded and tranquil spot on Glen Etive, this simple cottage is perfect for couples wanting to get away from it all.
Glen Etive Schoolhouse – Sleeps 4. Like Glenceitlein Cottage, this is a simple cottage in a tranquil setting in Glen Etive. You will step out of your front door into the most beautiful surroundings
Loch Awe Eco Cabins – Sleeps 2. Cute rustic eco cabins in a peaceful location with beautiful views
We have a list of our very favourite Airbnb’s and self-catering properties to share with the couples who work with us. If you are interested in having us capture your Glencoe elopement wedding feel free to get in touch!
PUBS & RESTAURANTS
You’ll want to make a pit-stop during your elopement wedding day for some good grub (and possibly to warm-up and dry-off!) There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of soup in front of a roaring fire to stoke you up for some further adventuring in the afternoon!
The Clachaig Inn – The Boots Bar at The Clachaig Inn in the centre of Glencoe offers a cosy place to warm-up and maybe grab some lunch in the middle of your elopement day. There’s a roaring fire, hearty Scottish food and friendly staff.
The Kings House Hotel – A slightly more formal restaurant with one of the best views in Scotland!
Alternatively, an al fresco picnic in one of Glencoe’s many scenic spots can be fun during the summer months.
THE LEGAL DETAILS
Did you know that you can legally get married almost anywhere you like in Scotland, as long as your ceremony is conducted by a registered celebrant?
Do take some time when choosing your celebrant: their personality and approach will inform the atmosphere of your wedding ceremony. Your elopement is a day that’s unique and special to you, so make sure you find a celebrant that you connect with on a personal level. Most celebrants understand that couples will want to speak to several different celebrants before making the decision on the one that feels like the right fit for them and their day.
The Humanist Society Scotland has a wide selection of registered (non-religious) celebrants covering all parts of Scotland.
We have a small number of celebrants that we work with regularly, who are really warm and wonderful people who bring a really lovely atmosphere to the ceremonies that they conduct.
If you are interested in having us capture your day, we would love to hear from you!
***IMPORTANT! GLENCOE ELOPEMENT WEDDING PAPERWORK***
In terms of the logistics and paperwork, you and your partner will each need to submit your wedding paperwork to the local registry office (for Glencoe, the local registry office is in Fort William).
**It’s important to note that the earliest that you can submit your paperwork is 3 months in advance, and the latest that you can submit your paperwork is 29 days before the date of your wedding.**
You can SUBMIT your marriage paperwork to the Fort William registry office by post, you don’t need to attend the office in person. However, you will need to COLLECT your marriage schedule (which is the document that you sign on at your wedding ceremony) from the Fort William registry office IN PERSON before your wedding day.
The Fort William registry office is open Mon-Fri 9.30am-12.30pm. So you will need to factor this into your pre-wedding travel plans.
GLENCOE ELOPEMENT WEDDING: ACCOMMODATION & SUPPLIER RECOMMENDATIONS
Can we offer Glencoe elopement accommodation and supplier recommendations? Yes – absolutely! We love helping couples who book us to capture their Glencoe elopement wedding to create a day that’s unique and really personal to them. We can connect you with wonderful celebrants (including ones who are happy to hike up a hill for your ceremony!), incredibly creative florists and talented and friendly make-up teams, who do a wonderful job of creating a natural and fresh-faced look. This sort of behind-the-scenes help and support with your planning is all part of our Glencoe elopement package.
If you would like to know more about our Glencoe elopement wedding planning…
GLENCOE ELOPEMENTS & WEDDINGS THROUGH THE SEASONS
The look and character of Glencoe changes quite dramatically throughout the year from a snowy winter wonderland between December and February, to a lush and verdant landscape in summer, to rich oranges and browns in autumn. When deciding on the time of year that you want to get married, it’s worth thinking about the sort of backdrop, atmosphere and temperature that you would like for your Glencoe elopement wedding day.
WINTER WEDDINGS & ELOPEMENTS IN GLENCOE
Winter is a really beautiful time of year for a Glencoe elopement wedding. There is likely to be snow on the hills and the whole valley takes on a really magical atmosphere. Winter is also a quieter time of year in Glencoe as (aside from Christmas and New Year) there are fewer tourists. However, it’s also pretty chilly with an average temperature of around 6-7 degrees Celsius (so wrap-up warm!) Daylight hours are short in Scotland in winter. Sunset in Glencoe is between 15.45 in December to 17.30 in February. We would suggest a ceremony time of no later than 12noon in winter to allow plenty of time to capture awesome photos afterwards! It’s worth noting that, although the days are short, the light in winter is really great for photos, so it’s about quality not quantity!
Just because darkness falls early in Glencoe in winter, it doesn’t mean that the fun is over! Cosy-up by the fire, put the kettle-on and grab a cuppa…or perhaps something a little stronger to toast your wedding day! Take time to watch the light fade, and silence fall on the valley…and then plan a romantic meal to celebrate, board games, a classic romantic movie, or some relaxing time in the hot tub…
SPRING ELOPEMENTS IN GLENCOE
March and April are spring months in Glencoe. Temperatures become warmer (averaging 9 degrees celsius in March and 12 degrees in April). The days become longer with sunset ranging from 18.00 in early March to 21.00 at the end of April. The landscape will gradually start to become greener as nature reawakens from its winter sleep and the leaves begin to unfurl. March can be quite an unpredictable month weather-wise, so pack for all eventualities! March weather often makes for particularly dramatic photos (the ones below featuring rainbows were taken in March!) April is one of the drier, sunnier months in Scotland – so don’t forget your sunscreen!
SUMMER ELOPEMENTS IN GLENCOE
May to August are the summer months in Glencoe. The snow on the mountains has melted and the air is milder with an average temperature of 14 degrees Celsius in May to 17 degrees Celsius in July and August. The landscape turns a rich, deep green. There are more tourists in Glencoe during the summer months, as it’s a popular hiking destination for outdoorsy Scotland-dwellers and visitors alike. If you’re planning a summer elopement in Glencoe we strongly suggest opting for a weekend ceremony, to avoid the weekend crowds.
SUMMER ELOPERS: MAKE THE MOST OF THOSE LONG SUMMER NIGHTS!
Summer nights in Scotland are LONG! On the longest day of the year in Scotland (21st June) sunset in Glencoe is at 22.15. If it’s a super-bright and sunny day, shooting during the middle of the day in summer is never going to make for the nicest photos because the light can be very harsh and flat. Especially in summer, the hour before sunset and the 30mins afterwards (‘blue hour’) will be the nicest light for really flattering and atmospheric couples portraits. So we strongly recommend that summer elopement couples factor this into their dinner plans: opt for an early dinner, then head back out into the hills to make the most of all that gorgeous sunset light. The images below were captured between about 20.00-21.30 in Glencoe in June…
AUTUMN ELOPEMENTS IN GLENCOE
During September, October and November, autumn creeps into Glencoe. The vibrant greens give way to deeper, richer browns, russets and oranges as the leaves take-on their Fall colours. There’s often a nip in the air on autumn mornings and you can get really atmospheric mists clinging to the valleys. Temperatures hover around 14 degrees Celsius in September dropping to 8 degrees in November. Sunset times range from 20.15 in early September to 16.00 at the end of November. So it’s definitely worth checking when sunset will be on your date for autumn elopements, so that you can factor this into your dinner plans – as you won’t want to miss-out on the golden autumn sunset light for your photos!
WHAT TO WEAR FOR YOUR GLENCOE ELOPEMENT WEDDING
As with the rest of Scotland, the weather in Glencoe is very changeable, even during the summer months. Between December and March there is likely to be snow on the mountain tops and it will be chilly. So come prepared! Layers, waterproofs and sensible, sturdy shoes are essential.
What you choose to wear for your Glencoe elopement wedding will, of course, be a very personal decision. However, for your own comfort and enjoyment of your day, we would suggest the following:
DO: If you are planning to wear a dress, choose with a skirt that has plenty of movement.
Opt for a style that will not restrict your ability to walk and will allow you to have fun while you are exploring Glencoe without having to wrestle with your dress. Remember that you are likely to be walking up hills and jumping over streams. Make sure that your dress will allow you to do this. Plus, floaty dresses look amazing when they’re blowing in the wind!
WE WOULD ADVISE AGAINST: A really, big, heavy, bulky dress or a dress with a very tightly fitting skirt.
In our experience, a tightly fitting dress will be restrictive to your movement, and will probably prevent you from being able to fully relax and enjoy your day. Likewise, a big, bulky, heavy dress is likely to weigh you down and feel a bit cumbersome after an hour or so. Opting for a style that is light and floaty, and will allow you to feel completely relaxed, comfortable and free is a great idea
PACK PLENTY OF LAYERS!
Layers will make a big difference to your general warmth, comfort and enjoyment of your day. Depending on the colour of your dress, cream or white merino wool tights or leggings work really well. Fingerless gloves are also a great idea. And, depending on the cut of your dress, a thermal vest or merino camisole will help you to stay warm.
In terms of footwear, some sort of lace-up brogue boot or even walking boots are ideal. The ground is often quite damp and muddy in places, so waterproof footwear will keep your feet warm and dry as you go adventuring.
Woollen shawls or a cute, chunky knitted cardigan or jumper are an excellent way to add an extra layer – whilst also looking great against the Scottish backdrop.
If you are thinking of wearing a suit, we would suggest considering the backdrop of your Scottish elopement wedding, and what will feel in-keeping with it with your highland surroundings.
A Tux or a sharp suit might totally rock for a city elopement. But you might want to go for something a little more rustic and informal for a Glencoe elopement. A hip tweed suit looks great amidst the mountains, plus they’re really warm, which is a definite bonus! You can mix and match tweed with other things, if you don’t want to go full-on three-piece.
GLENCOE ELOPEMENT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Photography is perhaps the most important investment that you will make in your elopement wedding. Your elopement photographer has the great responsibility of capturing the story of your elopement day—all those special, fleeting moments—to preserve these incredible memories forever and allow you to share them with your family and friends, who may not be present. Your photographer will also be perhaps the only guest(s) on this incredibly meaningful and personal day of your lives, and their personality and photographic approach will influence the atmosphere of your day. We really encourage couples to choose a photographer whose visual style they love, but also that they connect with on a personal level, too.
Most photographers are only too happy to speak with couples who are interested in inviting them to be a part of their elopement adventure. It’s a great way for them to get to know you better. We love hearing the stories behind how our couples met, their first dates and how their engagement took place! It’s also a chance for you to get a sense of them and how they would fit into your day!
KATY & JIM AKA THE CARYLS PHOTOGRAPHY: THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE LENS!
It goes without saying that if you are looking for two friendly, fun, nature-loving Scotland elopement wedding photographers to capture your day, we would love to hear more about your plans! We absolutely love shooting elopement weddings in Glencoe. We feel so honoured and lucky to be part of our couples unique and special wedding day and we do everything that we can to ensure that they have the most amazing experience! As we always work as a husband-and-wife team, so in addition to photographing your elopement wedding day we can also act as your two witnesses! We have done so for many of our elopement couples in the past, and we would be honoured to do the same for you…
If you’re planning a Glencoe wedding or elopement, we would love to hear from you! Get in touch with us via our contact form, or click the button below.