scotland elopement three sisters mountains glencoe

Glencoe Elopement Guide: Everything you need to plan for 2021

Glencoe Elopement Guide

How to get have an elopement wedding in Glencoe

Are you dreaming of a Glencoe elopement with the one that you love? Glencoe is on the West of Scotland in the Scottish Highlands and is known for its sweeping valleys, waterfalls, and trails at the foot of its two most famous mountains: Bucahaille Etive Mòr and Bidean Nam Bian. It’s often called the gateway to the highlands. This is because once you’re North of Glencoe, you’ve got hundreds of square miles of Scottish wilderness to explore. The main road is the A82, which takes you from Glasgow, past the shores of Loch Lomond and directly through Glencoe. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world and the perfect place for a wild and romantic wedding or elopement.

Glencoe Lochan woodland with orange tree

This is a sparsely populated region, with only small villages many miles apart. Visitors and outdoor enthusiasts come to Glencoe from all over the world to appreciate its wildlife, to camp, hike, and explore its untouched beauty. Its for these reasons that many couples have been coming here to have a Glencoe elopement for many years. Whether you choose to have a ceremony with the sun setting over the mountains as your backdrop, or within the idyllic woodlands, you can have an elopement in a location which truly reflects the beauty of your relationship and values. Perhaps the mountain ranges symbolise the strength and magnitude of your love for one another, and rivers the journey you’re about to embark upon.

Read further about how to plan an elopement in Glencoe

Glen Etive wild deer

Glencoe Elopement Locations

The attraction to eloping in Glencoe is doing it surrounded by the calm and beauty of the area, but perhaps you’re still looking for a venue for your reception, drinks, food, and even the ceremony itself. Glencoe has several great options.

Indoor Glencoe Elopement Venues

Kingshouse Hotel

One of the first places to consider is the Kingshouse Hotel. It’s located right in the heart of the Glencoe valley, with stunning views of the famous pyramid-shaped mountain which dominates the landscape: Buachaille Etive Mòr. Their bridal suite has a balcony which looks over the valley and they have a restaurant and bar which can accommodate a large wedding party. They have an outdoor ceremony area as well as options for indoors and you can arrange a phone consultation with their wedding team via their website.

Isles of Glencoe Hotel

This stunning Isles of Glencoe hotel is located in the North of Glencoe in the village of Ballachulish. It’s perfectly placed by the side of Loch Leven, where you could either have your ceremony or go for your family and couples portraits post-ceremony. They can accommodate small, intimate ceremonies as well as weddings with up to 110 guests.

Glen Etive forest and mountain

Glencoe House

Glencoe House is situated in the village of Glencoe, not far from Loch Leven, with stunning views of the famous mountain – the pap of Glencoe. It offers luxury 5-star suite accommodation and is only a 3 minute walk from Glencoe Lochan.

St. Mary’s Space

This venue is actually a residential recording studio in a converted church. It’s a family run creative arts space in the Scottish Highlands, nestled in the woodland which surrounds it. The venue can accommodate a small, intimate wedding either inside or in the grounds outside. For more information, you can get in touch with them via their website here.

Glencoe Waterfall in the valley

Outdoor Glencoe Elopement Locations

If you want to keep things simple and elope in the wilderness, consider eloping at the foot (or top) of a mountain, by the shores of a loch, or inside a woodland. You don’t need any permits to elope outdoors in Scotland and there are many great options in Glencoe.

Glencoe Lochan

This idyllic lochan was originally created as the grounds for the Glencoe House hotel, but in recent years has been taken over by the forestry commission. It has a well-paved flat and short trail which surrounds the loch, with many great elopement ceremony locations en route. There is a well-maintained car park 150 metres from the loch, meaning it’s easily accessible for ceremonies.

Glencoe Lochan view with mountains

Glen Etive

Blink and you’ll miss this gem in Glencoe. A turnoff on the A82 main road looks like it leads nowhere, but you’re actually at the start of a 13 mile single-track road which weaves through a stunning landscape. The mountain at the start (Buachaille Etive Mòr) is a popular ceremony location, but there are many options along the road, including the famous spot as seen in the James Bong film, Skyfall. The wild deer in the glen are particularly friendly and will come right up to you to say hello.

Glen Etive elopement ceremony location
Buachaille Etive Mòr mountain in Glencoe

Loch Etive

At the very end of the single-track road which leads through Glen Etive is the breathtaking Loch Etive. The road ends here, so if you’re after a quieter location for your wedding ceremony, this is a great choice. There is a small car park by the shore and a flat piece of land which is great for your elopement.

Loch Etive in Glencoe

The Three Sisters of Glencoe

The Three Sisters mountains dominate the valley are are by the side of the A82 road, with two large car parks. At the foot of the mountains, there is a large expansive piece of land which is great for a ceremony location. Another popular location is a 5-minute walk uphill on the opposite side of the road, with incredible views down the valley. At the top, there are many large flat boulders, which make it a very popular choice.

Three Sisters of Glencoe Mountains

Best Time to Visit Glencoe

Glencoe is a beautiful place to visit all-year round and in true Scottish fashion, the weather can be unpredictable and you can often see all four seasons in one day. Due to the landscape, the strong winds often push any inclement weather away, meaning you’ll usually always get a clear patch of weather. My advice is to embrace the elements and run with it. The landscape comes alive with wildflowers in Spring and the autumn months bring rich brown, orange, and yellow tones. The mountains will have a dusting of snow through winter, which looks incredible, so, if you’re not too fussed about it being cold, this is a quiet and gorgeous time of year. In the summer months from June-August, you’ll have long days. But, this is also peak tourist season, so I’d recommend the quieter Spring or Autumn months.

Glencoe Elopement Wedding Ceremony Location

Best Glencoe Hikes for Your Elopement

Glencoe Lochan Trails

This 2.5km trail leads you by ornamental woodland at the foot of Glencoe. The quiet, serene loch contrasts with the dramatic and moody mountains in the distance.

You can find a link to the hike here.

The Pap of Glencoe

Also known as Sgorr na Ciche, the Pap of Glencoe is a famous mountain by Loch Leven. If you’re looking for a semi-strenuous hike for your elopement or honeymoon, this hike is 7km and will take 3.5-5 hours. Of course, you can still get incredible views without hiking all of the way up.

You can find a link to the hike here.

Signal Rock and An Torr

This is one of the shorter trails in Glencoe at 2.5km. It’s also fairly flat, meaning it’s a nice relaxing walk which takes in the views of Signal Rock and the surrounding woodland.

You can find a link to the hike here.

Bidean nam Bian

This mountain in Glencoe will take 7-9 hours to complete, however, it’ll take you on top of the highest mountain in the region. At the top, you can see for miles, all the way over to Ben Nevis. The second half takes you down into the Lost Valley, which is an incredibly beautiful location for an elopement in itself.

I’ve personally completed this hike and would encourage you to complete it if you can find the time. The view at the top will honestly bring to you tears! Also, the feeling of accomplishment will stick with you for many years to come.

You can find a link to the hike here.

The Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail)

To access this valley, it involves a 1-1.5 hour hike because it sits between two of the three sisters’ mountains. It’s not visible from the valley floor and is a treasure for the eyes. It’s also an incredible spot for an elopement ceremony.

You can find a link to the hike here.

You can find links to many more hikes in Glencoe here.

Also, the Glencoe Visitor Centre has lots of information for things to do in the area and places to stay. You can check that out here.

Glencoe Elopement Lochan view of mountain

Accommodation in Glencoe

From small and cosy wooden cabins to five-star luxury, Glencoe has accommodation to suit every couple. Below are some options for you to explore.

  1. St Mary’s Space
  2. Kingshouse Hotel
  3. Glen Etive Cottage
  4. Glencoe House
  5. Clachaig Inn
  6. Woodman’s Hut
  7. The Boathouse Pod
  8. Loch Leven View Lodges
  9. Isles of Glencoe Hotel
  10. Ballachulish Hotel
River running through Glen Etive with cottage

Glencoe Elopement Packages

Are you ready to explore all that Glencoe has to offer? I’m a Glencoe elopement photographer and love to help couples plan and explore this beautiful place.

For more information, get in touch. I’d love to get to know more about you and your story. I can also answer any questions you have about having your elopement in Glencoe.

Buachaille Etive Mòr mountain view in the valley of Glencoe

Glencoe Elopement Advice

  1. Explore the area if you’ve never been to Glencoe. There’re hidden gems everywhere, so keep your favourite places in mind for your elopement photos.
  2. Plan to be ready either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. You’ll have the best light when the sun is lower in the sky and less intense.
  3. Complete your official elopement documents within the recommended timeframes. I can help you with this.
  4. Wear comfortable clothing which allows for lots of movement. Bring extra layers and waterproofs for moving between locations. Brides often wear thermal leggings which can be hidden under their dress.
  5. Bring food and water with you if you plan on having your elopement in a remote location.
  6. Think outside the box. You can do anything you want on your elopement. Think carefully about what you’d love to do. I can always help with suggestions.
Wild Deer with grass in mouth

These are only some of the suggestions of places you can stay and things you can do on your elopement in Glencoe. You also don’t need to be fixed in one location. You can choose one location for your ceremony and another for family portraits (if you’re having guests). Then, if the two of you’d like to sneak away from your guests for a while as they go for food and drinks, you can. There are many more places to explore and you can get lots of variety without travelling too far.

If you’d like to explore another popular elopement location in Scotland, I’ve written a guide on how to elope in the Isle of Skye, which you can find here.

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