Are you thinking of having an elopement in Scotland?
Scotland has it all for anyone seeking an adventure: ancient castles, huge waterfalls, endless valleys sweeping through the mountains, peaceful lochs, ancient towns. The list goes on!
Eloping in Scotland sounds great! But how do I start planning?
This guide to Scottish elopements has been written with you in mind. It contains everything you need to know to start planning.
Read further for how to elope in Scotland
10 Steps to Plan Your Scotland Elopement
STEP 1. Choose your location
Choosing the place for your Scotland elopement is important because it’ll need to be specified on your paperwork.
There are many famous places to elope in Scotland and gone are the times when you needed to run off to Gretna Green to elope. From fairytale-like islands to the untouched wilderness, Scotland has it all.
10 Beautiful Places to Elope in Scotland
10. Isle of Mull
STEP 2. Decide on a date and think about the seasons/time of year
The Scottish highlands is known for having some pretty dramatic weather, regardless of the season!
My advice is to fully embrace the mood. The conditions can change so much, so there’ll likely always be a break in the weather.
Although Scotland is beautiful year-round, the time of year you choose to marry depends on how you envisage your day being.
March – May and September – late November are outside of the peak season and likely to be less busy. These months can gift gorgeous golden morning and evening light, perfect for your ceremony and couple portraits.
The winter months will give more dramatic weather and you’ll see our mountains capped in snow.
The summer months have longer days and warmer weather. If you’re planning on going on multiple hikes on your trip, the routes are likely to be more hiking-friendly.
STEP 3. Find your elopement celebrant or officiant
To make your wedding ceremony legal, you have three options: humanist, religious, or registrar.
The Humanist Society Scotland has an extensive database of registered celebrants. I’d be happy to recommend celebrants I’ve worked with, however, Rona the Humanist Celebrant is a personal favourite and is officiating my elopement in 2022.
For a registrar, you’ll need to contact the local office nearest to your chosen location. You can find a full list here.
For religious ceremonies, you can still get married anywhere as long as you have an authorised religious celebrant to attend and officiate. You can contact your local place of worship for guidance on this.
STEP 4. Contact your suppliers and start to book
Think about which suppliers you may need. This could be hair and make-up artists, florists, attire, accommodation, a photographer/videographer. Photographers and videographers will typically book up 12-24 months in advance, so getting this sorted early on in the process is key.
STEP 5. Complete your paperwork
You can legally get married anywhere outdoors in Scotland. You’ll both need to complete a Marriage Notice Form (M10) , which currently costs £70. This must be handed in no earlier than 3 months prior to the date and no later than 29 days before.
STEP 6. Apply for your visa (if you’re eloping to Scotland from abroad)
If you’re from a country outside the European Economic Area, you’ll likely 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. Currently, this costs £95.
You can check if you need a visa by clicking here.
STEP 7. Decide who’re going to be your witnesses
Anyone can act as a witness as long as they’re over the age of 16. You’re of course welcome to bring family or friends. However, if it’s just the two of you travelling, the good news is that, as your photographer, I can be a witness – it’s always an honour to do this and I’m more than happy to do it. For a second witness, it’s worth asking your celebrant if they can help provide one.
STEP 8. Decide what to wear for your elopement
It’s been said that Scotland can throw four seasons at you all within an hour. As the windiest country in Europe due to the Easterly moving Atlantic depression, this means the weather changes quickly.
I’d recommend sturdy hiking boots, multiple layers, and a waterproof/windproof jacket for moving between locations. This will ensure you’ll be able to make the most of your wedding day. For brides, I’d recommend choosing a dress which allows for movement and is, above all else, comfortable. It’s also worth considering bringing an outdoor blanket/shawl to wrap up in as well.
STEP 9. Collect your elopement Marriage Schedule
Your Marriage Schedule needs to be collected in person by either you or your partner from 7 days before your wedding from the registrar office local to your ceremony location.
I really hope you found this post useful. If you’re thinking of eloping in Scotland, I’d love to hear about your plans. Simply get in touch and I’ll be more than happy to offer you support and guidance.
STEP 10. Have an incredible elopement and hand in your elopement Marriage Schedule
In order for your wedding ceremony to be legally registered, you must arrange for this form to be submitted to the local registrar no later than 3 days after your ceremony.
How to Get to Scotland
Scotland is well-served internationally by Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport. They are in the South of Scotland are only 45 minutes from each other.
The main A1 road leads directly from London to Edinburgh up the East coast of the UK. On the West, the M6 connects to the M74 and goes to Glasgow.
The highlands has well-paved roads and highways. The further North you go, these can become single-track roads and gravel tracks if you go off the beaten path. Petrol/Gas stations can become very scarce, so think carefully before you plan a long trip into the remote areas.
Scotland Elopement Packages
Scotland Elopement Photographer
As an elopement and wedding photographer based in Scotland, I’ve got lots of experience of the various ways you can elope here. I’m also familiar with the landscape and can offer advice on the logistics of making your elopement plans come to life. I’d love to chat to you about your plans and help in any way I can. Just get in touch.
I offer a range of coverage options – you can read more about what I offer here.
All-Inclusive Elopement Packages Scotland
I love to help couples plan their elopements. But, if you’re interested all-inclusive elopement packages, there are a range of great options for you.
Below are two Scotland elopement planners I work with. Ella and Laura are fantastic at what they do and can offer you various elopement packages to help make your planning process easy. Get in touch with them to find out more.
I really hope you found this guide useful. If you’d like to chat about your Scotland elopement plans, get in touch! Elopements are close to my heart and it’s always a pleasure being invited to capture couples’ stories.