Glen Etive Elopement
It is a long and winding road down the Glen Etive, one of the most gorgeous valleys in Scotland. I arrive under grey skies after a night full of rain and as I drive I watch the clouds of mist lifting up slowly from the forests on the hillsides, covering and revealing the summits of the mountains towering above me. Massive of Buchaille Etive Mor on one side and Creise on the other.
I go all the way to the bottom of the valley to the shores of Loch Etive. Just after an old stone bridge over a loud waterfall a camper van is parked at a little white bothy. Gualachulain Bothy is your typical 18th century Scottish bothy turned hikers bothy with bunkbeds and cozy fireplace with the most stunning location, and it’s where El & Al are staying tonight and where they’re getting ready to share their wedding vows in a bit.
It was a wild ride for these two with the uncertainty surrounding their wedding date as they’ve had to postpone from spring to summer due to the ongoing global pandemic. But in the end it all worked out and they’re getting married today!
Read more about their day and if you’re looking for more info on how to elope to Scotland check this post, locations where to elope to in Scotland, what to bring along for adventure elopement in Scotland, or view gallery of Linda & Marcell’s Glencoe Elopement.
Glen Etive Wedding Ceremony
Their celebrant Alyson Stewart of Humanist Society Scotland arrives with her typical burst of laughter and energy as we’re having a little look at the location they’ve chosen for their wedding ceremony in Glen Etive.
Just across the road from their bothy a little beach with a single tree on a shore of Loch Etive. Surrounded by steep and majestic hills of Glen Etive, this is a place where these two share their vows witnessed just by myself and their lovely Airbnb owner. Other than that just them and the magic of Scottish landscape.
The light mist intensifies to a slight drizzle during the ceremony, but Eleanor & Alex don’t mind at all. Its a wonderful emotional ceremony capturing the story of their relationship perfectly and more than anything else the love they have for each other. They tie the knot in the Scottish tradition of handfasting – with the hand-made ties with messages from their closest ones. And they toast from quiaich – mixing hot chocolate and quality espresso (such a wonderful twist on your usual whisky or gin).
Glen Etive Wedding Photography
Soon after the ceremony we’re joined by their three furry bridesmaids who waited patiently in the van. And now they can celebrate together by running free while exploring the gorgeous Glencoe & Glen Etive. The sun comes out for a brief moment as we explore the waterfalls at River Etive and it’s a gorgeous summer day. We climb up to magical viewpoints in Glencoe and even take a little stroll along Loch Achtriochtan. Then we say goodbyes for couple of hours before meeting up later on in the day for our adventure hike…
Adventurous sunset hike on the wedding day
We’re meeting again in the evening at a car par on the edge of forest near Glencoe village for a sunset hike up Pap of Glencoe. The path takes us through a lovely forest path and then starts slowly climbing up the bare hillsides. Views of Loch Leven and sun setting slowly into the clouds behind us, gorgeous views of Glencoe hills in front of us. The path is pretty eroded in places, but El & Al are both experienced hikers and mountain bikers, so it’s not a problem at all. They ascend the steep bits with ease while I carry the bouquet in my photography backpack.
We reach a plateau just below the final part of the hill and stop to enjoy the views. We decide that we will turn back as it’s getting dark and cold. We’re leaving Pap of Glencoe unconquered for next time. We head back to the van as the moon rises over Loch Leven and say our goodbyes in pitch dark. What a day… and tomorrow they continue their trip up north to honeymoon on a road trip across Scotland…
Couple tips when you’re planning elopement in Glen Etive
To drive all the way to Loch Etive from Glencoe takes 40-50 minutes. From the crossroad with A82 it’s just a single track road.
It’s surprisingly easy! You’d need your celebrant and two witnesses. You need to submit your Marriage Notice to Fort William registrars and should leave plenty of time for them to process it – 30 days before the wedding is recommended. You can find more info here: https://ceranna.com/adventure-elopement-in-scotland/
The nearest hotel is Kingshouse Hotel pluse there is a number of holiday houses within Glen Etive itself such as Hollybank (Airbnb – 8 + 6 in nearby Gualachulain Bothy)
Glen Etive is quite remote, the nearest place to eat is Kings House Hotel (serving traditional Scottish food with creative twist), Clachaig Inn (traditional) or further afield in Fort William Crannog Seafood Restaurant (highly recommended) or Ben Nevis Inn (traditional with creative twist). Alternatively you can also get a private chef to cook for you or have a little picnic at your Airbnb or some stunning location.
It will take 3 hours to drive to Glen Etive. The scenery along the way is stunning so leave plenty of time for stopping along the way. During the winter it can take slightly longer and be aware that not many rental cars are equipped with winter tires during winter although there might be snow sometimes.
Please note: Everything was in line with government recommendations and restrictions at time of the elopement. Please note these are most probably slightly different at the moment you’re reading this story. I highly recommend checking We Fell in Love wedding blog for fresh info on weddings & coronavirus in Scotland if you’re interested in planning your elopement to Scotland in 2021. Also, fel free to reach out to me anytime, I’d love to help you to plan and capture the most amazing day full of love and adventure!
Suppliers for intimate Scottish elopement
Photographer: Ceranna Photography – Scottish adventure elopement photographer | Wedding dress: Vintage | Bouquet: Bride herself | Celebrant: Alyson Stewart of Humanist Society Scotland