Scotland Elopement Guide for 2021

        Well, 2020 so far has been quite a wild ride with Lockdown and restrictions impacting pretty much everyone planning a wedding. With large gatherings still not being able to go ahead, intimate outdoor elopements are a way to go & such an amazing way to get married amid all the madness going on!

        What is Elopement?

        Elopement is a type of small wedding. Usually held with just the celebrant and 2 witnesses or with a small number of guests. Historically it’s been associated with running away to marry without the blessing of the parents but nowadays it’s a full-value alternative to a traditional wedding for couples who want to have a different experience from a traditional big wedding.

        More and more couples are choosing to elope as they can independently create the day they want for themselves. Be it outdoors surrounded by nature or in an intimate wedding venue. Without any stress of large gathering, family drama or big wedding traditions you don’t fully align with.

        How To Elope in Scotland

        You just need your celebrant and two witnesses. As for the paperwork, you need to submit your Marriage Notice at least 29 days before the wedding and pay an applicable fee. You’d also need to include details of your witnesses, date and location of the ceremony. Find out what exactly you need to do here: How to go about getting married in Scotland – National Registers If you’re not UK resident you may need to apply for your marriage visitor visa. Please check with your celebrant if there is anything else you’d need and they will guide you through the process.

        The registrar will then prepare your Marriage Schedule which you’d need to pick up in person and give to your officiant/celebrant before the ceremony. After the elopement you’ll have 3 days to submit your wedding schedule back to registrars to make it all legal and official.

        When to elope to Scotland?

        The main season for visiting Scotland is definitely summer – so expect the months of July and August to be the busiest. Generally in springtime or autumn the weather is quite nice (although you can never tell for sure in Scotland) and there is much less tourists. I’d recommend April, May, first half of June and then second half of September & October all the way until first week of November. If you’re up for a winter adventure, Scotland is magical in wintertime too, but getting around could be bit tricky. There isn’t much snow around Edinburgh and Glasgow usually, but the snow conditions in Highlands are very unpredictable.

        Tip: Try planning for midweek as there will be more options for accommodation and wedding suppliers who are usually fully booked on weekends.

        Where to elope in Scotland in 2021?

        I’ve got a full blog post about some of my favourite places to elope to in Scotland here. But here are a couple of the most scenic spots where to tie the knot. Some of these places are quite popular with tourists (no surprise) but I’ve spent hours scouting and searching maps to find a few secluded spots perfect for ceremony in each single one of them. So if you’re looking for more intimate, hidden spots, do get in touch and I’d be happy to help you to find your unique one!

        Isle of Skye Elopement Locations:

        • Quirang
        • Elgol Beach
        • Old Man of Storr
        • Fairy Pools
        • Fairy Glen

        View Linda & Marcell’s Elopement in the Isle of Skye for more inspiration!

        Scottish Highlands Elopement Locations:

        • Glencoe Valley 
        • Glen Etive
        • Torridon Hills
        • Cairngorms
        • Loch Lomond
        • Shetland Islands
        • and MORE! I am hiking all the time, so just give me an idea what you’re after and I can recommend you an amazing place!

        View Loch Lomond Hiking Elopement or read the story about Two Americans eloping to Edinburgh, elopement in Glen Etive, or Glencoe elopement.

        There are also more and more wedding venues popping up across the Highlands accommodation small gatherings and elopements – read more about them in my recent favourite venue post here.

        What to do on your elopement day? Planning the timeline of the day

        Now the legal stuff is done and your heart is set on a location, here’s to planning all the details!

        Eloping gives you so much flexibility that you might not know where to start from when planning your timeline. I’d be happy to help!

        You can start off with brainstorming what would you like your day to be like. Being just the two of you, you can do something adventurous and unusual or keep it pretty relaxed:

        • sunrise or sunset hike
        • kayaking on the sea or loch
        • helicopter or plane flight
        • & more!

        If you have no idea where to start from just schedule a call with your photographer and talk your ideas to start the plan taking shape.

        I highly recommend to think about travel time as well – as you don’t want to spend the day driving between places. It’s great to find Airbnb or Hotel close to the are you want to elope.

        Elopement timeline in Scotland

        • 8 am – wake up in Glen Etive, chilled morning at your Airbnb
        • 10 am – make up & hair arrives 
        • 11 am – photographer arrives
        • 13 am – travel to the ceremony location
        • 13:30 – ceremony
        • 14:00 – group photos & some portraits around the location
        • 15:30 – lunch at the local restaurant or picnic at the viewpoint
        • 17:00 – sunset hike 
        • 21:00 – sunset and walking back with head torches

        Or this:

        Day 1 (autumn)

        • 10 am – relaxed morning
        • 12 am – make up & hair & photographer arrives
        • 1 pm – hike to the ceremony location
        • 3 pm – ceremony
        • 3.30 pm – photos around the location and hike back 
        • 5 pm – intimate dinner & hot tub evening 

        Day 2 

        • 5 am – wake up call for sunrise adventure (hiking or kayaking)
        • 12 am – back from the adventure and back to hot tub & fireplace 🙂

        Or this!

        • 2 am – wake up call for crazy morning hike up a mountain
        • 5 am – sharing personal vows intimately just as the sun rises over horizon 
        • 7 am – back to the Airbnb for breakfast & a sip of champagne to warm up
        • 12 am – meeting up with guests and heading to official ceremony 
        • 13 am – ceremony at the lake surrounded by mountains 
        • 13:30 – group photographs and couple portraits at the location
        • 14:30 – private catering or meal at restaurant 

        Handfasting | Scotland Elopement

        Scottish wedding ceremony ideas

        Now the important stuff – the ceremony itself. Personally I am a big fan of Humanist Celebrants of Scotland as they’re so flexible with the ceremony locations and super fun. They’ll customise the ceremony for you as well, asking a lot of questions to really get to know you. 

        Some parts of the ceremony are set and need to be in place for everything to be fully legal, but most of the ceremony you can customise drawing from Scottish traditions or some of your own. Of course – Scotland is one of the most open and friendliest countries so feel free to add any of your personal traditions from your country.

        • Personal vows – this is a lovely little touch writing your own wedding vows. 
        • Handfasting – this is a Scottish tradition when you literally “tie a knot”. You can use two pieces of fabric symbolising both families. Family members can also add some personal notes which you can read on your elopement day.
        • Quaich – another Scottish traditions of drinking two kinds of whisky (or another beverage of your choice – hot chocolate and espresso was a fun one) to symbolise joining of two families, the cup has two handles so you have to hold it with both hands – symbolising peace and trust (as you can’t reach for a sword during that)-
        • You can also get a real bagpiper

        Recommended Suppliers for your Scottish Elopement:

        Scottish Florists

        Humanist Celebrants

        Intimate Elopement Venues in Scotland

        Scottish Wedding at Kirknewton Stables by Ceranna Edinburgh Wedding Photographer

        Edinburgh Elopement Photography

        Eloping to Scotland FAQ

        Do I need witnesses for elopement in Scotland?

        Yes you do need two witnesses present at the ceremony and you need to provide their details beforehand.

        How to elope to Scotland?

        In Scotland you’ll need celebrant and two witnesses and be over 16 years old to legally marry.

        What is Elopement?

        Elopement is a type of small wedding. It is either just the couple and a celebrant or with a small number of guests. Historically it’s been associated with running away to marry without the blessing of the parents but nowadays it’s a full-value alternative to a traditional wedding for couples who want to have a different experience from a traditional big wedding.

        Is it legal to elope in Scotland?

        Yes it is, you’ll need certified celebrant, two witnesses and be over 16 years old.

        Where to elope in Scotland?

        Some of the most popular places are Isle of Skye, Glencoe and Glen Etive, Torridon and Edinburgh.

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