Guide for eloping to Scotland in 2021 & 2022

        The land of waterfalls, long summer days, misty mountains and fairy glens, Scotland is a place you can easily fall in love with – and easily get married in.

        Scotland is perfect for many reasons – the landscape is simply stunning everywhere you go, the right to roam allows you to wander off the beaten track (while respecting the nature code of course) and most importantly – you can legally get married anywhere in Scotland.

        With more and more couples looking for a way to get married and celebrate in a more intimate setting and celebrate their wedding in a way which is meaningful, stress free and intentional. Looking for a perfect location for a small wedding or elopement could be a daunting thing, I’d love to bring in some of my local expertise and help out finding the perfect place.

        Elope Scotland
        Linda & Marcell at Quiraing – Isle of Skye elopement

        How to elope to Scotland?

        Basically you just need your celebrant and two witnesses and some paperwork done at least month before the wedding.

        As for the paperwork, you need to submit your Marriage Notice at least 29 days before the wedding in the Registry office your ceremony location falls under (Inverness or Fort William for Highlands usually) and pay an applicable fee. You’d also need to include:

        • your details
        • celebrant’s details
        • the details of your witnesses – name and the address
        • date and location of the ceremony

        There is complete guide on what you need to do here: How to go about getting married in Scotland – National Registers Scotland.gov.uk

        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 before the wedding 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.

        Scottish elopement
        Pat & Jess in Glencoe – Buchaille Etive Mor Elopement

        Author of this guide

        Hi, I’m Anna, I am photographer based between Scotland and Prague.

        I’ve hiked and explored Scotland for the past 6 years and I am always excited to share my knowledge and help my couples to find their unique location and plan their day. I spend hours looking at maps in search for the perfect hidden spot.

        Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got any questions about any specific locationor if you’d like me to help you to pick your location.

        I’ve got almost 100 spots perfect for elopements scouted all across Scotland and would be excited if it can help you to plan your day!

        Shoot me a message to start planning your day or read further to see for yourself!

        Where to elope in Scotland?

        Once your heart is set on Scotland, it might feel a overwhelming to narrow down the details. I’ve put together this little guide to help you get the idea what are the most popular elopement locations like and to introduce you to some other areas which are just as magical but might be lesser known and more private.

        When choosing the location be assured that almost anywhere in Scotland is absolutely stunning and although some places are really popular and busy a gorgeous secluded spot for your elopement ceremony is usually no further than just couple minutes walk away.

        You need to know your ceremony location to submit your wedding paperwork so finding the perfect one is the first step when planning elopement. Oftentimes couples wonder how specific should the ceremony location be – just in case you need to change it last minute – generally it should be as specific as possible – you can specify the landmark such as Glencoe Lochan or Old Man of Storr or venue, stating Glencoe might be deemed too broad.

        Glencoe Elopement Photography | Scottish Adventurous Wedding Photographer

        The 10 most popular locations for elopement in Scotland

        Here’s a little list of the most popular places and I’ll go into more detail of some of them.

        1. Isle of Skye
        2. Glencoe & Glen Etive
        3. Edinburgh
        4. Glasgow
        5. Gretna Green 
        6. Loch Lomond
        7. Castles in Ayrshire & Aberdeenshire – such as Culzean Castle or Dunnotar Castle
        8. Torridon
        9. Cairngorms National Park
        10. Perthshire

        Elopement locations in the Isle of Skye, Scotland 

        Isle of Skye is the go to place if you want to get the most of Scotland in just couple of days. It has coral beaches and scenic viewpoints, wild mountains and hillsides dotted with sheep. Many of these places are very popular and can be busy at times. My magic tip for your elopement is to either visit Isle of Skye in off peak season (eg. autumn or spring), wish for really terrible weather to keep everyone at home (haha) or go off the beaten track and find your own unique spot by just going slightly further than the usual tourists go. But be sure, anywhere you choose for your elopement ceremony in the Isle of Skye will be amazing.

        Isle of Skye Elopement Photography | Scotland alternative Wedding Photographer

        The Old Man of Storr

        If you’ve ever seen any Isle of Skye guidebook, it probably had The Old Man of Storr on it’s cover – no surprise about that as this place is otherwordly. As you can expect it’s highly popular with tourists but it’s a wide open space so there’s not a problem to find more secluded location.

        Getting There: The viewpoint requires quite a hike ~45 min – 1h walking up the hill and ~45mins going back. Walk description can be found here.

        Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland
        Quiraing Elopement Photography

        Quiraing, Isle of Skye

        Quiraing is similarly stunning as Old Man of Storr. The viewpoint sits directly at a recently improved parking lot so no hike needed but you can do a nice walk/hike to reach different viewpoints where it’s pretty easy to more secluded location. There is no need for difficult ascent – path is on the same level of the parking lot. It is suitable even for elderly guests, but it is often very windy.

        Possible beautiful circuit hike here.

        Loch Coruisk - Scotland Wedding Photographer - Isle of Skye Elopement Adventure - Ceranna Photography

        Loch Coruisk

        Amazing place surrounded by steep mountains of Blac Cuillins ridge. Can be reached either by a hike (with some really challenging sections) or by a 30 minutes boat ride from the village of Elgol in the south of the Isle. Boat tour: Misty Isle Boat Trips – have to be reserved 24 hours ahead and boats are going several times a day so it’s possible to stay for 1-2 hours at the lake and you’ll get a hot drink onboard. You might spot the seals along the way! Please note the tours won’t run in stormy weather.

        You can also book a private boat ride. There are several tour operators so there will be tourists around but it’s not that difficult to find a gorgeous secluded spot to say your vows.

        Isle of Skye Elopement Photography

        Sligachan Old Bridge

        This beautiful old bridge is like a gate to the wilderness of Black and Red Cullins. It’s located right near the main road and pretty busy at times. Very open area and start of tourist hiking trails for Red Cuillins, pretty easy to find a secluded spot by walking a bit further on the trails. There are tiny waterfalls in the riverbed and cozy restaurant just across the road. 

        Beaches & cliffs to elope at in the Isle of Skye

        Elgol Beach

        Elgol is a tiny village with a port offering tours to the lake Coruisk and the Isles. The beach has gorgeous rock formations and views across the sea to the Cuillin Mountains. It’s perfect spot for intimate elopement as it’s usually not too busy. Mostly visited just by tourist taking the boat tour.

        Talisker Beach Elopement Photography

        Talisker Bay Beach

        A 30 min walk needed to reach the beach from parking lot. Usually not busy at all. Possible to have fire or camp on the beach (firewood needs to be brought in). There is a famous Talisker Whisky Distillery nearby.

        Claigan Coral Beach

        The name says it all, Caribbean like white coral beaches can be found alll over Outer Hebrides and one also on Skye + seals to be spotted playing in the water. To walk here it’s 30+ minutes walk from car park. Reasonably busy on a beautiful day but very open and wide space so easy to find a spot away from people.

        Neist Point Lighthouse Cliffs

        This is the most westerly point of Skye, really popular for beautiful for sunset views, short walk to the viewpoint, longish walk to the lighthouse – but there are interesting rock formations going all the way into the water. Usually pretty busy with photographers for sunset but very open and spacious area. 

        Hidden gem: Brother’s Point

        This is a much smaller cliffs area on the east coast of the Isle of Skye. Usually not too busy, kind of a hidden gem. It’s 20-30 min walk from a tiny car park. Walk description: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/skye/brotherspoint.shtml 

        Waterfalls of Isle of Skye for wedding ceremony

        Fairy Pools

        Beautiful but very very very popular! It is a set of waterfalls on the river and various pools in the river bed with a backdrop of dramatic Cuillin mountains ridge. There is a single path going all the way along it so it turns into a bit of a tourist highway when the weather is good as it’s favourite spot for wild swimming. The parking lot at this location has recently been enlarged to accommodate the amounts of visitors. Recommend to visit early morning or late in the day oh and also note that in the summer there are often midges. 

        There is another waterfall down the road in Glen Brittle which is more secluded and more suitable to elope at. 

        Unique locations

        Fairy Glen

        Fairy Glen is tourist’s favourite “Hobbiton” like area with cute green hills, rocky viewpoint & a lake near Uig in the north of the Isle of Skye. It was a favourite place of locals but became very popular in the past couple of years when listed as “hidden gem of the Isle” in the tour books. Now there are even tour minibuses stopping there and the tiny single lane road leading here suffers from the traffic. The place is still magical, but I’d recommend to arrive early or late in the day. The road is not suitable for large vehicles and caravans.

        Where to stay and best restaurants on the Isle of Skye

        Restaurants:

        • Scorry Breac in Portree
        • The Three Chimneys and The House Over-by in Dunvegan – North West of the Island
        • Coruisk House in the South of the Island

        Acommodation: There are many wonderful Airbnbs – self catering cottages and croft houses for you to rent. But make sure you make your elopement accommodation booking with plenty of time as the accommodation on the island tends to sell out.

        • The Black Shed
        • The Crofters House
        • Black h – Harlosch
        • Wood h – Harlosch
        Isle of Skye: Traditional croft houses as well as modern architecture, mostly with gorgeous seaviews.

        Where to elope in Glencoe?

        Here are my favourite spots for my favourite place in the world – Glen Coe. The majestic mountains and deep history of the place never stop surprising me. I love it the best when there is fog crowning the summits and I imagine the hills are endless. (Well they definitely feel endless when you climb them and I’ve been hiking in the area extensively in the past 5 years and summited most of them.)

        Glencoe Elopement Photography | Scotland Adventurous Elopement

        Glencoe Viewpoints & Three Sisters

        There is not just a one single viewpoint in Glencoe but several viewpoints with parking lots along the way through Glen Coe, each single one with a different magical view, some of them more busy than the others. Many of them have a hidden gem of a location for an intimate ceremony just a short walk away from them and I’d be more than happy to scout the spot for you and send you a more detailed map.

        Lost Valley Glencoe - Scotland elope

        Hike & get married at Hidden Valley of Glencoe

        This one is for more adventurous or ones who have pretty fit guests in attendance & willing celebrant. Getting to Lost Vallery requires a rountrip of 2.5 mile, ~1 hour walking each direction,  335m ascent, there is one tricky place with a bit of scrambling on a rock which can be slippery, but otherwise a decent path.

        But this all will get you stunning secluded location, with plenty of space for yourself and only couple hikers passing by occasionally.

        Description of the route & map here.

        Glencoe Mountain Chairlift

        Not particularly keen on hiking in your wedding dress but still want the views? There is an all year round running chair lift in Glencoe which will take you to the summits with gorgeous views over Rannoch Moor and all the way to Ben Nevis. A great compromise if you’d like to take to the hills without being all sweaty or take along your guests. The ride is slow and cold – bring along some whisky or hot beverage!

        The Pap of Glencoe

        This is a longer hike requiring more of ascent and with eroded and muddy path in places – the roundtrip is 4.25 miles, ~3-4 hours, 716m ascent but offers gorgeous views over sea loch at Glencoe village and you’re surrounded by mountains. Route description.

        Buchaille Etive Mor

        Buchaille Etive Mor & Waterfall

        There is extreme variant – for experienced hikers and adventurers as hiking up a munro in your wedding gear is probably not for everyone. Roundtrip of 8 miles, ~7-9 hours, 1110m ascent. There are several route options – the most used is this one, but there are some exciting routes including scrambling (Curved Ridge) or climbing if that’s what you’d be up for that on your wedding day!

        Or as an alternative the wide open spaces at the foot of Buchaille Etive Mor are equally stunning as the views from the summit and there are plenty of gorgeous spots along the river Etive.

        Waterfall Wedding in Scotland

        Steal Waterfall (Ben Nevis Area)

        This is a gorgeous place reached by 2 mile hike through Glen Nevis to the third highest waterfalls in Scotland. The route is well maintained but can be rough at times, so suitable footwear is a must. There is also a wire bridge in the final part to reach the waterfall itself and great care is needed for crossing. You can simply have a ceremony on the meadow before the bridge without crossing all the way to the waterfall.  Route description can be found here. It can get busy as it’s quite easy and gorgeous walk, I recommend aiming for early or late in the day.

        7. Glen Etive Elopement

        Sitting off the main road right next to Glencoe, Glen Etive is a gorgeous quiet valley with river popular for wild swimming and mini waterfalls and a sea loch at the end. If you’re fan of James Bond, the famous Skyfall scene was shot here. There are often herds of wild deer near the road which are quite tame and often keen for a photo. You can easily spot a great secluded location for elopement here and it’s definitely much less busy than Glencoe as only a single lane road goes through there.

        Places to stay in Glencoe & Glen Etive

        Locations for Loch Lomond & Trossachs Elopement

        Ben Aan | Adventure Elopement Scotland Photographer

        Ben A’an

        This is a perfect combination of amazing views and pretty short and straightforward hike. Offering great views over Loch Kathrine. It is highly popular on the weekends.

        Check out this

        Loch Lomond Elopement - Conic Hill

        Conic Hill

        Another smaller hill which can be summited in under hour. Offers 360° views over Loch Lomond and surrounding area. It is a popular spot and pretty busy at the weekends so you might want to go early in the day or during midweek.

        Loch Lomond Elopement

        Millarochy Bay and Rowardennan Beach Elopement

        The bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.. there are several spots to stop at, some with beaches and some with bigger rocks.

        4. Rest And Be Thankful viewpoint in Arrochar Alps

        This is a perfect spot if you don’t want to travel far into Highlands and still have gorgeous views.

        5. Rob Roy’s View

        One of the options for more secluded location with views of Loch Lomond.

        Other areas to get married at in Scotland

        Assynt

        Located in the far north of Scotland, this area is one of my personal favourites: wide open spaces, glacial landscape with several scattered monolith mountains, remote lochs and cozy bothies. Not many tourists go all the way here so it’s perfectly remote and quiet. The popular North Coast 500 route goes through here and the calmness and mood of the landscape is just captivating. My favourite mountains here:

        Stac Polliadh – easy/moderate walk (for a fit person) with stunning views, ~2h roundtrip, exposed terrain at times

        Suilven – longer walk, possible overnight stay in a bothy (Mountain Bothy Association – mountainbothies.org.uk)

        Elope to Scottish Highlands

        Torridon

        Scottish West Coast is my favourite place on earth and Torridon boasts beautiful beaches as well as majestic hills.

        Cairngorms - Ceranna Photography - forest

        Cairngorms and Glen Affric

        Cairngorms are rightfully Scotland’s National Park. Wide open wilderness of rolling mountains with remote lochs. Walks of various difficulty and beautiful secluded locations are super easy to find here. Some of places to look at: 

        • An Lochan Uaine 
        • Loch Morlich
        • Glen Clova
        • Royal Deeside
        • Glen Affric – The true Scottish wilderness, lakes and hills lined with Scots pines

        Applecross Peninsula

        Very scenic drive and beautiful views and great Fish & Chips in the harbour, not accessible in winter.

        Elopement Venues in Scotland

        There are just so many! Some of my favourite ones are:

        1. Dunnotar Castle, Aberdeenshire
        2. St. Mary’s Space, Glencoe, Scottish Highlands
        3. The Breaemar Arms Hotel, Royal Deeside

        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 the spring or autumn the weather is quite nice (although you can never tell for sure – you’re in Scotland after all) 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 as the best time to elope in Scotland. If you’re up for a winter adventure, Scotland is magical in wintertime too, but getting around could be a bit tricky. There isn’t much snow around Edinburgh and Glasgow usually, but the snow conditions in Highlands are quite unpredictable.

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

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