Covered in this guide:

locations


 

 

seasons

 

what to wear

 

the legal part

 

types of ceremonies

 

wedding suppliers

 

Imagine walking through the mountains in your muddy boots. The sun might be shining, or the rain is drizzling, but either way, this day is an adventure. You find a quiet spot to say your vows to your partner, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Perhaps it is just the two of you or a handful of people you love around you.


In Scotland, you can get legally married anywhere outside with the most breathtaking backdrops, which means you aren’t limited by wedding venues or weekend dates. Whether it is the mountains, a loch, woodland, or a castle – there are many incredible locations to choose from in Scotland.



Places to elope in Scotland


Glencoe


For many, Glencoe is the heart of the Scottish highlands. While the area is popular with tourists, and with good reason, there are still many places here to find yourself alone in nature, and some are not as far off the beaten path as you might imagine. Glencoe is within a few hours drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh, making it an accessible option for those flying into the major airports.


The landscape truly does have something for everybody here, and while it looks stunning covered in winter snow or glorious in summer sunshine, my favourite season in Glencoe is Autumn. The landscape has a radiant golden hue, which adds colour to the greyest of highland days. Some popular locations to visit in Glencoe include Glencoe Lochan, Glen Etive, Steall Falls and Loch Etive.


Glencoe accommodation ideas

St Mary’s Space | Creative space for eclectic couples

Glencoe House | Luxury hotel in the highlands

Ardrhu House | A restored manor with sweeping views

Luxury Eco Cabin | Views of Ben Nevis

Peaceful Highland Home | Tranquility in the highlands



Edinburgh


Edinburgh’s skyline is defined by a mix of natural and man-made landmarks but nestled on a peak of its own, somewhere between the hills of Arthur’s Seat and the monuments of Carlton Hill, sits Edinburgh castle, which looks down onto the city streets below.


Get lost in the maze of cobbled laneways through Edinburgh’s historic stone buildings, taking in the sound of bagpipes that are often heard echoing through the streets, and in the right weather, the smell of malted barley and hops from the city’s breweries lingers through the air.


See more in my guide to getting married in Edinburgh

The cairngorms


The Cairngorms are rich with natural beauty, with still lochs, woodland, castles and whisky distilleries to explore. The ancient forests here make for a quiet and secluded ceremony spot, where you can say your vows tucked amongst the trees or by the side of a loch.


My favourite locations for a wedding in the Cairngorms include Loch an Eilein, Loch Vaa and Lochan Uaine. The Cairngorms is also blessed with many different beautiful places to stay – some of which you can get married onsite. 


Cairngorms accommodation ideas

Hidden Highland Retreats | Heritage-restored luxury properties

Killiehuntley Farmhouse | Immersive Scottish experience in a guesthouse or self-catered cottages

Glen Dye Cabins | Luxury cabins surrounded by wilderness

The Lazy Duck | Award-winning off-grid cabins

Fife Arms Hotel | Luxury boutique hotel

Scottish borders


For those seeking countryside views but still a short driving distance to Edinburgh, the Scottish borders is an ideal location. Neidpath Castle is a 14th-century tucked away gem near the town of Peebles. Aikwood Tower offers luxury comfort in a secluded setting. The majestic Borthwick Castle offers a quintessential Scottish Castle experience. All these wedding venues provide a combination of majestic interiors with stunning views of the Scottish borders on the doorstep.

Perthshire


The area of Perthshire is ideal for those looking for a quiet, off the beaten path option where they can be immersed in the countryside and nature. The historic town of Dunkeld is a popular town to visit for the famous Aran bakery (who do amazing wedding cakes!). Nearby, the hermitage offers a stunning walk by the river and woodland.


Perthshire accommodation ideas

Glen Glack Cabins | Luxury bespoke cabins

The Taybank | Serene apartments in the heart of historic Dunkeld

Ballintaggart | Charming rural accommodation

Assynt


Assynt is a spectacular area with lochs, waterfalls, castle ruins and rugged rocky mountains. It is located on the popular NC500 tourist driving route around Scotland. Assynt also boasts white sand beaches, including the popular Achmelvich Beach. Assynt is a more remote area compared to other areas of Scotland, so it tends to be on the more quiet side, particularly outside of the Summer months. Overall there are fewer facilities in the area, but more opportunities to find yourself alone in the landscape.


Some locations worth considering for an Assynt elopement are Wailing Widows Falls, Ardvreck Castle and Achmelvich Beach. If you’re an avid hiker, Stac Pollaidh rewards you with stunning views.


Assynt accommodation ideas

Kylesku Lodges | A rustic hideout

The Albannach | 200 year old highland home


Torridon


Torridon is a hidden gem on Scotland’s West Coast. Rugged mountain tops, sometimes dusted in snow, stand tall above tranquil bays and secluded woodlands. This region is a favourite for lovers of all types of outdoor activities. Like Assynt, there are limited facilities and accommodation options here, but if you’re seeking a secluded location that is off the beaten track, Torridon is certainly a contender. Am Ploc is a tucked-away spot for a ceremony featuring the ruins of an Open Air Church. The shores of Loch Maree are also a stunning backdrop for a wedding ceremony.


Torridon accommodation ideas

The Net Store | Holiday home on the Applecross Peninsula

The Torridon | Luxury hotel

Shieldaig Lodge | Highland lodge retreat

other elopement locations


Here are some more hidden gems around Scotland that may be less well-known but equally beautiful.


Alladale Wilderness reserve | Scottish Highlands Luxury

Kabn Company | Secluded cabin with private wild dining with Michelin trained chef

WildLand Cottages | Design-led highland escapes

The Dundonald | Luxury accommodation in the historic town of Culross

Guardswell Farm | Eco-considered and design-led accommodation

Lundies House | Stylish boutique hotel in north west highlands

Kilmartin Castle | Rustic charm in a 500-year-old castle

Seasons


Spring & Summer

March - September


The daylight hours are long in Summer. Light starts to appear around 5am in the morning and sunsets extend through to 10pm. The best time to take photos in Summer is early in the morning or late in the evening, where the light is softer and more flattering.


Scotland transforms into a vibrant green landscape, with flowers and grass flourishing. The country is much busier with warmer temperatures and increased tourism. Carparks are more likely to be full and popular tourist locations have high numbers of people visiting every day.



Autumn & Winter

October - February


I adore the muted browns and golden colours of Autumn & Winter. The temperature starts to drop and the mountains start to get a dusting of snow. The daylight hours are very short, but the light is soft and beautiful to shoot in all day. Personally, I think the cold temperatures are worth embracing to have the incredible colours of Winter, potential snowfall and also very few tourists.


what to wear for a scotland elopement


Whatever you think the weather is going to do in Scotland, it will most likely do the opposite. The weather constantly changes, but it’s this changing weather that creates beautiful light and spectacular photos. To elope in Scotland, you need to be prepared with the right gear, be flexible, patient and ready to embrace anything.


My best piece of advice if you want natural and spontaneous photos is to wear an outfit you can move in comfortably. I also recommend shoes that will keep your feet dry if you’re getting married in Autumn or Winter. Thermals, wool leggings, gloves and wool socks are all a must in the colder seasons! Be prepared with lots of warm layers and waterproof clothing so that you’re ready for anything that the unpredictable Scottish weather throws at you. Shawls and blankets are a popular choice for extra warmth over a dress and are easy to take on and off as needed.


The Tartan Blanket Co sell shawls and blankets and have a wide range of colours and styles

how to get legally married in scotland


What do you need to get legally married in Scotland? Ultimately it is a date, location, the correct paperwork, two witnesses and an authorised person to conduct your legal ceremony. The rest is up to you!

You will require two witnesses whose details need to be filled out before the day. So, how do you find two people to witness your ceremony? Luckily, your photographer can count as a witness! Other ideas include your videographer, bagpiper, florist, musician, hotel or venue staff member. Your celebrant may also be able to bring a witness, so it is worth talking to them as well.


You can read more guidance for getting married in Scotland on the National Records of Scotland website.




types of legal ceremonies


humanist ceremony


The Humanist Society of Scotland says “a humanist wedding or civil partnership lets you celebrate your day your way. Your humanist celebrant will involve you in planning and writing your ceremony, creating a ceremony that’s a true reflection of you and your partner.


It is worth noting that humanist ceremonies do not include religious components. If this is important to you, it is worth considering the other ceremony options below.


Humanist celebrants that I love working with include Claire Digance, Rona Burstow, Gary Smith, Ashton Easter, Vivienne Hyndman, Andrew Scott and Paul Browett.



agnostic CEREMONY


Agnostic Scotland shares that their role is the following: “Our Celebrants will be delighted to work with you to co-create, write and conduct a ceremony that reflects your own wishes, beliefs and values, whether that includes a faith-based, spiritual or non-religious ethos. All words, music, readings and rituals will be chosen entirely by you.


Onie Tibbitt and Andrea Taylor are both agnostic celebrants you can reach out to.



interfaith CEREMONY


An interfaith ceremony can include any faith, mixed faith or no faith. You can be married indoors or outdoors and serve all people of any belief to create a unique ceremony for your day.


Hazel Jane and Gillian Robertson are both interfaith ministers based in Scotland.

scotland wedding suppliers


Here in Scotland, we have so many talented wedding suppliers in all different areas. Below are some of my favourites to work with to help you get started with your planning.


Hair/makeup

Bonny’s Wonderland

AMM team

Hannah Rose

The Madeup Team

 

Flowers

Tupelo Tree

Gloam

Ochre Botanical Studios

Wild Gorse

To a Mountain Daisy

Bothy Blooms

 

Bagpipers

Spud the Piper

Munro Bagpiper