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
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’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.
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
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.
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 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.
Assynt accommodation ideas
Kylesku Lodges | A rustic hideout
The Albannach | 200 year old highland home
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
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.