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Cairngorms Wedding: Caitlin and Jack

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"Alysa captured our day exactly as we had hoped, she really understood the shots we were looking for, and gave gentle direction without making things feel unnatural. Our guests all commented on how lovely she was, and we were absolutely blown away when the images came through. We would absolutely recommend Alysa to anyone getting married in the beautiful Scottish countryside! "
caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore
Caitlin & Jack

Planning a Cairngorms Wedding: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to rural Scottish beauty, few places match that of Cairngorms National Park. And owing to the country’s relaxed laws on outdoor ceremonies, happy couples can flock to this delightful area to tie the knot.

If you’re planning a Cairngorms wedding, we’ve outlined everything you need to consider, as well as nearby eateries and places to stay.

Where is Cairngorms?

Cairngorms National Park is a mountain range that can be found in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, sandwiched between Perth and Inverness. 

It is the largest national park in the entire UK (as well as one of the most beautiful) and it makes for a mindblowing wedding backdrop.

How to Get to Cairngorms

The good news is Cairngorms is super accessible. The best way to get to the park is by train or car. For those coming in from overseas, the nearest airports are Inverness, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and there are plenty of public transport links too, including a daily direct overnight link from Euston, London.

Once you reach the park, getting around via car, bike, or on foot is easy to do. Fun fact: Cairngorms makes for a great road trip detour when covering the Scottish coastal routes.

caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore forest
caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore forest

Photography by Wildling Weddings

Cairngorms Elopement

More and more couples are opting to elope instead of going down the traditional ‘big white wedding’ route for cost purposes, as well as enjoying a more cosy, intimate ceremony.

The Scottish countryside is ideal for those who prefer a smaller scale wedding (AKA, a micro-wedding) or something a little more unorthodox, like a hiking wedding

Think about it: it’s just you, your spouse, a celebrant, your two witnesses, and a photographer – no co-workers, no third cousins twice removed, and no great-aunt Mildred moaning that “back in her day, people got married in churches, not in parks!”.

Cairngorms National Park

If you’ve yet to make a Cairngorms wedding moodboard, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Well, for those who love all things outdoorsy, there’s no better place. Cairngorms National Park is chock-full of Scotland’s most beautiful offerings, including lochs, mountains, hiking trails, mystical hilltops, and is one of the best camping spots in the country to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Recently voted “one of the top places to visit in the world” by the National Geographic Traveller Magazine, Cairngorms allows visitors to indulge in nature’s greatest pleasures, including hiking, camping, stargazing, watersports, snowsports, cycling, wildlife spotting, as well as other events, from local live music to arts and craft exhibitions to food events.

lochside wedding scotland caitlin and jack web header image

Photography by Wildling Weddings

Intimate Cairngorms Elopement

As we mentioned earlier, Cairngorms is ideal for those wanting to get out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life to have a quiet, peaceful, and intimate elopement.

One of the many appeals of a Scottish elopement is the abundance of rural locations to have your ceremony in, and Cairngorms is so gosh-darn pretty, you’ll have trouble settling on just one spot!

That said, some of our favourite locations include:

  • Loch An Eilein
  • Loch Garten
  • An Lochan Uaine
  • Craigellachie National Nature Reserve
  • Linn O’Dee
  • Uath Lochans
  • Loch Morlich
  • Ben Macdui
  • Loch Muick
  • Loch Ullachie

Loch An Eilein Wedding

Although there are many gorgeous corners of Cairngorms National Park, we’d be hard-pushed to find one quite as beautiful as Loch An Eilein.

The peaceful, ethereal beauty of Loch An Eilein is ideal for couples who desire a wedding that is (quite literally) off the beaten track, as it is the ultimate coupling of dense, lush forest and clear loch waters overlooked by misty-topped mountains.

We can vouch that there is nothing quite like the fresh mountain air and peaceful moody feel of Loch An Eilein, and the otherworldly scenery makes for the perfect backdrop to some epic outdoor photography.

caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore
caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore

Photography by Wildling Weddings

Wedding Venues in Cairngorms

So, just because Cairngorms is in the heart of the Scottish wilderness, that doesn’t mean you’re in short supply of local wedding venues

Some of the best venue options include:

  • Duke of Gordon Hotel, Kingussie
  • Cairngorm Hotel, Aviemore
  • Rowan Tree Hotel & Restaurant, Aviemore
  • Boat Country Inn, Garten
  • Atholl Arms Hotel, Blair Atholl
  • Macdonald Aviemore Resort, Aviemore
  • The Lazy Duck Lookout Bunkhouse, Nethy Bridge
  • The Old Manse of Blair, Blair Atholl
  • Glen Cova Hotel, Clova
  • The Fife Ars Hotel, Braemar

Outdoor Wedding/Elopement Rules

Unlike many countries (including other countries in the UK), Scotland has relaxed laws about holding outdoor wedding/civil ceremonies, meaning it is pretty much okay to get hitched wherever you please.

However, some rules do apply:

  • Landowner’s permission must be granted (if the area is privately owned).
  • The outdoor space must be granted approval by your chosen registered officiant.
  • Couples must make an appearance at a registry office with their paperwork at least 29 days before the ceremony date.

Scottish Weather & What to Wear

So, the downside of enjoying one of Scotland’s many delectable backdrops for your outdoor ceremony is being at the complete mercy of Scottish weather, which can be a tad unpredictable.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a checklist of everything to consider, weather-wise, when getting hitched in Scotland.

Wellies/Hiking Boots

Even in the height of summer, Scottish weather can turn wet and wild in an instant, and many outdoor locations – such as Cairngorms – can get a tad muddy. And while you can still rock up in a beautiful white gown, if you so choose, it might be best to leave the ivory-coloured Vera Wang kitten heels at home.

In short – you will very probably need to work the welly look. Whacking a nice pair of comfy thermal socks underneath isn’t a bad idea either, as those mountainous temperatures can make those tootsies a little cold.

But don’t fret! Your gorgeous wedding look will not be ruined! On the contrary, wellies come in all varieties, so chances are, you can find a pair to coincide with your wedding colours.

Shawls/Blankets

It can be a nice gesture having a blanket bucket for everyone to grab something warm while vows are being spoken and photographs are being taken. Being as Scotland is very north of the Northern Hemisphere, hot weather is rare.

Since you’re indulging in a Scottish wedding, tartan blankets/shawls can be a particularly nice touch.

Umbrellas

The UK is infamous for its soggy weather, so matching umbrellas for the bridal party can be a wise investment – and will look great in the photos!

Bug Spray/Smidge

There is a wee critter that may put a damper on your big, summery day, and that critter is the Highland Midge. Although these little beggars don’t carry diseases or pack much of a punch, bite-wise, their little nips can leave itchy red lumps on the skin, which no one wants on their wedding day!

SPF

There is a saying in Scotland and it’s, “If you don’t like our weather, wait 10 minutes.”. This means while it might be “chucking it down” (as the Brits love to say) one minute, next you may be dazzled by bright, warm rays from the sun.

The Bahamas Scotland is not, but a warm summer day can still mean burning and sun stroke, so whack on that SPF.

Water

Keep hydrated, ya’ll! Especially if you’ve indulged in some champers! Nothing will ruin a wedding like dehydration.

Other considerations

  • Parking/travel
  • Hiring accommodation nearby
  • Snacks (particularly for a hiking wedding)
  • Backpacks
  • Champagne and PLASTIC glasses.
  • Being responsible. Leave no mess behind, etc.
caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore
caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore

Where to Eat In/Near Cairngorms National Park

All that fresh air, scenery-gazing, and vow-saying will no doubt work up an appetite, so for a post-wedding feast, we recommend the following eateries:

  • Insh Hall Lodge
  • Nethy House Café & Rooms
  • The Barn at Rothiemurchus
  • Loch Insh Outdoor Centre
  • The Pine Marten Bar
  • Hazelnut Patisserie
  • Spey Burger Restaurant
  • The Winking Owl
  • Culdearn House
  • Andersons Restaurant
  • Alexandra Hotel Restaurant
  • Duke of Gordon Hotel Balmoral Restaurant
  • Grantown Diner & Takeaway
  • Ballindalloch Castle

Wedding Photography in Scotland

The best way to capture your incredible Scottish wedding is by hiring a Scotland-based wedding photographer who can perfectly capture the essence of this moody, exquisite landscape, as well as every little detail that makes your day extra special from start to finish.

Unlike many photographers, I believe it is the spontaneous moments of love that make the most memorable photographs, so it is likely you’ll hear me say, “If you feel the urge to kiss, dance, or pick each other up and spin around – do it!”.

If this sounds like the style of wedding photography you and your special someone would love for your magical day, let’s have a chat!

caitlin and jack loch an eilein lochside wedding scotland aviemore

Photography by Wildling Weddings

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