Scotland is like no other when it comes to moody mountains, stunning scenery, and gorgeous glens, and can be a truly magical place to celebrate your special day in.
As well as its breathtaking beauty, the great thing about Scotland is that you can legally get married outdoors, so if you’ve dreamed of an intimate al fresco ceremony with incredible scenery (and perhaps even an adorable Highland Cow or two in the background), this is your prompt to get planning!
If you’ve been thinking of eloping in Scotland, we’ve put together an info-packed guide on where you can tie the knot, what to do to prepare, and everything you need to know in between.
10 Great Places for Eloping in Scotland
Let’s cut to the chase. We’ve narrowed down ten surreal settings for your special day.
Glencoe, The Highlands
Glencoe is quintessential Highlands and is perhaps arguably the most scenic of all Scottish locations (and trust us – the bar is set pretty high!).
Although Glencoe is popular with tourists (particularly in the warmer months), you can still enjoy a quiet, romantic elopement ceremony in the excessive peace and serenity the location offers.
Regardless of what time of year you choose to elope in Glencoe, you will be met with pure magic, as all four seasons have a special, unique hold on this stunning location. There’s also an ethereal beauty about the snow-capped volcanic mountains and trademark hazy grey skies of Scotland that will truly make it a day to remember.
One of the great things about eloping is it takes the noise, stress, and hassle out of atypical wedding scenarios, and for lovers of peace and slow-living, there’s nowhere more idyllic than Glencoe to celebrate your love.
Some of the scrummiest Glencoe locations include:
- Glencoe Valley
- Glencoe Lochan
- Glen Etive
- Loch Etive
Glenfinnan Monument, The Highlands
If you’re enamoured with a Highland ceremony, but would prefer something a little less touristy than perhaps Glencoe, Glenfinnan Monument could be the perfect place.
The monument is a stone’s throw away from the glistening waters of Loch Shiel and the white-painted Glenfinnan House Hotel, where you and any guests you have may wish to stay.
The shores of Loch Shiel can make for a truly magical ceremony, as they are cupped within the moody, cloud-hazed Highlands mountains, which create an atmospheric (not to mention, photogenic) location to unite you and your partner.
Also, lovers of Harry Potter may find this location to be non-negotiable, owing to it housing the infamous Glenfinnan Viaduct, in which the famous Jacobite steam train (AKA, the Hogwarts Express) can be spotted!
Brodick Castle Gardens, Isle of Arran
It would be silly – and rather rude – to visit Scotland and not make at least one castle visit (as castles are hardly in short supply in this beautiful country!), so why not kill two birds with one stone and elope in (or near) one? Better yet – why not elope in/next to a castle that’s also on an island?!
Those choosing to bypass a ceremony inside the castle can relish in the stunning natural scenery of the nearby woodland, waterfalls, and bathing pools for a fairytale day to remember.
Those enchanted by the castle (it’s hard not to be!) can still have all the delights of an al fresco wedding/elopement by tying the knot under a marquee in the extravagant gardens.
Isle of Skye
Skye is the largest, and perhaps most popular, of all the Hebridean islands – and for good reason.
The isle is chock-full of dramatic, otherworldly scenery, and is like something out of your favourite fantasy novel. Brimming with grassy meadows, puffin-speckled clifftops, pristine beaches, fairytale waterfalls, and so much more, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the Isle of Skye and want to make it your permanent residence.
If you’re planning a summer elopement, be mindful that Skye does attract its fair share of visitors, so if you’re looking for pure serenity and no wandering tourists accidentally photobombing your pics, you may be well inclined to opt for Loch Coruisk (which requires a short boat journey to get there).
Also, if the stormy skies of, er, Skye decide to open up on you, why not nip into the island’s infamous distillery for a quick brew to warm those bones, pre-or-post-ceremony?!
Isle of Mull
The beautiful island of Mull is famous for uniting two natural features: forests and the sea, making this the ideal location for nature-lovers.
Brimming with mythology and Viking ancestry, Mull, as well as the other Hebrides isles, offers the magic and mystery of yesteryear’s traditions, as well as moody atmospheres, interchanging weather (which can add an array of moods to your photography), and harbourside eateries for a post-ceremony feast.
Just be prepared for some Highland sheep crashing the photos!
Cairngorms can be found in the Scottish Highlands and is home to the incredible Cairngorms National Park, and is perhaps best known for its stunning loch, but also boasts castles, forests, and even a distillery for those to nip into and enjoy a dram (or two!).
Also, despite being rural and somewhat off the beaten track, there are plenty of lovely accommodation options for couples (and guests) looking to spend a night or two, including hotels, cabins, farmhouse cottages, and even a lavish estate!
Many of these will also allow for indoor elopement ceremonies, which can be useful if the weather is shaping up to be unpleasant on your special day (this is Scotland after all!).
Some of the most incredible elopement locations in the Cairngorms include:
- Lochan Uaine
- Loch Vaa
- Loch an Eilean
Assynt has it all: lochs, mountains, waterfalls, white sandy beaches, and even ancient castle ruins. It truly is a magical, mythical place, and can make for the perfect backdrop for an elopement ceremony. So much so, you may have trouble deciding on which area specifically to say your vows in!
Assynt is very remote, which makes it ideal for those shunning the big traditional church wedding with hoards of guests. While it does attract tourists and nature lovers alike in the summer months, its remoteness means it’s virtually untouched by man, and you can enjoy the stunning scenery without having to Photoshop a Nando’s or LLoyds Bank out of your photos!
Some of the most awe-inspiring Assynt locations include:
- Achmelvich Beach
- Wailing Widows Falls
- Ardvreck Castle
- Stac Pollaidh
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Those enchanted with Scottish culture will surely have Edinburgh pretty high up on their bucket list, and that said, it can make for a wonderful place to stay, post-elopement, with its many restaurants, gin bars, museums, cobblestoned roads, and, of course, Edinburgh Castle offering an itinerary for a few days well spent.
But if you’d rather bypass the bustling city for your actual elopement, but would still like to be a stone’s throw away from this historical town, there are a few rural, quiet(ish) spots in which to say your vows.
Arthur’s Seat is a particularly nice option, because it overlooks the streets of the city, as well as offers a very decent view of the castle. Speaking of castles, if saying “I do” amongst ancient ruins is a big elopement goal, you could always opt for Edinburgh’s Calton Hill for your ceremony.
Eilean Donan Castle
Last but not least is, of course, the stunning Eilean Donan Castle, which is a fairytale romance personified!
Surrounded by mountains and three beautiful lochs, as well as a view of the nearby Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan is arguably one of the most iconic locations in Scotland – and yes – you can elope there!
Whether you wish to elope inside the castle, or perhaps nearby on its iconic bridge, this location makes for the perfect ceremony spot. The venue even offers certain wedding or elopement services, including a humanist celebrant, dinner reservations, paperwork/legality help, and a bouquet and buttonhole for the bride and groom.
The venue is understandably quite popular, and can get booked up rather quickly, so be sure to bear this in mind when planning your elopement or micro-wedding.
Eloping in Scotland: Things To Consider
So if you’re now dead set on eloping in one of the many gorgeous locations in Scotland – congratulations! We don’t blame you!
But before you get stuck in, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Regardless of what time of year you opt to get hitched in, Scottish weather can be unpredictable (at best!), especially if you’re planning on a higher elevation location, such as the Highlands. This means planning your wedding day outfits to accommodate any swift weather changes.
Also, because many of Scotland’s best-loved gems can be tourist hotspots in the summer months, it is often wise to plan an out-of-season affair, particularly in spring or autumn (winter weddings in Scotland can, of course, be stunning – but THEY WILL BE CHILLY – especially if you’re opting for an outdoor ceremony).
Many couples opt to incorporate tartan into their special day, so tartan blankets, cloaks, wraps, shawls, etc., can be a great way to keep the chill off without spoiling your beautiful outfit with a chunky parka!
Also, be prepared that wellies or hiking boots may be a necessity, along with a thick pair of woollen socks!
The Legal Stuff
Eloping in Scotland is actually very faff-free, which can be a blessing in the run up to your day. Ultimately, when completing the ceremony, you will need:
- Date and location confirmed
- Two witnesses
- An authorised celebrant to conduct the ceremony.
Many elopees like to keep the headcount to a minimum on their day, so the good news is, you can include your photographer and someone else affiliated with the day (such as a bagpiper) to bear witness.
Everything else you need to know about eloping in Scotland can be found here.
There are no constraints in Scotland as to what type of ceremony you wish to have. This can include:
- Humanist ceremonies (ceremonies that do not include religious components).
- Agnostic ceremonies (ceremonies that reflect your own beliefs that may be outside standard religious traditions)
- Interfaith ceremonies (ceremonies that include one or more faiths).
Eloping in Scotland FAQs
Eloping in Scotland can generally suit any and all budgets. Generally speaking, an elopement can cost anywhere between £4000 to £12,000 depending on various factors, including location, flowers, clothing, hiring a celebrant, etc.
One of the many appeals of eloping in Scotland is that, unlike the rest of the UK, anyone can legally elope in the country, providing they acquire a marriage visitor visa (which usually costs around £95 and will need to be applied for at least three months in advance) and the ceremony is conducted by a registered, authorised celebrant.
As with US citizens, anyone can legally wed or elope in Scotland, providing they have acquired the correct documents and legalities to do so.
The great thing about eloping in Scotland is that you have so much to choose from in terms of venues/locations, and, unlike other countries, it is perfectly fine to get married outside, which can be very appealing for those who adore the beautiful Scottish countryside.
You can even elope on National Heritage sites, which, to further add to the appeal, serves a good cause, as choosing to do so helps support the organisation’s vital conservation work.
According to government regulations, in order to elope or wed in Scotland, you will need to be:
-Over the age of 16.
-In an opposite or same-sex relationship.
-Not married or in a civil partnership with anyone.
-Not related to the person you intend to wed.
-Capable of understanding what marriage means and of consenting to marriage.
Although elopement planning is considerably less hassle than a big white wedding, there is still a checklist to tick off.
If you are planning a micro-wedding or elopement in Scotland, you can find all you’ll need here.