eloping in Scotland

An INTRODUCTION

pòsadh ann an Alba

[marry in Scotland – Scots Gaelic]

There is something magical about Scotland. It’s hard to put an exact finger on what makes it so special. It’s the kind of place which begs you to throw caution to the wind or walk barefooted through the cobbled streets or dance round a fire on a late summers evening.

Scotland has an old soul – it’s the only way I can describe it. And that soul is filled with commitment, love and a true sense of belonging. I believe that’s why couples feel so connected to each other in this land. It’s no surprise that the most wildly-in-love couples choose to get married here.

It’s the reason I’ve dedicated my adult life to honouring and sharing its oldest celtic traditions and exploring its vast nooks and crannies.

 

why you should

elope in Scotland

As well as our awe-inspiring landscapes and welcoming culture, eloping in Scotland has a few other appealing reasons.

We’re big on “FREEEEEEDOM!!!” in Scotland. Which is why we’re the only place in the UK where you can legally marry anywhere, anytime so long as you have a legal officiant and two witnesses.

With so many options, this makes eloping in Scotland a real opportunity to marry in a way that is completely unique to you.

Let your imagination run wild.

contents

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when to elope in Scotland

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where to elope in Scotland

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unique ceremonies

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making it legal

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handfastings + celtic rituals

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the right suppliers

when to elope in Scotland

When to elope comes down to your personal preference and circumstance. There is no real “right” time of year to elope in Scotland. Are you a high-energy summer lover? The romance of spring? The colour-loving autumner? Or the cosy-up wild-weather winter embracer? Each season has its pros and its cons but Scotland is equally beautiful all year round.

Spring (Mar-May)

In early spring you might still be surprised with a little snow, especially the further north you go and the weather can definitely be unpredictable (four seasons in a day!). The snowcapped mountain tops with the blooms of Spring make it worth the risk. Plus, there are generally fewer tourists at this time of year (especially earlier in Spring) and the sunsets/sunrises are best at this time of year.

Summer (Jun-Aug)

We may not have the warmest summers but we have long daylight hours which means you can really make a whole day of your elopement. The land will be a lush deep green and the country will feel alive. A couple of things to consider – Scotland is popular in the summer and we have little biting flying insects (midges) which can make a day fairly miserable if they’re on the hunt (they are most prolific in the North and West).

Autumn (Sept-Nov)

The colours of Scotland in Autumn are stunning – rich oranges and reds blanket the country. And if you can strike at the right time of season you might even avoid our biting friends, the midges. It can still be a little busy at this time of year but on the otherside of the coin, you might get lucky and get some late summer warmth (which tends to happen).

Winter (Dec-Feb)

Easy to discount because the Scottish weather doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. But if you want to elope at a quiet time of year and love the idea of cosying up by a fire after embracing the cold and wind together outside then I’d give Winter another thought. It’s got an unrivaled wild romance. Our Winters tend not to be too extreme when it comes to snow but it’s always a risk.

Don’t have time to read this now? Skip to the downloadable guide on eloping in Scotland.

where to elope in Scotland

This might turn out to be the hardest part of your planning journey – deciding which amazing place will steal your heart.

This is a part of the planning process where having a local on board can make all the difference – I am more than happy to help with location planning and scouting! Sometimes it comes down to what element draws you in the most. There are too many options to go into detail but here are just a few of my faves:

glens + woodland (earth)

  • Glencoe
  • Glen Etive
  • Isle of Skye (Fairy Glen)
  • The Trossachs
  • Dunkeld Forest, Perthshire

munros + vistas (air)

  • Ben A’an
  • Old Man of Storr (Isle of Skye)
  • The Quiraing (Isle of Skye)
  • Stac Polly, Ullapool
  • Aviemore

lochs + beaches (water)

  • Loch Lomond
  • Outer Hebrides (Harris, Lewis)
  • Tyninghame Bay, Berwickshire
  • Achmelvich Beach

castles, ruins + volcanoes (fire)

  • Eilean Donan, Highlands
  • Culzean Castle, Ayrshire
  • Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire
  • Edinburgh City

unique ceremonies

In Scotland, you can tailor your ceremony to suit you as a couple – as well as integrating your belief and faith values. We have two different types of ceremony:

Civil Ceremony – a non-religious ceremony which can take place anywhere as agreed with the registrar (except religious buildings)

Religious or Belief Ceremony – can take place anywhere by someone approved to conduct a ceremony (for example, Christian, Humanist, Agnostic, Pagan)

The latter offers a wider range of more personalised services – if you are not religious (like a lot of people in Scotland) the belief systems such as Humanism or Agnostic make it easy to have a beautiful custom ceremony.

It makes me SO happy to say that Scotland welcomes same-sex and interfaith marriages with open arms.

making it legal

Giving notice – wherever you choose to elope in Scotland you need to give notice to the Local Registrar by filling out the Marriage Notice form. This must be no earlier than 3 months and no later than 28 days from your elopement date. (So the earliest you can tie the knot is 29 days if you’re looking to elope on the wind!)

 

if you are coming from outside the UK to marry in Scotland

If you live outside the UK, you’re able to marry in Scotland if you send a certificate from your country stating that there is no known legal impediment to the marriage along with your marriage notice. If it’s not in English, you’ll need a certified English translation. You may also need a Marriage Visitor Visa if living outside of EEA.

More information on the legal process from:

The National Records of Scotland

Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland

Visit Scotland

handfastings + celtic rituals

If you’d like to honour local ancient marrying practices during your ceremony then there is nothing more beautiful than a celtic handfasting. Where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ is said to originate from, this is a lovely ceremony which involves tying a hand-made cord around each your hands to symbolise the joining of your lives. 

Flowers by Snapdragon, Edinburgh

the right suppliers

We’re not a big country, which means many of our suppliers from the larger towns and cities are willing to travel to provide their services.

I have a strong network of suppliers within different regions to help you find the best people to match your ideas for the day. This is includes some wonderful & unique accommodation options. (I’m always on the hunt for the next treehouse or converted horse cart or woodland cottage!)