How to elope in Glencoe

The complete guide for your glencoe elopement or small wedding

[Updated 2021]

Glencoe in three words…

WILD. ANCIENT. VAST.

Why you should elope in Glencoe…

glencoe elopement location

Close your eyes and think of Scotland. I’ll hazard a bet that one of the images flashing through your mind is one of Glencoe. A quintessentially Scottish place – with the vast glens, the babbling brooks, lochans, wild stags and cosy pub fires, it’s easy to see why so many people choose to elope in Glencoe.

 

More than that… Glencoe is one of the those places that makes you feel something.

 

Your heart will thump in your chest at the sight of it. There is something about the place that feels ancient and reverent. It has an ‘old soul’ and you can tell the land has seen quite a history! (more on this at the bottom of the page for you history buffs…)

It’s always a magical moment watching couples experience Glencoe on their wedding day – watching the wonder and awe appear on their faces is one of my favourite parts of being a Glencoe elopement photographer.

Aside from being a remarkable landscape, Glencoe is also relatively accessible to enjoy for people of all abilities – you don’t need to be a super fit mountaineering expert to soak in the best of Glencoe. Many of my couples are surprised by how easy it is to get to locations within the valley that feel incredibly vast – it’s easy to feel a sense of ‘remoteness’.

And for elopers who are making a trip out of their wedding (mini-moon tiiiiime), Glencoe and the Lochaber area has SO much to offer for visitors and adventure-seekers. It’s a brilliant base for at least a few days.

elope in glencoe in autumn
eloping couple under rainbow in glencoe

contents

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Where is the best place to elope in Glencoe

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Where to stay when you elope in Glencoe

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How to get to Glencoe for your elopement

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When to elope in Glencoe

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Preparing to elope in Glencoe

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My top tips for eloping in Glencoe

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How to get married outdoors in Glencoe

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Costs to consider when you elope in Glencoe

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Glencoe elopement packages

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Sample Glencoe elopement itinerary

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Places to visit near Glencoe

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Where to eat when eloping in Glencoe

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Glencoe hiking - walking trails

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Activities in/around Glencoe

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A wee bit of history of Glencoe

Where is the best place to elope in Glencoe

Glencoe ceremony locations and adventure spots

Choosing your ceremony location is always a fun part of planning your Glencoe elopement. If you book me as your Glencoe elopement photographer, we’ll get stuck into the planning side straightaway.

The first thing I do is send you a wee questionnaire so we can get to know each other better. This helps me get a feel for what kind of places make you come alive as a couple. Then I head off, armed with info about you, to research and suggest some locations for you – whether it’s your ceremony location or where you’ll adventure to on the day. And we go from there – nice and simples.

In the meantime, here’s a wee burst of inspiration for where to elope in Glencoe…

Glencoe valley view by Lagangarbh Hut

One of my favourite spots – I can’t get enough of that view over the valleys. This location is also home to the iconic ‘wee white cottage’ which has a gorgeous pebble river running alongside. It’s a versatile place with lots of different views but it can be a little boggy underfoot! This is a popular stopping point and trail start so be aware that in busier seasons you’re likely to have a few hikers and tourists walking on by.

Lagangarbh Hut glencoe elopement
Vow renewal in Glencoe
Romantic glencoe elopement ceremony

The Study

Set up high over the valleys – this spot requires a 10 min hike up to get unrivalled views over the Three Sisters mountains. With plenty of flat rock around, it also makes a great ceremony location for those who have a few guests attending. This area is a little more out of reach for day-to-day tourists but is popular with elopers and photographers.

the study glencoe elopement ceremony
the study glencoe epic elopement adventure

That’s me!

Glencoe Lochan

Located on the edge of the village – why not elope in Glencoe Lochan is a wonder wee spot for a ceremony with beautiful views in the background. (A lochan is a wee loch) It’s easily accessed an on still days reflects a beautiful mirror refection. Your ceremony is likely to take place just off the path so this location is best suited for just 2 elopers (though be aware that Lochan walkers will likely go past!). There is also the surrounding beautiful woodland for folks who would prefer a more private ceremony then take some photos by the Lochan after.

glencoe lochan ceremony wedding elopement
romantic forest elopement in glencoe

Glen Etive

If it’s good enough for James Bond…. Glen Etive has single-track road leading through the spectacular glen which was featured in film Skyfall. It also makes a great elopement location – especially the Loch at the bottom which creates a great mountainous backdrop close to water.

glen etive skyfall elopement couple
glen etive elopement couples adventure
dramatic glencoe elopement
wild glencoe elopement wedding outdoors

Where to stay when you elope in Glencoe

Romantic accommodation options in Glencoe

The Glencoe and Lochaber area

The gateway to the Scottish Highlands – Glencoe is a jaw-dropping introduction to the north of Scotland. Glencoe is a valley pass – what people refer to as ‘Glencoe’ is a vast mountainous area without any large settlements on it. The A82 trunk road goes right through the middle of the glen.

If you type ‘Glencoe ‘ into Google maps it’ll plonk that pin right in the middle of the valley somewhere – it’s not a starting point. Some people get a little confused by this as it’s a bit unclear about where to begin exploring Glencoe – truthfully, there’s no right place to park up to start at. I think this is part of the reason that Glencoe always feels like a new adventure whenever you go there!

The closest town is Glencoe Village which is really a main street with only a couple of small convenience stores and a cafe surrounded by houses – blink and you will miss it. Ballachulish is the next closest town and has a few more amenities than Glencoe Village but you’ll have to travel to Fort William (30 mins by car) if you’re looking for a bigger selection of shops and restaurants.

As Glencoe is a valley pass, they’re aren’t many accommodation/amenities in the heart of Glencoe itself. This often comes as a bit of a surprise to couples looking to elope in Glencoe. With the exception of a couple of youth hostels and an Inn, you will have to look a little past the valley to find nearby accommodation. For example, in the surrounding towns/villages or further north to the Fort William/Glen Nevis area.

glencoe views for elopers

Accommodation for Glencoe elopements or small weddings

Whilst planning your accomodation when you elope in Glencoe, there are a few things to consider…

 

  • Do you want to be able to get ready in different rooms?
  • What level of service do you want? (half board hotel, self-catering etc.)
  • What level of privacy is important to you? (i.e. would you rather have a whole place to yourself?)
  • What style? (cosy, luxury, boho, modern)
  • How far are you willing to travel to get to/from Glencoe?
  • Do you want getting-ready photos? (if so, does this affect the style and size of room you choose?)
  • Budget

Hotels near Glencoe

 

Glencoe House, Glencoe Village

Located on the edge of Glencoe Village, this immaculate grand house is a wonderful spot to stay in. Their suites are especially roomy and luxurious. Not to mention, it’s only a 5 min walk from Glencoe Lochan which is wonderful spot for a ceremony or first look.

https://glencoe-house.com/

Kingshouse Hotel

Newly rebuilt, the modern Kingshouse Hotel is located closer to Glen Etive and has amazing views over Buachaille Etive Mor. It’s also famous for its friendly stags who you’ll see wandering near the car park (though it’s best not to feed them, as tempting as it is!) They’ve also created a little area for ceremonies which is great for people eloping with family and want an accessible spot.

https://www.kingshousehotel.co.uk/

Ardhru House, Onich

Located on the loch’s edge in the quiet town of Onich, this beautiful old house has the grandeur and cosiness you’d expect from a top Highlands hotel mixed with a modern decor twist. The restaurant now serves meals all day.

https://www.ardrhuhouse.com/

glencoe elopement accommodation - glencoe house
glencoe elopement highland deer kingshouse hotel

Self-catering/Serviced accommodation options

 

St Mary’s Sitooterie, Appin

The Sitooterie cottage is the cosy new addition to the ultra-hip St. Mary’s Space located 30 mins from Glencoe. St. Mary’s doubles up as a ceremony / evening meal space inside the beautiful converted church.

https://www.stmarys.space/marry

The Corran, Corran

Located on the edge of Glencoe by the ferry, The Corran are luxury serviced rooms with a nautical rustic vibe. Though it has no restaurant or cooking facilities, it’s within easy reach of cafes/restaurants in the area.

http://www.thecorran.net/

The Byre, Kinlochleven

A quaint little cottage with a modern interior sitting above Loch Leven, it has outstanding views and only 6 miles from Glencoe. A retreat in the mountains – perfect for a few nights of peace and quiet.

https://www.myhighlandholiday.co.uk/the-byre/

 

AirBnB Options

 

Wild Nurture Luxury Offgrid Eco Log Cabin, Fort William

A luxury log cabin for ultimate romance in a beautiful setting. Can be used as a ceremony space for wet-weather backup.

Wild Nurture Eco Lodge booking

Bluebell Cottage, Ballachulish

If you fancy the idea of retreating to a hot tub at the end of your elopement in Glencoe then this might an option for you! This modern cabin comes with all the mod-cons and is conveniently located for Glencoe exploration.

Bluebell Cottage booking

Signal Rock Cottage, Glencoe

One of the few options nestled right in Glencoe itself – a cottage for up to 6 guests. Imagine chilling with your partner (and maybe a couple of your bestest mates) round the fire pit after your Glencoe elopement. Pretty sweet eh?

Signal Rock Cottage booking

How to get to Glencoe for your elopement

travelling to glencoe for your small outdoor wedding

There are lots of options for getting to the Glencoe Area but getting around Glencoe itself can be tricky if you don’t have a car.

If staying in Glencoe Village or at the few inner-valley spots then you can probably hike to a lot of the beauty spots.

Please note, there are only very limited public transport options inside the valley itself.

Transport options when eloping in Glencoe…

By car

A car offers the most flexibility when travelling around the Glencoe area (if using an electric vehicle check out ChargePlaces Scotland for charge point locations). Driving along Glencoe valley (A82 road) is easy enough (it’s a wide dual carriage-way) with a few small car parks along the way immediately off the road. But what this does mean is that it is easy to miss a car park unless you’re really prepared or familiar with the area. Be careful not to slam on the brakes to get into a car park as the Glencoe pass is one of the busiest trunk roads going to/from the Highlands and there are a lot of heavy lorries etc. which speed along the road and can’t react quickly to drivers who unexpectedly brake for a car park.

Scenic drive from Edinburgh – go via Stirling/Callander. Wave to the giant Kelpies statues as you drive by on the motorway and stop into the quaint little town of Callander (I recommend a brownie from the Fat Jacks – Ben Ledi Coffee Company). If you have time, take a quick detour to see the Killin falls or go for a lochside walk at Lochearnhead.

Scenic drive from Glasgow – enjoy the drive via Loch Lomond and the Trossachs to see a beautiful stretch of Loch Lomond before arriving in Glencoe.

By coach

Citylink runs a Glasgow to Skye service daily which has a couple of stops in Glencoe (arriving at the Ski Centre, Visitor Centre or in Ballachulish if your accommodation is there) – running a few times every day.

Local Bus – the N44 from Shiel Buses runs between Kinlochleven and Fort William, stopping at the edge of Glencoe Village. From here you’d have to hike into the valley.

By train

The nearest station is Fort William (30 mins away) from which you’d need to get a bus or taxi towards Glencoe/ your accommodation.

By plane

I recommend flying into Edinburgh or Glasgow if arriving from outside Scotland. The larger airports will have better flight times and more options for transport options to take you on to Glencoe. It also means you can see one of these beautiful cities on your way in/out.

Getting around on your Glencoe elopement day

If you’ve arrived into Glencoe by public transport and are worrying about how you’ll get around on your elopement day then fear not, we usually offer to drive our couples on their day. (We’ll offer this even if you’ve arrived by car!)

We know the roads and the area but most importantly, it means you can RELAX whilst we worry about where to go and how to get there. Easy peasy!

When to elope in Glencoe

What is the best time of year for eloping in Glencoe?

I’m afraid there is no easy answer for this one! Every season brings its pros and cons but rest assured that whatever season you pick when you elope in Glencoe, it will be an amazing experience.

Glencoe across the seasons

glencoe spring elopement snow cap

Spring (Mar-May)

Spring is one of our most unpredictable seasons. Chance of snow right through to April – sometimes we’ll get a last burst of snow in April out of nowhere. The brown/orange tones slowly begin to turn to green – the landscape becomes a patchwork of different colours. But you’re also likely to still see some snow-capped mountains which are rather beautiful.

Because the weather is turning, there is a strong chance of beautiful foggy mornings that clear throughout the day. We’re sometimes lucky to get a burst of summer-like warmth in Spring. In the woodland areas of Glencoe, you might find snowdrops and rhododendrons in bloom with beautiful flowers. The days start to get longer quickly bringing lots of timeline options.

Summer (Jun-Aug)

The most noticeable thing about eloping in Glencoe in summer is how green the area becomes – it’s blanketed by green leaves and ferns – in later summer you’ll see the heather come alive with vibrant pink/purple blooms. The long days and short nights offer a big amount of flexibility about how you spend your day.

This is the busiest season of the year so it’s worth noting that you may need to be careful where/what time you have your ceremony to maximise privacy. In terms of weather – we’re still likely to have summer rain but it tends to be less heavy – showers which you can wait out. Keep an eye out for young deer munching their way through the glen. But beware of the midges which can make waterside activities and sunset/dusk times a bit unbearable.

summer glencoe elopement in Glen Etive
autumn elopement in epic mountains of glencoe

Autumn (Sep-Nov)

Autumn brings rich deep colours across Glencoe – striking reds and orange tones. The shorter days and lower sun bring in beautiful light for large parts of the day – perfect for photos. The weather starts to turn more unpredictable again but there is often a surprise last burst of summer warmth late into the year. Autumn is perfect sunset time – hopefully

At this time of year, the stags begin their rutting season so don’t be alarmed if you hear strange noises echoing throughout the glen. The midges begin dying off in Autumn so they a less of a worry at this time of the year thankfully!

Winter (Dec-Feb)

The unpredictable weather of Glencoe continues right through the winter – some clear frosty sky-blue days interspersed with blustery wet days and snowstorms. This only makes Glencoe more of an adventure to enjoy – there are fewer tourists in Glencoe but when there is snow it becomes a wonderland of winter sports activities (there is a ski slope in Glencoe).

It can get pretty chilly outside but fear not – we spend short bursts outdoors before retreating to the warmth of a car and heading to the next spot. And it’s a great excuse to enjoy a hot toddy throughout the day – we’ll even bring a flask! This season will certainly blow the cobwebs away but you’ll be rewarded with a cosy hot drink by a fire at the end of it all – which is rather romantic in my book! It’s also the perfect season for sunrise lovers – the colours are often dramatic and it means you don’t have to wake up super early to enjoy it.

winter elope in glencoe couple

Has the idea of a Glencoe elopement already stolen your heart?

Preparing to elope in Glencoe

what you need to bring for your Glencoe elopement

As with any outdoor activity, it’s best to come prepared for different eventualities. This is even more important in Scotland where our climate tends to be a little unpredictable. Us locals always recommend preparing for four seasons in a day because it’s not uncommon!

As a Glencoe elopement photographer, I’ve developed a comprehensive go-to list of necessities for an elopement in the glen. And in the run-up, I’ll make sure you have everything you need!

Here’s a starter Glencoe elopement packing list for maximum comfort…

glencoe elopement footwear
tartan blanket co elopement in scottish highlands
glencoe elopement couple snacks
  • Sturdy footwear – an absolute must, the ground around Glencoe is boggy and uneven. You’ll want footwear with ankle support, decent grips and is waterproof (and if waterproof isn’t an option then don’t skimp on buying decent waterproof socks. Wet feet are sad feet!).
  • Wet weather protection – sounds obvious but for real – a nice waterproof jacket which you can easily throw on and off is a godsend (hopefully you won’t need it but you’ll grateful if you do). Hardy umbrellas are also a useful tool – we always keep a few spares in the car if you forget!
  • Layers – in Scotland, we’ve learned to always wear layers so we can adjust to the ever-changeable weather easily. I recommend a cosy blanket like the Tartan Blanket Co for adding warmth easily and can throw on/off between photos if it’s chilly.
  • Sunscreen – contrary to popular belief you can get sunburnt in Scotland (you don’t need to have red hair to experience this). Even on cloudy days you’ll want to make sure you’re well protected. And for makeup wearers – there are lots of fab options for makeup-friendly sunblocks.
  • Midge repellent – don’t go to the Highlands in the summer without it, trust me. Our personal fave is Smidge.
  • Snacks + water – nae hangry couples on our watch! The adrenalin of the day can really mess with your normal eating cycle so make sure you’ve got a few snacks on standby for when hunger strikes.
  • Outdoor toilet provisions – okay it’s an awkward topic but let’s get this outta the way. There are little to no public toilets when out and about in the valley. So if you gotta go between rest stops then make sure you come prepared. I have tips and tricks that I share with my couples beforehand so you don’t need to worry about getting caught out.
  • Nice bag with waterproof bottom or waterproof materials for protecting items on the ground – if we’re out hiking then be mindful that if you’re carrying something it might end up in the photos. Choose your accessories with this in mind. Some people opt for a nice bag but lay it onto a small tarp/IKEA bag when they need it pop it down somewhere.
  • Handwarmers – in your pockets, down your top, in your gloves; handwarmers are a handy little tool for keeping those chilly bits toasty and it makes ALL the difference on cooler days.
  • Ear protection – easy to forget but on windy days you’ll be really grateful if you packed something to cover your ears to stop them getting sore. Ear muffs or a hood to wear between photos are wonderful.

 

 

And lastly – aside from the practicalities of what to pack, it’s important that you prepare to leave no trace when you elope in Glencoe. This means ensuring we minimise our impact on this wonderful place – leaving nothing behind and respect the land and it’s users.

More about leaving no trace on your Scottish elopement here… and we’ll chat in more detail about this as we plan your elopement day!

My top tips for eloping in Glencoe

from a glencoe elopement photographer

Here they are… the best tips I can give you for a stress-free Glencoe elopement or outdoor wedding in Glencoe.

Have a mid-week Glencoe elopement

Eloping during the week means it’ll be more likely that the glen will be quieter and you’ll have your pick of ceremony spot. It also means that the limited amenities (restaurants etc.) will be easier to get into.

 

Embrace the weather

The Scottish Highlands is notoriously unpredictable weather-wise no matter what season you elope in Glencoe. Come prepared for all seasons but at the end of the day, the best bit of advice I can give is to roll with it. I have never had a couple who felt their day was ruined by ‘bad’ weather. And here are my top tips for coping with the famous Scottish rain on your Glencoe elopement.

 

Beware the Midges

Coping with midges on Scottish elopement might be something you have to consider if you’re eloping in late spring/summer/early autumn. These little flying biting insects can be incredibly annoying (and itchy). They LOVE hanging out near water, boggy wet ground and during warmer weather and sunset/dusk. They HATE wind (tiny little wings can’t move too fast), layered fabrics, Smidge repellent, smoke and cooler days. If you elope in midge season, fear not, I’ll arm you with all the info you need to avoid midges as best we can!

coping with marrying outdoors in glencoe
coping with midges on elopement day

Boggy uneven ground

Glencoe is incredibly boggy – as I mentioned above, good footwear is essential! The ground is full of heather mounds, hidden bogs and scree paths. It’s all part of the fun but my top tip is to tread carefully and stick to paths where possible. Dave wandered off into a moor once and ended up falling into a bog up to his thigh (just the one leg fell in) and he was a sad wet husband for the rest of the day.

 

Limited parking for certain locations

The parking can be tricky for certain spots, especially during peak tourist season, so be aware that plans may need to change to work around this. This may mean going to a different location first then returning later.

 

Don’t feed the deer

They are cute but it’s best not to feed them. There is growing concern over the domestication of wild Glencoe deer because they’ve learned that people = food. This can be dangerous for people and deer.

 

Leave No Trace

As I mentioned above… when you elope in Glencoe it’s important to leave it in the same (or better) condition as we found it. This is known as ‘leave no trace‘ and something I talk about along the planning journey. This means you can relax on the day knowing we’re taking the right actions to keep Glencoe wild.

kingshouse hotel elopement couple
glencoe elopement outfit

How to get married outdoors in Glencoe

How to legally elope in the Scottish Highlands

7 basics steps of how to legally elope in Glencoe…

Find your celebrant

Find your celebrant – another benefit of marrying in Scotland is that we have lots of different options for who can marry you based on your beliefs. If you wish to have a religious ceremony then you can seek out an appropriate local organisation to help with this.

For people who are non-religious, there are a few options – civil ceremony (with a local registrar) which tends to be quite legally focused. There are also Humanist celebrants (a belief organisation) which is a popular choice in Scotland as it’s very ‘you’ focused and gives a great amount of flexibility on how the ceremony is conducted. Similarly, there are also other belief organisations such as the Agnostic Society, Pagan etc. which are also wonderful options. Most of these options will have celebrants who are willing to travel if you elope in Glencoe.

Confirm your witnesses

Confirm who your witnesses are – you will need 2 adult witnesses to sign your Marriage Schedule. (Dave and I can be your witnesses if you’re eloping just the two of you – in fact, we LOVE being witnesses!)

Submit your paperwork to the registry office

Submit your Marriage Notice M10 paperwork between 3 months and 29 days of your wedding date. This will be submitted to the local registry office in Fort William. They will require the exact coordinates of where you’re getting married (I can help with this!) and details of your witnesses + celebrant.

Write your vows + finalise your ceremony

Write your vows and confirm what will be included in your ceremony – there is no right or wrong way to do this. Some couples write their vows quite far in advance, some the morning of their elopement. Some couples write them together, some keep them secret. This is wholeheartedly about what YOU want. Your celebrant will give you lots of advice and support – as well as crafting a beautiful ceremony overall. If you’re interested in including some ancient Celtic rituals (like handfastings and oathing stones) then feel free to have a read about them here.

Pick-up your marriage schedule

Pick up your Marriage Schedule from the registry office within 7 days before your elopement (check opening times).

Get married!!

The day has arrived… let’s get you married! After your ceremony you will sign the Marriage Schedule, alongside the witnesses and your celebrant.

Return your Marriage Schedule

Return Marriage Schedule within 3 calendar days of your marriage to the Registry Office so it’s all official. WOOP!

glencoe lochan humanist ceremony
glencoe elopement marriage schedule

But what if I don’t want a legal marriage ceremony?

Civil Partnership / Commitment Ceremony / Vow Renewal in Glencoe

If you’re not going to elope in Glencoe (or are already married!) but wish to have a ceremony in Glencoe then absolutely go it. I am a firm believer in affirming your commitment in a way that feels right for you, even if it’s less conventional! There are NO RULES about this – so if you want a non-traditional ceremony in Glencoe to celebrate your love then I say hell yes, I am here for it!

If you would like someone to officiate a ceremony for you (even if not legal) then there are lots of options. Celebrants from the Humanist Society of ScotlandAgnostic Scotland or the Association of Independent Celebrants would be great places to start in your search for the right celebrant.

glencoe elopement vows
glencoe elopement handfasting cord

Costs to consider when you elope in Glencoe

How to budget for a Scottish Highlands elopement

Like any wedding – there is no hard and fast rule about how much an elopement costs but here are a few things you should take into account when budgeting for your Glencoe elopement:

  • Travel surcharges – some of your preferred suppliers may charge you for travel fees to get to Glencoe if they are not based in the area
  • There are no permit fees to elope outdoors in Glencoe (woohoo!)
  • If you decide to have a wet weather back up option, your accommodation provider may be able to provide this for a fee
  • Car hire cost/transport costs – getting to/around Glencoe will incur costs to be considered
  • Travelling for supplies – being in the Scottish Highlands often means you have to travel a bit further to get basic provisions
  • The Scottish Highlands also tend to be a bit more expensive for amenities than the cities due to a higher cost of living and high demand for limited options
elope in glencoe

Glencoe elopement packages

Choosing a Glencoe elopement photographer

Getting married outdoors in Glencoe i.e. out in the wilds comes with a lot more unpredictability and uncontrollable elements than a venue-based wedding. This doesn’t have to be scary if you have the right people around you…

romantic glencoe elopement couple - raini

When you elope in Glencoe, you’ll want to choose a local experienced photographer.  You’ll want someone who is very familiar with the place throughout all different conditions. Choose someone who you are confident can help guide you, not just in the run up, but on the day itself. A photographer often ends up being the person who leads your day – keeping an eye on the time, suggesting plan B’s, working with the landscape and its weather to keep you safe, comfortable and relaxed. Be sure to research your photographer carefully.

The other side of this is a bit of photo geekery but it’s important to be aware of… every country has its own quality of light and colour. Scotland, in particular, is known for its unique light and how it interacts with the landscape and skin tones. It’s quite difficult to go to another country and be able to quickly learn how to work with the light and the landscape there – it takes time and practice. An experienced local photographer will know how to manipulate that wonderful Scottish light so you can be confident you’ll end up with incredible images.

 

Your local Scotland elopement photographer

husband + wife team…

Hi! I’m Raini

The boss lady + cheeky sh*te

I’ll be your chief photographer, editor + planning sidekick, dedicating every minute of your day to making sure you look and feel just as epic as the amazing Scottish vistas in the background! From the first moment you tell me your plans, I’ll start beavering away helping you to create a truly unforgettable elopement in Scotland that feels right for you as a couple.

I’m sorry (not sorry) for the bad jokes, puns and awkward phrases I’ll tell. I keep things light-hearted but still give you plenty of space for those quiet snuggly intimate moments where everything else melts away. Whatever the weather (and there can be a lot of it in Scotland!), I’ll move literal mountains to make sure you have an incredible day!

Howdy! I’m Dave

Chief coo-spotter + flower-holder

I’ll be your second shooter, videographer, drone pilot, logistics expert, and chief highland coo spotter! I’m all about the experience and making sure you have the best day possible. I’ll be your personal chauffeur, ferrying you in comfort and style between all the most stunning shooting locations (to capture you looking like your best selves!), while car stereo DJ’ing you a mix of bangin’ Scottish tunes along the way.

Whether I’m holding your flowers, dog-sitting your pooches, dispensing umbrellas and midge repellent, or helping you pin your boutonniere; Raini would say I’m often pretty handy to have around.

raini rowell glencoe elopement photographer
dave rowell scotland elopement photographer

As part of all my elopement packages, you’ll have a support system as you go through the planning – someone to ask questions of, to give you recommendations, help you find the right ceremony spot and craft a timeline for your day which suits you perfectly.

I am SO passionate about making sure you never feel ‘out on a limb’ when planning your elopement – you’ll always have a Raini to chat ideas or challenges through with.

This has the added benefit of meaning that when Dave and I show up on your elopement in Glencoe, you’ll feel like you’ve got a familiar pair of friendly faces to spend time with. We love getting to know you so that when you elope in Glencoe, on the day, we’ll know you well enough to ensure that you have a stress-free incredible day.

Check out my Glencoe elopement photography packages for more info about what I offer.

So, what does a Glencoe elopement look like?

What to do when you elope in Glencoe

Glencoe is SO diverse – there are so many ways you can spend the day. This is one of the benefits when you elope in Glencoe is there’s a lot of scope to shape the day to be truly about what makes you feel alive and connected!

Sample itinerary for eloping in Glencoe

Here is an example of what an all-day elopement in Glencoe could look like…

mid-October in Glencoe

[10-12 HOURS COVERAGE]

For the nature-loving, dram-o-whisky enthusiasts eloping with a couple of family members.

08:30…….. Getting ready + post-sunrise ‘first look’ over the Glen

10:30……… Handfasting ceremony at a Lochan with a small group of family members

11:15……….. Pop champagne and loch-side picnic lunch with light whisky tasting

13:00……… ADVENTURING in Glen Etive!

15:30……… Pop into the Clachaig Inn for a hot toddie to warm up by the fire for a short moment

17:00……… Enjoy a ‘first dance’ at sunset along the trails by the Three Sisters

18:30……… Dinner and celebration with family at your accommodation with a private chef

quaich celtic ceremony glencoe
whisky tasting glencoe elopement

Places to visit near Glencoe

What to do when you adventure in Glencoe

Just a few places worth a visit before/during/after you elope in Glencoe…

Kinlochleven

Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall – take 90 min round trip to see Scotland’s 3rd highest waterfall.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

CHOO CHOO! A brilliant spot to see the old Jacobite steam train crossing the iconic bridge. It crosses twice a day and will delight Harry Potter fans to see the ‘Hogwarts Express’.

Steal Falls, Glen Nevis

One of my favourite spots in the area… walk 40 mins to get to these incredible falls. There is even an adrenalin-rising tightrope bridge to cross for those who want to get up close and personal to the falls and a wee bothy.

Glen Etive

Don’t forget to take a scenic drive down the single-track road in Glen Etive. As mentioned above, it’s a stunning spot for an elopement ceremony!

Ben Nevis / Nevis Scenic Gondola

Avid hikers? Climb the UK’s biggest mountain, Ben Nevis. Takes 7-8 hours on average. Or 10, if you’re anything like me! Better yet, why not just take the Nevis Scenic Gondola to see the mountain the easy way!

Rannoch Moor

Keep your eyes peeled for an easy-to-miss layby on the way into Glencoe. A quick stop here to carefully traverse the bogs around Loch Rannoch for wonderful views over the moor.

Kilchurn Castle

A bit further out, Kilchurn Castle is a beautiful waterside castle and easily one of my faves. The viewing spot is private land so you have to be very careful if photographing or planning to have a ceremony there as there is likely a permit to be paid.

kilchurn castle scotland elopement

Kilchurn Castle

glenfinnan viaduct elopement

Glenfinnan Viaduct

glencoe steall falls

Steall Falls

rannoch moor scotland elopement

Rannoch Moor

glen etive scotland elopement

Glen Etive

ben nevis elopement actiivty

Ben Nevis

Where to eat when eloping in Glencoe

Restaurants and cafes around Glencoe

Sit-down meals

Clachaig Inn, Glencoe

An iconic stop when visiting Glencoe and a brilliant cosy stop when you elope in Glencoe. This cosy mountainside pub is the perfect place for a bite of lunch/dinner if you fancy a dram and a fireplace to cosy up to after. With a high brow pub-grub menu – it’s a great option for most. They even do live folk music most weekend evenings for the real Scottish pub experience!

Kingshouse Hotel, Glencoe

Scottish fine dining, the modern restaurant bar is spacious and well-equipped. Tasty food and you can spot some cute nosey deer in the car park.

The Laroch Restaurant, Ballachulish

Highly-regarded, the Laroch serves up locally-sourced Scottish fine dining food made by a Michelin Star awarded chef.

Inverlochy Castle Restaurant, Fort William

End the day in style by retreating to the luxury Inverlochy Castle for a fine dining meal in a loch-side castle. Bliss!

Clachaig Inn elopement glencoe
Clachaig Inn elopement glencoe

For a quick bite on the run

Glencoe Cafe

In the village, you can grab a quick lunch to take on the road whilst we adventure if you’re looking for something simple!

Glencoe Ski Centre Cafe (due to reopen Summer 2021)

Similarly, the Ski Centre cafe is a good rest stop where you can grab a snack or a cuppa! You can even head up the ski lift in your finery for incredible views over Glencoe.

The personal service options

Hire a private chef

It’s your elopement and if you want someone to come to your accommodation and serve you up a slap-up dinner after a day of adventuring then you absolutely can!

Request a picnic from your hotel

This is a perfect option when you want to maximise being out adventuring rather than sitting in a restaurant. It also means you can eat your lunch somewhere rather epic.

Hire a picnic specialist

For example, Scottish Wild Picnics who will create a luxury picnic with an optional setup for a true romantic experience? Oh, go on then!

Glencoe hiking – walking trails

For adventurous couples of all abilities

Do you dream of hiking somewhere beautiful on your elopement day? Or maybe looking for inspiration for the days after you elope in Glencoe?

Here are some ideas for a few Glencoe hiking trails

Lost Valley Trail

2.5 miles [2-3 hours walk] – moderate difficulty

This walk starts off at the biggest A82 car park right at the foot of the three sisters. It takes you on a wonderful walk through a hidden valley. There is some mild scrambling required in places.

Glencoe Lochan

1.5 miles [1-1.5 hours] – easy difficulty

This lovely lochan-side walk is an easy beautiful walk. On a clear still day, you’ll see mirror-reflections of the trees and mountains in the water. There are parking facilities available.

Signal Rock and An Torr

1.5 miles [1-1.5 hours] – easy difficulty

A lovely short walk with fantastic views over the Bidean Nam Bian mountain. The car park is unsigned but close to the Clachaig Inn.

The Devil’s Staircase

8.75 miles [4-5 hours] – moderate difficulty

This is a section of the famous West Highland Way walk (and one of the most-anticipated sections) – it goes from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven with stunning views of Glencoe.

And if you’re looking for detailed information about each trail or for other trail options check out the WalkHighlands website, which is a fab resource for all walks across the Highlands.

epic glencoe elopement location

Activities in/around Glencoe

Things to do before or after your elopement

I highly recommend taking a few days before or after your elopement in the Glencoe area to explore and enjoy the area. Because there is so much to see in the area, some couples choose to have a half-day with me the day after their elopement. This is the perfect excuse to pop your wedding clothes back on or hike that trail you didn’t have time for on your wedding day…

Just a few ideas for Glencoe adventures…

  • Wild swimming and rock pool jumping in Glen Etive
  • Glencoe Landrover Safari with National Trust for Scotland – they are now offering private safaris for elopers lasting 2 hours
  • Hiking – this is the obvious one, see the trails above for ideas!
  • Via Ferrata at the Grey Mare’s Tail, Kinlochleven – why not brave the only Via Ferrata location in Scotland (assisted rock-climbing) whilst scrambling the 3rd highest waterfall in Scotland
  • Canyoning in Onich
  • Snowsports – enjoy skiing and snowboarding at the Glencoe Ski Centre
  • Take a gondola ride to the top of the ski slope in Glencoe
  • Mountain biking or taking a more gently cycle around a loch/lochan
  • Why not visit some of Glencoe’s famous filming locations – there are places from big hits such as Harry Potter / Outlander / Braveheart / Skyfall
  • Get up close and personal with some fancy booze makers – there is the Pixel Spirits Distillery Gin School or Ben Nevis Whiskey Distillery tasting tour
  • Slap your thighs along to some live music at the Clachaig Inn on the weekends
glencoe quaich ceremony
glen etive elopement dancing

A wee bit of the history of Glencoe

Once upon a very very very long time ago, Glencoe was a volcanic region – in the current ice age, glaciers have cut through the landscape to create the dramatic scenery we see today.

At first, there was Fingal, one of the great Celtic heroes and leader of the Feinn, warriors of Gaelic mythology. Glencoe was said to be his legendary home and you can see him referenced through Glencoe in the place names, for example, Sgor Nam Fiannaidh (rock of the Feinn).

The valley has a long and murderous history with clan battles (mostly featuring the Macdonald clan) and wars over ownership. This finally subsided following the atrocities of the Highland clearances.

It passed through many hands and in 1935, the National Trust for Scotland bought 12,800 acres of the glen to help protect the land from commercial exploitation. Through many donations, they’ve slowly extended their holding which means they now own most of the glen – from Rannoch Moor to Loch Leven.

This ancient land holds many stories

– and yours would be one of them

Begin your Glencoe adventure elopement now…

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6 Comments

  1. silvia

    Raini, I am speechless. Such a mixture of great infos and amazing photography,,, please take me back to Scotland now!

    Reply
  2. Sydney

    LOVE this guide on how to elope in Glencoe! It’s super helpful and full of a ton of amazing info.

    Reply
  3. Afton

    This guide for eloping in Glencoe is jam-packed with good travel trips! Once it is safe to travel again after COVID I have a trip to UK and Ireland planned and I’m definitely coming back to this post!

    Reply
  4. David

    Not gonna lie, I went straight to the history because I’m a huge history buff. You’re truly an expert on elopements in Glencoe. It shows in your work as well as all the helpful info you’ve written. Thank you for doing this!

    Reply
  5. Sierra Jessup

    This guide is amazing! What incredible content for anyone considering eloping or traveling to Glencoe! I’ve never heard of Midges before, so that was something new that I learned (along with a ton of other amazing info).

    Reply
  6. Jaymie Shearer

    What a thorough and great guide! This is an incredible resource for anyone wanting to elope in Glencoe. Great photos too!!

    Reply

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