How to plan a romantic proposal in Scotland

How to plan a romantic proposal in Scotland

Dec 9, 2020 | COUPLES SHOOT RESOURCES, LOVERS

Choosing to ask someone to spend the rest of their life together with you… it’s no small thing. But no matter how you do it, proposing to your partner should be a meaningful and memorable experience.

Thinking of popping the question in Scotland?

If proposing somewhere romantic in Scotland has been added to your list of ideas then here are a few more tips and tricks to help you plan an unforgettable proposal in Scotland…

Reasons to choose Scotland for your marriage proposal

  • Scotland is wildly romantic – I’m wholeheartedly biased but I truly believe Scotland is one of the most romantic places on earth (step aside Paris!)
  • You can easily find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted or witnessed
  • Scotland is incredibly diverse – lots of different activities and types of places you can propose in – it certainly makes for a memorable adventure
  • Whisky, celtic rituals, Harry Potter, wild deers, mountains, daft pheasants, Outlander, cosy pubs, fireside snuggles, folk music, ceilidh dancing, wild weather Scottish hospitality, jaw-dropping architecture, heather in bloom… I’d better stop there as there’s so many things which might draw you to Scotland
Dramatic winter glencoe scene for proposal in Scotland

Planning an unforgettable proposal

How to plan a marriage proposal in Scotland

  1. Reflect on your relationship and all the things which make your love special

    Take some time to figure out what interests you and excites you as a couple or the moments which have shaped your relationship. Use these to inspire your proposal.

  2. Decide when would be suitable to propose

    This all comes down to your own circumstances and preferences but remember that Scotland is quite different throughout the seasons so you should take this into account when planning, i.e. you might not like the cold or you might dream of Autumn colours

  3. Research and decide on a meaningful special location in Scotland

    Avoid choosing a place just because it’s pretty – really think about why a location is attractive to you and ask yourself if it’s appropriate to your relationship. For example, you might both love to wander in a local woodland so why not choose a Scottish forest to propose in. Or you might have dreamed of hiking on Isle of Skye as a bucketlist location so propose at Old Man of Storr.

  4. Plan out the experience

    How long do you want it to be – is it a whole day? is it longer? Depending on your timeframe then choose activities which are based on your values and interests as a couple.

  5. Plan out the details and hire appropriate vendors

    Do you need anything else to make your day special? Photographer? Florist? Caterer? etc.

  6. Pop the question! (and good luck!)

    The day has come and with all the love and thought you’ve put into the proposal, I’m sure they will say YES!

celebration at roulotte retreat, Scotland

How to create a meaningful proposal story

You don’t want a proposal story that’s been heard a thousand times before or feels cliched. Don’t you dare drop a ring into a champagne glass or propose on a sunset stroll along a beach – unless those things have true meaning and relevancy to you both.

Before we get into the details and logistics… here are a few tips to help you start planning a proposal which is unique and special to you as a couple.

Grab a pen and paper… let’s answer a few questions about your relationship to jumpstart some ideas about how to propose meaningfully.

  • Write down a list of things you enjoy doing together (i.e. hiking, watching movies, seeing new places, trying new foods, sport, adrenalin activities, watching sunrise/sunset etc.). Write down as many as you can think of!
  • Bucketlist items – write down anything that you have thought ‘oh I’d love to do that one day’ – but beware, make sure this is something you would both love to do. This is about the two of you together <3
  • What are your favourite memories together? Think of times when you were genuinely happy together – do they have any commonalities?
  • Note down the most pivotal moments in your relationship that has led you to this decision (i.e. your first meeting, that challenge your overcame together, that amazing experience where you realised you loved them)
  • If you could do anything, what would your ‘ideal date’ together look like? Try not to let logistics rule your answer. And put yourself in your partner’s shoes too whilst answering this.
  • Ask your friends and family how they would describe you as a couple.

This little exercise should hopefully bring all the things which are important to you as a couple back into perspective. Read over what you’ve answered and see if anything sparks inspiration or gets you excited about including in your proposal. For example, you might realise that you’re happiest when you’re hiking together and having a celebratory drink at the top so why not propose on a Scottish munro with a wee dram? Or you might realise you’ve been brought together by you shared love of food – why not hire an outdoor fine dining picnic supplier to create a romantic proposal picnic in an epic location?

Epic dramatic Glencoe elopement by local Scottish photographer - proposal location

15 of the best places to propose in Scotland

  1. Glencoe
  2. St. Abbs
  3. Dunnottar Castle
  4. Kilchurn Castle
  5. Ben A’an
  6. Stac Pollaidh
  7. Edinburgh – The Witchery
  8. Edinburgh – Holyrood Park
  9. Isle of Skye – Fairy Glen
  10. Isle of Skye – the Quiraing
  11. Isle of Arran
  12. Isle of Harris
  13. Loch Lomond
  14. Aviemore, Cairngorms
  15. Hermitage of Dunkeld, Perthshire

One of the very first questions (after ‘when will I propose?’) is where should I propose?

This is a little taster of some of the best places to propose in Scotland but if you choose to hire me as a photographer for your special moment then I’ll be sure to help you choose a location which is perfect for you. I can also direct you to some hidden gems that as a local photographer, I can guide you to!

  1. Glencoe + Glen Etive

A place which steals your heart everytime you travel through the Glencoe valley pass. Postcard-perfect and wildly unpredictable, Glencoe always feels like a brand new adventure every time you visit. Or visit neighbouring Glen Etive to feel whisked away from it all!

Glencoe viewpoint on romantic Scottish Highlands adventure session - proposal location
  1. St.Abbs

If rugged dramatic coastlines calls to you then look no further than St.Abbs. A cute coastal fishing village and also the filming location of ‘New Asgard’ in the Avengers movies. There is a stunning lighthouse and opportunities for amazing cliffside walks and views. The Scottish Borders also have a whole host of hidden gems so you can make a full day exploration of the area!

Proposal location in Scotland - cute couple cuddled up at St Abbs
  1. Dunnottar Castle

Also located on a dramatic coastal cliffside – Dunnottar Castle makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. An epic backdrop to a proposal, Dunnottar Castle also has a bunch of lovely beach walks for a barefooted beach stroll.

Dunnottar Castle elopement and proposal location in Scotland - couple hugging in front of Castle
  1. Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe

Imagine a Scottish castle in your head…. probably the image you conjure up is Eilean Donan Castle. It is the quintessential Scottish castle but it is a big tourist draw so it can be hard to find the privacy for a romantic proposal there. Kilchurn Castle near Glencoe area provides a wonderful backdrop that rivals Eilean Donan and is far more private.

Dancing at Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe elopement and proposal location
  1. Ben A’an

One of Scotland’s easier munros to climb but you are still rewarded with incredible views over the lochs. Imagine standing at the top at sunset with a bottle of champagne after they say ‘ yes’… that’s pretty unforgettable.

Ben A'an hiking proposal location in Scotland
  1. Stac Pollaidh

Going a bit further north into the deeper Highlands, you can climb Stac Pollaidh – still suitable for beginner hikers but again not compromising on an epic view at the top. If you want an accessible hike in the Highlands with the WOW factor, you can’t go wrong with this option. Can you imagine proposing on this ledge? Not for the faint of heart!

Stac Pollaidh hike elopement and proposal location in Scotland
  1. Edinburgh – the Witchery

Something a little different to the others on this list… The Witchery is an opulent and once-in-a-lifetime hotel with themed suites which ooze luxury. Why not splash out by also booking a table in their famous restaurant in the evening too. Proposing in their large bathtub whilst playing your favourite music together sounds pretty magical.

Romantic proposal location at The Witchery Edinburgh - opulent hotel suites
  1. Edinburgh – Holyrood Park

Love the idea of being nature but also being able to roam the city? Edinburgh is lucky to have so many amazing nature spots inside the city. None so dramatic as Holyrood Park with the rugged Crag’s clifftop or climbing to the top of Arthur’s Seat or proposing at the ruin of St Anthony’s Chapel.

Engagement shoot in Holyrood Park, the Crags, Edinburgh
  1. Isle of Skye – Fairy Glen

There is a reason Isle of Skye is considered one of the top places to visit in the world. With it’s otherworldly landscapes, it’s hard not to fall in love. The Fairy Glen is a magical glen with grassy mounds that are unlike anything you’ve seen before.

  1. Isle of Skye – the Quiraing

For dramatic Isle of Skye scenery without a huge amount of hiking, then consider the Quiraing. It’s rolling hills have a great sense of vastness which is incredible to behold. Especially if you visit in the quieter times of the day.

  1. Isle of Arran

If you can look past Isle of Skye then you will find some truly amazing locations on Isle of Arran. With epic beaches, standing stones, glens and hikes, Arran is a lesser known hidden gem.

Isle of Arran proposal location in Scotland - Machrie moor standing stones
  1. Isle of Harris

You may have seen lots of ‘can you believe this isn’t the Caribbean?’ photos of Scottish beaches… and a lot of photos are from Isle of Harris. Though it’s a little bit of a trek to get to, Harris and Lewis are a quiet place filled with ancient relics and white sandy beaches – what’s not to love?

  1. Loch Lomond + the Trossachs

There are lots of places around Loch Lomond to explore – it’s such an incredible network of lochs, woodland forests and quiet villages. If trees and water call to you then the Trossachs are a wonderful place.

Trossach elopement couple adventuring in the Highlands, Scotland
  1. Aviemore, Cairngorms

Go visit a bothy or hike amongst the heather or feed a reindeer – Aviemore is suprisingly diverse for activities to do. Said to be home for Scottish adrenalin junkies, if you want somewhere to make you heart beat extra fast then the Cairngorms could be a great place for you.

Scottish couple playing in the Highlands - in love
  1. Hermitage of Dunkeld, Perthshire

Go for a woodland wander through the stunning Dunkeld Hermitage forest. With beautiful falls and picturesque trees – the hermitage is extra special in Autumn as one of the best places to see the leaves change colour.

Couple at Dunkeld - a great elopement and proposal location in Scotland

A real Scottish proposal story

Meet lovebirds Sara and Robin. They found each other as performers in the Beltane Fire Festival which happens in Edinburgh every year. Robin initial idea was that he wanted to propose a location which had special meaning to them and also gently incorporate the element of fire.

From a friend, Robin had also found out that Sara’s secret ideal date would be receiving a beautiful dress on the bed with a handwritten note telling her to wear the dress then getting taken out for a luxurious meal. So he decide to make her dream date come true as part of the whole surprise…

On a November day, Sara returned home to find Robin gone, a box containing a red dress alongside a note saying to be ready in the dress by a certain time. When he arrived to pick her up, he slipped on a blind fold and he gently led her through Blackford Hill. At the bottom of a special spot Sara then took the blindfold off to see a trail of candlelit lanterns leading up to an awaiting Robin. He got down on one knee and she said yes! They popped open the champagne and tucked into the picnic hamper before I came out from my hiding place to wish them congrats! In my case, I was a very secret spy, completely out of sight, as Sara would have easily sussed out what was happening if she saw me.

After much revelry, they headed back home to ready themselves for dinner. Robin had chosen Rhubarb restaurant at Prestonfield House for a luxurious meal (it’s also their fave spot for a dinner treat).

How to include a photographer in your Scotland proposal (without ruining the surprise)

Well this one is a little tricky because I don’t really want to write down all the secret ways here – just in case your otherwise-unsuspecting other half reads this article and our cover is blown.

Needless to say, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for how you can include a photographer without instantly letting the cat out of the bag. Sometimes that includes hiding in a bush, sometimes that includes a little white lie, and sometimes that includes a wonderful amount of acting on my part. I’ll find a way that suits you best and will be least likely to tip them off.

Examples of activities you can do in your proposal adventure in Scotland

Here are just a few ideas…

  • Hiking or exploring an area
  • Snag some cute accommodation with a hot-tub and sit out with a bottle of champagne after dinner
  • Cosy up by a woodburner for a dram of whisky
  • Take a boat trip
  • Hire a private chef
  • Get a special picnic set up (check out Scottish Wild Picnics!)
  • Travel in a hot air balloon ride
  • Go on a private wildlife safari (Highland Safaris)
  • Visit a whisky/gin distillery (why not make your own proposal gin at Blendworks?)
  • Watch some folk music in a local pub
  • Do a treetop assault course
  • Canyoning for the wild ones
  • Go in search of puffins or deer
  • Wild swimming or paddling in a loch

If you’re struggling with ideas for your proposal and day together then I’m more than happy to help!

Romantic airbnb proposal in Scotland

Need extra help? Hire a proposal planner

Planning a proposal can be daunting and sometimes you just need someone to help you distil your ideas and bring them to life! Sian from Strawberrry Lemonade Events shared some thoughts with me about how a planner can make all the difference.

The biggest value that a proposal planner can bring is tackling overwhelm. There is a lot to consider and the options can feel infinite. A planner can help in a number of big and small ways. Whether it’s simply providing a proposal plan (by getting to know you, your initial ideas and the options available to you). Or a full planning service which includes hiring and managing the right suppliers through a strong network of amazing creatives, creating a schedule for the event and making sure everything is set for the proposal to go smoothly.

A planner is an experience sounding board to help create a highly-personal proposal idea – based on your passions and experiences as a couple.

The second most important thing that a good proposal planner offers is bringing to life the feeling of ‘special’. You hire an accountant to help with accounts or a plumber for sorting drainage issues but you never think there is a person you can hire to create ‘special’.

For one of the biggest moments of your life, just know there is a professional out there that can help you curate an incredibly special moment for you and your partner. Someone to help you avoid the clichéd, the expected and the unpersonal.

Already married? Rekindle the excitement

Getting married is only the beginning – but you have to create and cherish your own milestones. Why not celebrate your love by having celtic handfasting ceremony or create a full-day adventure experience, just because?

For more ideas about how to rekindle the fun in your marriage then check out this fab date ideas article from Emmy Ga at Celebrate Again.


Looking to hire a photographer for your proposal in Scotland?

If having a local photographer who can help guide you through the planning of your proposal sounds like a good idea then get in touch with me through my contact form. Or check out the types of sessions I offer here. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

proposal in scotland - ring

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