The ULTIMATE Scotland Elopement Guide 2022

Eloping in Scotland

Our Updated Guide for 2022

Elopements are something that we are both so passionate about. Not only do they allow couples to dial back, they also allow them to focus on the most important thing – marrying each other! It’s so easy to get swept up in a sea of perfect wedding invites, choosing who to invite, and perhaps the family drama that comes with not inviting your mums cousin twice removed, eloping allows couples to get swept up in each other, which, let’s face it, is what getting married is all about.

An Elopement Allows it to be just you two.

Scotland is our other passion. It’s full of dramatic landscapes, majestic views and probably some of the most magical and breathtaking scenery this country has to offer. In our opinion, it’s hard to imagine that there could be anywhere as breathtaking as Scotland on this earth.

There may be a lot to take in at first, but it can be quite simple to elope in scotland. Here, we will try and help you!

Getting Married in Scotland

Whether you are a UK citizen or wish to travel here from abroad, you’ll need get a feel for the process in Scotland which makes this the most important part of the equation. It you plane to have your ceremony performed here, you really need to know how to go about getting married in Scotland.

Did you know that Scotland is the only country in the UK to allow for legal ceremonies outside of a venue? This means you can pretty much elope ANYWHERE!  A fantastic resource to check out is the National Records of Scotland website which can tell you some more about the process.

You will need to obtain a visa if you are planning on travelling from abroad to get married here.

The UK has some very strict guidelines for getting legally married here, including the three month timeline prior to your wedding, to submit your marriage paperwork. So you can’t really just turn up and hope to get married at the top of Ben Nevis. You are also required by law to have two witnesses present, easy enough if you are bringing a handful of people to the ceremony but if you plan on it being just the two of you, this is where you can ask your photographer/s and another vendor (if you have two photographers, that’ll be fine!) to stand in as your witnesses.

So with that all being said, let us talk you through our 5 stage plan for planning your elopement in Scotland.

1. Choose a Date.

This is another very important piece of the Scottish elopement puzzle. Scotland is probably famous for its unpredictable and ever changing weather system. You could come here in the summer and be greeted with snow, although its more likely to rain! The same could be said if you’re wanting a snowy wintery ceremony, you may just be met with wind and rain. You just need to be prepared for any sort of weather and if you choose to have a photographer capture your day, try to embrace the mood on the day. If we had to be pressed, our favourite months are September-November as you usually get great drama and rich, red tones throughout the landscape. For the braver (crazier) ones amongst you, January and February can also be amazing with the snow on the mountains.

Want to know even more about when to elope in Scotland? Read our blog post by clicking the link!

2. Choose a Location.

The next important thing to consider is where to elope in Scotland. To be honest, stage 1 and 2 are interchangeable!

It may not seem like it if you have never visited, but this is an big country taking up one third of the land mass of Britain. There really are so many epic spots here that can make the choice so much harder. From the stunning, urban views of Edinburgh to one of the many mythical and magical spots off the beaten track in the Scottish Highlands with the steep rugged mountains, winding rivers and breathtaking waterfalls. There are isles of unique geographical formations, plenty of medieval castles and not forgetting the stunning lochs and white beaches.

Not 100% sure where you want to get married? Matt has been a professional landscape photographer for years and we would be more than happy to recommend some places.

A Scottish Elopement means you can get married anywhere. Literally. Head on over to our Where to Elope in Scotland post for more ideas.

3. Choose your Team.

Your team will make your wedding a truly memorable occasion so spend some time getting the right guys for your team. Firstly, you will need a celebrant. We would often recommend a Humanist. Every Humanist wedding is different and unique and personalised to the couple. Check out The Humanist Society Scotland for more information.

Next, you need 2 witnesses. These can be anybody. If you are having a few friends of family members with you on your elopement, they can act as your witnesses. If not, we would be delighted to act as your witnesses – we've done it quite a few times and it never gets old!

Once the legal side of your team has been sorted, it is on to the creatives. People you may wish to consider are: photographers, filmmakers, florists, venue decoration, accommodation, transport, piper, picnic maker (not sure if they have an official title?!), makeup artist & hairdresser. Other roles could include that of the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

4. The Boring (Essential) Paperwork.

Paperwork is really boring for most of us. But in this case it is really important. To get married in Scotland you will need to complete the Marriage Notice Form (M10). If you are coming from outside of the UK, you will also need to fill in the Declaration of Status by non-UK Nationals and some nationalities will need a Marriage Visa. Finally, there is also the Celebrant and Witness form. Once this has all been completed, you must submit this in the three months before your elopement date and no later than 29 days before your elopement date. You will also have to provide proof of address, a valid passport and your birth/adoption certificate. If any of these documents are not in English, you will need to provide certified translations as well as the original documents.

When you marriage is approved, a marriage schedule will be produced and can be collected in the 7 days prior to your ceremony. KEEP THIS BIT SAFE! You must bring it to your wedding to get married.

After your ceremony, you must return your completed marriage schedule to the Registrars Office within 3 days. Many offices will allow a drop off but please check in advance before making onward travel plans.

You can find all the forms and all the guidance on the National Records for Scotland website or your chosen celebrant will be able to give more detail instructions.

5. What To Wear.

We have covered this is more detail elsewhere but deciding what to wear for your elopement is so important. There are not only the aesthetics of your imagery to consider, but also the practicalities.

In this post, we will focus on the practicalities.

Firstly, footwear. Welly boots, walking boots or decent trainers are almost a guaranteed necessity if you are getting married in The Highlands. This doesn't mean that you can't also have your Louboutins for your photos. We tend to advise our couples to bring spare footwear for walking if they want more formal footwear for their images. The Highlands can be a boggy place and certainly not suited to heels. Edinburgh's cobbled streets and hills are also not a perfect match for heels!

Secondly, layers. If you are getting married outside of the warmer summer months (If they even exist up here!) then we recommend bringing at least 2 or 3 different layers for the shoots. The first layers we would recommend could be something that can be used in the shoot – maybe a tartan shawl or a bolero. After that we would recom end a layer for warmth (down jacket) and a layer for the rain (waterproof coat).

If these extra layers don't match the style of your elopement, don't worry! Your photographer and filmmaker won't capture you wearing them!

Telling your Story

Your photos should represent you and your day.

Unlike traditional wedding photography, elopement photography is more relaxed so you don’t have the stress of following strict timelines to make sure your photographer is there to capture the first dance or the speeches.

We can be there from the moment you start to get ready, stepping into your dress and putting on your wellies. Capturing those tears as you say “I do” and being there as you take your first steps as a married couple. We can capture that story for you. The little things you might not remember, such as the way you glanced lovingly at your partner as they helped you over a muddy puddle or jumping under the waterfall and having a splash. It’s your story that we can tell. We can take in a few locations to make the most of the spectacular landscapes around and make your wedding images ones that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Interested in finding out more about us or our availability? Or maybe you've got a question about eloping. Feel free to drop us a message today!

Aberdeenshire Elopement Photography, Slains Castle
Edinburgh Elopement Photography

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