How To Elope In Scotland – The Ultimate Guide for 2024

Updated – 4th April 2024

How to elope in Scotland in 2024

Are you planning to elope in Scotland?  Well Scotland is one of the most popular elopement hotspots in the world and it’s not hard to see why! A stone’s throw away from the city is some of the most, raw, rugged and romantic landscape you can find.   
If you’re thinking about planning your Scottish elopement or would like some new ideas, I’ve assembled a comprehensive guide on how to elope in Scotland in 2024 and 2025. 
 

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STEP 1: Choose a location for your Scottish elopement

From epic mountains, to wild rivers, to luscious forests and quiet lochs, Scotland really has it all!  And if you’re looking for a romantic city to elope in then look no further than Old Town Edinburgh. Recognised as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it’s bursting with history and culture.

One of the best things about Scotland is that you can pretty much legally tie the knot anywhere you want!  Whether it be on a mountaintop, a forest or next to a quiet loch, anywhere is possible!

I’ve helped a lot of my couples plan their elopements over the years so if you’re still not sure where you’d like to have your elopement I’m more than happy to chip in any way I can!

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STEP 2: Pick a season to elope in Scotland

Probably the No.1 asked question and there isn’t really 1 correct answer because pretty much any time of the year is ideal to elope in Scotland!
Over the last 9 years I’ve photographed elopements all throughout the year in Scotland and every month has it’s own visual characteristics and qualities that it brings with it.

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Spring (March, April, May)

A great time of the year to elope in Scotland as the busy tourist season hasn’t quite kicked off yet so it can be easier to book some really nice accommodation and other suppliers. The days begin to get longer but you can still catch same beautiful golden light and colour in the afternoon. It can sometimes still be a bit cold (especially in March) so a warm layer (coat, cardigan, shawl, scarf) will do the trick.

You can view a small wedding from March here.

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Summer (June, July, August)

Warm and long days! The landscape in the highlands is green and luscious however one important thing to keep in mind at this time of the year is the light.  It’s generally a lot brighter and sunsets are much later in the evening so when deciding on a ceremony time (and portrait shoot time) it pays off to take this into account so there is a better chance of capturing some of that beautiful evening light for your elopement portrait shoot.  At busy tourist hotspots like The Isle of Skye it is usually a lot quieter earlier in the morning and in the evening.

A beautiful marriage proposal story from summer here.

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Fall (September, October, November)

The Scottish landscape transforms into a beautiful mixture of earthy tones (green, yellow, orange, brown) and if there’s one word I would use to describe this time of the year in Scotland it would be ‘painterly’.  For locations such as the Isle of Skye, the tourist season begins to slow down so you have more of a chance of experiencing the landscape alone. The sun sets earlier in the day so some of the nicest light can be caught early in the afternoon if it’s a clear day. I would probably bring layers (a shawl, cardigan, coat) just in case! 

You can see an elopement in Scotland in Fall here and here.

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Fall (September, October, November)

If you fancy some cosy winter vibes and snow-covered mountaintops while eloping in Scotland then winter might be the time of the year for your elopement. Warm layers are a must at this time of the year and light is limited so a ceremony at noon or in the early afternoon is certainly the best way to go. 
The tourist season in Scotland has slowed right down so all the usually busy areas (Isle of Skye, Cairngorms etc) are super quiet and you’ll most likely have the landscape to yourself.
If you’re lucky you’ll even meet a deer or two!

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STEP 3: Find a celebrant

The next step in planning your Scottish elopement and depending on your preference you can choose either Religious, Registrar or Humanist.
You can contact the local registry office at the link below for a Registrar wedding. Church of Scotland ceremonies can usually be held in most places with approval from the church.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files/registration/reglist.pdf

Humanist ceremony in Scotland
Humanist ceremonies can be one of the best ways to tie the knot as they can be personally tailored and offer many symbolic gestures such as hand-fasting, wedding band warming or drinking from a Quaich.  If you’re eloping outdoors then a Humanist celebrant might be the way to go for you as they’re always ready for a hike and are really experienced in many types of outdoor weather conditions. 

I’ve worked with a lot of amazing Humanist celebrants over the years, all around Scotland and I’d be more than happy to recommend some for you. Most celebrants will be happy to share their knowledge and experience on how to elope in Scotland as well.

https://www.humanism.scot

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STEP 4: Organise the marriage schedule

Now it’s time for a little bit of paperwork but don’t worry, it’s actually pretty straightforward.  To acquire your marriage schedule you’ll both need to fill in the ‘Marriage Notice Form’, otherwise known as the ‘M10’.

View the Marriage Notice Form (M10) here.

A small fee must be submitted along with the form within the 3 month period before your elopement date and no later than 29 days before the elopement date.

You’ll also need to include your birth or adoptions certificate, passport and evidence of address/residence.

The marriage schedule can be collected in person up to 7 days before your elopement date from the registrar local to your wedding location.

You’ll need to be in touch with your celebrant during this process and celebrants have done this many times so they’ll usually be happy to assist you with this whole process.

After your elopement ceremony you have 3 days to submit your marriage schedule to the local registrar office.

Find out more information here about marriage in Scotland from the official source.

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STEP 5: Find witnesses for your Scotland elopement ceremony

If you would like to legally marry in Scotland you’ll just need 2 witnesses over the age of 16.  If you are travelling to be eloping in Scotland alone, I am always honoured to be a witness for my couples. I can recommend a list of celebrants that are able to bring a 2nd witness with them for a small fee. Too easy!

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STEP 6: Find elopement suppliers and accommodation

The best advice is this… the earlier you can secure your celebrant, photographer, videographer, florist, hair / makeup artist and accommodation, the better! 

Definitely prioritize mid-week dates when eloping too as you’ll have much better luck with supplier availability and it’s usually quieter. 

I have a great little network of suppliers and artists that I’ve collaborated with over the years and I’d be happy to recommend them to you if it helps!

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STEP 7: Decide what to wear

One of the exciting things about eloping in Scotland is you never know what you’re going to get when it comes to the weather! No matter what time of the year it is I’m constantly being surprised and the weather can completely transform the mood of the landscape.

I always say to my couples that the best thing to do to really enjoy the experience is embrace everything on your elopement day, including the weather.

For Spring, Fall and Winter (especially winter) I always suggest bringing an extra layer of clothing and if you’re eloping in the rugged Scottish highlands some leather boots for walking are a must as well.

One thing to take into consideration is while North Face raincoats are practical they don’t translate well visually in photos so I suggest looking for a shawl with earthy tones or perhaps a cardigan or fashionable (but warm) coat.

I’ve photographed in all kinds of weather of the years so I’m ready to roll with anything.  

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STEP 8: Apply for a marriage visa (how to elope in scotland from abroad)

If you’re wanting to legally elope to Scotland from outside of the United Kingdom you’ll need to apply for a marriage visa (if you want to have a legally recognised ceremony). You can find out more about the marriage visa and process at the link just below.

https://www.gov.uk/marriage-visa

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I hope this guide has given you some ideas about eloping in Scotland and answered a few questions about planning a Scottish elopement. If you’re searching for an elopement photographer to document your adventure in Scotland, I’d love to find out about your plans so feel free to shoot a message below!

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Check out our guide on ‘The Best Places To Elope In Scotland’:

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica Court says:

    Hi There,

    My partner and I are hoping to elope in the Fairy Glen on Skye in February. Do you have any availability to take some photos of the ceremony? And if so, what are your fees?

    Kind regards,
    Jess

  2. Devon Biebert says:

    Hi there!

    My name is Devon, and I am very interested in possibly working with you for our elopement in Scotland! My partner, Nicole, and I have loved the idea of getting eloped in Scotland since first getting engaged this year on April 17th. Originally we were supposed to get engaged in Scotland, but unfortunately I couldn’t wait to put a ring on her finger and proposed one week before our flight to Scotland for two weeks!

    Now that we’re coming into the new year we are trying to figure out our plans to get married there. I’ve gone through your guide on elopement, and it seems like there’s a bit of work to get started on as far as a Marriage visa, and celebrant to perform the civil ceremony, amongst many other things. It’s a thorough guide though and very much appreciated! I have always had such a soft spot in my heart for Scotland, Edinburgh being my favourite city, and having travelled there many times and visited many of the regions, and it was also our first trip we took together officially!

    I’ll provide you a bit of the backstory for my partner and I. We’ve known each other since highschool years, and we always had this crush from those days but timing wasn’t on our side back then. Fast forward 14yrs later where we had lost touch and then reconnected, both having been through a lot and we reconnected over Instagram because I was living in Ontario and she was in California. I’ve always carried a crush with me on her, and kind of unrequited love from those formative years but always thought it would never work out and at least we could be friends. Ultimately, after one night of conversation when she came home to visit our mutual friend, we both realized that we’ve carried that love for one another all these years and have viewed each other as “the one that got away”. Amazingly she has since moved back to Ontario to be with me last year, and we’re engaged and looking to get married!

    Sorry this has been such a long message! I guess at the end of this, would you be available and open to discussing helping us with the elopement, and being our photographer for the special day? Let us know of your interest and we can go from there. Thank you so much for your time!