So, you’ve decided on a fairy-tale Scotland elopement?
Great idea! And here is how we can help you…
Scotland is one of the most beautiful places in the world to elope. If you’re thinking about tying the knot in Scotland, this post is for you.
We’ll cover the cost of eloping in Scotland, the best time of year to do it, and some of the most stunning locations you could choose for your ceremony.
Keep reading to plan your perfect Scottish elopement!
How To Plan A Scotland Elopement
Scotland is a breathtakingly beautiful country.
With rugged mountains, some of the world’s most iconic castle ruins, and spectacular scenery, Scotland really is a dream elopement location.
If you’re thinking of tying the knot in this corner of paradise, our guide will tell you everything you need to know about planning a Scotland elopement.
Step #1: How Much Does It Cost To Elope In Scotland? [Budgeting]
In all honesty, Scotland is an expensive elopement destination.
The costs of travel, lodging, food and drink are considerably higher than average prices in the United States.
The total cost of a Scottish elopement can vary significantly, anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000 (approx. £4,000 – 8,000).
If you’re working within a budget on the lower end of this scale, rest assured there are still ways to plan your dream ceremony.
One way to save money on your Scottish elopement is to choose a unique location that is less expensive than some of the more popular tourist destinations. For example, consider the Isle of Arran or the Outer Hebrides, instead of Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Another option is to cut back on some of the frills.
For example, you may not need a photographer or videographer if you are comfortable taking photos and videos yourself. You could also arrange your own bouquet of flowers, as on average bridal bouquets cost $100 (£80).
Finally, be sure to factor in any additional expenses that may come up.
For example, you may need to purchase plane tickets for your witnesses or hire a taxi to take you from the airport to your wedding venue.
By taking these extra costs into account, and with a little bit of research and planning, you can ensure that your Scotland elopement stays within your budget.
Step #2: Best Places To Elope In Scotland
It’s hard to think of a more romantic place to elope than Scotland. With it’s rugged highlands, deep green lochs (lakes), medieval castles and mysterious standing stones, there is something truly magical about this ancient land.
There are countless stunning ceremony locations to choose from, but here we’ve narrowed down our top 5 Scotland best elopement destinations for you:
This is a truly unique and romantic city, with its Old Town (dating as far back as 700AD) and New Town (18th century). There are layers upon layers of rich history in Scotland’s capital city, and some of the most iconic architecture in the world.
Walk along the ancient cobble stones of the Royal Mile, leading from Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood Palace. Take a stroll through Princes Street Gardens, walk up to Calton Hill, or hike up Arthur’s Seat.
If you’re looking for a real hidden gem in the city, Dunbar’s Close is an oasis in the middle of medieval buildings.
The best part about Edinburgh is that despite being Scotland’s largest city, it’s still a relatively small city. So, walking is the best way to get around and take in all the sights.
Where to Stay In Edinburgh
This is actually a German chain of boutique, budget hotels. Motel-One has two locations in Edinburgh’s center, one in the Old Town and one just across the bridge in the New Town.
Both of these locations are in the heart of the city, so you can walk most places and save money on taxis. Motel-One offers trendy, chic rooms with all the modern amenities you need.
📍 St. Abbs
Located on the south-eastern coast of Scotland, not far from the English border, St. Abbs is known for its dramatic cliffs and secluded coves. It’s the perfect choice for a private wedding ceremony with your loved one.
This little fishing village is full of dramatic views of the coastline, looking out to the North Sea.
We recommend taking the St. Abbs Head cliff walk. This is a 3.5-mile loop offering incredible viewpoints. Then stop by Ebbcarrs Cafe for some local seafood!
And fun fact! St. Abbs was featured in Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’. It was the filming location for New Asgard.
So, if it’s good enough for Thor, it’s a great place to exchange your wedding vows!
Where to Stay Near St. Abbs
➡️ Barony Castle Hotel
While you can find accommodation closer to St. Abbs along the coast, we recommend the Barony Castle Hotel, located 1 hour 30 minutes west of St. Abbs in the Scottish Borders (the southern region of Scotland bordering England).
What could be more romantic than celebrating your elopement in a castle?
Situated in the idyllic Scottish countryside, Barony Castle offers excellent amenities, including a spa, golf course, and restaurant, so guests can relax and have a great time during their stay.
📍 Isle of Arran
Nicknamed ‘Scotland in miniature,’ the Isle of Arran is a fantastic place to get away from it all and have a stress-free day to celebrate your love for each other. With its own highlands, lowlands and long sandy beaches, Arran really is like a mini-Scotland.
This beautiful island off Scotland’s west coast is a great retreat and it’s really easy to get to. It’s just a 2.5 hour drive from Edinburgh, or 1 hour and 40 minutes from Glasgow.
You’ll need to drive to Ardrossan, then take the 1-hour ferry to the island to complete your trip.
You can easily see the highlights of Arran in just a couple of days. After your elopement day, consider taking to some of the best things to do: hiking Goat Fell mountain, sipping a dram of Scotch whiskey at one of the distilleries, and visiting the ancient Machrie Moore standing stones.
Where to Stay on the Isle of Arran
➡️ Auchrannie Resort
Located just outside of Arran’s main town of Brodik, the Auchrannie Resort is the perfect place to unwind in style after a long day of hiking or exploring.
Nestled in the countryside, the resort offers a dramatic view of Goat Fell.
The Auchrannie Resort offers stylish rooms, or you can stay in your own luxury lodge. The resort also includes many amenities such as a spa, fantastic fitness center, two swimming pools and three restaurants.
📍 Isle of Skye
The island is known for its dramatic landscapes and rugged coastline, which make for a breathtaking backdrops for an intimate wedding.
The Isle of Skye is also relatively quiet and secluded, which means that you can have your Scottish wedding ceremony without the added stress and chaos of a busy city.
Its off the beaten track location is also perfect for an outdoor elopement, or even adventure elopement!
There are so many fun activities to do on this island, so we recommend staying at least three days.
You can walk up to the iconic Old Man of Storr rock formation, visit the Fairy Pools, hike in the Black Cuillin mountains, or simply relax and sip on some whisky from the Talisker Distillery.
You’ll also be pleased to hear that the Isle of Skye is relatively easy to get to. You don’t need to take a ferry. You simply drive over a bridge!
Where to Stay Near the Isle of Skye
➡️ Raasay Whisky Hotel
While you can find many accommodation options on the Isle of Skye itself, such as hotels and cozy B&Bs, we recommend something a bit more special. Consider staying at a working distillery on the nearby Isle of Raasay.
The Isle of Raasay Distillery offers six luxury rooms inside a refurbished Victorian mansion. You can get to Raasay by taking a short 25-minute ferry ride from Sconser, on the Isle of Skye.
📍 Sandwood Bay, Kinlochbervie
Voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire United Kingdom, Sandwood Bay is a truly magical place to say ‘I do’.
Located in the north-west of Scotland, Sandwood Bay is known for its dramatic cliffs and pristine sand dunes.
Sandwood Bay is not the easiest beach to get to, but that just adds to its appeal. This beach is often deserted, making it the perfect location for an intimate elopement to celebrate your love in privacy.
If you’re planning an extended trip in Scotland, Sandwood Bay is a great place to stop along the famous North Coast 500 loop. This scenic road trip covers 516 miles of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes in the north-west Highlands.
Where to Stay Near Sandwood Bay
➡️ Eco Crofters Wagon by the Beach
If you’re looking for a rustic, old-timey experience in Scotland, then this eco-wagon by the sea is perfect for you. The log burning stove and candles add a truly romantic touch to this cozy wagon!
Can’t you just picture yourselves wrapped up in blankets, gazing out at the crashing waves? Just watch out for the local peeping Toms – the sheep and highland cows!
Step #3: Best Time To Elope In Scotland
If you’re thinking about eloping in Scotland, the best time of year to do so is from May to September.
During the summer months you’ll have the most pleasant weather and the longest hours of daylight, which means you will have plenty of time to explore all that Scotland has to offer.
Additionally, fall is a popular time to visit Scotland because of the autumn colors that dot the countryside. However, keep in mind that October can be quite wet and chilly.
December through February are the wettest and coldest months in Scotland, so these may not be ideal for an elopement. These are also the darkest months, so you’ll have limited daylight for sightseeing.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh bear in mind that the entire month of August is dedicated to the famous Fringe Festival, and in December the city is swamped with tourists for the Christmas markets and Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve).
During these months accommodation prices are insanely high.
Important Things to Consider: Weather in Scotland
Regardless of which time of year you tie the knot in Scotland, be sure to pack for every type of whether. The Scots joke about having all fours seasons in one day… but they’re not really joking! The weather is extremely changeable.
For wet days, an umbrella won’t cut it. Due to the strong winds coming off the Atlantic and North Sea, your umbrella will just get blown inside out and broken. Your best option is a high-quality waterproof coat.
And even if you’re visiting Scotland in the middle of the summer, you still need to pack some light jackets. Temperatures in Scotland rarely reach 75°F, and it’s pretty much always windy and at night when the temperatures drop significantly.
Step #4: How to Legally Elope In Scotland
While eloping is supposed to be spontaneous and hassle free compared to traditional weddings, there are a few things you should know about getting married in Scotland.
🏹 The first thing you’ll need to do is apply for your Marriage Visitors Visa. This costs £85 ($102) per person. You and your loved one will both need to obtain these visas. You can apply for your visas 3 months before your wedding date, but no earlier.
🏹 Then you’ll need to get in touch with the Registry Office closest to your chosen venue and submit a Marriage Notice Form (or M10 form). The cost to submit this notice form is £70 ($84) per couple, and you must submit it no later than 29 days before your wedding.
🏹 Lastly, you’ll need to pick up your Marriage Schedule from the Registry Office during the week of your wedding. You will then sign the Schedule on your actual wedding day to make your elopement ceremony completely legal.
Once you have all the necessary paperwork in order, you can marry absolutely anywhere you like in Scotland – from a registry office to a castle, or from a mansion’s ballroom to a beach!
Good news: Scotland is one of the most attractive countries for destination weddings and elopements. As long as the ceremony is conducted by a person recognized as a legal officiant, then all civil ceremonies, religious ceremonies, humanist and same-sex marriages conducted in Scotland are legally recognized throughout the world.
Step #5: Book Your Scotland Elopement Photographer + Videographer
Scotland is full of talented photographers and videographers. Some will be better suited to dramatic cityscapes and medieval churches, while others will strap on their hiking boots and follow you up muddy mountain trails or stormy beaches.
We believe that elopements are all about celebrating your love in a unique and personal way, so if you need help finding a talented local vendor for your special day, you can reach us at: [email protected]
Conclusion: Scotland Elopement 2022
If you’re looking for an intimate and romantic getaway, eloping to Scotland is a great idea. With its beautiful lochs, historic castles, and stunning scenery, Scotland provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable wedding.
And because eloping is typically much less expensive than a traditional wedding, you can afford to splurge on a honeymoon in one of the world’s most beautiful countries!
So, if you’re dreaming of a fairy-tale wedding, consider eloping to Scotland – it’s sure to be a trip you’ll never forget.