Runaway Brides – The Elopement Wedding is Back

Way back in the 18th Century, Lord Hardwicke rolled out the 1753 Marriage Act, which stipulated that couples living in England under the age of twenty-one must have parental permission to marry. The Act led to a flood of loved-up elopers scrambling for Scotland, where small Borders towns such as Gretna Green became whistle-stop wedding hubs overnight.

Candace Berry Photography

It wasn’t until 1987 that revisions were made to the Act, which reduced the age of marriage without parental consent to eighteen. With that in mind, you’d be forgiven for thinking that tales of star-crossed lovers making their way over hill and dale to elope across the border belong in the dim distant past, but it seems that the romance of eloping to Scotland continues to swirl in the imaginations of 21st Century lovers.

Lynne Kennedy Photography

While many couples dream of their big day being surrounded by their loved ones, it seems that more and more couples are turning their backs on tradition, opting to escape into the wilds alone or with just a handful of guests.

Here at Fuze, we have noticed a considerable rise in the number of elopement ceremonies being conducted throughout Scotland and the 2019 diary is already jampacked with intimate ceremonies for two. We caught up with wedding photographer, Lynne Kennedy, who specialises in elopement photography: “the past few years has seen an exponential rise in elopements and intimate weddings. Five years ago I was shooting a handful of elopements a year, now I specialise in elopements and intimate weddings and it’s basically all I photograph and mostly on the Isle of Skye and surrounding areas”.

Lynne Kennedy Photography

So what’s it all about and why are more and more couples embracing elopement? Well, from what we can decipher from both our couples and industry insiders, there’s a number of factors at play.

First and foremost, Scotland is an exceptionally beautiful country and exudes a massive dollop of romantic charm! Last month, Lonely Planet listed the Highlands and Islands as their no.5 in the Top 10 Places to Visit in 2019 and no wonder! With cascading waterfalls falling from craggy mountains into rumbling rivers that snake through remote glens before resting in lochs deeper than you could ever imagine (we could go on, but you catch our drift), Scotland has got it going on!

Candace Berry Photography

In addition to the aesthetic charm of the country, Scotland is also extremely unique in terms of the legalities surrounding marriage. Free from the shackles placed upon the rest of the UK and a big chunk of Europe, where couples are restricted to saying “I do” in particular venues, in Scotland couples can simply fill in a small amount of paperwork and be legally married wherever their hearts desire. Our celebrants have married couples on majestic mountain ranges, windswept beaches, remote glens and even in the comfort of their own homes, there really are no restrictions. Couples can get as creative as they like!

Furthermore, with the average cost of a wedding in the UK sitting at an eye-watering £25,000, it’s no wonder couples are looking to explore less expensive alternatives. Becky and Leigh, who eloped to the Ardnamurchan peninsula in August with their seven year old son, combined their wedding and honeymoon into a wonderful Highland family holiday. The only expenses aside from the usual holiday costs and a handful of little extras was hiring celebrant, Paula Wilkinson and photographer, Trevor, from Silver Photography.

Silver Photography

Eloping to get married also cuts out a whole world of stress. Lynne confirms: “families are more complicated today – some with multiple sets of in-laws, step-siblings, and other extendedfamily. A small elopement wedding reduces or eliminates the drama of who to invite, where to seat them, and so on. In addition to this, the number of second marriages, which often lend themselves to smaller ceremonies, are also on the rise”.

Candace Berry Photography

Another big trend we’re noticing is the rise of the “micro wedding”, which sits somewhere between an elopement and a small traditional wedding. Lynne has also noted the growth: “Some couples choose an intimate wedding rather than just eloping on their own and that’s growing in popularity too so they might bring parents, siblings and best friends so that those closest to them don’t miss out on the ceremony, but they can still avoid a large wedding”.

Well there you have it, who could have imagined that when Lord Hardwicke put the brakes on marriage back in 1753, it would have created such a long lasting legacy steeped in romance and enchantment!  We’re certainly not complaining and neither is Lynne up in Skye: “Couples are coming from around the world to marry in the Scottish Highlands and it doesn’t look like a trend that is going to end anytime soon – which is great because I love my job!”

Lynne Kennedy Photography

Thanks to:

Lynne Kennedy –

Trevor Wilson –

Candace Berry –

Couples – Becky & Leigh (Castle Tioram in August 2018) and Jennifer & Gerry (Glencoe in October 2018)

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