Over the past couple of years, we’ve noticed a huge surge in the number of couples looking to elope to Scotland and they all have their own set of reasons for doing so.  Some couples have complicated family situations, some can’t afford the average price-tag of a traditional wedding, some don’t have the time to plan a large wedding, but more often than not, our couples want to embrace the adventure and romance of a true Scottish elopement.

So if this is you, but you have absolutely no idea where to begin planning your elopement, we’ve compiled a handy five-step plan of action to get your elopement juices flowing!   

Step 1: Location, Location, Location

Scotland is jam-packed with sensational ceremony spots (both indoor and outdoor) and while some couples know exactly where they’d like to say “I do”, others are understandably a little overwhelmed by the choice.  We love helping our couples narrow down the perfect location and we’re more than happy to offer suggestions based on their geographical preferences so do get in touch if you need some guidance.  

While it’s true that couples are able to tie the knot anywhere in Scotland, it’s worth noting that elopers looking for the quintessential wilderness experience need to bear in mind that they must specify the exact location they intend to marry when filling in their paperwork.  Unfortunately, simply scribbling down Glencoe/Cairngorms/Skye as a location will not cut the mustard with the Registrar, who will want to see a specific location on the form.  This location can be the name of a carpark, a loch, a mountain, Ordnance Survey markers or a prominent landmark.  On the surface, this doesn’t sound like too much of an inconvenience, that is, until you start factoring in the good old-fashioned Scottish weather.  As we are all aware, it rains A LOT in Scotland and while the majority of our eloping couples fully embrace their big day, come rain or shine, what if you don’t really relish the prospect of a soggy ceremony?

If this is you, then our advice is to have a plan-a (for sunshine) and a plan-b (for storms) and this is where the “exact location” situation can get a little complicated, but fear not because it’s actually simpler than you might think!  Why not make like gorgeous Glasweigens, Ayden and Pete, who booked Driftwood House above Camusdarach Beach for their wedding ceremony.  By having Driftwood House on their Marriage Schedule, Ayden & Pete gifted themselves the flexibility of having three amazing ceremony options: the beach directly below the property, the incredible terrace or the cosiness of a chic indoor ceremony (as it happened, the weather was WILD so option 3 reigned supreme).  After the ceremony, Ayden & Pete braved the weather and the results of their wet and wild photoshoot are fantastic!

There are hundreds of fabulous self-catering options which allow for this level of flexibility so do get in touch if you’d like us to point you in the right direction.

Step 2: Get a Date in the Diary

Once you’ve decided on a location, the next step is pinning down a date on which the marrying magic will happen.  In Scotland, every month and season has its own individual charm and so deciding on a date depends entirely on your personal preferences.  Remember, there are no guarantees for fabulous weather in Scotland, but we’ve listed some seasonal highlights below to help you narrow down a date.   

December – March (winter)

Some of the most incredible Scottish elopements we’ve seen are during the winter months where the country’s dormant ruggedness and low light takes the romance factor to new levels.  Whether you choose to have an indoor ceremony by a crackling fire or head out onto the hills and glens, some of the most intimate ceremonies and outstanding wedding photography are produced in the winter.  Check out Kirsten & Keenan’s winter elopement at Castle Tioram on the Ardnamurchan peninsula for some winter wedding inspiration.

April – June (spring & early summer) 

If you’re dreaming of a good weather wedding day, then you’re more likely (although it’s definitely not a guarantee!) to be blessed by sunshine in April, May and June.  Not only might the sun make an appearance, it also shines until around midnight in May and June so perfect for eloping couples looking to make the most of their time in Scotland.  The sights and scents of Scotland are at their most glorious during this season with a riot of colour emerging from flowering heather, rhododendrons, bluebells, sea pinks, irises and more.  Finally, those afraid of encountering the dreaded Scottish midge, will be safe from the swarms in April and early May.  

July & August (high summer)

While the months of July and August are simply beautiful in Scotland, they also mark summer holiday season and so the uninhabited glens, hills and beaches (which make for the most picture perfect outdoor elopement locations) can often become crowded, especially on good weather days! Added to this, accommodation can be incredibly hard to come by.  With this in mind, we would recommend that elopers swerve July & August if they’re looking for a true wilderness experience.

September – November (autumn) 

For the first time ever, 2018 witnessed more couples marrying in the autumn than in the summer and we really can’t say we blame them.  Autumn in Scotland is EXTRA!  The entire country looks incredible bathed in deep tones of russets, reds and golds and for those looking for an outdoor ceremony, there can still be a little warmth in the sunshine (heck, sometimes there can even be a heatwave!).  The nights draw in, the evenings get cooler, wood burning stoves crackle, fireworks pop, leaves crunch underfoot… you get the picture, autumn is a ridiculously romantic season in Scotland.

Step 3: Book your Suppliers

Scotland is a very popular wedding and tourist destination and depending on where you’re planning on getting married, there may a very limited amount of accommodation providers and wedding suppliers.  Therefore, we can’t stress enough the importance of booking accommodation and suppliers as soon as you can.  We have a comprehensive list of trusted suppliers who we’ve been lucky to work alongside all over Scotland and we’re more than happy to point you in the right direction.  

When it comes to booking your Celebrant, you can rest assured that Team Fuze are not afraid to get their shoes dirty or their clothes wet and will accompany you on the most adventurous of elopements.  In fact, Team Fuze LOVE a good ceremony challenge! 

Step 4: Paperwork & the Legal Stuff

As soon as couples have chosen their ceremony location, date and Celebrant, they can begin the paperwork.  Thankfully it is incredibly straightforward to marry in Scotland and so all that is required is the couple, their Celebrant, two witnesses over the age of 16 (we can provide witnesses if the couple are eloping alone) and a Marriage Schedule, which is the form on which the couple, their witnesses and their Celebrant will fill in on the wedding day.  

The Marriage Schedule is granted by the Registrar local to the couple’s wedding venue/location and can be collected in person up to seven days before the big day.  To be issued with a Marriage Schedule, the couple must each fill in a Marriage Notice form (M10 form) or a CP10 if it is a Civil Partnership (the forms along with further information can be downloaded here).  This form can be submitted (along with a £70 processing fee) no earlier than twelve weeks and no later than 29 days before the wedding day. Alongside the M10 forms, couples will also need to send their birth/adoption certificates, passports and proof of residence.  Further paperwork such as divorce certificates or a Certificate of No Impediment (CONI), which is required for couples coming from abroad to marry in Scotland, may also be required.

If couples are travelling from outwith the EU to elope in Scotland, they will also need to apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa and fill in a Declaration of Immigration form.

Step 5:  Congratulations, you’re married!  Now what?

Once the couple, the Celebrant and their witnesses have signed the Marriage Schedule, the form will need to be returned to the local Registrar within three days of the wedding ceremony.  Once the Registrar receives the Marriage Schedule, the couple’s Marriage Certificate will be processed and sent to the newlywed’s home address.  Voila!

For further information on eloping to Scotland, please check out the Elope to Scotland page on our website.  You can also follow our brand new Facebook page, Bog Cotton Scottish Elopements and follow Celebrant, Paula, and photographer, Trevor, on their elopement journey around Scotland.

 All photographs are courtesy of Trevor at Silver Photography.  

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