Are you planning to elope in Scotland? If so, I can see why! Scotland has such a romantic landscape, and is (in my personal opinion) one of the most stunning places in the world to exchange your vows. If you’re ready to embrace the chance of a foggy background, and the rain, I’m sure you’ll have the best time!
HOW TO LEGALLY MARRY IN SCOTLAND
Let’s just get this information out of the way first. I hate digging around for important information. Does anyone really read the food blogs? Or don’t we all just scroll all the way to the bottom to get the recipe?
Step 1: Find out where you want to get married in Scotland
Step 2: Find a local Celebrant or Officiant in that area
Step 3: Organize the Marriage Schedule (m10)
Step 4: Get your Marriage Visa (if eloping from abroad)
Step 5: Decide on your witnesses.
Step 6: Collect your Marriage Schedule
Step 7: After your ceremony, submit your Marriage Schedule
For all of the steps, continue on!
LEGALITIES OF THINGS
You can legally get married anywhere outdoors in Scotland! In Scotland, you’ll need a marriage schedule, a celebrant and two witnesses over the age of 16. I am more than happy to be a witness to any ceremony I photograph, but if you add on video with your elopement package, both my husband and I can act as your witnesses, otherwise there are some officiants who are willing to bring someone as a 2nd witness for a small fee.
FIND YOUR ELOPEMENT CELEBRANT OR OFFICIANT
First things first, you’ll need to decide where in Scotland you want to get married, but for information sake, let’s just go over the different kinds of ceremonies. Trust me, this’ll all make sense.
To make your wedding ceremony legal, you can marry by these three options: religious/belief ceremony, a civil ceremony or a humanist ceremony
Humanist ceremony in Scotland
Humanist ceremonies are personal and beautiful, and 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 as many of them are keen to hike to a gorgeous mountain location to conduct a ceremony and are really experienced in many types of outdoor weather conditions.
Most celebrants will be happy to share their knowledge and experience on how to elope in Scotland as well.
If you are looking at having a Humanist ceremony when you elope to Scotland, you can check out the Humanist Society Scotland site and check out approved celebrants.
For religious ceremonies, you can still get married in most places as long as you have an authorized religious celebrant to attend and officiate. You can contact your local place of worship for guidance on this. Church of Scotland ceremonies can usually be held .
ORGANIZE THE MARRIAGE SCHEDULE:
You will each need to give notice to the district registrar for the area where you intend to marry. To do this, the both of you will need to complete a Marriage Notice Form (M10) , which currently costs £70 (£30 each plus £10 for entry into the marriage register). This must be handed in no earlier than 3 months prior to the date and no later than 29 days before. (I really suggest sooner the better.) Even though the minimum period is 29 days before
the date of the proposed marriage, if you leave things as late as this you could be faced with the need to postpone your marriage. So better not risk it. Here is some more information about how to fill out the M10.
IF YOU’RE ELOPING TO SCOTLAND FROM ABROAD:
If you’re going to elope to Scotland from outside of the European Union, you’ll need to apply for a marriage visa (if you want to have a legally recognized ceremony), no earlier than 3 months before you travel – it also allows you to stay for up to 6 months.
You can find out more about the marriage visa and process below. https://www.gov.uk/marriage-visa
If you are unsure if you need a marriage visa, you can check by clicking here.
If travelling from within the EU, you currently don’t require a visa but as of July 2021 you will need to apply.
PICKING UP, AND SUBMITTING YOUR MARRIAGE SCHEDULE
One of you will need to pick up your Marriage Schedule in person 7 days before your elopement from the registrar office local to your ceremony location, then you must arrange for the form to be submitted to the local registrar office no later than 3 days after your ceremony.
TIME FOR THE FUN PART!
o1. CHOOSE THE LOCATION
Back to Step 1, choosing your location. The reason why this is the first step, and an important one, is because it’ll need to be specified on your paperwork.
Scotland has so much to offer. From romantic cities, to to wild rivers, to gorgeous mountains, and quiet forests.
6 MAGICAL PLACES TO ELOPE IN SCOTLAND
1. The Isle of Skye
I absolutely love how magical this place looks.
2. Glencoe There is a hotel with the Glencoe in the background. You can have a ceremony right outside of the hotel.
Harry Potter fans, this is for you! Definitely go visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct for an epic photo op, just don’t forget to check the train schedule first! It’s about an hours drive, however, there might be some people trying to get the same photo of the train.
3. Inner and Outer Hebrides
5. Eilean Donan Castle
o2. CHOOSE A DATE
Scotland has something to offer, no matter what season!
March – May A great time for an elopement, as tourist season hasn’t started yet. I feel like this is an amazing time to see baby seal, or little lambs. It can still be cold, especially in March, so I suggest bringing a cardigan, and shawl, and coats.
September – late November is also outside of the peak season and likely to be less busy so I would say this is probably the ideal time! This is when Scotland has those natural dark and moody tones. The weather starts to cool down, so layers such as shawls, or even coats are suggested.
The winter months will give more dramatic weather and touristy spots like Isle of Skye will most likely be all yours. Warm layers are a must and light is limited so a ceremony at noon or even 11am is not unusual as sunset times can be as early as 4pm.
The summer months have longer days and warmer weather. At busy tourist hotspots like The Isle of Skye it is usually a lot quieter earlier in the morning and in the evening. Keep in mind, it’s a lot brighter and sunsets are much later in the evening. (Like, 10pm) A good starting point would be around 5pm for your ceremony.
o3. BOOK YOUR CELEBRANT OR OFFICIANT
After deciding where you want to elope in Scotland, and when you want to elope, it’s time to find, and book your celebrant. For a registrar, you’ll need to contact the local office nearest to the location you’ve chosen to elope to. Result to the top of this blog for further information by clicking here.
o4. BOOK WEDDING VENDORS & ACCOMIDATIONS
Do you plan on hiring someone for hair and make-up? Maybe florist? If so, I’d defiantly would start looking around for photographers who can help you with the entire planning process (Like myself) – We can help you find a celebrant or officiant; we can help you find a florist, a make-up artist, and a hair stylist. We can help find local places for your wedding attire too! Some of these vendors, especially photographers, book a year or more in advance! So the sooner, the better. Also! Sometimes your elopement photographer can also help find accommodations. If you’re planning for a summer elopement, accommodations can fill up fast, in other words, start planning your elopement asap. If you want getting ready portraits at your airbnb, lodge, or hotel, I highly suggest something that has a big window, or lots of natural light.
o5. BOOK YOUR FLIGHT & TRAVEL
Check out flight information HERE
There are 4 main airports in Scotland.
If you’re eloping on an island, you’ll need to book a Ferry ride.
o6. DECIDE WHAT TO WEAR
No matter what the season, you can get all kinds of weather. Any season, during any season. If Scotland is where you want to elope, than I highly suggest to embrace Scotland, and everything it has to offer. In other words, embracing the weather, no matter what it may be. In the summer, I suggest sunscreen, but also a shawl. Just in case. In the summer, you can wear sandals, or go barefoot.
In the spring, fall, and winter, I highly suggest wearing waterproof leather boots. Make sure to break them in MONTHS before your elopement. The last thing you’ll want, is boots that are stiff, and hurting your feet. Bring waterproofs/warm jacket or a shawl/blanket to wrap around for in between the shots/locations is always a good idea. I can carry these while we’re taking portraits!
For dresses, I suggest something that’s comfortable, breathable, and easily to move in.
o7. CHOOSE YOUR WITNESSES
To legally get married in Scotland, you need 2 witnesses over the age of 16. If you hire me as your photographer, I’ll be happy to be one of your witnesses. If you book for photo and video, my husband can be the 2nd witness. Head back up the page to read more about this.
o8. START YOUR PAPERWORK (m10 & Marriage Visa)
No earlier than 3 months before you enter the country, you’ll need to apply for a marriage visa. 3 months before your ceremony, you’ll need to fill out the m10 form. Head back up the page to read all the information you need to know.
o9. PICK UP YOUR MARRIAGE SCHEDULE
Click here to know more about this. After your ceremony, you have 3 days to submit your marriage schedule.