How to elope to Scotland

The concept of eloping has changed over the years, it used to be a way of escaping religious or class related beliefs but now it is seen as a romantic, adventurous way of spending your wedding day between the two people it matters the most to (and a couple of witnesses). And what better way to being your life together in stunning, romantic Scotland.

Scotland is one of the world’s most popular destinations to elope to as you can legally be married anywhere, without the need for one off licences. Whether your vision for your Scottish wedding ceremony is in a luxury castle, in the depths of a forest, on top of a mountain or within a relative’s living room – you can be married anywhere. In this blog post we will share tips and advice on how to elope to Scotland with your one true love.

Are you eligible?

To be legally married in Scotland, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  •  You and your partner must both be single, divorced, widowed or have dissolved a previously legally recognised partnership.

  •  You must be over the age of sixteen.

  • You must not be closely related to each other.

  •  You must be capable of understanding the commitment of marriage.

Types of Ceremony

All Civil, Religious, Humanist and Same-Sex marriages conducted in Scotland by a person recognised as a legal officiant are legally recognised throughout the world, therefore making Scotland one of the most attractive locations for amazing destination and elopement weddings.  

As long as this criteria is met and you and your partner are prepared and committed, you can begin the legal paperwork process to obtain a marriage visitors visa (If you live outwith the EU economic zone) and get your marriage schedule to sign on the day. 

Steps to elope to Scotland

Making your captivating Scottish elopement a reality is only a few steps away, with some planning and preparation it is feasible that you can arrange a legal destination or elopement marriage in Scotland within three months.  

  • Where and when - Firstly you need to look into where in Scotland you want to get married. If the abundance of gorgeous scenery and castles is making this decision too difficult, our sister company Destination Weddings Scotland can help match you with the perfect hotel or castle, free of charge! Once you have named the date you will also need to book your suppliers such as flowers, a photographer, someone to officiate the marriage etc

  • Obtain your Visa – Good news, you can skip this part if you live in the UK or EU economic area! For all other international couples, three months before your wedding day (and no earlier) you can apply for a marriage visitors visa. These cost £85 per person and you need 1 each. Documents you will need to make this application include a passport, proof of identification, bank statements and pay cheques. It is also worth reminding friends and family that are joining you to apply for their visas to ensure everyone can make it. 

  • Tell the local Registry - Once have you have applied for your visa you should get in touch with the registry office local to your chosen venue and submit a marriage notice form, also known as an M10 form. This includes visa confirmation, witness details and any information about past marriages and you must ensure you submit this no later than 29 days before your wedding. The cost to submit the notice forms is £70 per couple, however you will need to fill out 1 form each. 

  • Collect the Schedule – This is the certificate that you sign on your Wedding day to make it completely legal. The week of your Wedding, your marriage schedule will become available for you to collect – note it must be one of you who collects it and if you have not provided original documents to the registry office before then, they will need to see your physical passport and birth certificate. This must be returned to your local registry office either by your Registrar (in the case of a Civil ceremony) or by you no later than 7 days after your wedding (in the case of a Religious-Belief or Humanist ceremony).  

As long as you are prepared with your supplier bookings and personal documents, this process should go very smoothly. If you feel you might need a helping hand, Timeless White Wedding Planning specialise in the planning and arrangement of fiercely beautiful elopement weddings in Scotland and will help guide you through the marriage application process.

Stunning places to elope in Scotland that are not Gretna Green

When people think of eloping to Scotland, they can be forgiven for automatically thinking of the world famous location of Gretna Green,

While Gretna really is a beautiful runaway wedding setting with incredible scenery and traditional heritage as well as competitive pricing, there are so many stunning locations in Scotland that are perfect for your Scottish elopement.

From traditional Scottish castles to the top of Arthurs Seat with endless views of the famous capital city. Scotland really can cater to all when it comes to places to elope in Scotland.

Outdoor Edinburgh Elopement

Picture the two of you on top of the world with a view of the beautiful city of Edinburgh all to yourself. The never ending views of Scottish countryside and city life stretching to see the ancient buildings and famous Edinburgh Castle in sight. Your vows to one another will be taken by a historic ruin of an ancient chapel in the grounds of Holyrood park. With the city within a short distance (even manageable by foot!), you can then go on to have your Wedding portraits taken around the cityscape, including on the famous Royal Mile.

Image by Craig George Photography

Image by Craig George Photography

Image by Craig George Photography

Image by Craig George Photography

Image by Craig Groge photography

Image by Craig Groge photography

After your Ceremony and images are complete, why not then consider booking a beautiful and special dinner at one of the Cities most prestigious restaurants such as the Popmadour by Glavin within the Caledonian hotel. Or if it really is just the two of you, why not ask about the intimiate dining space for two at the sumptuous and cosy Prestonfield Hotel.

Romantic Clifftop Scottish Castle ruins wedding outdoors

The spectacular view from the castle spreads out across the North Sea and historical ruins creating a picture perfect setting for all your wedding photography. Dunnottar Castle has the most wildly romantic and breathtaking setting with stunning clifftop views at the iconic ruined Scottish castle while also holding many rich secrets of Scotlands colourful past.

Take your vows by the curved archway of the smithy or the charming historic chapel - Dunnottar castle can conduct wedding ceremonies in any of the beautiful locations within the castle grounds. Enjoy breathtaking backdrops for your Wedding photography before heading back to a warm setting for your Wedding meal, we love the Whisky room at Ardoe House hotel with its quirky décor and private use option.

An elopement wedding package offer for couples being married at Dunnottar Castle and staying at Ardoe House is available at this blog post.

Luxury Elopement on a private island on the West Coast of Scotland

Isle of Eriska is a Scottish Wedding destination that people can only dream of. Imagine having your very own private island for your special day with endless views looking over the Movern Mountains. Not only is this island one of the most picturesque venues you will ever see - it also has its very own 9 hole golf and luxury spa for you and your guests to enjoy during your stay.

With a gorgeous indoor drawing room for your Ceremony, complete with its own grand piano, you have the option of a beautiful indoor Ceremony or indeed an outdoor Wedding on the front lawn.

The impressive fine dining experience at the Hotels restaurant as well as extensive Whisky selection and hugely accommodating in-house team will be sure to satisfy your every wish for a luxury

If you really want to treat yourself, why not consider taking a Spa suite for your stay and making the most of your very own private hot tub?!

Luxurious and elegant highland five star Castle wedding

Inverlochy Castle is the epitome of Scottish luxury in the stunning old town of Fort William in the Western Scottish Highlands. Inverlochy Castle is a 19th century castle known as Scotlands finest country hotel which is surrounded by the luscious green of the evergreen trees and the sparkling blue from the nearby loch - this being the perfect backdrop for your special Scottish elopement wedding.

The Queens suite at Inverlochy castle

The Queens suite at Inverlochy castle

The beautiful drawing room at Inverlochy Castle

The beautiful drawing room at Inverlochy Castle

Take your vows in the beautiful Castle drawing room followed by an amazing culinary experience to be enjoyed by you and your guests in the stunning and famous Michael Roux restaurant.

Do you want to make this a trip you will really never forget? Consider upgrading to the stunning Queens suite (named so, for a good reason!) and consider a private hire of the castles very own Rolls Royce for a day trip around the gorgeous scenery and famous places to visit in the Scottish highlands such as Glenfinnan Railway and the Isle of Skye.

Ancient Chapel Wedding at historic castle in Scotland

With a history spanning hundreds upon hundreds of years and associations with famous Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce, Drum Castle is the perfect, authentic castle for a gorgeous Wedding. Your religious Scottish Wedding can take place within the quaint chapel on the estate grounds and you could even dine within the castle itself. Enjoy the gorgeous castle exterior and courtyard for photographs, as well as the possibility of photographs in the stunning garden of roses.

Image by Emma Lawson Photography

Image by Emma Lawson Photography

Many couples opt to stay at nearby and beautiful local hotel, Ardoe House Hotel where they can enjoy a private dinner within their room or in the Whisky room.

An elopement Wedding package offer for couples being married at Drum Castle and staying at Ardoe House is available at this blog post.