How to Pick Your Elopement Location
You should pick a location that has meaning or that will create lasting memories. Choosing to go on a grand adventure is a great way to make your elopement memorable for a lifetime. Here are a few key points to ponder about that will narrow down the locations.
It could be a place where you've always wanted to go or a place that is meaningful to you. You can travel back to celebrate your anniversary there. Think of the anniversaries, dates, firsts, and moments of growth you’ve shared: where did those moments happen?
What type of scenery makes your hear stop and brings you joy? The place should make you both feel more connected and present. Think of a location that would fulfil the experience that you're dreaming of. Scotland has diverse nature and landscape that can suit anyone's wishes.
Seasons and Weather
Certain sceneries are at their most beautiful during specific months of the yea which should be taken into consideration. Mountain ranges are beautiful year round with lush greens in summer and burned orange tones in autumn. In the lower parts of Scotland you will find certain seasonal flowers blooming throughout the spring and summer such as the purple heather and yellow gorse. High elevation locations are more easily accessible throughout the warmer months of the year. Seasons also affect bookings for accommodation. In Scotland the high season is May-September.
In general, the further out you are willing to travel the more privacy you will have. For the best light as well as less business it is best to have your ceremony in the morning hours and or in the evening when the tourist busses are not around. The most picturesque locations attract the most visitors - outdoor enthusiasts and tourists but there is always a possibility to walk a bit further out to keep the amazing views and and have the place for yourselves. The best months with warmer temperatures for being out in the nature with less crowd around is April-May and September to early October. Spring months tend to be more dry months. As an elopement photographer I am available on the weekdays, therefore when booking the date can be pinned to a week of the year and closer to the date we can decide which exact day is the best in terms of weather.
Are there other activities you would like to do on your day after the ceremony? It can be anything from taking it slow and relaxing next to a bonfire to taking a kayak ride or even a sailboat. Some locations will be able to offer more variety of experiences. If you already have an activity in mind then it could help you to set the mind of the location.
Once you have selected your ideal location think of any alternatives that you could fall back to if there are sudden road closures, extreme weather etc.
Top 15 Scotland Elopement Location Ideas
Places to choose from are abundant in Scotland. My personal favorites are locations with changing scenery - you can be on a mountaintop and just around the corner there might be a completely different view facing a loch.
The Glencoe Valley is around 3 hour drive from Edinburgh. It is easily accessible and gives the most famous view if Scotland's rolling hills. There are many trails to explore leading to the rapids, footbridges and vantage points, allowing you to find the right spot for the ceremony. The most common area where to start exploring the valley is the Three Sisters Car Park. Note that cell connection is limited in these mountains.
Kilchurn Castle is located north from Glasgow and on the way to the previously mentioned Glencoe Valley. The best view opens up to it from the opposite side of the loch. The grassy, boggy ground with a few single standing trees makes it a minimalistic yet impressive setting where you can say the vows. You need to walk just a few hundred meters from your car to have the best view. In summer it can be a nice place for a picnic as the shore is a bit elevated. Some locals also love doing kayaking and swimming there. Worth to mention that photographing up close the castle is not allowed without a permit as it is owned by Scottish National Trust. Make sure you take rubber boots for crossing the boggy field of grass until you reach the shore.
Ben Nevis and Steall Falls
While most of the crowd goes directly to climb Ben Nevis, take a road through the valley and get surprised by a "hidden" gem - Steall Falls. The drive to it is picturesque enough to take occasional breaks and take a look around. In the first half of the day it is possible to see a beautiful cloud inversion floating among the hills. The final location is secluded between the hills and the road leading to the waterfall is already an adventure on its own. It is particularly gorgeous during spring and first months of autumn.
Loch Lomond National Park
Loch Lomond National park is located just an hour's drive from Glasgow. It is a long stretch of waterbody where on its shore you will find cabins, hotels and other venues where to stay overnight or celebrate in the evening with your guests.
Orkney Islands are so remote, you will need to fly there or take a ferry to reach. They are extremly flat and you won't see a single tree there. The islands are paradise for bird lovers and archeologists. I recommed Ring of Brodgar. Puffin watching, boating around the islands.
Scotts View has a changing scenery throughout the year. Unlike other locations on the list, this is located south of Edinburgh in Scottish Borders. Here it is pictured middle of May when the shrubs bloom in bright yellow. You can have the elopement from this viewpoint on the hill, overlooking the valley and the opposing mountain.
Cairngorms National Park
Head to Cairngorms for old, rugged mountains and the Calodonian Forest the oldest forest in Scotland. One of the places where to have your ceremony could be next to the Loch an Eilein. The pine trees come up close to the edge of the water. If lucky, on a foggy and still day can capture beautiful mirror reflections of you standing next to the water.
Old mountain ranges, almost desolate. Most tourists stick to the more popularised places but this is a recent finding of mine. The massive, steneous mountain ranges will give you a backdrop that very few couples have had for their wedding day. Enjoy the vast wilderness to yourself. On your way back to civilization can do a longer roadtrip to Isle of Skye.
A long single lane road will take you through a gorgeous valley. There are amazing locations for photography at the beginning of the road and half way in with distant mountains in the background. It takes around 3h to drive till the end of it on a single file road. Watch out for the pesky midgies in this area in particular if coming here in summer months.
Scotland Beach Elopement
On a bright sunny day Scottish beaches can be deceiving and seem like you are somewhere in the southern Italy. The water is still cold throughout the year, but look at this paradise! Easy to reach and
Other Castles and Castle Ruins Where to Elope
Scotland is scattered with castles and theri ruins all over. Some of the most spectacular ones are Castle Stalker, Eileen Donan castle, the cute pink one ,. In some of the castles you can stay overnight. Craigievar Castle
Isle of Skye Elopement Locations
The Isle of Skye is arguably the most picturesque place in the whole Scotland that encompasses everything from waterfalls, mountains, forests to beaches and cliffs with cuddly hairy coo's pasturing around. It is 6h away from Edinburgh and should be considered for a multi-day trip. The roads are very narrow, so getting around there takes time. My favorite places for photos and ceremonies are the Fairy Glen, Fairy Pools and the majestic mountain view in Quirang. Old Man of Storr is another place where you can hike up for some picnic with towering shards in the background. This iconic sight is the main postcard that you could get. The largest town is Portree and is good to have as a homebase to explore places from there. I personally prefer heading to one of the modern cabins dotted around the island for a unique stay.
Edinburgh City Elopement Locations
Seize the chance to be surrounded by far less people now before the world is back to pre-pandemic state. Edinburgh now is as empty as it will ever get in our lifetime. Get married in the City Chambers and stroll around the cobbled streets. Restaurants and pubs are within walking distance. For the photoshoot can go up the Calton Hill, Circus Lane, the Vennel or explore the trails and views around the Arthur's Seat.
St Andrews Elopement
An alternative to Edinburgh in my opinion is St Andrews. It's known as a university town where the British royals have studied. You can feel the ambience from the coffee shops, small bookstores and the campus buildings. One of my couples got extra creative and held their ceremony in the Museum of Arts, however, the ruins of a cathedral and the beachside promenade are the most notable places. It's a small city where everything is within a walking distance and local restaurants with great food.
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