Buachaille Etive Scotland Wedding Elopement

Buachaille Etive - Scotland Wedding Elopement

Glencoe - A little bit of a fairytale

At the beginning of April 2021, Bex and Tom decided to celebrate their love with an elopement wedding in Glencoe. The ceremony took place at the breathtaking Buachaille Etive Mòr spot. Scotland Wedding Elopement - In Scottish Highlands, you can have four seasons of the year in ten minutes. The day started with a Spring in full glory and Wintertime at the end of the ceremony with heavy snow falling. As restrictions due to the pandemic not been lifted yet in Highlands, our wedding party was limited to a maximum of five persons. I was one of the witnesses. Literally. Being a witness is just a formality, but to me, it was a great privilege. First time in my life I was a witness!

A big thanks to those amazing people for organising this gorgeous elopement wedding behind the scenes:

Elopement planner: Wild Hearts Elopement

Flowers and Headband: To A Mountain Daisy

Celebrant: Gail Brack

The Sitooterie: St Marys Space

glencoe wedding ceremony

Chapter one - The Spring at St. Mary’s Space

That day started at a beautiful place, St. Mary’s Space, not too far from Appin town. A small business run by Charlotte and Jamie. They build up a little, charming cabin just beside the old converted chapel. You should check out that place if getting married or have an artistic soul. Charlotte is a craft artist, Jamie is a musician. I arrived at that peaceful little gem of Scotland on the morning, scouting for the best place to have a first look. The morning light was already harsh. The walking path to the close River Ure was boggy. I spotted an old, big tree and small mountain well, right beside the cabin. I knew right away I found the perfect spot!

First Look

I do not know what the first look is for a long time. What is the purpose? All weddings I remember from my home place were that the groom sees a partner at the ceremony. My home place is Scotland now, but before that was Poland. I had the picture in my mind as an odd ritual, a bit forced, staged mainly for the photos. I was so wrong. The wedding day is full of emotions, the anticipation is real. The nervousness of the couple as it is a big day! But the fear goes away in the arms of a loved one. For the couple, be close together before the ceremony helps reduce stress to the bare minimum.
Tom's face when he saw the bride in her wedding dress. Priceless. It's the face of someone who finds out that he just won a fortune in the lottery. My honest thought; Tom was tripping on love. So was Bex. The best drug you can have, but you can't buy.

Chapter Two - Wandering around Glencoe

Slowly we hit the road into The Three Sisters direction, the famous viewpoint of the Glencoe. Our first stop was at the castle Stalker, located by Portnacroish, Appin. Stalker is a lonely castle on a tiny island, the only way to get there is by hiring a boat. Unfortunately, the castle is temporarily closed so we took some photos with this curious object in the background. So we were slowly driving, stopping here and there when we found anything interesting up to Kingshouse hotel where we met deer. It was one of these moments when I instantly regretted I forgot a carrot! All the way I was a bit worried about my couple, are they adventurous enough to go to some not easily accessible places, how about the wedding dress? But Bex blows my concerns out of the water. She was first to go, oh, check this waterfall down there!

Chapter Three - The Elopement Wedding Ceremony

We slowly arrived at Buachaille Etive Mòr. A cold afternoon was still sunny, but clouds started to appear in the blue sky. In Scottish highlands expect most unexpectable about weather prediction. I certainly did not consider heavy snow blizzard on that day.

glencoe wedding ceremony

Bex and Tom decided to go for an ancient Celtic tradition, a couple swears an oath on a stone. Tom was holding in his hand personalised stone with names and wedding date. Gail, the humanist celebrant, prepared a touching speech for the couple. There were tears and laughter - great moments.

The weather started to change, after the ceremony, Gail left a gift for Bride and Groom, a tartan blanket and a lucky horseshoe for future good luck. I snapped few photos at the heavy snow moment. At Buachaille Etive Mòr started to be cold, so we jump back into the car to warm up ourselves and hit the road to Glen Etive.

Chapter Four - Glen Etive

A beautiful pocket of Glencoe. From the road, you can see another side of Buachaille Etive. We stopped at the river with waterfalls with the peak of Buachaille Etive in the background. A movie Skyfall scene from the exact spot over Glen Etive road. Tourists try to recreate that scene with a photo. Glen Etive is often a choice for Scotland Wedding Elopement. Did I mention Tom was looking like Daniel Craig, James Bond from the movie? And it is not only my opinion!

Scotland Wedding Elopement turned in to a fairytale story. The snow, the lovely couple Bex and Tom. It was an amazing day, a good feeling to be in this place, with lovely people. We had so much joy and laughter together! I hope my photos show just a little bit of that joy during the whole day.

Dunglass Estate Elopement Scotland

Elopement photographer - Dunglass Estate

Why Dunglass Estate is a cool place to elope

So, why Dunglass Estate elopement is cool? Beautiful home in East Lothian focusing on wedding venues, a 40 minutes drive south from the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. The estate, surrounded by forest from the one side, has an old church chapel and secret, walled garden with the glasshouse. And on top of that is located by the North Sea bay. You have to see it to appreciate it fully. It is a cool place for an intimate forest elopement or old church elopement. It is romantic, a lovely venue for the couple which prefer a luxury of having a roof alternative in the worst-case scenario, instead of rugged, wild elopement in the Scottish Highlands.

Venue: Dunglass Estate

Workshop: Photography Farm

Workshop Leaders: Devlin Photos & Sean Bell

Hair: Pin Up Hair Glasgow

Makeup: Cat Robertson Makeup

Model Couple: Rebecca & Rob Scott (@thescotts_modelcouple)

Design and Styling: We Are Gloam

Floristry: We Are Gloam

Dresses: Unbridaled and Sanyukta Shrestha

Suit: Beggars Run

Crown: Rene Walrus (@tiarastrash)

Veils: Ann Marie Faulkner

Veils and Crowns: @frejadesignderdressmaking

Rebecca and Rob - The Scotts Couple

The styled event, organised by Photography Farm, was all about elopement ideas and to show how calm and relaxed elopement wedding can look. Rebecca and Rob, the real deal couple were just a perfect bride and groom. We started the shoot on a cold, rainy morning in late October. Morning at Dunglass Estate elopement preparation was all about detail photography and experimenting with the light and shadow. Experiment, the keyword for me if we are talking about wedding and elopement photography.

Elopement in the forest - ferns and Nick Cave song

Luckily, the day cleared out with breaks of sun. We moved to the forest for a styled wedding ceremony. I love elopements in the woods. It makes you connected with nature, makes you feel grounded and relaxed. Well, the forest makes me well-grounded, at least. I believe we all desire that kind of connection with nature.
To make all of us feel like a real wedding ceremony, someone played a song "into my arms" by Nick Cave from the phone. It should be a mandatory hymn for the lovers. I adore this song and artist, so I was over the moon hearing it! Styled photo-shoots can be emotional and exciting too. The couple were walk-in ferns, very photogenic plants which grow almost everywhere in Scotland's wilderness.

Elopement celebration ideas - The glasshouse

It may be unusual and not to everyone's taste. I found it romantic and somewhat sweet, an intimate celebration with your loved one in such a cool, airy place. That's the beauty of intimate elopements and micro weddings. Almost everything is up to your imagination, including ceremony. Scotland's law made it easy for couples willing to get married. On the end of the day, we even sneaked a few additional photos in the nearby "secret garden" place as the sun was about to fade and the light was spectacular. The whole day was just magical from the start to the end. The venue, nature, glimpse of the autumn sun added that special feel to the entire event. The perfect day with amazing people around me.

elopement guide scotland

How to elope in Scotland

What is an Elopement?

Term elopement itself has changed. From escaping and get married secretly to a fashionable, intimate and relaxed wedding ceremony. It's just you and your love. I know planning a whole elopement wedding day out of the box, on your own can be overwhelming. Where you should start? It's more simple than you think. Here I am to help you. So how to elope in Scotland?

1. Getting down to the nitty-gritty of Scottish elopement

1.1 Choose place, date and time for an elopement ceremony

You need to know these three details in advance before you submit them to local authority registrars. The good news is, in Scotland, you can be legally married or have a civil partnership ceremony wherever you like. It creates endless choices for couples to elope. On the other hand, it can be tricky to pick the location for the elopement ceremony. Here you'll find my 10 amazing places in Scotland to elope. Choose the date and place wisely. Popular destinations of the Scottish Highlands like Isle Of Skye or Glencoe are getting busy over the Summertime for pairs aim to elope in Scotland. Avoid touristy spots in the summer, unless you are okay with a group of tourist watching. Also, you need to book accommodation way in advance as decent places to stay are scarce to find in the holiday season. Restless little creatures called midges can spoil your ceremony or holiday. July and August are the most active months for biting midges, especially in damp, quiet valleys of northwest Scotland. Right, I made summer sound like the worst time to have an elopement in Scotland. But there are workarounds to avoid that little niggles.

Elopement Session Glencoe

1.2 Pick the right celebrant for you

Regardless of religious or belief ceremony or by a civil ceremony, you need to contact with celebrant before registrars. Don't hesitate to ask questions - celebrants are usually happy to help experts in this field. For outdoor, nature-loving couples, the best choice would be the humanist ceremony for elope in Scotland. Humanist Society Scotland would be the place to look for an authorised and fully trained Humanist celebrant. 

1.3 Get the paperwork ready

With a decided place, date and your celebrant, you need to send over a marriage notice (M10 form) to one of the local Scottish registrants. Here is the contact list published by the National Records of Scotland of local authority registrars (PDF). Although the absolute deadline for documents submission is 28 days before marriage day, you should consider sending your papers at least three months before your marriage. Don't send last minute. The registrar office will need time to investigate your petition and will need a good reason for the late notice. You take the risk of postponing your elopement wedding day. You can hand out documents personally to the office or send them by post. The latter is a good practice if you'd like to elope in Scotland, especially in the current pandemic situation.

If you are willing to elope in Scotland from another country like the United States, you need to complete Marriage Visitor visa. The fees cost £95 at the present day. As for UE countries, I'm not sure about the current Brexit law transition but will update once new rules apply.

1.4 Decide who is going to be your witness

For having legal marriage, you need two witnesses for your wedding. It can be anyone if you plan to elope in Scotland only as a couple. Hairdresser, make up artist, your photographer or videographer - adult person around who understand language. A good practice is to take perhaps two close friends or family members on board.

The marriage schedule document
Once your marriage notice documents have approved by the local registrar, you'll need to collect the marriage schedule document from the office personally, not earlier than seven days before the elopement. You should get the call that your documents are ready. After your wedding ceremony, you must send it back within three days. It is crucial as your marriage won't be valid! This part is handled in most cases by your celebrant or can be done by yourself.

And that's it in the short brief. The whole process is pretty straightforward. If you need more details, go check nrscotland.gov.uk 

1.5 Elopement dedicated planners

All steps mentioned above, although not that hard to do and pretty straightforward, are time-consuming. Usually, elopement and wedding planners can do all that work for you in one package to elope in Scotland. Wedding planners have a broad list of suppliers, celebrants, videographers and photographers. They will handle most of the logistics for you plus all paperwork and legalities advice beforehand. So you have a hassle-free package with all you need for your elopement day in Scotland. Wild Hearts Elopement planning service is the one I recommend. Down to you is to relax and enjoy your beautiful wedding with your love.

2.Seasons for Scottish elopement

2.1 Spring. March, April and May

Months when daylight starts to last longer after short, winter days. In March snow may fall occasionally and mountain peaks still can be covered in the snow. In late April and May, hills get green and nature starts to bloom again. In March you can get some good bookings for hostels and romantic cottages at touristy places like Isle of Skye or Glencoe.

2.2 Summer. June - August

It's the period when days are starts early and ends late. That leaves you plenty of time to do your planned activities. The best moment for a photo session would be early morning or late evening. Sunrise starts at 5 am and sunset usually last to 10 pm. Worth note is the fact most popular places are getting busy with tourists, pick your elopement spot wisely. Also, early booking is mandatory if you plan an elopement in a popular area.

why elope to glencoe

2.3 Autumn. September - November

Early Autumn is my favourite time of the year in Scotland when flora nature turns into all shades of orange colours. It's just simply beautiful. It is a perfect time for photographers to capture all those colours. In highlands, hills turn into the gold shade. Temperatures are not so low and harsh yet, in November some snow, especially in higher parts of the country are expected. Pitlochry (Perthshire) in Scotland was one of the best places in the world to visit over Autumn time in Lonely Planet rank.

2.4 Winter. December - February

For the couples who enjoy quiet off-season time and prefer that romantic time of cosy moments by the fireplace. Days are short, the good news is, the sun is so low, it makes the most wonderful light and famous, low dramatic skies add to the whole winter highland atmosphere. Be well prepared though to embrace elements in Highlands. Umbrellas, good shoes, all sorts of blankets and waterproofs are a must.

3. How to prepare for an elopement and what to wear?

Scotland is an island surrounded by the sea from every side. That means the weather can be moody and unpredictable. The good news is, heavy shower usually goes away, need to be patient. It is true all four seasons can be in five minutes time period. Expect heavy showers for the whole year. A cold wind is a common thing in January and February. I usually have backup blankets and umbrellas in the back of the trunk. Good waterproof jackets will keep you safe from the elements, although wool wraps will be looking better in the photos. A good selection of serapes offers Lochcarron of Scotland and tartan blankets, The Tartan Blanket Co.

Shoes. The best advice is to have comfy ones. And waterproof if possible. Dr Martens style shoes would be great for roaming in the wilds. In the worst-case scenario wellies, under the dress won't be seen anyway!

5 reasons why elopement

5 reasons why you should consider elopement wedding

Even if you think this is not for you

If you read this blog, elopement idea already crossed your mind. Nowadays term “elopement” has changed original meaning from secret runaway to planned small, intimate wedding as a celebration of love. After 2020 events, no surprise many engaged couples aiming to get married, choose elopement weddings. Elopement is a growing trend, and the current world situation only accelerated desire to have a small, intimate marriage.

Elopement Scotland Glencoe

1. Elopement is all about you and your love.

First thing off, I love big, fat family weddings. I can see why the bride and groom are attracted to celebrate marriage traditionally. Bride and groom being in the centre of attention, amongst happy wedding guests. But at the same time, I can see how much unnecessary stress in on bride and groom shoulders. Bride and groom seldom are alone, trying to make happy all wedding guests, trying to make everything perfect, dealing with a tight schedule at a traditional wedding. The only time the couple can rest and focus on themselves is a portrait session with the photographer - usually between reception and dinner. I see many times how difficult is to relax for just married couple. Therefore I advise having a separate couple portrait session maybe day before the wedding, that lovers can focus on themselves. Party night after the reception usually helps freshly married couple to loosen tight and wedding dress. But even then, they are never alone. Planning a big wedding for over a hundred guests is stressful enough and always was. The situation looks completely different at the elopement wedding. Bride and Groom are not firmly tight to all traditions and schedule which traditional wedding has. Therefore at a more laid back event, the couple can concentrate on what is all about - love.

2. Elopement or micro wedding?

Let's define the difference between a micro wedding and an elopement. And to be frank, there isn't many. The difference is in details and couples approach to be married. I had a few micro weddings in 2020, to my understanding, a micro wedding is a traditional wedding in just a smaller scale. Pretty much as per title "micro". It's for couples with more traditional views to be married. The same ceremony, humanist or in church, wedding cake, family portraits and reception. Sure, when you down to planning an elopement, you don't need to include only you and your loved one plus two witnesses. You can include your family or friends. But the main difference, in my opinion, is that you have more freedom about tailoring your big day. And allow focusing mainly on your love. With the micro wedding, you run into a dilemma who will receive a wedding invitation as in fact, it is a traditional wedding in all aspects and how the bride would like to see it. Sure, part of your family and friends will understand this, there always will be some justifications and shortcomings. When you elope, you are not tight to traditions. You can think out of the box how your day should look. Do you want to invite your family or prefer to be alone just with two witnesses? Do you love nature or prefer city elopement? Would you like to have a ceremony in the morning or later afternoon? This is how I see and define the difference between wedding and elopement.
On top of that, imagine, after a romantic, intimate elopement ceremony whole of your family and friends receive beautiful photos and incredible video from the day. Does it not sound great? And at the end of the day, you can have a party after all, just in a more relaxed, informal manner if the traditional wedding is not your thing.

Wedding Scotland Drumtochty Castle

3. Let’s talk about money- elopement vs wedding

In general, elopement is cheaper than a wedding, does not mean it cannot be fancy. In Scotland, you can have elopement for around £7k. The cost usually includes the celebrant, wedding dress, accommodation, travel and a well-regarded elopement photographer you like. Elopement is five to ten times less than the costs of the traditional wedding. Simple mathematics, you save a lot on each wedding guest. I know, getting married is not only about money. But with all that savings from the wedding budget, you can have a honeymoon holiday. Or book favourite video artist you couldn’t afford before as the whole of your money went into a wedding venue. You still would have some money left in your pocket to organise some wild party without traditional boundaries. All up to you, how you manage your founds.

4. Freedom of choice

If you decide to elope, you are not minute after minute schedule must-do tasks like in a traditional wedding. Yes, you may consider what time of the day would be the best for your photo session. Discuss the schedule with your celebrant but is way less hectic and under your rules. For example, you can hike in the morning, have a ceremony after dinner. You can take advantage to pick the perfect time for your photos. In other words, you can tailor your elopement as you like. You can take even two days option with extra activities but stretch over two days with no fuss and no rush. The most iconic word comes to my mind - freedom. It is a very Scottish way. But hey, whatever floats your boat! That’s great if this is what YOU want. That’s the beauty of elopement, doesn’t matter where is, it’s all about your love, the way you like to celebrate your beautiful love. Elopement can be in the back of your garden, or in the big city. Will be the same beautiful like a day on the Isle of Skye or Glencoe. It’s your connection, is what makes it special. Elopement is easy to understand when you flip the coin and re-define why getting married in the first place.

5. Free your soul, elope to big, Scottish outdoors!

Last but not least, think about all those beautiful places Scotland has to offer. Wherever you go, you’ll be surprised how breathtaking scenery can be. From west and south Scottish Borders to Edinburgh. Loch Lomond. Epic A82 road to Glencoe and Skyfall vibe Glen Etive. Isle of Skye and Torridon - to name a few important places to me and much much more places to elope!

If you interested more to read about it, Here’s 10 places to elope in Scotland.

Elopement Glencoe Scotland Header

Glencoe Elopement Photographer

What amazing, cute human beings… Seeing their love I fell in love for them and for what I do. As an Glencoe elopement photographer, it was a blast to be a part of Kasia and Ross session. And we all were living the moment on that day indeed. So then, what I loved so much about the couple I had a pleasure to work with? Both were a bit shy in their unique way. I found how kind they are for each other. That vulnerability they dared to show in front of the camera. I didn’t lead much; I didn’t interrupt during the session. I’ve let them go with the feeling and the flow. I hope and believe pictures catch some of those moments.

The experience

Day has been already gloomy and moody right out from Glasgow we have driven. One of those days when I think to myself why we did not pick another date for our adventure in Highlands. But I’ve stuck to the plan that we go to Glencoe and Glen Etive no matter what. Live the moment, right? So we packed all crucial accessories like Wellies, warm blankets and umbrellas. Thermos flask was also very handy. After some chat with the bride and groom, I knew it’s going to be a great day, against the odds. And oh boy, it was an epic journey!

We head to Glen Etive valley first. And I need to give advice and some warning. Once rain stopped pouring down, little creatures, called midges showed up. So we didn't stayed there for long. Trust me, that tiny buggers can spoil your holiday. Usually rain and wind will scare midges away but when is calm they can eat you alive. But hey, this is all brutal beauty of Scotland's finest wilderness! Luckily for young bride and groom started raining again. (yes I call it luck, better be soaked than has midges bites all over the body)

The last stop at Three Sisters my dear couple started shivering and after a few hours of our road trip and hiking to wilderness, we called a day. Glencoe has a special place in my heart, it was my fist wandering Scotland direction when arrived to this beautiful country. Kasia and Ross seemed to enjoy the breathtaking views as well. It is truly stunning and often grim day makes is very dramatic.

Elopement Scotland Glencoe

That day had everything: Rain and wind, dramatic skies, ducks and Stag. And at the end of the day, are we not all just little, cute animals called human beings? Fall in love. And bringing flowers to show we do care. Show kindness, make tea, read the book together, those simple things. Glencoe elopement photographer - It can be a wild thing to do. Scottish weather don't make it easy but certainly makes it epic and beautiful.

Elopement Scotland Glencoe

Elopement Scotland Glasgow

Glasgow Elopement Photographer - Walk in Cathkin Brae

Lena and Patrick are actually a marriage of very talented photographers. More than that, wedding photographers as well! And what a lovely, beautiful couple they are. As elopement photographer, I attempted to wedding photography workshops. 

Oh, what a day that was! It didn’t start very well for me. Firstly, my lenses were faulty and didn’t want to work correctly. Never, ever cheap out on very important things in your life. Like photography for instance. Luckily I had some backup back in the car. Run like crazy and back just in time for shooting. So Lena and Patrick are real deal crazy in love couple. It was a pleasure work with them and create some stunning shots.

Elopement Scotland Glasgow

I could have almost felt that chemistry they had. A moody day with dramatic, heavy-looking clouds was a great companion. Yes, it was a workshop organised by another amazing photographer Mark Pacura.

But in the end, love is true. Just look yourself on these photos! I met a bunch of great people on that day. It was one of my best, most valuable experience. Oh, one more thing, check some great photography work @ lenasabala.com and markpacura.co.uk!