Have you ever dreamt of running away with the love of your life and getting married in a beautiful setting? If so, you’re not alone! Lots of couples elope to Scotland every year. It has become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. From the breathtaking scenery to the intimate setting, there are so many reasons why eloping in Scotland is the best idea ever. And Venachar Lochside has everything you need for the wedding dreams are made of. Read on to find out more…
What does it mean to elope?
Eloping is nothing new. In 1754, Parliament in England and Wales decided that parental consent was required for those under 21 to get married. But in Scotland, that wasn’t the case, and you could still get married there at 16. So, young couples would nip off to Gretna Green and tie the knot because their families didn’t approve of the wedding. Or they needed to get married quickly.
These days, many couples choose to elope to Scotland because they want something more intimate. They still invite their nearest and dearest, but the wedding is a smaller affair with a select few invited. And some couples elope in secret still, announcing their nuptials when they return. It’s normally pretty informal, definitely romantic, and you get a honeymoon and wedding all rolled into one!
How you elope is completely up to you. You can let your families know before or surprise them when you get back. Maybe you want a few friends with you as witnesses or have your immediate family there? Or you might want it to be just the two of you and a couple of strangers as witnesses. However you choose to do it, you are in control.
Some excellent reasons to elope to Scotland
You want to save money but not compromise on your special day
Eloping is generally cheaper than a big wedding in your home town. Even if you invite a select few family and friends, there will likely be fewer guests in total. That means the catering budget will be less than a big ‘do’. And, your honeymoon can be a continuation of your visit.
You’re not that traditional
Many couples don’t want some aspects of a traditional wedding ceremony like being given away or having a top table etc. When you elope to Scotland, you can have the ceremony and reception exactly the way you want it.
It’s more intimate
You can keep the ceremony short and sweet, or opt to add a few extra touches, such as a handfasting ceremony, a bagpiper, or even a clan gathering. No matter what you choose, an elopement in Scotland will remain a cherished memory for you both.
You don’t want to plan
Planning a party for 100+ people is a daunting task. It can cause unnecessary stress and heartache. Especially if there are any family politics to take into account.
Every family has issues, some more than others. And, if the thought of deciding who sits next to who, or who you can’t invite because it may upset someone else fills you with dread, then eloping can remove those issues for you.
Deciding that you’re going to get married secretly can be really special for a couple. A secret that just the two of you know.
You can get married outside
It is a dream of many people to get married outside, but unfortunately, that’s not really possible in large parts of the UK. In Scotland, however, you can get married pretty much anywhere! That means the chance of a truly magical woodland wedding, river bank rendezvous, or even a snowy winter wonderland wedding!
You have Scottish links
You may choose to elope to Scotland because you have special ties with our country, Whether that’s happy memories from a previous visit, or deep ancestral roots. There are lots of wonderful Scottish wedding traditions that you can adopt, making it all the more meaningful.
Where to start?
When it comes to eloping, once you’ve made the decision that it’s for you, what should you do? Where do you begin?
Follow the rules and guidance
All you need is the two of you, two witnesses and a celebrant or minister. But, there are some things to sort and some decisions to be made beforehand. Such as the type of ceremony you want to have, whether it be civil or religious. There’s also certain paperwork that needs to be filled in and fees that apply. And there are different rules, depending on where you live. You can find rules and guidance on the mygov.scot website and the National Records of Scotland website. Please allow plenty of time to go through this carefully, as there are certain timescales that you must meet. For example, the Marriage Notice Form and supporting documents should be with the registrar at least 29 days in advance. If you’re unsure of anything, you can contact the National Records of Scotland, Combined Registrations Services, for further information.
Find the perfect venue
Then you need to find a beautiful Scottish wedding venue suitable for an elopement. Here at Venachar Lochside, we specialise in romantic Scottish weddings with breathtaking views. We offer a special elopement package, designed for small weddings with 10 to 50 guests. Your group will have our venue to yourselves, and the package includes an intimate ceremony, drinks reception, wedding meal and evening reception. It is available midweek throughout the year, with weekend options also available during the winter.
Plan a budget
Looking at your finances, be realistic and come up with an idea of how much you’d like to be able to spend. See how this fits with your ideas, and how long it might take you as a couple to reach that amount in savings.
Plan how to tell everyone
As we’ve mentioned, you will have to tell people you got married at some point. To save the stress, it’s worth planning this in advance. Are you going to have a secondary reception? Are you going to announce it at a family gathering? Cards? Have a think about it all.
Start to book
Once it’s all planned, it’s time to start booking your wedding! Check out the legal timelines and use that to plan where and what you should book first.
Dos and don’ts for eloping
As with any wedding, there are plenty of things that other people who have married before you would and would not recommend when it comes to eloping. Here are just a few of the classic Dos and Don’ts!
Don’t feel bad about it
This is arguably the most important one. It can be hard to decide to elope, even if it’s what you’ve always wanted. But there is really no reason to feel bad about it – after all, it’s your day! You can always celebrate with everyone back home afterwards, but you’ll never get to redo your wedding, so do it how you want.
Do have a reveal plan
If you’ve not already told everyone you’re eloping, plan how to reveal it. You could throw a huge party, invite everyone over for dinner… the options are endless. Just make sure everyone you care about hears it from you and not through Facebook or the local gossip circle!
Don’t dismiss the legal side of things
As mentioned above, there are lots of things you need to sort in order to get married legally in Scotland. You really need to plan all of these into your wedding, and don’t leave them until the last minute!
Do expect some costs
Plenty of people opt for elopement because they think it’s going to be so much cheaper, and while it is much cheaper than your usual wedding, you still need to budget! The celebrant, the legal costs, the outfits, the photographer… it does soon add up.
Don’t meet your vendors on the day
If you can, it’s always best to meet (or at least Zoom) your vendors prior to the big day. If you can, take a visit a little while before the wedding and scout out your options. At Venachar Lochside, we are delighted to show you around our wedding venue, either in person or virtually. Just contact us here to arrange.
Do use a wedding planner
Your wedding may be smaller, but that doesn’t mean it’s inherently going to be easier to plan! That’s where wedding experts come in. Hiring a wedding planner will make your day that much easier – you won’t regret it! When you get married at Venachar Lochside, our amazing wedding planner, Sam, is here to help it all go smoothly. Plus, he can recommend wedding suppliers and share his local knowledge.
Our unique location is perfect
Here at Venachar Lochside, we are very lucky to be set on the banks of a bonny loch with breathtakingly beautiful scenery all around us. If you plan to elope to Scotland, our location is just perfect! We have some wonderful spaces for you to choose from for your ceremony, inside and outside. And regardless of whether it will be just the two of you or a few family and friends, we have some wonderful and quirky extras like a firepit for toasting marshmallows, or a horsebox cocktail/hot chocolate bar. Take a look at our special elopement package and then give us a call to discuss what we can do to help make your elopement to Scotland everything you want it to be.