The beauty of hosting a destination wedding in Scotland lies far beyond the history, stunning landscapes, and fun fashion—hello, kilts! Scotland might be known for its exceptional sights and brimming romance, but this buzzing tourist destination is a hot spot for “I dos” of every fashion.
Are you and your partner dreaming of a large traditional castle wedding? How about a city-center celebration surrounded by cobblestone streets and historic buildings? Maybe you want an intimate elopement surrounded by the rolling Highland hills? In Scotland, all of these are a possibility. From finding your dream vendors to the country’s legal requirements, here’s everything you need to know about planning a Scotland destination wedding.
Top Cities And Areas For A Scotland Destination Wedding
Walking the cobblestone streets of Edinburgh, it’s no surprise why it’s one of the most popular cities in Scotland. From the medieval Old Town to the more modern New Town, every corner is rich with history and gothic architecture. Here you can visit the famous Edinburgh castle, Princess Street Gardens, and even walk the Royal Mile.
Here are some notable venues in Edinburgh to check out:
Though Edinburgh might be the first place that comes to mind, we’re reminding you not to sleep on Glasgow. This city has a heritage of Victorian architecture, packed with stunning buildings, quirky charm, and vibrant art. It’s the spot for couples dreaming of a city celebration that incorporates modern and old-world influences.
Here are some notable venues in Glasgow to check out:
This coastal town is a stunning city escape with sandy beaches, 18th-century grey buildings, and rigid coastlines. It also happens to be one of the sunniest cities in Scotland. So if you’re hoping for sunny weather on your big day, this might be the perfect location.
Here are some notable venues in Aberdeen to check out:
Being Scotland’s fourth largest city, Dundee is a smaller alternative for couples that want to be surrounded by both city and nature. The coastal town has a variety of sandy beaches, ports, and even an extinct volcano towering 572 feet over the city. Adventurous couples will love Dundee and all the audacious experiences it offers.
Here are some notable venues in Dundee to check out:
The Highlands and Islands
Being a more remote and isolated area, the Scottish Highlands are a popular setting for destination elopements. You’ll find rolling hills, rigid coastlines, and a variety of hikes leading to jaw-dropping views. With the Highlands stretching far and wide, picking just one location worthy of celebrating your love can be difficult. Though every corner of the Highlands offers something different, we recommend looking into the village of Glencoe and Isle of Skye.
Here are some notable venues in the Highlands to check out:
- Buachaille Etive Mòr in Glencoe
- The Three Sisters of Glencoe
- Isles of Glencoe Hotel
Best Time Of Year For A Scotland Destination Wedding
It probably comes as no surprise that Scotland is cold and rainy year-round. So before booking your destination wedding here, you’ll want to make sure you’re okay with the unpredictable weather. If sunny weather is your main priority, consider a date in the late spring and early summer. These are typically the sunniest and warmest months of the year.
When you picture Scotland, odds are your mind doesn’t immediately think warm and sunny. You probably picture a dark and moody vibe. And if you’re looking to take full advantage of the autumnal atmosphere Scotland is so famously known for, you’ll want to choose a date between late September and early November.
If budget is your main concern, we recommend throwing a winter wonderland celebration. During the colder months, you’ll be met with cheaper travel costs and accommodations when you arrive. You’ll also be able to take full advantage of the romantic ambiance that comes with the snowy Scotland flurries.
What Does A Scotland Destination Wedding Cost?
Your overall wedding budget will be determined by travel costs, your guest list size, venue, vendors, accommodations, and so much more. If you’re ditching a traditional celebration for an intimate elopement, you can expect to pay somewhere between $5,000-$15,000. Couples planning an extravagant celebration surrounded by their closest loved ones can expect to spend between $25,000 and $40,000.
What Costs Should You Cover For Your Guests?
When planning a destination wedding, it’s not always clear what should be covered for your guests. Though every wedding is different, it’s typical for guests to be responsible for their own travel costs—we’re talking hotel, airfare, baggage, etc. Though it’s not mandatory, you can set up a hotel block to keep your loved ones in close proximity and make the overall costs cheaper for your guests.
When Should You Send Out Save The Dates & Invites?
A destination wedding timeline—especially for those that require international travel—is stretched longer than one for a traditional, local celebration. It’s important to send out your save the dates as soon as possible. Ideally, this would fall about eight to twelve months before your big day. Invitations should then follow about six months before your wedding. This gives your guests plenty of time to book days off of work and secure flights and accommodations.
When Should You Begin Booking Your Vendors?
Wedding vendors tend to book out well in advance. So when you finalize a destination, venue, and date, it’s time to hunt down your dream vendor team. And the further out you book your vendors, the better—especially if you’ve had your eye on a particular vendor for a while.
Should You Hire A Wedding Planner?
There’s a long list of vendors we recommend securing for your wedding day. But when it comes to planning a faraway celebration, we can’t recommend hiring a wedding planner enough. Local planners know the area well and can provide suggestions for venues, vendors, and post-wedding activities you can’t find during a simple Google search.
Not sure where to start? Check out our directory of wedding planners in Scotland.
Legal Requirements For A Scotland Destination Wedding
Legal requirements differ from place to place. And the last thing you want is to plan a stunning destination wedding just to find out you haven’t finalized all of the paperwork or met the necessary requirements.
Any two persons can legally tie the knot in Scotland provided that:
- They are 16 years of age or older on the day of their wedding
- They are not related
- They are not already married or registered as a civil partner
- They are capable of consenting to marry
- In case of opposite sex marriage, the marriage would be regarded as valid in the party’s country of domicile
If you meet all the requirements, you can then apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa and pay the £100 application fee.
If you’re granted your Marriage Visitor Visa, you can submit a marriage notice form (three months to 15 days prior to your wedding) to the registrar of the district in which your marriage will be taking place. You will have to show proof of your original ID documents to the civil office issuing your marriage license in person before your wedding day. You will also need to produce your birth certificates, passports, and also documentation of divorce, annulment, or death of your former spouse, if applicable.
If you’re having a religious ceremony (rather than a civil ceremony), the registrar in your district will provide you with a marriage schedule that’ll need to be completed and returned within three days so the marriage can be registered. After your marriage has been registered, you can obtain a copy of your marriage certificate for the appropriate fee.
Now that you have all the information needed to bring your destination wedding to life in Scotland, the fun planning begins. Start by checking out our directory of wedding vendors in Scotland, then read our destination wedding planning guide to ensure you don’t miss a thing.