Elopement Photographer | Planning Your Elopement Wedding
As an Elopement Photographer, I wanted to make a guide on planning your elopement. Once upon a time, eloping was seen as the rebel thing to do, running away from tradition or hiding from the scorn of your parents. So in the past, people used to head over the Scottish border and tie the knot in secret at Gretna Green or walk into a chapel in Las Vegas.
The reality these days is very different. Eloping has a deeper meaning, and the reasons around eloping are very different.
Depending on your source, the average cost of a wedding in the UK is now between £20-30,000. That kind of price for most people is just out of reach, and obviously, you can get married for a lot cheaper. But with the cost of living rising and the prospect of buying a home together falling, spending vast amounts of money on one day is not what some people want to do.
Then there’s family politics. I remember from my own experience the headaches we had from family politics. You can only invite so many people to your wedding for one reason or another. The problems caused by who should be invited, who shouldn’t and not trying to offend anyone can put people off getting married altogether. As an elopement photographer I believe your wedding day should be about you both.
Families are also very complicated once you start thinking about step-parents and family feuds.
This is why the millennial generation are turning to elopements in their droves.
Over the last decade, thanks to social media, people’s eyes have been opened to how beautiful the world is.
I think Scotland has some of the best scenery in the world, and I wish I had known about it when I married my wife. It has something for everyone, from rugged mountain landscape, ancient forests and white sandy beaches. As an elopement photographer this is my favourite place to photograph people.
This is a personal choice, but I am more than happy to guide you. The best thing about the UK is how diverse it is.
In England, we have the stunning Cornish coast, with its pristine beaches, long coastal paths and higher temperatures in the summer. It is busy during the summer, though, so take this into account.
North Yorkshire And The Dales
Then closer to myself, we have the Yorkshire dales and North Yorkshire Moors. During the summer months, the moors are carpeted in purple heather for as far as the eye can see. North Yorkshire also has a coastline and offers idyllic coastal villages like Robin Hood’s bay
Over to the west, we have the famous Lake District’s beautiful scenery. Everything you could ask for is within easy driving or walking. You can pass through old forests and criss-cross streams on most walks before heading up onto the fells for breathtaking views of the landscape.
Heading north over the border into Scotland, the possibilities are endless.
My personal favourites are the Glen Coe pass and Rannoch moor, Glen Etive, Torridon, Isle of Skye and the far northwest coast.
Glen Coe, Rannoch Moor and Glen Etive are some of the most popular elopement destinations. Firstly they all have easy access to the A82, they are STUNNING and have excellent local accommodation. Just half a day in any of these locations will give you so many opportunities for photos.
Isle of Skye
Next on the list is the magical Isle of Skye. A little more out of the way, but you are rewarded with locations that are unrivalled anywhere else. Skye is maybe for couples looking for a little more adventure because some of the walks are a little more challenging, but it is worth it.
North West Highlands
The far northwest is for couples who just want to get lost in the ruggedness of Scotland. There’s probably no finer place to elope, from the pristine private windswept beaches to towering mountains; it is perfect for getting lost in the magic of getting married.
In England, you will need to carry out the formal part of a marriage in a registry office or a licenced building. Then when you elope, have a celebrant carry out the service.
In Scotland, you can legally get married anywhere. So firstly, find a celebrant or the local Registrar in the area you would like to elope.
You will need to submit your marriage notice form (also known as an ‘M-10’) by post to the Registrar of the district in which your elopement ceremony is taking place. National Records of Scotland have published a list of all Registrars in Scotland [PDF], but your celebrant will also be able to tell you. Each couple must submit one form per person, along with your registration service fee (currently £70). However, it’s always worth contacting your selected local Registrar before filling in the M-10, because there are subtle differences in how each registry office operates.
Your marriage notice must be submitted within three months before the date of your elopement. The absolute latest that it can be submitted is 29 days before your ceremony.
To legally get married in Scotland, you need to have two witnesses. If you have family and friends present, then these can step in. Alternatively, I don’t mind acting as a witness.
Collect your marriage schedule
Once your marriage has been approved, you will be issued with your marriage schedule. This is an important document — do not lose it, and remember to bring it to your wedding ceremony, as you cannot get married without it!
Your marriage schedule will be issued no earlier than seven days before your wedding day. You will get a call from the Registrar to let you know that it is ready, and you will need to collect it from them in person.
Return your marriage schedule
After your elopement ceremony, you need to submit your marriage schedule to the Registrar’s office within three days of your wedding — note that is this is three consecutive days, not three working days! — otherwise, your marriage will not be considered legal,
I hope you found this post helpful in planning your elopement. I love the thought of elopements and what they mean to people in this changing world. Remember that your wedding day is about the both of you and the commitment you are making to each other.
I would love to be a part of your elopement and would love to hear your plans.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any part of this post or your future elopement plans.