In this section
What should I look for when choosing a wedding Celebrant?
What is the difference between a Humanist and a Celebrant?
Why would I choose a wedding Celebrant over a Registrar?
We married abroad but would like a ceremony in my home town, can this be done?
Getting Married in Spain: The ultimate guide to a Spanish destination wedding
Getting married in Scotland – The ultimate guide to a Scottish destination wedding
Getting married in Greece: The ultimate guide to a Greek destination wedding
Getting married in The Middle East: The ultimate guide to a UAE destination wedding
Getting Married in New Zealand – The ultimate guide to a Kiwi destination wedding
Getting Married in Edinburgh: Tips for getting married in Scotland’s capital city
Getting married in Scotland – The ultimate guide to a Scottish destination wedding
So you want to say “Aye do” in Scotland, who wouldn’t! Scotland is known for its stunning castles and palaces, who wouldn’t want to be a Marchioness or Laird for their big day. Scotland has impressive stately homes steeped in a rich tapestry of heritage and traditions.
Your wedding Celebrant might be looking to travel from your home country the same as you, or maybe you are looking for a Celebrant who already resides in Scotland, where you are looking to get married in.
As with planning any wedding abroad, there are some things that you might need to do differently. In this blog, The Celebrant Directory member Angela Maughan shares with us her top tips to getting married in Scotland and her top tips in this Ultimate Destination Guide!
Getting married in Scotland- what do I need?
Whether you intend to have a civil (registrar) marriage ceremony solemnised by a registrar or a religious/belief marriage ceremony solemnised by an approved celebrant, you must by law lodge marriage notice forms and the associated documents, and pay the statutory fee, to the registrar in whose district you intend to be married.
You will need to book a place, date and time for your ceremony. In Scotland, you have the flexibility to be married anywhere as the officiant/celebrant holds the licence.
You can be married in either two ways in Scotland, by a religious or belief ceremony or by a civil ceremony. A religious or belief marriage, may be solemnised by a religious or belief celebrant (humanists and many celebrants come under belief celebrant) approved to do so under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977.
Planning a destination wedding in Scotland
What do you need?
1. A Celebrant
In Scotland many Celebrants through their governing bodies have been approved by the Registrar General to be able to solemnise a marriage. These means you can have a beautiful, personalised wedding ceremony reflecting your wishes and values, an amazing day to create the foundation of your marriage. There is no need to have the legal side done elsewhere.
Scotland has large county estates, amazing county hotels as well as smaller boutique city hotels. Scotland has beautiful beaches, waterways, and lochs. Let’s not forget the highlands and islands too. Many of your favourite films and programmes have been filmed in Scotland, you could even have an Outlander themed ceremony.
There are so many amazing places to stay in Scotland! Whether that’s at your wedding venue, boutique hotel or at a cute b&b, wild camping is also a popular choice. Although, if you’re having a winter wedding, that latter option might not be the best for your guests.
If you chose to be married outdoors, be aware that even in the summer Scotland is known to have all four seasons in a day! It’s also an incredibly rainy country too, so if you’re planning outdoor photography some clear umbrella’s might be a great option.
5. Scottish Holidays
St Andrew’s Day and Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) are super popular public holidays so accommodation and venue prices/suppliers may be above average during these times.
Getting married in Scotland
Any two persons, regardless of where they live may marry in Scotland provided that:
- Both persons are at least 16 years of age on the day of their marriage.
- They are not related.
- Each is unmarried or not already registered as a civil partner.
- They are capable of understanding the nature of a marriage ceremony and of consenting to marrying.
- In case of opposite sex marriage, the marriage would be regarded as valid in the party’s country of domicile.
If you are in a qualifying civil partnership, you can change it to a marriage.
Your Celebrant will keep you on track with the legal side, both parties need to complete the Marriage Notice Application (Form M10). Your Celebrant will help you to identify the registrar to submit your paperwork to as it need to be in the district in which your marriage is to take place.
You must post (not email) the completed forms to arrive normally 10-12 weeks before the date of the proposed marriage and certainly no later than 29 days before. You must include:
- The questionnaire if you are submitting divorce or dissolution documents from outside the United Kingdom
- Original or certified copies of documents provided by the issuing authority
- The Declaration of Immigration Status form if you are subject to Immigration Control
- The Witness Details form (if you have chosen your witnesses)
- The appropriate payment to the relevant local Registrar (2021 £70). The registrar will not be able to accept forms without payment.
The names of the parties to a marriage and the date of the marriage will be published on a List of Intended Marriages which will be on public display at the registration office.
The marriage schedule needs to be collected in person by one of the parties to the marriage from the registrar no more than 7 days prior to the date of marriage during office hours. The marriage schedule must be returned to the registrar within 3 days of the marriage so the marriage can be registered. If you cannot take the marriage schedule back personally, you can ask someone else to take it for you or you can post it so that it is received by the registrar within that 3 day timescale.
The marriage schedule needs to be given to your Celebrant before your ceremony.
Getting married in Scotland after Brexit
The rules for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are due to change from 1 July 2021 however, the Registrar General in Scotland have yet to have final confirmation from the Home Office as to what will be required for marriage. It is likely couples will be required to apply for a marriage visitor visa in the same way those travelling from countries that do not require a tourist visa to enter need a marriage/civil partnership entry visa for marriage purposes.
Documents required for getting married in Scotland
When sending or giving your marriage notice forms to the registrar you must supply the following documents:
- Your genuine birth certificate or adoption certificate.
- If you have been married before or in a civil partnership a certificate of divorce or annulment or a certified copy decree or decree of dissolution.
- If your former spouse is deceased the death certificate.
- Passport for nationality.
Wedding Blessing or renewal of vows.
No paperwork required! That’s the one of the beauties of a Celebrant-led ceremony!
The impact of Covid on Weddings in Scotland
As Scotland starts to come out of the heavier restrictions we are starting to see the new normal, wedding ceremonies and receptions can take place with larger numbers of guests in venues. Couples are allowed their first dance with live music but only for the first dance.
It’s best to check the Gov Scot website for regular updates if you are planning on getting married or attending a wedding in Scotland.
Picturesque Scottish wedding venues
Where to get married in Scotland
Luxury Wedding Venues in Scotland
- Archerfield House. This venue offers exclusive-use accommodation, Archerfield House is a dramatic mansion complete with a gorgeous spa. Tie the knot overlooking stunning views of the East Lothian coast.
- Mar Hall. This venue is a grand 19th gothic mansion set in a 200-acre wooded estate on the banks of the River Clyde, Mar Hall hosts weddings in its 60ft ‘Grand Hall’. With 52 bedrooms on-site there’s lots of space for all of your guests.
- Branxholm Park. Deep in the Scottish Borders is Branxholm Park, a beautiful Victorian country house set in idyllic surroundings with luxury accommodation and a spa.
Small Wedding Venues in Scotland
- The Edinburgh Grand. In the heart of Edinburgh, The Edinburgh Grand hosts exclusive small weddings in its duplex Penthouse and gorgeous Director’s Suite.
- Edinburgh Castle. You can get married here with a maximum of 30 guests, St Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle is perfect for a small wedding in Scotland.
- Mountain Bothy at Schiehallion. Fancy getting married in a Bothy halfway up a mountain? Well, you can with Highland Safaris in Perthshire. Don’t worry, your guests will be transported up the mountain in 4x4s – there’s no need to walk!
Alternative and Rustic Wedding Venues in Scotland
- Marthrown of Mabie. Deep in Mabie Forest outside of Dumfries is Marthrown of Mabie – get married in a roundhouse or teepee in the woods and stay the night in a yurt.
- Secret Herb Garden – a garden centre like no other, the gorgeous Secret Herb Garden near Edinburgh offers weddings in its glasshouse, along with fine dining in a retro environment.
- Cambo Estate. Sitting on the coast between St Andrews and Crail in the East Neuk of Fife is the Cambo Estate – get married in the stunning walled garden and then dance the night away in their woodland disco!
Byre and Barn Wedding Venues in Scotland
- Comrie Croft. Deep in the Perthshire hills is Comrie Croft, by day a campsite, by night a brilliant wedding venue. Get married out in the woods and party all night in the croft’s pretty byre.
- Fruin Farm. With an emphasis on local produce, Fruin Farm offers weddings in their barn for up to 60 guests near Loch Lomond.
- Barnquee at Myres Castle. Fancy getting married in a barnquee? At Myres Castle you can do just that – their barn/marquee seats up to 160 guests.
Country Houses and Castle Wedding Venues in Scotland
- Culzean Castle. A grand stately home in Ayrshire, Culzean Castle perches on a cliff top with its own private beach. There are lots of spaces to get married in the castle – we particularly love the beautiful Orangery overlooking the gardens.
- Barnbougle Castle. A hidden gem on the Edinburgh coast, Barnbougle Castle is a 13th century castle with a vast Banqueting Hall perfect for grand celebrations.
- Craigievar Castle. Said to be the inspiration for Disney’s castle, Aberdeenshire’s famous pink castle might offer an Insta-worthy backdrop for your photos, but the rooms inside Craigievar Castle are pretty special too.
- Eilean Donan Castle. Probably Scotland’s most iconic castle, Eilean Donan sits on the banks of three lochs – Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh – you just need to add a bagpiper for the quintessential Scottish wedding!
What are your favourite areas of Scotland for Ceremonies?
Traditional luxury is what awaits you if you are searching for wedding venues in Aberdeenshire, you will also find a selection of cool and unusual places to celebrate your wedding! Possessing one of the most impressive collections of historic and rustic castles in Scotland, a wedding in Aberdeenshire will feel like one straight out of a fairy-tale. Aberdeenshire has stunning rolling hills and great views.
From fairy-tale castles and beautiful hotels, to more quirky venues such as a stately home or a football stadium. Take advantage of the fact that Angus is one of the driest locations in Scotland and have your wedding outside at one of the country parks or even in the glens at Corrie Fee or Glen Clova? Whether it’s an indoor or an outdoor wedding, traditional or unique, Angus is the perfect place to celebrate.
Dundee is one of Scotland’s most dynamic cities, and makes a perfect destination for your wedding celebration. Situated on the east coast and home to V&A Dundee, RSS Discovery, McManus Galleries, Dennis the Menace and Desperate Dan, Dundee is also proud to be the UK’s only UNESCO designated City of Design. Whether you wish to be married on the beach, in a boutique hotel or in a county house venue Dundee gives you inspiration and history.
Every year, almost 3,000 couples choose Edinburgh as their city of love for their wedding. Edinburgh is the second-largest city in Scotland and is full of charm, history, amazing architecture and green spaces, as well as outstanding wedding venues.
Fife is an absolutely beautiful part of Scotland, and home to some gorgeous and exciting wedding venues. So no matter what type of venue you are looking for, rest assured that the Kingdom of Fife has it all, from stunning hotels, amazing country estates and wonderful blank canvas barn venues.
The Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands are the backdrop to some of the most wildly romantic and breathtaking wedding venues in the country. Whether your vision for your wedding is a luxury castle, a clifftop ruin or surrounded by rolling hills, the Highlands can offer you the perfect location.
Think of Perthshire and it conjures up images of some of the most iconic Scottish landscapes with rugged Highland mountains and moorland, fairytale castles and picturesque burns and woodland. And whatever your style of wedding you’re sure to find the venue that ticks all your boxes in this beautiful region.
The Celebrant Directory is home to Celebrants all across the world. Find your ideal Scottish Celebrant here, or UK Celebrant who is able to travel, to deliver a Celebrant-Led ceremony of dreams!