The United Kingdom is a country in the northwest of Europe, made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. With its rich cultural heritage, along with the gorgeous scenery found throughout it’s islands, a UK elopement is perfect for couples looking for a wedding day adventure!
This guide will tell you all the best places to elope in the UK, with tips for planning your magical adventure!
The Best Places to Elope in the UK
The UK is big (to say the least), encompassing several island nations and a variety of different places, each one offering incredible landscapes and spots to tie the knot! To help you pick the perfect elopement location that matches your wedding vibe, here are a few of the best places to elope in the UK.
There are four nations that make up the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales, England, and Northern Ireland – and each one has something unique to offer! One thing to keep in mind is that in some UK nations, you can tie the knot anywhere (outdoor elopements in the wild are in!), while others have rules about where wedding ceremonies can take place. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can elope anywhere (as long as you get the required permits and have an officiant agree to meet you there), but in England and Wales, your wedding ceremony can only take place in licensed locations. Don’t be discouraged though – you can do the legal stuff at home instead, and have a symbolic ceremony anywhere!
Scotland is the best place for a UK elopement if you’re looking for rugged beauty and incredible natural scenery. Scotland has lots of remote places where you can feel like the two of you are all alone, free to exchange vows in complete privacy.
The mountains are incredible, with off the beaten path trails and routes for hiking and skiing, and there are lakes, islands, and meadows that all make incredible elopement locations.
One of the most iconic elopement locations in Scotland is the Isle of Skye – a remote island with miles of rugged coastline and absolutely breathtaking views of the ocean. The Mammores offer some incredible mountain views, and Glencoe is an adorable village in the highlands.
Northern Ireland is a little more developed than Scotland, but still offers plenty of natural beauty and stunning scenery! It’s warmer and flatter than Scotland, so it’s great for couples who want to explore outdoors without doing any steep mountain hikes.
There are some incredible castle ruins along the northern coast, and the Causeway Coast is one of the best places to elope in the UK if you want to see rugged coastlines and ancient Irish castles! Dunluce Castle on the outskirts of the cute town of Portush is one of the most popular castles, and Kinbane Castle is more remote, with a steep climb to get to the ruins.
England is the most developed of the nations in the United Kingdom, with more people and less rugged wilderness. It’s still a stunning elopement location, and it’s especially perfect for couples who are interested in the rich history of England or the urban adventures found in London!
The villages in the English countryside are picture perfect, and in the rolling hills you can find plenty of natural beauty too. The Lake District is one of the best places for a UK elopement if you want to see the lakes tucked between hills and mountain tops, and you can also tie the knot by the ocean, somewhere like Northumberland where the coastline is more remote! Dorset is a cute town by the sea, charming and remote, perfect for an adventurous elopement.
North Wales is more remote, with wild mountains and coastal views that make for an incredible elopement backdrop. In the south, you’ll find towns and cities full of culture and history!
Cardiff is a great city to explore if you want to learn about the Roman history of Wales, and if you want to see some nature, Pembrokeshire is a great place to go for coastal views. Snowdonia National Park has incredible trails through the rugged, wild mountains of Wales, and the Brecon Beacons offer more easily accessible mountain views, along with waterfalls on the trails!
The Best Time for Your UK Elopement
The climate in the UK is pretty temperate, except if you want to visit higher elevation spots in the mountains. The best time for a UK elopement is in spring and autumn, because the weather is much warmer and drier.
Winter is a great time for a UK elopement if you want to avoid the crowds, as there will be much fewer people around! The weather is a little chilly, but in the cities there isn’t much snow. You can go to the mountains for skiing and snowboarding!
Summer is the warmest season, and it’s best for couples who want to hike in the mountains without running into snow. But it’s also the busiest season, so there will be more tourists!
Getting Legally Married During Your UK Elopement
One of the trickiest things about planning a destination wedding abroad is figuring out international marriage laws! For this reason, couples who are planning a UK elopement often choose to do the paperwork at home instead. This makes things a little easier, and it means that you can exchange vows and have the ceremony on your elopement day, focusing on the adventures and incredible experiences rather than on the paperwork. For elopements in England and Wales, this also simplifies the process of finding a location – with a symbolic ceremony, you aren’t restricted to only licensed locations.
And if you’re worried about your elopement feeling less special if you’re already married, don’t be! Papers aren’t what make your marriage real – the real thing doesn’t begin until you exchange vows, and your elopement day will feel way more magical and special than the day you signed papers in front of a notary.
But, if you decide to get legally married when you elope in the UK, here’s what you need!
If you’re not a resident in the United Kingdom, you’ll need a visa. If one of you does live in the UK, you can get a Family of a Settled Person Visa to live together. If you both live elsewhere and are just coming to the UK to tie the knot, you can get a Marriage Visitor Visa that allows you to have your ceremony here!
Once you’ve got a visa you can submit the paperwork you need to register your marriage. This needs to be submitted at least 28 days before the ceremony to the local register office in the district you plan to get married in. You’ll need a passport, birth certificate, proof of address, your visa, and the details of where and when your ceremony will take place.
A celebrant (officiant) will be able to marry you wherever you decide to elope, so find one in the UK who can legally marry you! You’ll also need two witnesses.
UK Elopement Packages
The most important step in planning your magical elopement day is to hire a UK elopement photographer! My job is to document your day, but it’s also to make sure you have a day that’s laid back, dreamy, and perfectly you. That means my UK elopement packages include everything you need to make sure you can get hitched without a hitch!
I’ll be there to help you navigate international marriage laws, choose the perfect place to tie the knot, find all the best vendors, and more! Contact me to learn more about UK elopement packages, and to start planning your once in a lifetime experience.