Isle of Skye Elopement Planning Guide

Planning resources

Remote, rugged, romantic – whether you are looking for a backdrop of mountains, waterfalls or sea, there is somewhere on the Isle of Skye that is the perfect spot for you and your partner to say your wedding vows to each other.

Skye has become one of the most famous elopement locations in the world and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s simply a beautiful place, an ideal location for an intimate wedding. Its scenic beauty and its famous misty weather produce wedding photography that is full of atmosphere and drama.

If you are looking for somewhere in the world to elope, or if you’ve already started thinking you might want to elope on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, then this guide can help you with all the little details and will answer all of your questions about eloping in the Scottish Highlands.


I’m an Isle of Skye local and a leading Isle of Skye elopement photographer. I was born and bred in the area and have had the honor of photographing over 400 Isle of Skye elopements since 2008. In this guide, I’m sharing an insider’s view of everything you need to know if you’re considering having an Isle of Skye elopement ceremony – from the legal requirements to the best location for your ceremony and pictures to the best places to stay.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch any time if you have questions.


When I first started working as an Isle of Skye wedding photographer, fifteen years ago, elopements were definitely the exception, rather than the rule. In recent years, however, the number of couples eloping on the Isle of Skye has risen massively. More and more couples are realising that they don’t have to have a traditional wedding, and that, actually, they can just head off on their own, marry in private and enjoy something altogether more intimate and romantic.

Where Is the Isle of Skye?

The Isle of Skye is part of the Inner Hebrides islands in the northwest Highlands of Scotland. You can reach it either by the Skye bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland (the drive across the bridge takes a couple of minutes) or you can reach it by ferry from Mallaig. The crossing time on the ferry is about 25 minutes. The exact coordinates of the Isle of Skye are 57.2736° N, 6.2155° W.

How to Travel to the Isle of Skye

The nearest airport to Skye is Inverness Airport (INV), which is around a two-hour drive from the island. If you live in the United Kingdom flying into Inverness Airport is ideal. For international travellers, it is possible to fly into London and then take a domestic flight to Inverness Airport, but your other option is to fly into Glasgow Airport (GLA) or Edinburgh Airport (EDI), both of which are about a 4.5–5 hour drive from Skye (sometimes longer in the summer when there is more traffic).

You can also get to Skye by train on ScotRail to Kyle of Lochalsh, where the Skye bridge starts, or by the Stagecoach bus, which has several stops on the island.

However you arrive, once you’re in Scotland and on Skye (and assuming you don’t get a train or bus) you are almost certainly going to want to hire a car because public transport on and around Skye is not that regular and it will make your life a lot easier having a car.

How to Travel Around Skye

Although the best way to travel around is in your own car, if you don’t drive, there are a few taxi firms. Depending on where you are staying on the island you could have access to a bus, but they are few and far between.

On the wedding day itself, you’ll probably be travelling in the car with your photographer—it’s the best way for you to be able to enjoy your day and, if you want, to have a wee celebratory drink and not worry about driving!


So, I’m going to come clean here.

If I could, I would only photograph elopements on the Isle of Skye between mid-September and mid-May. Why? Well, there are a few reasons, but mostly it’s because there are fewer tourists, no midges* and, in my opinion, better light.

In the summer months at this latitude, the sunrise is as early as 3.30 am and sunset is as late as 10.30 pm. This means the “golden hours” (the last hour before sunset and the first hour after sunrise, when there is the perfect light to capture stunning photos) are too early or late for most couples.

Another important factor is that it’s often cheaper to travel to Skye out of the tourist season, which can help with your elopement budget.

However, please don’t worry if you are planning a summer elopement! You will still have a wonderful day. I have photographed many gorgeous summer elopements on Skye. I’m just giving you all the relevant information because that’s what this guide is for, and I want you to be armed with everything you need for your epic, once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

I’m going to give you some information on each of the seasons and a few photographs from elopements shot at that time of year, but I’m also going to preface this with a bit about the weather. The one question I get asked about the most is: “What’s the weather going to be like in April/August/November?”

Well, the simple answer to that question is—no one can tell you! The only predictable thing about Scottish weather is that it is completely unpredictable. In 2019 we had no rain in November. It was the driest November for decades. The summer of 2022 was the driest we’ve had for a long, long time, but in other years we get a lot of rain in summer. We can have gorgeous sunny days in December and wild and stormy days in July.

What all this means is that you shouldn’t plan your Isle of Skye elopement around the weather because undoubtedly, you’ll get caught out!

*Click here if you don’t know what the Scottish midge is…


Pictures from Autumn Isle of Skye Elopements (September, October, November)

Autumn is my favourite season. It’s when the colours are at their best. In September on the island, the bracken starts to change from green to rusty brown, there is still the green of the grass and combined with the last bloom of the purple heather, it’s just beautiful.

As we move into October and November, the heather dies back and the landscape becomes more reds and browns but it’s still so beautiful, particularly as the sun starts to set and everything turns golden.

Typically, there are still tourists around in September and October but by the end of October and November things have quietened down a lot.

Pictures from Winter Isle of Skye Elopements (December, January, February)

I can’t promise you a winter wonderland, but if snow-capped mountains are what you want as a backdrop to your elopement photos then these months are the most likely to provide some snowy weather.

We don’t usually have a lot of problems with snow lying on the ground around here, but usually, there will be a period where the Cuillin mountains are covered in snow and it is breathtakingly beautiful. Although we can have days of high-pressure calmness with beautiful golden light, winter on the island is also the season where storms are more prevalent. This can add real drama to some of your photographs.

The winter is also the quietest season of the year. Many of the famous locations have very few visitors, so there’s a good chance you’ll have the place to yourselves.

Sunrises are later and sunsets are earlier in the winter, so you don’t need to get up super early or stay up really late to take advantage of the gorgeous light.

Pictures from Spring Isle of Skye Elopements (March, April, May)

Spring can be quite similar to winter with some wilder weather, but we can also get beautiful calm days too and the days are beginning to stretch a little too, with earlier sunrises and later sunsets than in winter. There are still few people around in March – Easter brings quite a few visitors but then it quietens a little again until the end of May – definitely much quieter than high summer. The midges don’t arrive until mid-May so it’s a good time of year to avoid them and also, possibly less difficult to find accommodation.

Pictures from Isle of Skye Summer Elopements (June, July, August)

Summer is the busiest season by far on the Isle of Skye. If you want to come between June and August, you really need to book your accommodation early. The good places book up quickly, sometimes even a year in advance. During the summer months the roads will be much busier. This means it takes longer to get around the island and car parks are fuller. Given that we have really long days in summer (sunrise can be as early as 3.30 am and sunset around 10.30 pm), with the sun high in the sky for much longer each day, couples often choose to have their elopement very early in the morning or in the early evening.

Everything is very green in summer. The purple heather usually starts to appear in July.


I know this can be a big worry for couples but if you’re planning to elope to Scotland you have to accept there is a high chance it might rain. Rain on your wedding day is considered to bring your marriage good luck though, and who knows, you could get to enjoy a beautiful rainbow (or two…double rainbows are not uncommon here).

Planning for the Scottish Weather

If it does rain a little on the day you elope, just embrace it. It can add drama to your photographs, in fact, the most popular photograph I’ve ever taken (below) was shot on a very, very wet wedding day.

However, there is a chance that the elements might just throw everything they’ve got at you, and that can mean you can’t get married outside so you should always have a Plan B option. Don’t worry, it’s only in case of extreme weather. Chances are that you will still be able to be outdoors, but just in case, it’s good to be prepared!

If you’re staying in a hotel or guest house, they often have a room that can be made available (usually there would be a fee for this). Alternatively, if you’ve hired a little cottage or a cool Airbnb, then we can have the ceremony there and go outside for portraits later.

Do remember to pack a waterproof jacket and decent footwear.


Skye has a wide range of accommodation options for eloping couples – everything from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels. Whatever type of accommodation your budget allows, there will be something for you.

This is a small list of some of my favourite places.

Hotels on Skye

Hotels on the Isle of Skye where you could stay while you are here to get married:

Coruisk House Where most of my couples stay if they are having a Loch Coruisk elopement

Duisdale Hotel South Skye boutique hotel

Skeabost Hotel A few miles outside of Portree and tucked in at the edge of Loch Snizort.

Three Chimneys Pure luxury and a must if you are massive foodies. Multiple award-winning restaurants with rooms.

Cabins & Huts on Skye

If you prefer a little bothy or cabin or contemporary house somewhere, just the two of you, then these are some of my favourite places:

Lusa Bothy A beautiful, old stone bothy right beside the sea, with Highland cows wandering past your windows while you gaze out, wrapped in a warm blanket, fire on, whisky in hand. The perfect place for an Isle of Skye elopement. Located in the south of the island, not far from Kinloch Lodge.

Near Byre With a Michelin star restaurant ten-minute walk down the hill, and Edinbane Lodge and The Three Chimneys both within 20-minute drive this stunning, contemporary renovated byre is the perfect place if you are real foodies. Live in luxury, dine out in style. Located on the Waternish peninsula, Portree is about 30-40 minute drive and Dunvegan is about ten minutes away.

Skye Shepherd Huts Two gorgeous little huts with a cosy kitchen/lounge to chill out. Located near Broadford and with a bonus of two pet donkeys!

More Trip Planning Resources For Your Visit To Skye

Visit Scotland Guide To Skye

Isle of Skye

My Skye Time



There is no one “best place” to have your elopement ceremony on Skye. The is no shortage of beautiful backdrops on Skye so if you are finding it all a bit overwhelming, let me guide you and devise a plan of where to marry. We can talk through the type of ceremony you are envisaging and find the perfect spot for you. Often, the best spots for your ceremony are not the famous six listed below, but somewhere out of the way and less well known. There is stunning scenery all over the island.

How To Avoid The Crowds on the Isle of Skye

Choosing when to come is your first step to avoiding the crowds but if you must come in one of the busier months, don’t worry. We can either go out very early, or we can visit less well-known spots where you might still be able to feel quite alone in the landscape.

Top 6 Isle of Skye Elopement Locations

There are some locations on the Isle of Skye that are very popular with couples so here are a few photographs to show you in more detail. Just because these are the most famous locations though, don’t forget there are lots of nooks and crannies all over the island that can provide spectacular backdrops. You can see some of them in the next section.

1. The Quairang

The Quiraing is on the Trotternish peninsula, about a 40 minute drive north of Portree. It’s quite a large area, so although the main plateau is often very busy with people, there are little spots here and there that are often deserted. Some couples I have worked with have chosen to have their ceremony at one of the quieter spots and then head up to the main part of the Quiraing for more photographs. Another option is to get up early and have the ceremony at the Quiraing, before all the tourists arrive.

2. Fairy Pools

Along with the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr, the Fairy Pools is one of the busiest parts of the island. The best time to have an elopement ceremony at the Fairy Pools is from late October to early spring. The Fairy Pools are very dramatic and there are lots of different areas for photographs.

The Fairy Pools are near Glenbrittle Beach which is a great spot to visit afterwards. It’s also not too far from Talisker Bay.

3. Sligachan

Sligachan is one of my most favourite spots on the island. The old bridge next to the hotel is very busy for most of the year but there are much quieter spots just a fifteen minute walk away. In Sligachan you will really feel like you’re in the mountains. I never tire of photographing elopements in this area, especially when the river is crashing madly over the rocks and down towards the sea. There are plenty of waterfalls around Sligachan, too.

4. Loch Coruisk

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to Loch Coruisk. The location is stunning and tranquil. You never know what you are going to get weather-wise and I’ve had a lot of rainy trips here but it’s so incredibly beautiful that almost doesn’t matter. You might even see seals and dolphins on the 30-minute boat ride, too.

5. Old Man of Storr

This is one of Skye’s most famous locations. Getting there requires a 45 minutes to an hour so it’s not for the fainthearted as it’s straight up. However, look what you’re blessed with! Because of its popularity, the Old Man of Storr is busy for most of the day, so I’d suggest a very early morning or evening visit if you want to have your ceremony here.

6. Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen is a tiny, secluded wonderland that is very popular on Skye because it is so beautiful. You can almost imagine little fairies flitting around in the trees. I know of some beautiful little tucked away areas that are perfect for a ceremony and are away from the main centre spot. The landscape is very green at Fairy Glen for most of the year but in autumn, when the bracken starts to turn rusty brown and the leaves change colour, it’s particularly stunning.


Being a Skye local, I know of many other amazing locations that I’d love to show you too. I keep some of my favourite locations a secret and only share them with my couples. That way, they stay quiet and uncrowded so that you get to have the intimate elopement experience that you want without having to worry about sharing your location with lots of tourists. You might have to share it with some local sheep though!

Contact me for more information and pictures of photos from these secret locations. Lets create your dream elopement!


Legally speaking, getting married on the Isle of Skye is fairly straightforward.

As soon as you know you want to elope to Skye you should book someone to marry you. This could be a humanist or interfaith celebrant, or a church minister or someone from the local registry office (civil ceremony).

You can book a celebrant whenever you want (six months, a year, or even two years in advance, depending on how they operate their diaries) but do make booking your celebrant a priority.

Then, nearer the time of the wedding (no earlier than 3 months and no later than 29 days before the day you want to be married) you need to give notice to the authorities, the local Registrar’s Office in Portree on Skye. The Registrar’s Office is where you will submit your documents (see below) and where your marriage licence is issued from. After you’re married, you will return to the Registrar’s office to collect your marriage certificate.


What paperwork do you need?

Regardless of whether you have a civil, religious or humanist/interfaith ceremony, you need to complete some forms. UK nationals only have to fill in the Marriage Notice Form (M10). For non-UK nationals there is additional paperwork, namely a Declaration of Status by Non-UK Nationals form and a marriage visa form. More information on these requirements can be found here.

How far in advance do you need to submit notice?

You need to submit notice to the Registrar’s Office in Portree no earlier than 3 months and no later than 29 days before your wedding day.

Do we need witnesses to get married on the Isle of Skye?

Yes, you are required to have witnesses to get married on the Isle of Skye. To be legally married in Scotland you need two people over the age of 18 to witness your ceremony. I am very happy to be one of your witnesses—I am one of the witnesses for most of the elopements I photograph. The second witness could be a bagpiper or fiddle player (if you’re having one), as they will be at the ceremony anyway. If you are not having any music at your ceremony, then I can arrange for a second witness to attend. There is usually a small fee to cover time and travel expenses for a second witness, but I do not charge extra to be a witness (musicians don’t charge extra either).

Isle of Skye Registry Office

The Registrar’s Office in Portree on Skye is where you will need to submit any paperwork and it’s also where you will go to collect your Marriage Schedule before the ceremony. You can collect it up to 7 days before but try not to leave it until the last minute. A day or two before the ceremony is ideal as it means you’re not having to rush about on the day of the wedding.

After the ceremony, you’ll have to take the form back to the Registrar’s Office within 3 working days. They will then issue your Marriage Certificate that proves you’re legally married!

How much does it cost for a marriage licence in Scotland?

A marriage license in Scotland costs £70. This is composed of two applications at £30 each and £10 for the entry onto the Register of Marriages. There is an additional fee on top to cover the cost of the ceremony itself. For a civil ceremony, the price starts at £55 depending on whether you marry in the registry office or at a different location on Skye.

Humanist celebrant fees are from around £450 which includes membership of the Humanist Society (required if you are having a Humanist ceremony).

For Interfaith celebrants – which are very similar to Humanist celebrants, except they are also able to conduct religious ceremonies if you want a religious element, then the fees are.

Humanist & Interfaith Celebrants in Scotland

Celebrants from the Humanist Society Scotland and the Interfaith Foundation can personalise ceremonies specifically for each couple. Want to read your own vows to each other? No problem. Fancy some symbolic Scottish traditions such as handfasting (tying the knot) or drinking from a quaich? You can add that in too. Your celebrant will work with you to create a beautiful, intimate, meaningful ceremony that reflects you as a couple.

What’s the difference between a Humanist celebrant and an interfaith celebrant?

Humanist celebrants do not make any reference to religion or spiritual beliefs during a wedding ceremony whereas Interfaith celebrants can. So, for example, if one of you has religious beliefs and the other does not, or if you are both from different religious or cultural backgrounds, or if you are spiritual in any way, an Interfaith celebrant can create a ceremony that incorporates those beliefs.

Booking Religious Wedding Ceremony On Skye

If you would like to have a religious ceremony, you can either speak to one of the local Isle of Skye ministers or an interfaith minister could marry you. Some ministers are happy to conduct the wedding outside.

LGBTQ+ Marriages in Scotland

Scotland was, in 2014, the first country in the UK to legalise same-sex marriage. Scotland is one of the most progressive countries on LGBTQIA+ rights in Europe. Same-sex couples from anywhere in the world can get legally married in Scotland.

Find out more about LGBTQ+ weddings in Scotland on the Equality Network website.

Ready to start planning your elopement on the Isle of Skye?

I’m one of the Isle of Skye’s most established elopement photographers, I’m a local who has been capturing intimate weddings and elopements in Skye for over 15 years.

I’d love to help you make your elopement dreams a reality.

Click here to contact me today and we can get the ball rolling.