Eloping in Edinburgh - Guide to Edinburgh Elopements

City elopements are always an adventure – especially when getting married in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.

As Edinburgh elopement photographer I love photographing city weddings and ceremonies in Edinburgh. Regardless of whether you’d like to get married inside or outside within enchanting scenery, it’s a wonderful place to tie the knot. Eloping in Edinburgh has never been easier.

So if you’re planning an elopement in Edinburgh – this ultimate Edinburgh elopement and small wedding guide is for you!

Guide to planning elopement in Edinburgh - Edinburgh elopement photographer
After-ceremony elopement photoshoot at Calton Hill, Edinburgh

This enchanting city offers a multitude of settings where vows can be whispered, from historic landmarks and lush gardens to secret closes and bustling streets. In this guide, you’ll embark on a journey through the heart of Edinburgh, where your love story will find its perfect place. I’ll walk you through every step of planning your intimate celebration, ensuring that your special day is easy to plan and becomes a cherished chapter in your lives.

But first, if you’re curious about the about legal requirements related to getting married in Scotland, check out my How to plan your elopement in Scotland.

Why choose Edinburgh to elope

So what makes Edinburgh such a popular elopement destination?

First of all, Edinburgh is absolutely beautiful. According to many, it’s the most beautiful city in the world! It offers an abundance of incredible places to explore – and take photos at. Whether you’re a fan of gothic architecture, or prefer to be surrounded by nature – Edinburgh offers both. So you can be absolutely certain that your elopement photos will be stunning if you choose to elope here (and if you book a great photographer, of course!).

Secondly, history. The capital of Scotland has a very interesting past and some legends about it are incredibly curious too. When walking around streets of Edinburgh you will feel as if you were taken back to a couple of centuries ago.

Also, the food. Edinburgh is a heaven for a foodie. You can find restaurants offering cuisine from all around the world, there are options for all the fussiest eaters and people with different tastes and allergy requirements. And I’ll be happy to share the list of my favourite restaurant and pub recommendations with you!

What else? Whisky! Edinburgh attracts a big number of whisky lovers every year. Not only you can drink delicious whisky at every corner of the street, but you can go to a whisky tasting or on a tour. And what’s better than celebrating your wedding than a whisky toast at the end of the day? A lot of people who aren’t whisky fans but still like a drink, should definitely try some Edinburgh gin. In the recent few years, gin bars have been popping up everywhere. I’m definitely more of a gin girl than a whisky fan so if you are too I’d recommend a taste of my favourite elderflower-flavoured Edinburgh Gin.

Last but not least, the people. Did you know that Scotland was voted the most welcoming country in the world? Scottish people are incredibly kind, friendly and funny. Edinburgh is very cosmopolitan and attracts people of different nationalities who live here and can’t imagine ever moving anywhere else.

Romantic summer elopement at Edinburgh Castle

Summer wedding at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

To sum up, Edinburgh effortlessly combines the old and the new, making it a city of contrasts and captivating beauty. And with its rich history, lush and green landscapes, and timeless charm, it’s no wonder why couples are increasingly drawn to the idea of eloping in this romantic destination.




Alexander McCall Smith

Best elopement and small wedding venues in Edinburgh

As I mentioned in my guide on How to plan your elopement in Scotland, you can get married ANYWHERE.

Edinburgh offers a big number of incredible locations to get married. But there are a few important things to note when choosing your elopement venue.

Most importantly, the ambiance, colours and lighting of the venue will become ambiance, colours and lighting of most of your wedding photos. Therefore, your venue choice will greatly impact the aesthetic of your photographs and their final look. Which is why it’s never a bad idea to consult your wedding photographer when making the final decision. Personally, I love helping my clients with this decision. In other words, I want you to get the best venue which reflects your vision for the wedding. And consequently, receive the most stunning gallery of photographs from your special day..

So make sure that you’re happy with your choice – as you’ll keep looking back at these photos forever!

Now, let’s explore the best indoor Edinburgh elopement venues for your dream ceremony.

Best elopement and micro-wedding venues in Edinburgh

Timberyard Restaurant

Timberyard is a fantastic choice for elopements and micro-weddings. The restaurant offers not only a fantastic selection of food, but also a cosy atmosphere and and a great amount of style. What is more, its location is definitely an asset. Located in the heart of Edinburgh Old town is situated only a short walk away from many landmarks and beautiful photography locations. You can take a look at one of the summer weddings I photographed there here. It is an indoor and outdoor wedding venue at the same time – if the weather isn’t great you can always step into the restaurant for your elopement ceremony. No matter the weather, ceremony in Timberyard’s courtyard will be unforgettable and outdoor setting will allow your Edinburgh wedding photographer to create magical images soaked in natural light. It’s really worth considering!

For more information on booking Timberyard as your venue visit their website.

Timberyard wedding photography in Edinburgh

Wedding reception in Timberyard Restaurant in Edinburgh Old town

Small wedding at Timberyard Restaurant in Edinburgh

Sara and Daithi's micro-wedding at Timberyard restaurant in Edinburgh

Sara and Daithi's micro-wedding at Timberyard restaurant in Edinburgh

Elopement inspiration

Jackie and Aldo’s intimate Timberyard elopement

Sara & Daithí’s Edinburgh micro-wedding at Timberyard

New Library at the Royal College of Physicians

Located in the heart of Edinburgh New town Royal College of Physicians is a beautiful, historic and charming venue. My favourite space within RCP is without a doubt the Georgian New Library – filled with antique furniture, fireplaces and hundreds of books.

Royal College of Physicians will be a perfect elopement venue for whoever looks for quiet, magical and charming location (and who might happen to be a Harry Potter fan as well!)

To find out more about organising a wedding at RCP take a look at their website.

Bride twirling her dress at Royal College of Physicians in Scotland

Claire & Jordan - intimate micro-wedding at Royal College of Physicians, New Library, Edinburgh

Library wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland

Same-sex wedding in Edinburgh's New Library

Sophie a Daphne - elopement wedding at Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, New Library - Edinburgh wedding photographer

Same-sex elopement wedding at Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, New Library - Edinburgh wedding photographer

Elopement inspiration

Sophie and Daphne’s stylish micro-wedding at the Royal College of Physicians’ New Library

Claire & Jordan’s elopement at the New Library, Royal College of Physicians

Eshen and Zong’s intimate wedding for two at RCPE

Riddle’s Court

Absolutely stunning venue with lots of natural light which guarantees stunning wedding photography opportunities. Riddle’s Court is full of character and located in the heart of Old town, just off the Royal Mile.

The former merchant house is one of the most unique of Edinburgh’s buildings. It was built in the 16th century so if you’re looking for a historic wedding venue, look no further. What else? Fireplaces, old books, panelled rooms filled with art. To sum up, genuinely charming and authentic old Scottish venue, perfect for eloping couples who love the idea of an indoor ceremony, but without compromising on natural light and authenticity.

Wedding ceremony in Riddle's Court, Edinburgh - Riddle's Court wedding photography

Historic small wedding venues in Edinburgh

Bride and groom dancing at Riddle's Court in Edinburgh

Historic setting, charm and elegance – Riddle’s Court is a perfect place for a city elopement.

For more information about weddings and elopements at Riddle’s Court, see the venue’s website.

Elopement inspiration

Bria and Thomas’s Edinburgh micro-wedding at Riddle’s Court

Stunning interiors of this contemporary art gallery are a unique setting for Edinburgh elopement or micro-wedding.

The setting is extraordinary too – the Collective is situated on top of Calton Hill, offering amazing views at the city skyline all year round. With incredible food options offered by one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, the Lookout, by choosing this wedding venue you can rest assured your day is going to be gorgeous, tasty and one of a kind.

Collective cannot be more of a perfect venue for a small wedding in Edinburgh.

For more information about weddings at the Collective visit their website and take a look at the venue’s wedding brochure.

Edinburgh Cheval Grand

Apart from being a fantastic choice of accommodation, Edinburgh Grand is also a great elopement venue.

You can choose for your ceremony to take place at their Director’s Suite – stylish room with high ceilings, abundance of natural light that could accommodate up to 12 guests for your ceremony.

Edinburgh Cheval Grand wedding photography in Scotland

Elopement wedding at the Edinburgh Grand hotel

Wedding photography in Edinburgh Old town - Writer's Museum

The second option is the Games Room. It’s where modern elegance meets Scottish tradition. It can accommodate a party of up to 50 people. It’s a unique venue that can be used as a ceremony venue, reception room or for a celebratory dinner.

Another option is the stunning Penthouse at Edinburgh Grand. No other place with guarantee better views than the penthouse – you can see the entire Edinburgh skyline, including Arthur’s Seat and the Balmoral clock. The private terrace of the penthouse is definitely the biggest perk, although it also has three spacious bedrooms so it is a fantastic choice for a micro-wedding in Edinburgh.

To look through all the options available, check out the Cheval Weddings page on the hotel website.

The indoor spaces of Edinburgh Cheval Grand also create incredible opportunities for wedding photographs. It’s really the most perfect, elegant hotel in Edinburgh. I’m obsessed with it!

For more information see their wedding brochure.

Unique big entrance ideas - bride and groom arriving at the City Chambers on a tricycle

Edinburgh elopement with a dog on a bike

Signet Library

Another beautiful venue in Edinburgh Old town. It’s a perfect place for a couple who want to say their vows in a fairy-tale setting surrounded by elegance and history.

For more information on how to get married at the Signet Library see their website.

Lothian Chambers

Lothian Chambers are the most beautiful room out of all the ones offered by Edinburgh City Chambers for your wedding or elopement ceremony. The gorgeous, historic ceremony room is located in the heart of Edinburgh Old town, in the city centre.

To contact Registrar’s Office for more information regarding hiring this space for your elopement check the updated information on their website.

Prestonfield House

Prestonfield House in Edinburgh host all types of wedding ceremonies: big and small weddings and of course elopements. It is located outside of the city centre, but only a 15-20 minute taxi ride from the popular central spots. Every room of the historic building is decorated beautifully, making for a great background for elopement photos adding cosy feel to them. Prestonfield House offers great views, fine dining and will cater to your needs wonderfully.

For more information about elopements at Prestonfield House visit this website.

Autumn in Edinburgh - view at Edinburgh Castle from the Vennel Steps

Wedding photos with Edinburgh Castle in the background

City Chambers

Most couples choosing to elope in the Scottish capital choose the Edinburgh City Chambers as their wedding venue.

The wedding ceremonies conducted by the City Chambers officiants are super quick, no longer than 15-20 minutes and most of them are conducted in the small Alexander Suite. If you want to ceremony to be short and you don’t necessarily need the personal touch or stylish interior design, it could be the choice for you. City Chambers are conveniently located in the heart of Old town in the city centre. Therefore its central location gives your Edinburgh elopement photographer opportunity to take many fantastic photos right after the quick ceremony.

For more information on Edinburgh City Chambers weddings visit this website.

Edinburgh City Chambers elopement inspiration:

LGBT October elopement at the Chambers

Ewan & Rachel’s spring elopement at the CC

Couple photoshoot on Circus Lane - bride being carried by the groom on cobblestone streets

Bride and groom holding hands and walking on Circus Lane in Stockbridge

Other Edinburgh elopement venues

Still weighing your options? There are even more great Edinburgh elopement venues to look into!

Other top ones include:

Edinburgh Castle – let me throw it at you – your wedding or elopement at the most photographed and most visited of all Scottish castles, occupied by generations of Scots for centuries. Sounds curious? See all the available Edinburgh Castle wedding offers here.

The Bonham – Bonham is often called the most stylish Edinburgh hotel – it’s where historic meets art deco. All of that with incredibly cosy atmosphere. Perfect setting for a small wedding, plus you get access to a beautiful private garden we can use for your wedding photos! You can check out Bonham’s wedding brochure here.

Dalhousie Castle – imagine eloping at one of Scotland’s most charming castles. What’s more, Scotland’s oldest uninhabited castle! Now, let’s add even more magical elements – think an owl ring-bearer, old books, beautiful ceremony at the castle’s chapel. And it’s only 40-minute drive from the centre of Edinburgh!

Best outdoor elopement locations in Edinburgh

Although getting married outdoors is always a little bit risky given the unpredictable Scottish weather, it’s always an unforgettable memory. So if you don’t mind a bit of potential rain or wind and you love the idea of an adventure, outdoor elopement ceremony is just the right choice for you!

There is a great choice of breathtaking landscapes in Edinburgh, so let’s explore which are the best ones.

Please note that certain public areas, including many Edinburgh parks (such as Holyrood Park, Prices Street Gardens or Calton Hill) require a wedding permit in advance. So in order to have your legal/official wedding ceremony in one of these places you will need to apply for it and cover a potential fee. For more information about permits visit Historic Environment Scotland.

Holyrood Park / Arthur’s Seat

Holyrood Park in Edinburgh is what I always call a piece of Scottish highlands in the middle of the city.

Therefore a lot of couples who’d prefer to stay in Edinburgh for their elopement wedding, decide to get married here. The backdrop is absolutely fantastic for wedding photographs. And it’s a location that is really easy to get to. Although, if you are considering a hike up for the best views – make sure you have grippy hiking boots on so you don’t slip!

You can choose to get married somewhere with a view at Arthur’s Seat – the highest point in Holyrood Park – or even on the summit itself. Although, bear in mind that to have a bit of privacy during the ceremony without too many people around, sunrise is the only option. What is more, I would only recommend it to couples with at least a medium level of fitness, as it’s quite a steep 30-40 minute hike.

Another option is exchanging your vows at the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel overlooking St Margaret’s Loch. It takes only 5 to 10 minutes to hike to the rocky hill where the ruins are situated. And the hike isn’t nearly as challenging as hike to Arthur’s Seat summit and guarantees incredible views at the city and nearby landscapes.

Lastly, it is worth noting that a wedding permit may be required for wedding ceremonies in Holyrood Park area.

Humanist ceremony at St Anthony's Chapel in Holyrood Park

Outdoor wedding at St Anthony's Chapel - handfasting ceremony

Dunsapie Loch

Dunsapie Loch is a stunning little spot in Holyrood Park, but quite a bit further away from the often busy and noisy paths leading to Arthur’s Seat or St Anthony’s Chapel.

It will be a great ceremony location for whoever’s looking for a more private and secluded setting for their vow exchange. Personally, I fell in love with the area surrounding Dunsapie Loch from the moment I first saw it. It looks particularly stunning in May, when the whole area is covered by wild gorse – yellow Scottish wildflowers.

Top tip: check the parking arrangements in advance, as outside of Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the road leading up to the loch is completely closed, and only open to cyclists and walkers.

For more information on getting there, check Opening times and more here.

Same-sex elopement ceremony at Dunsapie Loch in Edinburgh

Lesbian elopement at Dunsapie Loch in Holyrood Park - two brides getting married

Handfasting ceremony at Scottish outdoor elopement

Calton Hill

Calton Hill is probably the most popular tourist location in Edinburgh. The little platform right next to the Collective Gallery is where you’ll get a stunning view at Edinburgh city centre, including the famous Balmoral Hotel clock.

Although the place tends to be incredibly busy, especially in the summer, it also became increasingly popular among eloping couples dreaming of having their ceremony on top of the famous hill. I always recommend it to couples who either don’t mind lack of privacy or who are willing to get up super early for a sunrise or early morning ceremony!

Please note – in order to have your wedding ceremony on Calton Hill, you need to apply for Edinburgh City Council permit.

Bride and groom holding hands on Calton Hill - Edinburgh wedding photographer

Elopement wedding on Calton Hill - Edinburgh wedding photographer

Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain after the one in Oxford and it’s not only a popular tourist attraction but also a scientific centre studying plants including their diversity and conservation. If you love being surrounded by nature and you love plants, it might be just the right elopement location for you.

The Botanics is a wonderful space located in the Inverleith area of Edinburgh, very close to the city centre (5-minute taxi away!). The gardens are a fantastic space for an outdoor woodland elopement or a micro-wedding.

The Royal Botanic Gardens offer a number of beautiful outdoor spaces within the gardens which include:

  • John Muir Grove
  • the Caledonian Hall
  • David Douglas room
  • the Chinese Pavillion

Most people who want to elope in Edinburgh choose John Muir Grove for their ceremony – and I’m not at all surprised why. It’s a beautiful space surrounded by giant sequoias which guarantees that in the event of rain you’ll be partly sheltered. And on a bright, sunny day it will keep you from getting blinded by the sunshine!

royal botanic garden edinburgh elopement 104

edinburgh botanics elopement

Outdoor elopement at John Muir Grove at Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh

Outdoor elopement at John Muir Grove at Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh

John Muir Grove at the Botanics is also a very popular place for surprise marriage proposals.

For more details about weddings and elopements at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, see their website.

Dubar’s Close Garden

It’s a secret garden just off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. It’s a beautiful, secluded space in the heart of Edinburgh Old town. Its location is definitely an asset – right after the elopement ceremony you can sneak away to other stunning Edinburgh locations nearby for more photographs.

Secret Herb Garden

Without a doubt one of my favourite Edinburgh wedding and elopement venues. It’s a wonderful place to get married – especially between spring and autumn where so many plants and trees are in full bloom. Situated in the suburban area of Edinburgh, guarantees quiet and romantic atmosphere.

What is more, the Secret Herb Garden team are always ready to offer couples bespoke wedding packages – so whether it’s an elopement or a micro-wedding you can count on this beautiful outdoor space to be fully organised for the occasion.

It is worth noting though that no music is allowed at Secret Herb Garden weddings or elopements, so it might not be the best choice for couples wanting to incorporate a first dance in their day, or would like to be walked down the aisle to the sound of their favourite song.

For more information about weddings and elopements at Secret Herb Garden in Edinburgh see the venue’s website.

Best elopement accommodation in Edinburgh

Don’t underestimate the importance of booking the right accommodation for your elopement. Especially if you love the idea of getting ready or the first look photos. Imagine: gorgeous, well-lit space – a perfect, cosy spot to relax after dinner.

To guarantee that photographs from your elopement or wedding will be fantastic, there are a couple of requirements for your chosen accommodation to satisfy. So what kind of accommodation should you choose?

  • The presence of natural light should be the absolute priority when booking your accommodation. Therefore big windows are a must! Nothing spoils the photos more as a space without good lighting that requires your elopement photographer to use sources of artificial light.
  • Large spaces are generally better – as they allow your photographer to take a variety of shots from different perspectives.
  • Stylish or minimalist spaces are recommended! The most beautiful wedding suites might be pricey, hence why you might want to book one for 2 nights tops. Not only it will guarantee that you have an amazing experience when exploring the city, but also that your photographs from the getting-ready stage will be fantastic.

What are the best accommodation ideas for your elopement or micro-wedding?

  1. Edinburgh Grand (Cheval Edinburgh Grand) – spacious, stylish spaces with an abundance of natural light. Without a doubt my number one when it comes to places to stay in Edinburgh! Pricey but worth every penny, especially on your wedding day.

See the links below for more information:

  • Director’s Suite – their Director’s Suite is every newlywed (and photographer’s) dream come true. Your own kitchen, deep bathtub and an incredibly stylish living area – what more could you want on your elopement day in Edinburgh?
  • Three-bedroom Penthouse – if you book the penthouse at Edinburgh Grand the entire top floor with the best views in yours! And there is no better view than that.

2. Porteous Studio – stunning, minimalist, architect-designed studio in the heart of Old town – Edinburgh’s Grassmarket area. Designed with a great attention to detail, guarantees an abundance of natural light. Tasteful, stylish, cosy.

3. AirBnBs – AirBnB offer a massive number of options when it comes to accommodation for your elopement wedding. And they are usually on the cheaper side comparing to the hotel options.

I listed some of my favourite AirBnB options below:

4. The Witchery by the Castle – best words used to describe the Witchery are: gothic, unique, luxury, romantic. Conveniently located right by Edinburgh Castle, the Witchery is truly one of a kind – quirky and original.

Doors to Assembly Rooms of New College in Edinburgh

Bride and groom dancing under the umbrella at the Assembly Rooms of New College in Edinburgh

Best elopement wedding suppliers in Edinburgh

Choosing the right elopement suppliers for your big day in one of the most important decisions when planning your elopement in Edinburgh. The most important ones being a humanist celebrant, florist, hair and make-up artist and of course – your Scotland elopement photographer.

I have a list of my favourite Edinburgh wedding suppliers which I always recommend to my clients. So let’s explore the list of people and suppliers that will make your elopement a beautiful and magical experience!

Best humanist celebrants for your Edinburgh elopement

Finding the right humanist celebrant is a very important decision when planning your elopement in Edinburgh. Trust me, you want someone approachable and kind, who will add a personal touch to your ceremony.

Humanist Society Scotland is a great database of fully-trained and authorised officiant who are capable on conducting your elopement ceremony. You can search the database by location and look through celebrants who cover ceremonies in Edinburgh.

Recommended humanist celebrants in Edinburgh:

Best Edinburgh florists and space stylists for your wedding

Choosing the right florist is important so that florals go well with your wedding attire on your elopement day.

Why not go for locally-sourced bouquet with some Scottish elements, like wildflowers or thistles?

  • Snapdragon – whether you’re looking for a gorgeous wedding bouquet or a flower crown, Snapdragon have you covered with their incredible florals. They will create a bespoke design for you based on your chosen colour scheme and favourite flowers.
  • Rose and Ammi – if beautiful, seasonal, romantic sounds like a perfect bunch of flowers to you – then you should choose your wedding florals at Rose and Ammi.
  • Fleuressence – if you’re looking for something classy and elegant, Fleuressence should be your number one choice. Fleuressence flower designs are modern and delicate. Based in Glasgow but also covering Edinburgh.
  • Branch and Bramble – if your perfect wedding bouquet can be described by wild and rustic then Branch and Bramble will be a fantastic accent at your Edinburgh elopement.

  • We Are Gloam – incredibly talented Scottish wedding stylists. If you’re dreaming of uniquely styled space for your elopement or micro-wedding the Gloam team should be your number one choice. They style and prepare both outdoor and indoor wedding set-ups.

Couple running on Circus Lane - wedding photoshoot in Edinburgh

Bride and groom laughing and running on Circus Lane in Stockbridge

Bride and groom kissing on Circus Lane during their photoshoot in Edinburgh

Best hair and make-up artists for your elopement

Choosing a great HMUA or MUA is a crucial decision when booking your elopement suppliers. And as much as some people would prefer to do their own hair and make-up when preparing for their elopement, in my opinion it is a good idea to consider a professional to do it for you. Just because the weather is so unpredictable here in Scotland that only a professional will be fully capable to make sure that your make-up and hair stays perfect throughout the day!

What is more, booking a professional hair and make-up artist alleviates the stress of your wedding day. Preparing for your elopement might still be a bit of a stressful experience at first. Especially when trying to make sure that everything goes well and according to the schedule and then also being responsible for your own hair and make-up. So why not leave this job to professionals?

So which hair and make-up artists can I recommend for your Edinburgh elopement?

Best cakes in Edinburgh

Although not a lot of couples planning their elopement in Edinburgh want to order a cake a their wedding day, as it’s usually just the two of them… I think it’s a great thing to do. Who could say no to a beautiful, delicious cake?

And remember – it doesn’t need to be gigantic. More and more cake makers will be able to provide you with a small cake for your day.

It can be beautifully photographed and then devoured together with a glass of champagne or Prosecco at the end of your elopement day!

What is more, Edinburgh has numerous options when it comes to wedding cake bakers and they are all delicious and super pretty.

Let’s look at our wedding cake options then!

Best Edinburgh restaurants for a celebratory dinner

Celebrating tying the knot with a dinner in a great Edinburgh restaurant is a perfect way to end the day. And your elopement photographer can take some last photos of the day before the dinner is served!

Delicious food and a toast with Prosecco or whisky? Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Imagine a candlelit dinner with great food that smells so good it makes your mouth water.

I’d love to share my favourite fine-dining Edinburgh restaurants with you so this part also becomes an unforgettable part of your elopement day!

  1. Timberyard – apart from being a fantastic elopement venue, it guarantees an amazing food experience.
  2. Gardener’s Cottage – rustic, stylish restaurant with big focus on seasonal, organic ingredients. All menu options will provide you with an incredible, unique dining experience on your elopement day. Or for your micro-wedding!
  3. The Lookout – situated on top of Calton Hill, guarantees breathtaking views at Edinburgh skyline. Why not have your elopement photos taken at Calton Hill and then head straight to dinner at the Lookout?
  4. Number One at the Balmoral
  5. Hawksmoor at Edinburgh Grand

Ideas to make your Edinburgh elopement unique and unforgettable

There are so many incredible things you can add or incorporate into your elopement day that will make it so much more unique. I’d love to share my favourite elopement ideas with you!

Include Celtic rituals in your Scottish elopement

Hand-fasting and quaich are symbolic rituals that a lot of eloping couples choose to include in their elopement ceremony.

Did you know that until the middle of 18th century all marriages in Scotland were celebrated with hand-fasting? Two partners would join hand and the celebrant would put a cloth or a ribbon around their hands to symbolise the binding of two separate lives into one.

What about quaich? Quaich is a Scottish love cup. It comes from the Gaelic word cuach which simply means cup.

After the elopement ceremony is concluded, newlyweds would take a sip of whisky from the quaich when still holding the cop at the same time.

Handfasting ceremony at Dunsapie Loch in Holyrood Park

Handfasting ceremony at Dunsapie Loch in Holyrood Park


Hire a piper

Why not make your elopement even more quintessentially Scottish?

Hiring a piper for your elopement is a great way to add some more dramatic Scottish mood to your day.

Piper could welcome everyone when arriving to the ceremony location or announce the end of the ceremony with a Scottish tune. Whether you’re getting married indoors or outdoors, piper will always be a great addition to your elopement.

Recommended Edinburgh pipers:

Consider hiring an elopement planner

Elopements require far less planning and organising than big weddings but still… in today’s busy world you still might not enough time to organise your perfect elopement in Edinburgh.

Especially if you need to plan your elopement from across the world and find the planning process a bit cumbersome. As it might be particularly challenging if you live in a completely different time zone! So why not consider hiring an elopement planner to deal with all that for you? There are a number of fantastic professional Scottish planners which will organise an unforgettable Scottish elopement experience for you.

  • Wild Hearts Elopements – Laura specialises in professional elopement planning. She will help you not only with organising a perfect elopement experience, but will keep you posted on all the legalities of getting married, Covid updates… she will support you with every aspect of elopement planning!
  • Corrie with Us – (pronounced ku-ri) is a Scots language word meaning to hug, or to show love by holding someone close in your arms. It’s also often understood to mean embracing all things Scottish, especially the outdoors. With over 15 years of experience in the wonderful world of Scottish weddings, the Coorie team offer a bespoke approach to planning your day. They offer a variety of options to suit your needs and budget.

Prioritise photography when planning your day

And since you are here, I believe you already know that it’s important to do so!

Apart from memories, wedding photographs will most likely be the only tangible keepsake from your elopement day. Which is why it’s wort investing in it!

First of all, it should be a local elopement photographer aware of the best places to go for photos, potential closures, logistics etc. Furthermore, local Scottish photographers will be able to give you best advice on some aspects of planning – as it’s all based on experience. So whether your questions might be related to a wedding venue choice, group shots, things to remember about when organising your big day – you can count on your photographer to give you some guidance!

Thirdly, a photographer based in Scotland will be able to show you around places that only locals are aware that exist. Isn’t it the best way to explore the city – by discovering its hidden gems?

In conclusion, apart from providing you with stunning photographs, they will also be able to support you with useful recommendations and advice.

Schedule an engagement photoshoot prior to your elopement day

You can’t go wrong with an engagement photoshoot!

It’s not only an opportunity to have more beautiful photos taken in the breathtaking Scottish capital, but also a possibility to meet your photographer before the big day. What is more, if you hate having your photos taken, then it’s a great opportunity to get used to posing and being in front of the camera. So it’s a win-win.

Additionally, at an engagement photoshoot you don’t have to stick to a tight schedule! As much as a wedding day often requires more of a detailed planning and sticking to timelines, then engagement shoot can be organised for any time of the day. Which, first of all, guarantees that you choose the time of the day with the most beautiful light – such as golden or blue hour. And it is completely stress-free as well!

If you want to consider all your options, check out My Tips & Ideas for your Edinburgh engagement photoshoot.

Edinburgh engagement photoshoot guide

Sunset Arthur's Seat engagement photos

Edinburgh engagement session on Circus Lane in Stockbridge


Choose best Edinburgh wedding photography locations

It’s a great idea to let your Edinburgh wedding photographer to take you to at least a couple beautiful places around the city for more photos after the ceremony.

You will most definitely spoiled for choice! If it’s your first time in Edinburgh and you don’t know the city very well, make sure you book a local Edinburgh photographer for your wedding day. Obviously, local photographers know the area better. Therefore, they are always able to provide better advice on locations and show you around the city’s hidden gems. So put some comfy shoes on, and be ready to explore Edinburgh’s hidden gems!

What is more, photographers local to Edinburgh are also better aware of any issues going on in the city that might obstruct great views and are always well-informed about possible restrictions on photography in certain locations. Moreover, certain places may require special access or photography permissions that sometimes need to be requested and paid for in advance. Although it doesn’t apply to most places in the Scottish capital, it might sometimes be necessary.

So let me show you around my city. And let’s explore the best Edinburgh wedding photography locations!

Holyrood Park / Arthur’s Seat

If you love the Scottish highlands and the great outdoors but you’re eloping in the city, you should consider having your elopement photos taken here. If you’re up for a wee bit of an adventure, why not hike up to the top of Arthur’s Seat and wait for the sunset to come?

Beautiful especially at golden hour, right before the sun goes down.

Totally worth the hassle of hiking all the way up!

Engagement photos at Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh at sunset

edinburgh arthurs seat engagement photos

Dean Village

Located in Edinburgh New Town, Dean Village is a pretty unique place.

Gardens, 19th-century architecture and the river – Water of Leith – stretching along the cobbled streets. The architecture is really unique and provides a stunning backdrop for wedding photos. Tranquil, historic and simply extraordinary. Some might call it Edinburgh’g green oasis.

LGBTQ elopement in Edinburgh - Edinburgh lesbian wedding - Dean Village wedding photos

LGBTQ elopement in Edinburgh - Edinburgh lesbian wedding - Dean Village wedding photos

Stockbridge Market

The original archway to the old Stockbridge Market is situated at St Stephen Place in Edinburgh. It was designed and then build in the 19th century.

These days you won’t find Stockbridge Market stalls there anymore. The new location of the market is just on the opposite street though. You can find it every Sunday between morning and late afternoon hours – the coffee, produce and local products are definitely worth a look!

Stockbridge Market elopement photos in Edinburgh New Town

Stockbridge Market elopement photos in Edinburgh New Town

Circus Lane

Circus Lane is – without a doubt – the loveliest and pretties street in Edinburgh’s New Town. I can never get bored of this place.

This built in 18th century cobbled street quickly became a popular and instagrammable location in Edinburgh. Wedding photographers love it too as it provides a stunning photo background with the cathedral at the end of the street.

Circus Lane is a mews lane which is a row or a narrow street of very unique residential buildings. Historically, mews lane was a row of stables and carriage houses that had living spaces above them.

Whilst you’re there, just remember to be respectful towards the residents.

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh elopement - New Town wedding photos

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh elopement - New Town wedding photos

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh elopement - New Town wedding photos

Victoria Street

Victoria Street is undoubtedly the most colourful place in the whole of Edinburgh.

Full of quirky shops and local restaurants, it’s a beautiful background for wedding photos. Especially if you’re getting married in Edinburgh city centre! It’s reachable within walking distance from Signet Library, City Chambers and Lothian Chambers.

Did you know that it inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter?

Same sex Scotland elopement in Edinburgh - Victoria Street wedding photos

Royal Mile

Royal Mile offers so many stunning photography backgrounds it’s almost overwhelming.

St Giles Cathedral, Advocate’s Close, The People’s Story Museum… our photography opportunities when walking around Royal Mile are endless!

St Giles Cathedral wedding in Edinburgh

Wedding photography on Royal Mile in Edinburgh

The Vennel Steps

The Vennel Steps, located just off the Grassmarket in the Old town, guarantee an epic view at Edinburgh Castle.

Personally, it’s one of my favourite locations in Edinburgh. At the weekends I love to get ice cream from Mary’s Milk Bar in the Grassmarket and climb to one of the top steps, sit down and relax enjoying the view.

Edinburgh Castle wedding photos in the fall

Castle elopement wedding in Edinburgh - Edinburgh Castle elopement

The Writer’s Museum

The Writer’s Museum, located just off the Royal Mile and not far from the castle, is a fantastic hidden gem. The building is unique – you won’t find a similar one anywhere else in Scotland.

The Writer’s Museum celebrates the great Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Stevenson. Perfect idea for a wedding photoshoot for bookworms, but not only!

Wedding photoshoot in Lady Stair Close on Royal Mile

writers musem elopement photos

Couple photoshoot with owls in Edinburgh Old town

Calton Hill

Calton Hill is an iconic Edinburgh location. It’s famous for its historic buildings and the incredible view at Edinburgh skyline. Sunsets admired from Calton Hill always provide incredible memories.

Sunset winter elopement at Calton Hill


White Horse Close

You’ll find this architectural gem at the foot of Royal Mile. The courtyard is a peaceful secret gem (although not so secret now that I’ve told you about it, ha).

The main building of the Close was originally built in 1623. Unfortunately, it was completely run down in the middle of 20th centrury. And after Edinburgh City Council began a programme of slum clearances and redevelopment in the 50s White Horse Close was selected for renovation.

Wedding photoshoot at White Horse Close on Royal Mile

Elopement photoshoot at White Horse Close on Royal Mile

How to spend the rest of your time in Edinburgh

If you’ll be spending a couple of days in Edinburgh before or after your elopement wedding, you might wander: what are the best places to see? What are the best places to eat? Any experiences worth planning?

In my opinion the best way to experience Edinburgh is to walk around a lot (so prepare your comfiest shoes!) and taste Scottish cuisine, especially seafood. But whether you’re a vegan or a meat-eater, you’ll find some great food options in Edinburgh. I promise! Edinburgh is a very vegan-friendly place with a variety of options. Personally I’m on a dairy-free diet, despite my undying love for cheese, which thankfully also makes it easy for me to find great eateries all around.

Here are my top food recommendations!

Top places to eat in Edinburgh

1. Breakfast/brunch/lunch

  • The Pantry – my absolute number one breakfast and brunch place. Their fried breakfast served until 11am is delicious. Great choice for meat-eaters. But there are great options for vegetarians and vegans too! Make sure to also try their hash browns and waffles, they’re so good.
  • Dishoom – their breakfast bacon naan rolls are always worth queuing for.
  • Edinburgh Larder – great local ingredients and a go-to place for a full Scottish breakfast.
  • Salt Café – fantastic all-day brunch place in Morningside.

2.  Dinner

  • Fazenda – heaven for meat-lovers. This Argentinian/Brazilian restaurant specialises in grilled meats of impeccable quality. The Fazenda’s passadores (meat chefs) will continue to bring out skewers of freshly prepared meats to you until you’ve places a red sign on your table. Great experience. Great cocktails – try their Peach Blossom, Rainforest Spritz or Doctor’s Orders.
  • The Fishmarket – the best fish and chips in the world. Literally! Located by the Newhaven harbour and lighthouse, you can collect it, sit on a bench and eat whilst admiring the view at Newhaven lighthouse.
  • The Ivy on the Square – elegant British art-filled restaurant serving classic, modern cuisine.
  • Howies – if you want to try Scottish classics, such as haggis, neeps & tatties, roast lamb or cullen skink, Howies should be your first choice.
  • Dishoom – my go-to place when craving Indian and Middle-Eastern food.
  • White Horse Oyster Bar – absolute heaven for a seafood lover. My favourites are the hassleback potatoes with curried mayo, mussels and lobster + prawn toast.
  • Miller and Carter – my favourite Edinburgh steakhouse. Great mocktails!

3. Cocktail bars

  • Lady Libertine – fantastic city centre cocktail bar with great atmosphere.
  • Devil’s Advocate – hidden away in Advocate’s Close, just off the Royal Mile, can serve you a choice of over 300 whiskies. Whoever’s not a whisky fan can choose a classic cocktail, glass of wine, a beer or a cider. Make sure to book a table in advance!
  • The Cocktail Mafia

Best experiences in Edinburgh

  • The Scotch Whisky Experience – best whisky-tasting experience, just on the Royal Mile.
  • Whiski Rooms – another great whisky-tasting experience! You can combine cheese and whisky or chocolate and whisky and mix it up.
  • Underground Vaults Tour – visit the underground vaults in Edinburgh and explore its darkest secrets.
  • Cauldron – the Potions Bar – if you fancy a bit of magic, why not book a potions making experience? Or wizard afternoon tea? Great cocktails class – guarantees lots of fun for everyone.
  • Tea at the Dome – if you’re craving a truly British experience, why not book an afternoon tea for two at the famous Dome? Particularly magical setting for a Christmas-time elopement celebration.

For more information about weddings and elopement in Scotland, secret proposals in Scotland, engagement photos and many other, please see my photography guides and planning advice below.


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Elopement Photographer in Scotland

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