Why autumn is the best time to elope in Scotland

So many people reaching out to me to find Scotland elopement photographer ask me – what is the best time to elope in Scotland? Is there a time that you would discourage us from planning an outdoor elopement?

What is your favourite time to photograph elopements in Scotland?

In this article I will tell you about it!

Autumn – best time to elope in Scotland

Firstly, let’s me start by saying that there is never a bad time to elope in Scotland. All seasons of the year have their pros and cons. And you can find beauty in nature in so many places, all year round.

Nevertheless, let me share my favourite time of the year for outdoor elopements with you. It is, undoubtedly, autumn. But why do so many Scotland elopement photographers fell totally in love with autumn – or fall, as you’d say in America?

Autumn colours in Scotland - best time to elope in Scotland

Best time to elope in Scotland - Scotland in autumn

Autumn at Glencoe Lochan - Glencoe Lochan in fall colours

Autumn – season of mist and magical colours

Autumn in Scotland is INCREDIBLY atmospheric.

After the end of summer autumn brings more misty, atmospheric and cloudy days. Photographers specialising in photographing outdoor elopements in Scotland love such days. Firstly, we love overcast days and the soft, subtle light they bring. Secondly, we love capturing a bit of fog and misty landscapes in places such as Edinburgh or the Scottish highlands. As there is nothing more magical.

Finally, autumn/fall brings magical colours – vibrant reds, yellows, browns and ambers.

Please remember that autumn is now becoming the most popular season to elope in Scotland. Which is why most Scotland elopement photographers diaries fill up quickly and far in advance. Therefore if you’ve found your dream photographer and you’re planning an October or November elopement, do not hesitate to get in touch with them to book them asap!

Best places to elope in Scotland to catch autumnal colours

Scottish landscapes are very unique. Edinburgh, for instance, stays green for quite a long time and there are spots that don’t even show a sign of autumn colours – such as Holyrood Park / Arthur’s Seat area, Dean Village or Calton Hill. But there are plenty that do!

They are for example: the Vennel Steps with Edinburgh Castle view, the Writer’s Museum or Circus Lane.

Autumn elopement in Edinburgh, Scotland - Scotland elopement photographer - best time to elope in Scotland

Autumnal colours in Edinburgh - autumn wedding photos in Edinburgh

Best autumn elopement locations in the Scottish highlands

And when it comes to the Scottish highlands, you’ll be spoiled for choice. There are so many options!

But what we need to remember is that not every single place in the highlands will be covered in orange and golden hues. Some areas of the highlands – such as Cairngorms National Park will stay green until very late in the year, or always. I love Loch an Eilein and Loch Garten in the Cairngorms area, but these places surrounded by pine forests are always very green, even in the winter. Although, it’s easy to find a spot covered in dry ferns at this time of the year – they make an epic scenery for wedding photos filled with autumnal atmosphere!

So if you’re looking for a great location with autumnal colours in the Cairngorms, my first choice would definitely be the stunning Lochan Uaine – the Green Loch.

But what are the best places for an elopement in Scotland if you’re on the hunt for fall colours?

One of the best places for an autumn elopement is Glencoe. Although it is mostly moorland and there aren’t that many trees in the area, the colours are there – everywhere. The mountains turn all yellow and orange and the ferns turn dark brown. So the views are truly stunning, everywhere. And if you love the idea of some autumn foliage, you can’t go wrong with visiting Glencoe Lochan. The loch is surrounded by yellow larches, autumn foliage is everywhere, and the mist over the loch you might get to see will be a cherry on the cake. Chef’s kiss.

It’s also worth taking the drive Glen Etive, in particular stopping at Glen Etive forest. Winding narrow road, colourful trees, sounds of the river. On a foggy day it looks truly enchanted.

Misty elopement wedding in Glencoe, Scotland - Glencoe elopement photographer - best time to elope in Scotland

Autumn in Glencoe, Glen Etive

Another stunning place, known for its incredible colours in October and November is the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. I took a drive there at the end of October and believe me, I wanted to stop every 2 minutes to snap a photo!

But even without the obvious fall colours, autumn in Scotland is absolutely GORGEOUS.

Let me show you one of my favourite photographs I have ever taken – have a look at the image below. It was an early October morning – it was misty with a bit of rain. Also, I need to add that Rebecca and Tim totally embraced the weather conditions which made my job to photograph them even more fun. We were walking around Fairy Glen, admiring the foggy hills and sheep all around us. And it was perfect! Personally, I’m also a fan of deep greens (green is my favourite colour) so when photographing October and November elopements I like to mix it up and show my couples around very typically autumnal places, but not only.

Isle of Skye’s landscapes change towards the end of October / beginning of November, where places such as the Fairy Glen, the Quiraing or the Old Man of Storr turns into browns.

Isle of Skye autumn elopement - Isle of Skye elopement weddings - best time to elope in Scotland

Isle of Skye autumn elopement - Isle of Skye elopement weddings - best time to elope in Scotland

It’s easier to catch golden hour and best light

Summer days in Scotland are incredibly long. For instance in June, on certain days you can expect even 18 hours of daylight. Which means that in order to catch the golden hour light you’d sometimes need to stay up even until 10:30pm!

Which is not ideal for most people, especially after a long day of preparations, having your hair and makeup done, getting hitched and then having your photos taken in multiple locations. Tying the knot in autumn means that on a sunny day you’ll catch the best evening light much sooner – on most days before 6pm.

It’s also much easier to organise a sunrise elopement ceremony – as you don’t need to get up extremely early to be ready at dawn in order to make it happen.

Please remember that autumn days can be very rainy and cloudy. Which means that golden hour might not even happen. But you never know!

Autumn outdoor wedding in Glencoe, Scotland - why autumn is the best time to elope in Scotland

Golden hour at Glencoe Valley, Scotland

The tourist season is over

The busiest tourist season in Scotland is between the beginning of June and beginning of September. By choosing to elope between the end of September and November you’re avoiding the craziest and busiest time in Scotland!

Which means you’ll have more freedom in picking the best accommodation options in the area, booking the best restaurants, and the streets, roads and most beautiful places in the area will be much calmer. So it’s a great option for couples who are not particularly keen on being the centre of attention.

Autumn elopement wedding at Glencoe Lochan

Fall elopement at Glencoe Lochan area in the Scottish highlands - autumn is best time to elope in Scotland

Autumn is cosy

Cosy blankets, burning fireplace, hot toddies, mulled wine, haggis, neeps & tatties… Autumn is cosy!

And brings a variety of ideas for cosy photographs. Why not ask your Scotland elopement photographer to take some photos of you and your partner by the fire at a cottage where you’re staying, getting warm and cosy after your elopement ceremony? Maybe sharing a glass of wine? Snuggling under a tartan blanket?

I recently went on a little November weekend getaway with my partner David who booked a lodge with a hot tub for us. And it was so relaxing that I can’t wait for it to happen again! There is something incredibly nice about jumping into a jacuzzi after a long day spent in the cold.

So believe me, you’ll feel like it was the greatest idea of all time if you choose to book accommodation with a hot tub and after your elopement you’ll soak in the nice, hot and bubbly water. I 100% recommend!

And what if you’re eloping in Edinburgh? Then you should definitely pop in a pub and order a nice warming drink. Again, if you choose a nice cosy pub it will be another opportunity for your elopement photographer to take some great snaps of your autumn adventure.

Ultimately, remember to accessorise – a stylish and warm oversized shawl or a tartan blanket will not only compliment your autumn look, but will also keep you warm. And nothing beats Tartan Blanket Co designs.

Best accessories for your elopement in Scotland - tartan oversized shawl

Midges are long gone

Oh, midges. Nothing’s a more hated creature in Scotland than the infamous midges.

So let me tell you – you’ll avoid these annoying insects by choosing to elope in the fall! When it comes to the Scottish highlands, they usually appear at the beginning of June and are long gone by the end of September.

Autumn is for the adventurous souls

With the weather forecast being very inaccurate and unpredictable at this time of the year, you need to go with the flow. You need to embrace whatever the day brings you. And it often produces the most amazing results!

Autumn elopements are always an adventure. The most incredible and unforgettable one, for sure.

In my opinion, the best time to elope in Scotland is in the autumn. And no one has ever managed to convince me otherwise.

To sum up, forget summer and elope in autumn!

Autumn elopement essentials – must-haves

That’s an important point – what is it that you need to bring with you on your elopement day? The most important part is to stay warm and try to stay dry (if possible!).

Here’s my list of essentials to tick off your list when planning to elope in autumn.

  1. Hand warmers. Easy to order on Amazon and other retail websites.
  2. Thermal underwear or a thick pair of leggins. When wearing a long wedding gown, no one will be able to tell that you’re wearing a pair of these underneath anyway!
  3. Boots – preferably waterproof!
  4. A change of socks.
  5. Oversized shawl – both to compliment your look and keep you warm. Tartan Blanket Co offers the best designs.
  6. A bottle of something hot – such as coffee or tea! An insulated flask keeping your drink warm for the entire day, such as Chilly’s, will be the best choice. I always bring a flask of hot camomile tea with me, on every elopement adventure!
  7. A nice drink to wrap up the day. Depending on whether you’re staying in a self-catering accommodation or a hotel, it might be necessary to get a nice bottle of wine or whisky in advance.
  8. Snacks. Staying hungry for the entire day will make you feel even colder, so don’t forget about these! Sandwiches, protein bars, bananas are my go-to options.
  9. A bouquet of seasonal florals. Flowers will not only compliment your look, but they will add more charm to it. One of my favourites bouquets to date is the one you can see below – made by Myrtle and Bracken for the beautiful rock’n’roll bride Hayley who eloped in Glencoe at the end of October. So when it comes to autumnal designs, my first choice would always be Myrtle and Bracken! They create magical floral designs.

Autumnal bouquet of flowers for a Scottish wedding

Planning an autumn elopement in Scotland – resources

In the meantime, you might find some of my resources and guides useful when planning an outdoor elopement in this beautiful country.

All the inspiration and elopement planning guides are available here.

And if you’re looking for a photographer to capture your adventure – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and tell me more about your elopement plans through the contact form on the website.

Finally, don’t forget to check out my portfolio page for inspiration!

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