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sean bell photographer

I’m lucky enough to have been photographing elopements in Scotland for over 10 years. During this time I have learned a lot about locations, suppliers and how to approach each individual day.

I send a recommendations list to every couple and enjoy helping out as much as I can, but I’m a photographer first and couples will still have to organise, contact, book and put a lot of time and effort into planning their day themselves.

This is where professional elopement and wedding planners come in, with their expertise and local knowledge they can craft a finer and more intricate experience based on you as a couple, offering insight and ideas every step of the way.

It can be a daunting prospect organising your own elopement, especially so if you live abroad so its wise to invest in good professionals to make sure your special day is everything you envisaged and more! I really hope this Q+A session gives you some insight into the working approach of four of Scotland’s best elopement planners. Enjoy! Sean.

 

 

 

 

 

ELLA MAI ELOPEMENTS

www.ellamaielopements.co.uk

 

Ella Mai elopements

Image: hayleypalmquistphotography.com

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Your Name/Business Name and Where you are Based.

My name is Ella Herbert and my business name is Ella Mai Elopements – Planner & Stylist. I am based in Aberdeenshire but cover all of Scotland!

 

 

How long have you been a wedding + elopement planner in Scotland?

It will be two years in October since I started my business here in Scotland.

 

Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a planner and what services you offer. Any specialities you have?

I grew up in New Zealand from when I was 7 years old and always thought I would have a career in the fashion industry. I then met my now husband when he was travelling around NZ working and then the rest they say is history. We moved to Aberdeenshire, Scotland (where my husband is from)  6 years ago and while looking for a job, I fell into the world of events and weddings! We then moved again to Cumbria where I started working in a well-known hotel in the Lake District as a wedding coordinator and just fell in love with love and found my passion. Then since planning our very intimate wedding in 2016, I knew elopements were for me and this is something I wanted to do forever. It wasn’t until my first child, Mason was one and we had moved BACK to Aberdeenshire (I missed it way too much and Scotland just feels like home to me) that I grew the confidence to start my own business. It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done and I absolutely love it.

 

 

isle of skye elopement couple

 

 

‘I help couples design the ultimate elopement, it’s for the creatives and fine art lovers.’

 

 

I plan and coordinate artful elopements that truly reflect the heart and story of couples. I provide packages to suit different needs of couples; ranging from super sweet and simple to all-out packages that include a whole lot of magic and meaning. I also have a styling package, where I help couples design the ultimate elopement, it’s for the creatives and fine art lovers.

 

 

eloping to scotland couple at Loch Lomond

 

 

What is your favourite part of the job?

ALL OF IT! It’s so hard to choose but definitely meeting new people and showcasing what Scotland has to offer. I am so passionate about love and Scotland, I can’t believe I get to wake up every day and do just that!

 

‘before my couple picks a location, I’ll let them know everything in and around the area and what to expect for their day.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

What advice would you give to a couple who have decided to elope to Scotland? What sort of things should they be researching ahead of the big day?

I would always say to couples to research locations. Couples see pictures on Pinterest and think it’s a small walk/or super easy to get to a location, when they have to factor so many things in. For example, is it a tourist location? If it is, they may need to think about eloping early morning or late evening to avoid the crowds. Can you get there by local transport or do you need a car? Do you need to hike? Do you mind that your clothes may get a bit muddy as there may be no walking track. BUT this is why I’m here, before my couple picks a location, I’ll let them know everything in and around the area and what to expect for their day.

 

 Do you imagine we will see a change in approach and a rise in number of smaller gatherings and elopements in Scotland due to the restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Yes, I think smaller weddings and elopements will become much more popular. It’s a way for couples to get married sooner rather than waiting for COVID to be over (and who know when that will be). I think couples will really appreciate the simplicity and the great outdoors to get married in as there will be less restrictions.

 

 

elope scotland couple standing on a mountain in isle of skye

 

 

Where is your favourite location for a Scottish elopement, and why?

It has to be anywhere in the Isle of Skye. Although one of the most popular places, just looking at pictures you can see why. The landscapes are breath-taking and I find it just so very magical. Especially if you a pick a location and time where no one else is around – it’s like you are the only ones in the world, so special!

 

 

elope to scotland couple in the rain

 

Scotland is a popular elopement destination for couples from abroad.

Why do you think this is and do you regularly work with international clients?

Most of my couples are from abroad. They want somewhere that is romantic and has spectacular views. It also helps Scotland is one of the only countries where you can literally get married anywhere which gives so much freedom. I also think Outlander has a lot to answer for! Haha.

 

When it comes to planning, what do you feel are the key differences between elopements and weddings? 

The stress levels is a main one. When I’ve been involved planning larger weddings I find the couples have so much more to think about. They are stressing and worrying about family and friends; their opinions, what dates they can do, what foods and drinks they like etc. There is also a lot more to bring together for the day. Whereas elopements are a lot more stress free, it’s just about the couple and no one else. The money they could have spent on catering and elaborate decorations, they now have just for themselves, whether that is investing in their favourite photographer, staying in a wonderful cottage in the highlands or perhaps putting it towards their future. There are so many more options. I usually find my couples who are eloping to be laid back and super excited about the experience.

 

 Anything else we should know? Top tips, advice or information for couples eloping in Scotland?

I always want couples to know – focus on what matters to you two, your wedding is a significant milestone, you deserve to be fully present, to feel totally relaxed and it should reflect who you are as a couple. And have a whole lot of fun in the process!

 

www.ellamaielopements.co.uk

 

GABRIELLE PLASMAN

www.gabrielle-wedding.co.uk

 

 

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Your Name/Business Name and Where you are Based.

Gabrielle Plasman based in Scone/Perth!

How long have you been a wedding + elopement planner in Scotland?

3 years

 

 

 

Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a planner and what services you offer. Any specialities you have? 

In school when teachers asked “what do you want to do in the future?” I always said “I want to make people happy”, so planning people’s happiest day of their life is quite sticking with my goal! When I first started building my business I though it would be interesting to offer this service to French speaking people as I couldn’t see any French speaking wedding planner online and I knew that Scotland is one of the only countries in the world to allow legal ceremonies for foreigners, the possibility to get married anywhere and I wanted to share my love and passion for this beautiful country we live in: Scotland. But my relatives were a bit reluctant to the idea, thinking they won’t be a market for it; so I’ve listen to them, but I am also stubborn; so I’ve tried to target both: French and Scottish market. I’ve been to Scottish wedding exhibition, spent hundreds and thousand of pound into leaflet, exhibitions, online advertising etc… and no money on French market, I used French wedding blogs etc… to promote what I do.  After 6 months of emptying my bank account I though maybe this wasn’t the right path for me; as I was printing CVs to find a new job, 3 French couple contacted me and 2 signed a contract! So I knew I was right and I continued promoting online, and I felt that I was happier as a destination wedding planner than a “normal” wedding planner.

 

 

‘..all the magic in people’s eyes when they see the Scottish landscape’

 

 

elopement in Scotland

 

 

What is your favourite part of the job?

Is it awful to say watch people cry? Ahah, my favourite part is road tripping Scotland, seeing all the magic in people’s eyes when they see the Scottish landscape and spend sometimes 3 whole days with the couple and see all the 1 or 2 years of hard work is creating perfect memories for life.

 

 

What advice would you give to a couple who have decided to elope to Scotland? What sort of things should they be researching ahead of the big day? 

Give yourself plenty of time. I have so many couple’s wanting to get married 2 months after contacting me; planning a wedding should be a journey, not something you rush. Give yourself plenty of time to do or understand the paperwork, also, by waiting longer you’ll have more supplier’s availabilties. Consider a week day elopement as the place and registrar will be quieter.

 

Where is your favourite location for a Scottish elopement, and why? 

That is such a hard question!!! I have a weak spot for the mountains and the islands; I love going to Skye for a wedding as you can feel the strenght of the wilderness and nature, I have a wedding at the Isle of Mull next year and I cannot wait to explore more islands as there is something so mystical about them, but still, each one is unique. I do love a good elopement in Glencoe as you can so easily feel like you are the only ones in the whole valley.

Glencoe elopement in scotland

 

Scotland is a popular elopement destination for couples from abroad.Why do you think this is and do you regularly work with international clients?

My only clientele are foreigners, they are seeking something different and the Scottish law and landscape allow this to them. The choice of location is endless and you can get married anywhere, I mean, how cool is that? You can have a 100% personalised ceremony which will fit your personality and your relationship, including any traditions you might wanna include. Scottish people are just a treat, they love it when people love their country and will help you with local tips any way they can; by having Scottish suppliers, you know you day can only go right.

 

Glencoe elopement ceremony

 

When it comes to planning, what do you feel are the key differences between elopements and weddings? 

More flexibility. You have less guests and less suppliers; so if you want to choose the exact right spot the day before the ceremony you can do it. You can think 100% about yourself and not what will aunty Mary think of this etc… so the planning is all about how you picture your perfect day without thinking about anybody else’s point of view and not look selfish!

 

Anything else we should know? Top tips, advice or information for couples eloping in Scotland?

I really think having someone in the country is a big help; specially if this person can help you with the paperwork as it’s very easy to get lost in the process. Someone who understand the weather, each season’s pros and cons, and – if this is relevant – someone who can speak your language and English to avoid any confusion too.

 

www.gabrielle-wedding.co.uk

HITCHED IN THE HIGHLANDS

 

www.hitchedinthehighlands.co.uk

 

highlands elopement in Scotland

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Your Name/Business Name and Where you are Based.

Sam Skinner Hitched in the Highlands Inverness, capital of the Highlands  

 

How long have you been a wedding + elopement planner in Scotland?  

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been working in the Wedding & Events Industry for the past 15 years!

 

 

Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a planner and what services you offer. Any specialities you have?  

I have always loved events and making special occasions memorable.  Before I launched Hitched in the Highlands I worked at large scale organisations planning their events, as well as at luxury wedding venues, where I was privileged to plan some incredible weddings.  No couple is the same, so I embrace all my clients’ individuality.  I specifically tailor services to suit their style, budget, and the amount of assistance they require. I am completely dedicated to creating and planning one of a kind weddings inspired by the couple’s own story, uniqueness, experiences, and interests.  I just love what I do so much, and it makes me proud to be part of such special occasions. It is passion that drives the work I do. Whatever my couples’ dream is, I do everything I can to bring their vision to life. I am also extremely fortunate to work in partnership with a carefully selected pool of talented and super passionate wedding suppliers to ensure every wedding is the perfect down to the the last detail.

 

 

 

‘It is passion that drives the work I do’

 

elopement couple on a mountain in scotland

 

 

What is your favourite part of the job?

Love and my love of people! 100% the best part of the job is meeting the nicest people you can imagine and playing a small part in creating the next chapter of their story. I really love getting to know my clients, turning them into friends and creating something truly amazing for them. I also must prewarn couples that I will cry at their wedding.

 

 

best place to elope in scotland couple walking on skye

 

 

What advice would you give to a couple who have decided to elope to Scotland? What sort of things should they be researching ahead of the big day?

First and foremost, I would say hire a local wedding planner.  A Scottish destination wedding should be magical and wondrous, without any stress.   No matter the size, an amazing wedding takes a team of professionals who are dedicated to making the event as special as possible.  It is vital a couple picks the right person and team to help from the beginning.  Planning a wedding from abroad can be a challenge, there is a lot to organise and a couple may not be anywhere near to carry out location recces or meet with potential suppliers.  Most of the time my clients are not even on the same time zone as me.   For couples I look after the location and all the amazing suppliers required from photography, flowers, hair, makeup and more.  All couples must do is relax, have fun, bring outfits, wedding rings and wedding papers – which I also assist with!  I would always advise a couple to research their wedding planner properly, making sure they know the local market and area. A local wedding planner will know the hidden gem locations and the best local suppliers for you. It is also  great if couples even have a small idea of the kind of wedding they want, be it a beach ceremony, in the mountains, or in a far flung island in the middle of nowhere, this is helpful as it gives the planner and team a starting point.

 

 

 

Do you imagine we will see a change in approach and a rise in number of smaller gatherings and elopements in Scotland due to the restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic?  

My heart breaks for all the couples whose weddings have had to be postponed due to COVID-19, but it is also not stopping a lot of couples from now getting married, just in a different way than they had originally planned.  It’s actually been amazing to see how people adapt, from Zoom weddings to smaller elopements. If anything, the pandemic has shown that love can rise above anything.  And yes, it’s disappointing when original plans don’t work out, but a wedding between two people is such a magical and momentous occasion that no matter how it’s implemented it will be amazing.  

 

elope in scotland couple in glencoe

 

 Where is your favourite location for a Scottish elopement, and why?  

Oh, this is so hard to choose one location, so I am going to choose an area.  The Highlands really are the most breath-taking and offer something for everyone! Everywhere you look you will find another epic backdrop for a wedding ceremony and photos.   When working with my couples I prefer to get to know them to find out what their interests and hobbies are before suggesting locations/venues. I consider it to be one of the important parts of what I do as a wedding planner, it is so important that every aspect of their wedding reflects their personality, interests, and relationship.    

 

 

Scotland is a popular elopement destination for couples from abroad.

Why do you think this is and do you regularly work with international clients? Scotland is stunning and has an option for everyone.  From dramatic mountains, sandy beaches, historical castles, and so much more. The natural beauty and the unique energy of the country creates the perfect setting for couples to say ‘I do’ I work with international clients every day.  And I consider myself so lucky to share our breath-taking country with couples who travel from near and far to marry in Scotland.

 

 

 

When it comes to planning, what do you feel are the key differences between elopements and weddings?

Elopements have changed a lot in recent years, and for the better! Elopements are no longer really seen now as secretive events, but rather adventurous and one-of-a-kind weddings that allow couples to really inject their personalities into their wedding day. When it comes to elopements vs weddings, the key difference is that elopements have empowered couples to take back their wedding day and make their own rules. They get to fully define what their elopement day looks like and make it is 100% “theirs.” No matter if couples decide to elope, have a more traditional wedding, or something in between, they just need to remember that the only right option is doing what they want to do as a couple and having a wedding day that they wish to have. The most important thing is when you get married it is about you and your partner. It is a celebration of your love. There is nothing shameful in celebrating it in a way that honours your relationship. Whether that means hiking up a mountain to say your vows or standing in front of all your family & friends, the most important thing is that it is your wedding and your choices!    

 

hand fasting ceremony during a Scottish elopement in Glencoe

 

Anything else we should know? Top tips, advice or information for couples eloping in Scotland?  

Follow up your amazing Scottish wedding with an incredible Scotland honeymoon! There are a million and one incredible things to do in Scotland. You can discover the magical history of hundreds of castles, taste award winning whisky, bag some Munros, enjoy deserted beaches, sample some of the best cuisine in the world, attempt ceilidh dancing, monster hunt on Loch Ness, or island hop in the Hebrides. There is something for everyone in Scotland, I literally could go on, and on, and on, and on…

 

www.hitchedinthehighlands.co.uk

 

elope in scotland couple walking in torridon

 

WILD HEARTS ELOPEMENTS

www.wildheartselopements.com

 

 

 

Image: tamarhopewillo.com

Your Name/Business Name and Where you are Based.

Laura Gonzalez and Emma Matthews. Wild Hearts Elopements. We are based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

How long have you been a wedding + elopement planner in Scotland?

Emma has been in the industry since she as 21 so just over 10 years. Laura has been a wedding/elopement planner for almost 2 years.

 

 

Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a planner and what services you offer. Any specialities you have?

Having had a destination wedding herself back in 2017 to Venice, Italy Laura has already gone through the experience most of our couples have of a wedding abroad and having a wedding planner. Being the hopeless romantic she is the idea of being part of and helping couples with the most important day of their lives really is the dream job! Laura understands what it is like to put all your trust and faith into a planner and feel’s she can connect with her couples on a different level because of this. Since a young age Emma was drawn to the wedding industry she truly loved to see people take such a milestone step together on turning 21 she set up her first wedding planning business and since then has fallen in love With the industry and how special it is for a couple. Wild Hearts specialises in planning premium intimate elopement weddings all over Scotland specialising in locations such as Isle of Skye, Glencoe, Edinburgh and the Highlands. Essentially the most epic locations!

 

 

couple in glencoe after their wedding

 

What is your favourite part of the job?

We love nothing more than hearing more about our couples and their love story. We often find that we build up such great relationships with our couples that many feel like we are helping a close friend  Most of all we love helping make a once in a lifetime experience happen for them! Of course, we also loving seeing all the beautiful images from the wedding day too!

 

‘One of the best things about marrying in Scotland is you can legally get married anywhere!’

 

What advice would you give to a couple who have decided to elope to Scotland? What sort of things should they be researching ahead of the big day?

Some of Scotland’s most loved locations are remote and popular tourist spots so it is really important couples research timings for the day such as how long it will take to get there and what time of day is less popular with tourist to avoid too many onlookers. One of the best things about marrying in Scotland is you can legally get married anywhere! Our top piece of advice would be though to make sure you look more into the legalities of marrying here and make sure you have all the correct paperwork completed in time. With any wedding great suppliers book up quickly so we would recommend to allow yourselves enough time in the planning to ensure you secure your favourite suppliers.

 

elopement ceremony taking place in scotland highlands in the rain

 

Do you imagine we will see a change in approach and a rise in number of smaller gatherings and elopements in Scotland due to the restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Yes, definitely we believe we will see a big surge in Elopement and small weddings. We think that many couples that perhaps had a larger wedding planned or were a little unsure what type of wedding they envisioned may lean more towards an elopement. An intimate elopement whether that be just the couple or with close friends and family really conveys what is important in a marriage and that is the couples love for one another no matter the size or location of the wedding.

 

‘Scotland has so many epic landscapes, locations to consider and so so many breathtaking castles to explore!’

 

Where is your favourite location for a Scottish elopement, and why?

With Scotland having so many versatile options to suit all couples the options are endless! It is so difficult for us to choose just one location as so many are so epic!  For those wanting to get married outdoors Isle of Skye or Glencoe are two incredible locations that will have couples blown away by its beauty! Glencoe with waterfalls around each corner and stunning scenery really would be a top contender for us. Dunnottar Castle and Eilean Donan Castle are the perfect location and foundation for the fairy tale wedding that many couples vision.

 

couple walking during thiner Glencoe elopement in scotland

 

Scotland is a popular elopement destination for couples from abroad. Why do you think this is and do you regularly work with international clients?

Many of our clients live internationally and we often find a lot of them love Scotland from what they have seen on TV or perhaps, or the fact they have family heritage in Scotland or often they have visited or studied here before. Undeniably, Scotland has so many epic landscapes, locations to consider and so so many breathtaking castles to explore! Also the fact Scotland is so rich in history it is no wonder it is so incredibly popular with international clients.

 

When it comes to planning, what do you feel are the key differences between elopements and weddings? 

The main difference we find between a wedding to an elopement is the scale of the wedding and how many people attend. Traditionally an elopement would have been just two people running away in secret to marry but we are finding that more and more couples want the intimacy of an elopement to share their love. We love that aspects such as photography, location and florals are still very much an important aspect of the day.

 

Glencoe loch an on an autumn day

 

Anything else we should know? Top tips, advice or information for couples eloping in Scotland?

For couples intending or thinking about eloping to Scotland we recommend doing your research! Whether that be into which location in Scotland you vision your ceremony taking place, which suppliers you might need help with and of course the legalities as we already mentioned it is important to do a lot of research. If you are considering a location such as Glencoe or Isle of Skye it is very important to note these are remote locations so you will have to likely travel to different locations on the day which you will have to allow time for and also you might have to look further afield for some supplier or consider some suppliers will require travel fees.  Our top tip for couples, enjoy every aspect of the planning process and the lead up to your wedding day! We would give anything to relive our wedding day one more time so make sure you take it all in and enjoy every second!

 

www.wildheartselopements.com

 

 

eloping in scotland

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