Glencoe Elopement in the Scottish Highlands — Destination Elopement Photographer

ELISSA AND DANIEL


Elissa and Daniel had never been to Scotland before—but that didn’t stop this adventurous couple from traveling from New York across an entire ocean to say their vows for their destination elopement. Since Scotland was a new place for them, Elissa and Daniel asked me to help them find them the perfect spot for them. Location scouting is one of the most fun parts of being an elopement photographer, and since and my fiancé is from Scotland, and we’ve traveled there plenty, I had a ton of ideas. We love being elopement guides for our couples and helping them find that absolutely perfect location.

 

Pro Tip for destination Elopements:

If you decide to elope in a new spot that neither of you have ever been before, consider making your day a “mini road trip!” You don’t have to narrow it down to just one spot, it’s fun to spend time in several destinations throughout the day—Explore and have an adventure together; you just happen to be traveling in wedding clothes this time. If you love travelling & sightseeing, make your elopement something that’s natural for the two of you to do together.

 

Elissa and Daniel decided to get ready apart from each in an old hotel. After they finished handwriting their vows to each other in the morning, we jumped in separate cars and headed toward Kilchurn Castle, a stunning castle ruin from the mid-15th century nestled in green rolling Scottish Highland hills among fields of Highland cows (or “coos” as the Scots say!) Their first look felt like it was straight out of a fairytale and the day only got more magical from there. After their first look, we made our way to one of my favorite areas of Scotland, Glencoe. The landscape here is made up of gorgeous mountains with a deep valley. Waterfalls, rivers and lakes criss cross the entire area as Glencoe Mountain rises in the distance.

Walking on top of the mountain meant walking through marshes and bogs—and there’s a funny distinctly Scottish term my fiance’s family uses to describe walking through a Scottish bog “squelching”. “Squelching" is the sound that your boots make as they stick in the deep mud. Elissa and Daniel were total troopers, “squelching” through bogs and hopping over ponds in their wedding clothes. It was delightfully empty at the top of the hike, with no one there to witness Elissa and Daniel say their vows but some ptarmigans. The two of them found the perfect spot right between two cairns with an incredible view to say their private vows to each other.

After they had said their vows, exchanged rings, and popped some champagne, Elissa and Daniel added their own rocks to a pile of cairn stones near where they said their vows. A cairn marks the trails and it was a beautiful gesture to see them add their own mark at this spot that will be special for them the rest of their lives.

It was a perfect late May day with just a little bit of fog rolling around, making everything in the landscape pop and look unmistakably “Scottish.” We hiked back down the mountain, stopping at the gorgeous rivers and waterfalls that dotted the trail. Elissa scaled a sheer rock face in her wedding dress which was pretty badass, all to get that perfect shot on her elopement day.

After we spent all of their elopement day exploring, Elissa, Daniel and I  headed back to the hotel and the next day had a completely different experience in the Scottish Highlands.

Stay tuned for day 2…..

 The ruins of Kilchurn Castle stand in the Scottish Highlands where Elissa and Daniel planned a destination adventure elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 A Scottish Highland cow hangs out outside Kilchurn castle in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
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 A river runs through the hills of the Scottish Highlands outside Kilchurn Castle, near Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute in Scotland. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel hand wrote their vows to each other for their Western Scotland Scottish Highlands destination adventure elopement. They decided to explore Scotland together on their wedding day. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel ties his tie in an old hotel outside Kilchurn Castle in Scotland before his destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel chose to get ready in separate rooms during their destination elopement so they could have a surprise first look later on. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Even though they had traveled together for their destination wedding elopement, Elissa and Daniel were still able to have a first look by getting ready separately. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa ties her flowing lace wedding dress she had brought overseas for her Scotland elopement outside Kilchurn Castle and Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 In Scotland, Elissa ties her wedding dress for her destination elopement near Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel chose to hand write their vows to each other the morning of their elopement in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel got ready in separate rooms of an old hotel outside Kilchurn Castle in Scotland ahead of their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel waits for his bride Elissa before their private first look at Kilchurn Castle in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 With the ruins of mid-15 century Kilchurn Castle behind her, Elissa walks on the dirt road for her first look ahead of her destination elopement ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 The ruins of Kilchurn Castle in Lochawe in the Scottish Highlands are behind Elissa and Daniel during their first look before their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel turns for his first look of his bride Elissa with the ruins of Kilchurn Castle behind them in the Scottish Highlands before their adventure destination wedding elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel and Elissa share a kiss during their first look outside the ruins of Kilchurn Castle in Lochawe in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel run through the Scottish Highlands with Kilchurn Castle behind them before their destination wedding elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel and Elissa chose to elope in Scotland, even though they had never been before. A destination elopement can turn into a true adventure for couples if they choose to experience something new together. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel spins Elissa in the tall grass of the Scottish Highlands with the ruins of mid-15th century castle Kilchurn Castle outside Lochawe Dalmally in Scotland. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel stand at the base of Kilchurn Castle outside Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park in the Scottish Highlands before their destination adventure elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa’s light lace gown flows in the wind of the Scottish Highlands as she stands outside Kilchurn Castle. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel ride a gondola up a mountain dressed in their wedding clothes ahead of exchanging vows during their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Cuddling together to stay warm in the chill of early May in Scotland, Elissa and Daniel ride a gondola up a mountain outside Glencoe and Ben Nevis before their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel hike through the Scottish Highlands in their wedding day clothing as they search for the perfect unique spot to say their vows outside Glencoe, Scotland. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 With lochs, rivers and waterfalls behind them, Elissa and Daniel hiked through Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands during their adventure destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 With the fog of early May in Scotland rolling around the hills behind them, Elissa and Daniel twirl in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel walk through the marsh and bog of the Scottish Highlands outside Glencoe Scotland as they search for the perfect site for their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 As they explore the bogs and marshes of the Scottish Highlands outside Glencoe, Scotland, Elissa and Daniel share a kiss before their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 With the mountains of the Scottish Highlands behind them, Elissa and Daniel embrace ahead of their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel planned a road trip through the Scottish Highlands on the day of their elopement to experience some place new on their wedding day. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Her lace white wedding dress reflected in the boggy marshes of the Scottish Highlands, Elissa runs through the tall grass on the way to her elopement ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel chose to travel to Scotland and explore the Scottish Highlands for their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 The mountains in the Scottish Highlands still had little patches of snow on them during Elissa and Daniel’s adventure destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Early May is a great time to travel to Scotland and explore the Scottish Highlands, as Elissa and Daniel did for their adventure elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 The wind of the Scottish Highlands blows Elissa’s wedding dress as she and Dnaiel explore the marshes together before their destination wedding elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel chose to road trip around the Scottish Highlands for their destination elopement so they could experience something new together on their wedding day. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Rivers and waterfalls snake through the Scottish Highlands and we explored them on foot for Elissa and Daniel’s elopement day. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel embrace and are reflected in the water a loch in the Scottish Highlands during their destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa did a great job of jumping over the water of the Scottish Highland marshes and bogs in her wedding dress during her destination elopement with Daniel. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Patches of snow dot the Scottish Highland hills, which were empty of people during Elissa and Daniel’s destination elopement ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel chose a secluded, private spot to say their vows during their Scottish Highland elopement outside Glencoe, Scotland. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel reads his handwritten vows to Elissa during their private elopement ceremony in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel reads his marriage vows to Elissa during their private self solemnizing adventure destination elopement in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel share a kiss during their Scottish Highlands elopement ceremony. When you self solemnize for your wedding ceremony, you don’t need to follow traditional marriage ceremony rules. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Surrounded by hills, marshes, bogs, and lochs, Elissa and Daniel say their vows high in the hills of the Scottish Highlands for their destination wedding elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel say their vows high on a mountain top with a view of the Scottish Highlands during their destination adventure elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel share their first kiss after their self solemnizing elopement ceremony in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 A cairn is a stack of stones that marks a trail. Elissa and Daniel added their own stones to a cairn near their elopement ceremony site in the Scottish Highlands. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Only a ptarmigan was a witness to Elissa and Daniel’s marriage vows. After their ceremony in the Scottish Highlands, outside Glencoe, they added their own stones to a cairn. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel celebrate saying their vows in the Scottish Highlands outside Glencoe, Scotland, with a bottle of champagne. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa drinks champagne directly from the bottle following her Glencoe Scotland elopement ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel hiked to the top of a mountain in the Scottish Highlands to privately say their vows in a self solemnizing elopement ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa twirls her dress in the Scottish Highlands following her destination elopement. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel are surrounded by a waterfall flowing through the Scottish Highlands outside Glencoe, Scotland. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel are dwarfed by the rocky landscape of the Scottish Highland bogs and marshes outside Glencoe, Scotland following their self solemnizing elopement ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Daniel and Elissa celebrate their recent self solemnizing adventure elopement ceremony in the Scottish Highlands at the base of a waterfall. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Water flows through the Scottish Highlands as Elissa and Daniel are dwarfed by the rocky marsh landscape following their destination elopement ceremony. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel sit in the marsh of the Scottish Highlands following their self solemnizing elopement ceremony where the only witnesses were me as their photographer and a few ptarmigans. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.
 Elissa and Daniel share an embrace in the Scottish Highlands following their private destination adventure elopement ceremony outside Glencoe, Scotland. Photo by Maddie Mae, Adventure Instead.

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