Romantic Private Elopement in Scotland
(Burbank, CA, USA)
Dalhousie Castle Chapel
A week before our engagement, my boyfriend tried to talk me into driving way out of town late one afternoon just to "watch the sun set." I was so tired and talked him out of it, only to find out ten days later after our actual engagement, that he'd just received the ring he designed and was dying to propose to me right away! I had no idea I was delaying the moment I'd been waiting for!
When he did manage to steal me out of town under the guise of exploring the shore in Malibu, he spotted a private cliff overlooking the ocean, pulled out a love letter to read aloud to me, and presented my ring. We both cried and held each other for a long time after I finally managed to answer a resounding "yes!"
We wanted to marry outside of the US where we lived, especially because we are both big travelers and had lived all over the world.
We ran into so many problems with our different citizenships (he's British), paperwork requirements, and our very short timeline. When we discovered the ease of marrying in Scotland, we knew it was the perfect spot for us.
We emailed so many wedding planners to help with our "destination wedding," the overseas paperwork, and all the planning details. We wanted to just show up in Scotland a couple months later and have our beautiful wedding waiting for us as we road tripped around the UK before and after.
We were blessed to discover Litu and the amazing couple George and Kimmie who own the wedding planning business. From the first email, we knew every detail would be taken care of for us, our tight budget would be catered to, and everything would be as flexible as we needed. They even helped us decide what kind of wedding we really wanted!
We chose Dalhousie Castle outside Edinburgh to marry in their wedding chapel. Wanting a private ceremony all to ourselves, George and Kimmie were our witnesses and our "family" that entire day, always there with a story, smiles, laughter, and support for every detail. All we had to do was run through the perfect schedule they designed, through our private dining and outdoor photo session, even being schooled on drinking Scotch!
With a humanist presiding, we were able to design the entire ceremony just for us. We chose a traditional hand fasting ceremony and my fiance was trained in falconry that morning on the castle grounds to that Bonnie the white owl could fly down from the balcony to rest on his arm and deliver our rings during the ceremony!
My fiance also chose to wear the traditional kilt attire to pay homage to the local culture and history of the location itself and really loved learning how to wear every piece and choosing his own tartan pattern. It's a day we'll never forget, and the photos of our moments there still wow everyone we show them to. And we've made new lifetime friends in George and Kimmie of Litu whom we still stay in touch with.
The best moment of the entire experience was standing with my husband to pose for photos outdoors after the wedding, smiling, laughing, and pretending it wasn't raining in the changing Scottish weather.
We had so much fun, despite the weather, that I knew we'd continue to laugh and find joy in every moment ahead of us in our new life together. The photos were so beautiful, crisp, colorful and full of life; I don't think they would've been as wonderful if taken in the sunshine!
If we could change anything at all about our day, we would've planned to stay more nights at the beautiful castle and that quiet suite that seemed to belong to us. We loved the location of our wedding so much, we wanted to soak up more of the atmosphere, culture, friendly staff, food, etc. before leaving. We stayed in the King Edward room with a beautiful four-poster bed, private attached rooms, and antique furnishings with all the modern amenities. We plan to return to stay there often!
From our own experience, I would most recommend to any bride-to-be to not hold back if you want a "destination wedding." It is possible and the right wedding planners will ensure all the paperwork and extra details are completely taken care of for you. You'll know with the first correspondence which planners really care for your big day and individual needs. Don't hesitate to ask them a million questions and for additional ideas for your ceremony you may not think of.
Definitely consider Scotland itself for a truly special wedding and experience. The people, culture, countryside (and so many fairytale-like castles to choose from!!), food, and entire visit will amaze you.