Why Hire a Scottish Elopement Planner?


Eloping can seriously reduce how complicated your wedding day is. But there is still planning required, and if you’re eloping to somewhere you haven’t been before it can be hard to know where to even start.

As Scottish elopement photographers, we help our couples choose a location, advise on timelines and recommend other suppliers.  But depending on what you envisage for your elopement day (think a huge floral arch, or a 5 course picnic for two on the side of a mountain), and how little you want to have to do yourselves, we sometimes recommend couples looking into a Scottish elopement planner to take care of all the details and logistics, and allow you to relax and enjoy every minute of your elopement.

To help you understand what a planner could do to help you, we asked the amazing Ella Mai, renowned Scottish Elopement Planner and Stylist of Ella Mai Elopements, to shed some light on how she helps couples plan unforgettable elopement experiences. 

Ella, who are elopements for, and what type of couples are working with you?

The term ‘elopement’ has had many different definitions over many years, with the most common being ‘to run away in secret’ or having a lack of money, which meant you had no other option but to elope. Thankfully times have moved on, and although it may still have these meanings for some couples, it’s now evolved into a really beautiful and authentic way to get married. It’s an experience that has endless possibilities.

Elopements are for the lovers who not only want the freedom to choose where, when and how they get married, but they are for couples who want an exciting adventure and an authentic experience to go forward in their new married life together.

There are many different reasons couples may choose to elope, but the lovely couples that I work with are looking for an intimate day that solely focuses on their love for one another and includes a day (or week!) full of their favourite things. They let go of possible family dramas, stress and anxiety that comes with the ‘bigger’ weddings and being the centre of attention to make room for a wedding day that truly reflects the heart and story of the couple in a magical, intimate way.

Do you help couples decide their budget?

Yes, I can do, or I can certainly lead them in the right direction to creating a budget that suits each couple. It’s definitely a subject that always seems really daunting, and couples can shy away from which then leads to overwhelm in the middle of planning. I’m a big believer that your wedding day shouldn’t be a cause for any stress, especially money stress. I like to rephrase the word ‘budget’ to ‘how much are we willing to spend’, there is absolutely no right or wrong answer, its different for every couple and something really personal. Whether the couple is looking to spend £1k, £10k or even £50k, and as long as it sits right with them and is an amount that is easily achieved without going into debt or make paying off really difficult, it’s perfect.

Yes, eloping CAN and most likely WILL be less expensive than a larger wedding if you want it to be. You don’t have to think about catering for 100s of people, sending 100’s of invitations or entertaining your friends and family but it could mean that the money you would be ‘saving’ can go towards your experience and making it an adventure to remember. Whether that is spending money on epic photography or videography, having an amazing backdrop of flowers or having an ultimate food experience.

In order to help couples decide on their ideal budget, I get them to break it down into 3 categories.

  1. What’s the MOST important aspect they want included in their day?
  2. What do they NEED to get married and have an elopement?
  3. What do they WANT on their day but could live without?

Can you help couples find other suppliers?

Yes! One of my favourite things as a planner is matching couples to suppliers. I think it is important to have the right people involved on the day, especially if the couple are eloping just the two of them; their suppliers are essentially their family and friends for the day. Being comfortable and relaxed with who you are spending time with is essential.

I offer packages to help couples find their perfect suppliers, Wild Souls, The Dreamers, The Romantic Adventurers and bespoke. Within these packages are the people who are needed to create a fantastic day and everyone who is recommended to my couples, I make sure compliments their personalities and style, so it is a perfect fit.

Do you help couples with styling and design?

Absolutely! I adore getting creative, and having a background in fashion design and styling, it means I have so many ideas to create not just a well thought out itinerary but an aesthetically beautiful experience too.  

Can you help couples with the legal arrangements?

Yes! This is one area I get asked to help with the most, especially international couples. I am with my couples every step of the way and their celebrants to make sure the process is as easy as possible.

Do you attend the elopement and what can you help with on the day?

There hasn’t been an elopement that I’ve planned, where I haven’t attended the day. Through the process of planning with a couple, I really get to know them, and by the time the elopement day comes round, they are like close friends! I usually double up as a witness too – which is such an honour! Otherwise, on the day, I will be their go-to if they need anything, from getting food and drink to holding the brides dress from getting too dirty while walking or holding jackets and bags while the couple is having their photos taken. Before covid – I would also drive the couple to and from their ceremony location too. I am literally there to be a helping hand and to make everything as easy as possible! I absolutely love travelling and exploring too, so it’s always a win for me to get to see as much of Scotland as possible!

Of course, if a couple doesn’t require me to be there on the day (they have friends or family members as witnesses), then I will be by the phone all day in case anything crops up and they need some assistance.

What are your favourite Scottish elopement locations?

Although they are extremely popular – Glencoe and Isle of Skye will always hold a special place in my heart. No matter how many times I go, I am in awe of the natural beauty and dramatic landscapes. I also love the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond, Edinburgh, Torridon…okay, I can’t choose! I feel so lucky to live in a country where it is beautiful EVERYWHERE.

Why is Scotland such a great destination to elope?

Scotland is a stunning country, and I don’t know anywhere that isn’t beautiful within it. It’s a country that has something for everyone – amazing cities, dramatic mountains, beautiful lochs and forests. Also, not to forget the history, the people and the traditions which are all wonderful, it really adds to a romantic, adventurous atmosphere.

Can you tell us about your own wedding?

I had a very small family wedding (15 of us) in 2016, and this is where I fell in love with intimate weddings, which then went to lead to becoming a Scottish elopement planner. My husband and I got married in the local registry office then went back to my husband’s family home for all of our favourite food and drink – mini burgers, pizza, cakes (an amazing Nutella cake). We then had our first dance in the garden and just spent time with our family, and it was really beautiful. At the time, it was perfect for us, but now that I am deep in the elopement world, I perhaps would have done things a little differently. Vow renewal? I definitely think so!

Ella Mai – photo by Hayley Palmquist Photography

We can’t recommend investing in a Scottish elopement planner like Ella enough. It is an investment that will pay dividends because she’ll save you time by connecting you directly to suppliers and help you achieve your perfect vision of your elopement.

To get in touch with Ella Mai and learn more about her work check out her website at the link here

We’re Oli and Steph Photography, Scotland based elopement photographers. We’re passionate about intimate elopements in the outdoors, and we love photographing meaningful love stories. Our purpose in life is to take couples out into the stunning Scottish landscape and make them feel comfortable and their best in front of the camera. 

If you are looking for photographers who will create your perfect, relaxed and dreamy elopement day, click here to get in touch with us.


  1. Raini Rowell

    So lovely to hear more from planners about the role they can play for a dreamy Scotland elopement! This is a great insight for couples who want that hands-on planning (plus Ella is fantastic!).

  2. Elissa Deline

    GORGEOUS images! So artful and packed with emotion (my soft spot). Such an informative post, puts one at ease right away. <3

  3. Amy Isacson

    What incredibly gorgeous work and a super helpful resource for couples considering a Scottish elopement! Love love love your work! BRAVO!

  4. Christie Abascal

    ***Books a trip to Scotland as soon as COVID is over***

    In all seriousness, this was so informative and helpful when thinking of elopement planning and how couples can proceed. You really explain what their day can look like and how you can help. Also, Scotland looks like a total dreamland!

    • OliSteph

      Thanks Christie, Ella gave such a great interview. We’re so glad you found value in this.

  5. Sabrina Kaye

    Okay you convinced me to elope in Scotland!! Amazing tips and gorgeous photos!!

    • OliSteph

      Ah thanks so much Sabrina. Let us know when you want to chat more about your elopement 🙂

  6. Leah

    What a dream! Now I’ve got to divorce my partner and remarry him so we can elope in Scotland.

    • OliSteph

      Haha, well, we’d love to help you explore Scotland, but you should come for an anniversary celebration instead!

  7. Lauren Han

    so much incredible information and okayyyy I’m eloping in Scotland, my boyfriend can come if he wants lol!

    • OliSteph

      Haha – Yay, can we come too?

  8. Emily

    Great information about elopements! So well written!

    • OliSteph

      Thank you so much Emily, Ella is awesome isn’t she.

  9. Alex

    (((immediately looks at google flights for plane tickets to Scotland))) This is such a helpful comprehensive guide!

    • OliSteph

      We’ll meet you at the airport! 😉 Thanks so much and we’re glad you found it useful.

      • OliSteph

        Thank you Carolina! So kind of you to comment.


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