When Reid and I were planning a trip to Scotland this past autumn, we knew that visiting the country and not doing a photoshoot would be unthinkable. The UK is very dear to us (we were married there two years ago) and we love traveling around there with our cameras. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized we wanted to photograph more than just a pretty girl in a dress and a handsome guy in a suit. We wanted the authentic emotion and heartfelt meaning you can only get with two people who are truly in love.
We became inspired by the idea of eloping in Scotland, which is a long-standing tradition in the UK. In the 18th century when marriage laws were extremely strict in England and Wales, couples used to elope to Scotland, particularly in the little village of Gretna Green (which is just over the border from England). Couples could be married in Scotland simply by declaring their love in front of witnesses. Eloping in Scotland still remains quite uncomplicated.
This idea led us to post on Instagram asking if there were any couples in Scotland who would be interested in having their photos taken. I was delighted when we got an email from Samantha, who wrote that she is in a long-distance engagement with Niall, her Scottish fiancé. She thought this would be a wonderful excuse to fly over from Colorado to see him. They had originally wanted to get married in Scotland this summer, and although that plan didn’t work out, they still dreamt of taking photos in the country where their love story began.
We met up with Samantha and Niall on a gloriously sunny day in early November. The talented Anne Marie McElroy and Julie DiPlacito styled Samantha’s hair and makeup, keeping it natural and effortless. Then Samantha slipped into a beautiful vintage wedding dress and Niall dressed in his bespoke kilt and tweed jacket. Soon after, the four of us piled into Niall’s car and took off on our adventure, having faith we’d stumble upon the perfect location. And we did. The autumn colors were in full force as we discovered scenes that were more beautiful than I’d even imagined. We encountered crystal clear lochs and golden hills bathed in the most lustrous light. Complementing the natural beauty of the scenery, the brilliant Diana of Myrtle & Bracken created a stunning bouquet for Samantha and a dapper boutonniere for Niall. At one point during the day, Samantha & Niall seriously considered actually eloping and having these be their real wedding photos. Even though they didn’t officially elope, Samantha and Niall still expressed to us how special the photos were to them.
We hope this shoot inspires couples considering eloping in Scotland. You don’t need heaps of details or an expensive venue. Those things can be beautiful, but the most important part of your wedding day will always be the commitment you and your sweetheart make to each other. Let your love be the focus. And when you set that love against the backdrop of the unrivaled Scottish scenery, it really doesn’t get any more romantic than that.
This Scotland elopement inspiration was recently featured on Wedding Sparrow