In my recent blog post, 5 Reasons to Elope to Scotland in 2023, I discussed the major advantages of choosing an elopement over a traditional wedding. One of those reasons is cost, and when I say the potential for savings when choosing to elope rather than planning a traditional wedding is significant, it is by no means an exaggeration. Let’s begin with the cost breakdown for a traditional wedding…
Traditional Wedding Cost Breakdown
According to research conducted by Hitched which saw 2,457 couples surveyed about their 2022 wedding, the average UK traditional wedding cost was £18,400 ($22,300 USD / €20,700). The 10 key costs were broken down as follows:
- Venue hire – £8,400 ($10,200 USD / €9,500)
- Dress – £1,350 ($1,600 USD / €1,500)
- Photographer – £1,300 ($1,600 / €1,500)
- Videographer – £1,150 ($1,400 / €1,300)
- Entertainment – £1,050 ($1,400 / €1,300)
- Flowers – £1,050 ($1,400 / €1,300)
- Stationary – £300 ($250 / €280)
- Food – £70 per head ($85 / €80)
- Hair and makeup – £240 ($290 / €270)
Clearly, the most significant cost within a traditional wedding is the venue hire – a cost which has gone up 10% for Uk couples in the last year – which can be negated if choosing to elope outside as you are legally able to do so in Scotland.
For US-based couples choosing to elope to Scotland, the average cost for a traditional wedding in the US is even higher, with The Knot reporting an average cost of a traditional wedding was $28,000 (£23,100 / €26,000).
Scottish Elopement Cost Breakdown
As an elopement photographer who actually eloped in 2022, I have a fairly good idea at the cost breakdown for a Scottish elopement. The average total cost of eloping to Scotland is in the region of £6,900. The key costs, based on a couple eloping to the Scottish Highlands, are as follows:
- Humanist celebrant and legal costs – £510 ($620 / €580) – additional guide available here
- Accommodation – £1,000 ($1,200 / €1,100)
- Dress – £1,000 ($1,200 / €1,100)
- Photographer – £1,800 ($2,200 / €2,000)
- Videographer – £1,800 ($2,200 / €2,000)
- Flowers – £200 ($240 / €230)
- Food – £200 ($240 / €230)
- Hair and makeup – £60 ($70 / €70)
- Travel – Dependent on on where you are travelling from, but typically involves flights and car hire.
- Minimoon (optional!) – £300 ($360 / €340 – based on two extra nights in a pod in the Scottish Highlands)
One thing to remember if choosing to elope to Scotland from outside the UK is to factor in travel costs to Scotland. However, even when travel costs are considered, Scottish elopements are still incredible value of money compared to traditional weddings.
Understanding Your Priorities is Key
Key to preventing costs from spiralling out of control – particularly during the current economic crisis – is to decide as a couple where your priorities lay. Maybe you wish to accommodate 20 guests so that all of your loved ones can celebrate your marriage with you. Maybe you want to use the cost savings of eloping to Scotland to slash out on boutique accommodation for the duration of your stay. Or maybe, you decide to combine your trip to the Scottish Highlands – whether it be Glencoe, the Isle of Skye, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs or the Cairngorms – with a mini-moon in a cosy wooden pod to enjoy complete seclusion as a newly-married couple.
Understanding your priorities early is key to spending your budget in the right areas and ensuring you build the elopement experience of your dreams. If you do wish to invest in some key areas more than others, here are some ideas to keep costs down…
Money Saving Ideas
- Buy a high street dress – high street shops such as ASOS have a comprehensive bridal section, with beautiful dresses from as little as £100 ($120 / €110).
- Search Etsy for flowers – Etsy is the home of handmade products and the range of florals available at manageable costs is almost limitless.
- Do you own hair and makeup – although I highly recommend professional hair and makeup, this can be done yourself if comfortable doing so, and makes for some beautiful photos during the morning preparations.
- Stay in a wooden pod – there is a stunning choice of accommodation to be found throughout the Scottish Highlands, but if you would prefer to spend in other areas, cute wooden pods can be found for as little as £100 per night.
My overriding advice is to create an elopement budget and decide where you want to direct your investment. Although Scottish elopements are significantly cheaper than traditional weddings, it still represents a significant one-off cost and considering it is an occasion you only share together once, ensure you do not under-invest in the areas that are most important to you as a couple.
Ready to take your first step towards epic, cinematic elopement photography? Head on over to my contact page to check availability and receive a brochure.