Planning Your Scottish Highland Wedding: Tips and Inspiration from Dunalastair

The Scottish Highlands have attracted visitors to the region for decades. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert loved spending time here and purchased the iconic Balmoral Castle which was to become the royal family’s Highland residence.

The Highlands form an amazing backdrop for romantic getaways as well as breathtaking venues for one-of-a-kind weddings in sumptuously natural surroundings. One of which is Dunalastair Hotel Suites which is superbly located in one of the most inspiring regions perfectly suited for an extra special wedding venue Scotland.

The great thing about organising a Highland wedding which is unique to Scotland, is that you can choose to have your ceremony wherever you choose. It’s a great way to incorporate some delightful Highland traditions to make the event truly unique.

Below are some tips and a little inspiration to convince you that a Highland wedding promises to make your wedding day extra special in a delightful Scottish way.

The Highlands: Beautiful at any time of the year

The Scottish Highlands is beautiful no matter what the season with May to August being extra lush and warm, ideal for a wedding celebration.

That said, September is also a glorious month as the leaves turn to autumn hues which last all through October only dropping to the ground in November. It’s a time when Scottish landscapes take on a darker, richer tone.

From December onwards through to March, the Scottish Highlands become a winter wonderland.

A Highland Wedding: Traditions

wedding at Dunalastair hotel

Many couples and their guests travel to Scotland from far afield when tying the knot. Naturally Scottish wedding traditions are a huge attraction some of which we’ve listed here.

Traditional kilts and bagpipes

One tradition is for guests to be serenaded by bagpipes as they enter and leave a wedding ceremony. The couple are also piped into the dining area at which point all their wedding guests clap and stamp their feet to the piper’s music.

Naturally the pipers are traditionally dressed for the occasion and the groom and groomsmen wear their clan’s tartan with brides often wearing a tartan sash, shawl or bouquet of ribbons.

Taking a drink from the Quaich

Newlyweds take their first wedding toast from a two-handled loving cup known as the Quaich which is typically filled with Scottish whisky. It’s a tradition that symbolises the newlyweds’ trust in each other, so it’s important not to spill any when sharing the Quaich with a loved one.

Tying the Knot: Handfasting

A Scottish Highland wedding involves tying a couple’s hands together using a ribbon or a cloth. It’s a tradition that symbolises their devotion to one another. It’s where ‘taking each other’s hand in marriage’ and ‘tying the knot’ comes from.

The Different Types of wedding ceremony

There are two sorts of wedding ceremonies you can have in Scotland. These are:

  • A civil ceremony that takes place in a registration office or the registrar could agree to carry out the ceremony at a chosen location (except in religious premises)
  • A religious or belief ceremony which can take place anywhere of choice and officiated by a person approved to carry out the ceremony

What about Legal Requirements?

wedding venue scotland

Some criteria that must be met when tying the knot in Scotland which we’ve listed here:

  • Couples must be single, divorced, widowed or have a previously legally recognised partnership dissolved
  • Both must be over sixteen years of age
  • Not closely related
  • Both must understand the commitment a marriage involves

Same-Sex, Humanist, Civil and Religious marriages that take place in Scotland and are conducted by a ‘registered celebrant’ are recognised globally as ‘legal’ which is one of the reasons why Scotland is such a popular choice with people who choose to elope to tie the knot.

You must have two witnesses over the age of sixteen when you marry in Scotland whether you choose a civil, religious or belief ceremony.

Plus, a registrar must have your completed marriage notices within 29 days of the intended marriage ceremony and no later than that. However, it’s advisable to allow 10 – 12 weeks’ notice which allows you time to check the notices and documents to ensure nothing prevents the marriage from going ahead or being delayed.

Choosing the perfect location for a Highland wedding

wedding Venue Scotland

Naturally choosing the perfect location takes a bit of planning and research. Our 5-star luxury hotel makes for the perfect wedding venue Scotland location.

Dunalastair Hotel Suites provides comfort in a superb, unspoilt setting which makes the location the perfect backdrop for a Highland wedding celebration in true Scottish style. It’s the idyllic setting to tie the knot in a very special way.

With 32 luxurious suites and our dedicated planning, we promise to make your dream day come to life at our exclusive wedding venue Scotland location. Plus, there’s a church just next to our hotel if you’ve set your heart on having a church wedding.

Our wedding coordinator is here to plan and organise your wedding event with you to ensure that every little detail is incorporated into the day and evening celebrations.

Call us today on +44 (0)1882 580444 or contact a member of our friendly team by email at

We look forward to seeing you soon at our 5-star luxury hotel that makes for an idyllic wedding venue Scottish Highland location.