Bonnie Scotland is another European destination that has long been a popular choice for couples wanting to get married abroad. Apart from being wildly romantic, one of the main reasons that couples from around the world choose to wed in Scotland is that it is possible to return home with a legal wedding certificate. There is no residency requirement and although you can’t just turn up and get married spontaneously, it is relatively straight forward to plan from abroad. It is also possible to have an outdoor ceremony and we will tell you more about that further on. Before we get into the nitty gritty, here are some quick facts on having a legal wedding in Scotland.

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✈ There is no residency requirement but one half of the couple must meet the registrar at least one day before the wedding.

✈ Both civil and religious ceremonies can be organised.

✈ Legal Age Requirement is 16 without parental consent but couples need to ensure that the marriage will be recognised in their country of residence if one of the couple is under 18.

✈ Same sex marriages are not legally recognised as of July 2013 but laws are being progressed in the UK.

✈ Both parties to a proposed marriage are required to submit marriage notice forms to the registrar of the district in which the marriage is to take place to inform them of their intention to marry. This applies to both civil and religious wedding ceremonies.

✈ The minimum age requirement in Scotland is 16 which is below the usual age of 18. Although most countries will recongise a marriage in Scotland where either the bride, groom or both are 16, it is certainly best to check with your domicile beforehand.


A civil marriage must take place in a registration office or in one of Scotland’s many pre-approved locations and must be solemnised by a registrar or an assistant registrar who has been authorised by the Registrar General to do so. It is also possible for a couple to apply for approval of an alternative location in Scotland, be that a family home or a particular hotel. These requests are treated on a case by case basis.


To have a religious wedding in Scotland, you must be able to meet both the religious marriage requirements of your chosen faith including all documentation and procedures, and the civil marriage requirements in Scotland. However, most church weddings in a number of religions have full legal recognition in Scotland so there will be no need to have two separate ceremonies.

Religious ceremonies can be performed at any time and anywhere in Scotland but before you get excited, it’s only if the religion allows it and you can get an authorised religious celebrant to officiate it! Put it this way, it is unlikely you are going to find a Catholic church and priest that will officiate your wedding on the shores of Loch Ness. A religious ceremony may only be solemnised by a priest, minister, pastor or any other person entitled to do so under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977.

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As with most other European Countries, documentation must be accompanied by their translations, in this case English and their Apostille Stamps.

1 ✈ Valid Passport

2 ✈ Long form Birth Certificates for both parties of the marriage

3 ✈ Original and final divorce decree, decree of nullity accompanied by a court letter stating that no appeal has been lodged, civil partnership dissolutions or spouse’s death certificate accompanied by the previous marriage certificate if appropriate

4 ✈ Certificate of no Impediment issued by the appropriate authorities in your domicile

5 ✈ Appropriate Visa

6 ✈ Both parties to the marriage should complete and sign a Notice of Marriage, using form M10 which can be downloaded here

7 ✈ Two Witnesses over the age of 18 and their Witness Forms


The marriage notice form is the M10 form as in point 6 above. This form needs to be completed by both parties to the marriage and sent to the local registrar for the district in which your wedding is to take place. A list of registrars can be found here.  Notice must be given no earlier than 3 months before the wedding date and no later than 15 days before it. It is recommended that those who have been previously married and divorced / widowed or similar give 6 weeks notice to ensure that enough time is given to the register to satisfy them that that person is free to marry.

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Once a couple has given their notice to marry, a document called a marriage schedule will be issued. This document is essentially the marriage license and will only be issued when the registrar is satisfied that there is no impediment to the marriage, so really, no wedding can proceed without it. For couples marrying in a civil ceremony, it is unlikely that they will need to obtain the marriage schedule prior to the wedding as the registrar will already have it and can simply produce it on the day of the marriage. For couples having a religious ceremony, one of the couple will need to collect the marriage schedule between 1 and 7 days prior to the wedding so that it can be given to the officient celebrating the religious ceremony.

Immediately after the wedding, the marriage schedule must be signed by the couple, their witnesses and the officiant. For civil weddings, the registrar take responsibility for returning it to the registrars office but for religious ceremonies, the couple must ensure that it is received at the registrars office no later than three days after the wedding. Once the marriage has been registered, copies of the marriage certificate will be available on payment of the appropriate fee.

If you would like some more inspiration to help you plan the perfect wedding in Scotland, check out these wonderful Scottish Wedding Traditions and some of our favourite wedding venues in Scotland and happy planning!

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