What Does a Wedding in Scotland Cost?

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Images by Morgan and Rose

As with any location, the costs of a wedding in Scotland vary enormously depending on what you actually choose for your big day.  The location, the number of guests and the time of year will all play a big role in determining the budget, but overall Scotland offers outstanding value for money in comparison to other wedding destinations.

The initial planning phase can be one of the most important, and it’s vital that you create a working budget of estimated costs before you book anything to be sure you are spending your budget in the right way.

While we can’t tell you exactly what things will cost without knowing what you’ve chosen for your wedding, we can give you an idea of what to expect as well as how to make the most of your budget.

Ceremony

In Scotland, you can choose from a variety of ceremony options.  The lowest cost option is to be married by the local registrar and the most expensive choice is a Humanist ceremony.

Costs:  £125 – £550

The Paperwork

If you’re not an EEC passport holder, then you’ll need a visa to get married in Scotland.  Along with your visa, you need a marriage licence too.  Both can be applied for quickly and easily.

Costs:  £72 for the licence and £80+ per visa depending on the type of application

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Venue

One of the most wonderful things about getting married in Scotland is that you can do is absolutely anywhere, from a mountainside to a luxury castle.  That opens couples up to a world of possibility, but also to a huge range of costs so this is something we can’t easily estimate.  Just keep in mind that you can tailor the location to your budget, and some of the most beautiful spots to get married are completely free.  

Top tip: You can often reduce your venue charges by choosing a mid-week celebration, which works well for destination couples.  If you take a venue on an exclusive use basis, it is acceptable for you to charge your guests for their accommodation if you prefer to do so.

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Photography

Elopement photography in Scotland will start from around £600 for an excellent photographer, ranging all the way up to £2500 or more for larger weddings or a leading photographers.  A great way to find your dream Scottish wedding photographer is via Instagram.  Follow us at @weddingsbysarajane for links to all the best destination wedding photography.

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Printing

For a destination wedding in Scotland, you might choose to get your printing done at home.  If you do choose to have it all done locally, then costs would vary from £30 to £3000 depending on whether or not you choose something bespoke, as well as the design, quantities and details.

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Wedding Cake

A small wedding cake for 30 guests or less would start from £75, ranging all the way up to £2000 for a large cake with lots of bespoke detailing and hand sugar work.  Our average spend on a wedding cake would be between £250 and £450 and with a current trend for simple buttercream cakes decorated with fresh flowers, this budget can buy you a stunning and delicious cake from the best bakers in Scotland.

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Music & Entertainment

Entertainment is key at a Scottish wedding, from traditional bagpipers to fireworks or highland activities, you will find most wedding venues offer a range of things to do and the country is brimming with talented musicians.  As a guideline on what to expect to pay:

Scottish bagpiper                                                                          £250

 Harpist                                                                                           £300  – £500

 String Quartet                                                                               £650 upwards

 Live Ceilidh Band                                                                          £800 upwards

Live Party band                                                                              £1200 upwards

DJ                                                                                                       £300 upwards

Fireworks                                                                                         £950 upwards

Highland Games                                                                             £450 upwards

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Catering

This is the most difficult cost to predict.  Costs for venue, drinks and catering would start at about £40 per head for something quite simple at a standard venue, moving right up into the hundreds for a top venue with extensive catering services and fine wines and Champagnes.

  • The cost of venues varies widely. Many venues offer free venue hire in exchange for using their catering and accommodation services.  Other, more luxurious or exclusive use venues can have a high venue hire fee. 
  •  At some venues, furniture, linen and tableware can be included as standard, but other venues offer a blank canvas where you would need to hire in all these items. The costs vary widely depending on your brief.
  • Many venues offer in house catering services, where they provide all food, wine and service. In other venues you would need to bring this in.  Outside caterers in the UK usually include furniture, linens and tableware in their packages making it very cost effective.

It is standard at a Scottish wedding to serve:

  1. A welcome drink, or cocktails along with canapés at the post-event reception (or cocktail hour)
  2.  A three to five course wedding menu at the main meal, or for more casual weddings a buffet or barbeque.
  3.  Wines throughout dinner, along with Champagne or an alternative for the toasts.
  4.  An evening buffet of some sort.

It is not uncommon at Scottish weddings to have a cash bar during the evening.  However, for more formal weddings, or where there is a higher budget, it is of course possible to purchase fixed drinks packages to ensure all your guests’ drinks are paid for.  Most US couples prefer to have an open bar facility for their guests.

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Flowers

Flowers is one area where the sky is the limit in terms of what you can spend, but the average wedding floral budget would be around £800 – £2000 depending on the size of the wedding and the details.  For elopements, the cost of a beautiful bouquet and buttonhole would average at around £120.

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 Transport

It is traditional to arrange transport for the bride and the bridal party to and from the church to the reception venue.  However, if the wedding is taking place at the same venue as the reception there may be no need for this service.  If guests do not have accommodation on site, or if the ceremony is at a different location to the reception, it would be wise to provide a coach. There are also many other options for “fun” transport, from the hire of vintage cars, the horses and carriages or even a London Bus.  You can expect bridal cars to start from £250 and coach transport to start from around £150.

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 Hair & Makeup

Professional hair and makeup artists can be booked in Scotland to come to your accommodation and prepare you and your bridal party for the wedding.  The costs for this would range from £500 to £1500 dependent on the number of people and the level of experience of your hair and makeup artists.

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 Other Costs to consider

  • Insurance
  • Decor
  • Gifts
  • Lighting
  • Specialist entertainment
  • Hire or purchase of wedding party clothing
  • Travel & Accommodation
  • Other supporting activities for your guests

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Average Wedding costs

Costs will vary widely based on the selections you make for decor, venue, catering, entertainment etc.,  but as destination wedding planners, we can tell you that the average overall costs of a wedding in Scotland would be approximately:

Elopement or small wedding:  £3,000 – £15,000

Intimate wedding for 50 guests:   £12,000 – £25,000

Larger wedding for 100 guests:   £25, 000 – £100,000

This would generally include a 2 – 3 day wedding celebration for you and your guests to enjoy with all the elements you need for the perfect wedding; as well as all the additional wedding expenditures such as rings, dress and visas.

For a free budget analysis for your Scottish Destination Wedding, please get in touch with Weddings By Sara Jane at weddings@wbsj.co.uk.  We offer all potential couples a free consultation service, where we will listen to your plans for the wedding and provide you with an estimate of what you can expect your wedding to cost based on our decade of planning Scottish weddings.  From there, if you’d like to work with us, we can help you plan every detail of your dream wedding in Scotland.  For more information, visit us:

Scottish Destination Wedding Planning:  click here

Scottish Elopements: click here