How To Elope In Wales – The Ultimate Guide

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Wales, with its enchanting landscapes and rich history, stands as the epitome of romance, making it the most captivating place to elope in the UK. Its rolling hills, dramatic coastlines, and picturesque castles create a fairy-tale setting for couples seeking intimate unions. The serene ambiance of Snowdonia National Park offers a tranquil backdrop, while ancient ruins like Tintern Abbey evoke a sense of timeless love. Welsh folklore and poetic traditions add to the mystique, celebrating love in every whispering breeze and blooming wildflower. Whether exchanging vows amidst the misty mountains or by the serene lakeshores, Wales paints love stories with the most enchanting strokes, making it an unparalleled choice for a romantic elopement.

Meet Your Local Experts in Wales

Dion & Ben

From Stone & Ivy

Hey we are the dynamic duo behind the lens, Dion and Ben! We’re the creative minds and hearts behind Stone and Ivy Photography, your go-to wedding and elopement photographers and filmmakers based right here in the stunning landscapes of South Wales. And if you’re in the mood to grab the popcorn and watch some wedding films, don’t forget to visit our YouTube channel: Stone and Ivy Photography on YouTube.

Why You Should Consider Wales For Your Elopement

The reasons to elope to Wales are endless, we truly believe it’s the perfect location. Here’s why; from misty forests to dramatic cliffside vistas, the possibilities are endless of places to tie the knot. The backgrounds are always breathtaking and it’s certainly a little sleepier than most of the UK, which results in a wonderfully intimate elopement. If you are like us, and by that I mean total outdoor enthusiasts,  Wales offers plenty of adventure. You can combine your elopement with a hike in Snowdonia National Park or explore the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast (one of our faves).

Double exposure photograph of Bride and groom standing on rocks on a beach in Wales for their elopement
Photo by Stone & Ivy

5 Reasons To Consider Wales For Your Elopement

  1. Tranquillity
    If you are hoping for a peaceful and private celebration, Wales has numerous hidden gems where you can exchange vows without the crowds and distractions of more popular wedding elopement destinations. It really is a sleepy country, blessed with outstanding backgrounds and very few people. 
  2. Cultural Richness
    One thing that is still very present in Wales, is culture and historical traditions. Immerse yourself in Welsh culture by incorporating traditional elements into your elopement, such as Celtic music or language. It’s definitely a unique and enriching experience.
  3. Castles
    Who doesn’t love castles? Even though we mention that the Pembrokeshire Coast is one of our favorites, it cannot be ignored that Wales boasts an impressive collection of castles, each with its unique charm and history. Incorporating a castle into your elopement can add a touch of timeless romance to your special day. How about exploring a historic castle with your loved one, before heading to one of the UK’s finest coastlines? Sounds perfect right? 
  4. Adventure
    For outdoor enthusiasts, Wales offers plenty of adventure. As we previously mentioned, you can combine your elopement with a hike in Snowdonia National Park if your heading to North Wales,  or if your looking at  South Wales, you can spend the day meandering the mountains trails of The Brecon Beacons, (Bannau Brycheiniog), conversely if your a coast lover, the opportunities are endless when exploring the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast.
  5. Breathtaking Photography & Film Opportunities
    It’s needless to say but choosing to elope anywhere in Wales, will provide you with the most amazing photographs &/or film to remember your special day. As photographers and filmmakers, we appreciate the diverse and visually striking locations Wales offers and we think you will too. Your elopement photographs are going to adorn your home forever more, so you want them to be perfect right? 
Bride and groom walk hand-in-hand across the beach on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales
Photo by Stone & Ivy

Planning Your Trip To Wales 

Travel In Wales

Being residents of this country for our entire lives and now photographers who have explored its many hidden gems, we can offer some valuable insights into the easiest ways to travel for your special day.

We would say the most convenient and flexible option is to hire a car. Wales is known for its scenic drives, and having your own vehicle allows you to explore off-the-beaten-path locations (you won’t want to miss this, that’s where the beauty is). Having a car provides the freedom to venture into remote areas, reach mountaintops, or visit secluded beaches for a truly intimate experience. The roads are super easy to drive on and there is fairly good Google Maps coverage, of course, the further you venture the less likely you are to have a signal, so please keep that in mind and always be prepared with food/water when you are exploring. That being said, Wales is a fairly small place, so even though it’s sparsely populated and it can feel like you have the entire place to yourselves, you’re never that far away from another human when in need of a petrol station to fill the tank. 

While Wales has an extensive network of buses and trains connecting major towns and cities, relying solely on public transportation can be less flexible for your elopement day. However, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly option or prefer not to drive, it’s still a viable choice. You can use trains to reach destinations like Cardiff, Swansea, or Bangor and then explore nearby areas using local buses or taxis but you will find that you miss out on all the hidden gems that the country has to offer. However, if you’re looking for a city elopement, this might be the perfect option! Just be sure to plan your schedule carefully to avoid any delays, the public transport is reliable here but like anywhere, there can always be unexpected delays

As for flying into Wales, If you’re flying into Wales for your elopement, Cardiff Airport is the main international gateway. It’s well-connected to major cities in the UK and some European destinations. From there, you can rent a car or use public transportation to reach your elopement location. Alternatively, Bristol Airport in England is also an option, and it’s relatively close to the Welsh border (within 45 minutes of the border, in fact). Flights into Bristol can be considerably cheaper than Cardiff, and it’s a much bigger airport that caters to more destinations. 

What’s The Best Time of Year To Elope in Wales?

All seasons! It’s just damn right beautiful all year round!

Spring in Wales

Spring in Wales is a magical time. The countryside bursts into life with vibrant greenery, blooming wildflowers, and blossoming trees. The weather tends to be mild, although rain is still common and by common we need, it can definitely rain a lot (this is Wales). However, don’t let that put you off, if you love the idea of a lush and colorful backdrop for your elopement photos and don’t mind a bit of rain, spring can be a beautiful choice. Personally, Spring is one of our favorite seasons in Wales!

Summer in Wales

Summer is the most popular time for outdoor weddings and elopements in Wales. The weather is generally warm, and daylight hours are long. This is the season when you can fully enjoy the stunning Welsh coastlines. However, keep in mind that summer is also the busiest tourist season, so popular spots may be crowded.

Autumn in Wales

Autumn in Wales is a breathtaking season. The landscape transforms into a tapestry of warm colors as the leaves change. If you appreciate the beauty of golden forests and quieter locations, consider an autumn elopement. There are some incredible hidden forests that dot the Pembrokeshire coastline which are magical in Autumn. The weather is generally pleasant, but be prepared for some rain, some locations may need wellies!

Winter in Wales

If you’re drawn to a more intimate and cozy elopement, winter can be a magical choice. Wales may experience snow in some areas, creating a picturesque setting but unfortunately, we don’t get much snow. Most of the time, the roads are more than accessible, so it shouldn’t be a concern for transport. The dramatic landscapes are still enchanting in their own way during this season. Just be prepared for shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures. The perks of a Winter elopement are the endless country pubs that boast big open fires, where you can sit, drink a warm beverage, and chat about all the memories you have just created.

Trip planning resources for your visit to Wales

Photo by Stone & Ivy

How to get married in Wales

So you’re thinking about Eloping to Wales, that’s FAB! and you’re super excited about learning more about how to make this dream a reality so keep reading to find out more. 

Legal Marriage Ceremonies in Wales

We are stoked to tell you that it is relatively straightforward, but that being said, there are certain legal requirements you’ll need to fulfill. Planning in advance and ensuring you have all the necessary paperwork in order will help make your elopement in Wales a smooth and memorable experience.

There are no residency requirements for getting married in Wales, which makes it accessible to couples from around the world. (Yay)

What paperwork do you need?

To legally elope in Wales you must submit a “Notice of Marriage” or “Notice of Civil Partnership” to the local register office. This notice is a legal declaration of your intent to marry or form a civil partnership in Wales. 

You’ll need to give notice at the local register office in the district where you plan to marry. 

How far in advance do you need to submit notice?

You can submit notice up to 12 months in advance of your elopement date, but it must be done at least 29 days before the wedding. 

What about witnesses?

You’ll need two witnesses to your marriage or civil partnership ceremony. These witnesses must be at least 16 years old and capable of understanding the ceremony. If you’re looking for an intimate elopement, with little to no guests, it’s good to keep in mind that as your potential photographer/s, we would also be able to be one or both of your witnesses. It would be an honor. That goes for any creative you may hire, as long as they meet the above requirements. 

LGBTQ+ Marriages in Wales

Can same-sex couples marry here? Is this a safe and welcoming area for them?

It’s with wide open arms, that we say heck yes! Wales offers a beautiful and inclusive backdrop for LGBTQ+ couples looking to celebrate their love and commitment through marriage. Wales has made significant progress in terms of LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in recent years. Major cities like Cardiff and Swansea are known for their diverse and inclusive communities, and you’ll find LGBTQ+-friendly businesses, venues, and events throughout the country.

There are lots of local LGBTQ+ organizations or communities within the wedding industry here if you have specific concerns or questions about your chosen elopement location. We would also be more than happy to help you plan your perfect elopement or point you in the right direction for a vendor outside of photography and filmmaking!

Top Welsh Elopement & Wedding Locations

How to avoid the crowds

Our top tips for avoiding the crowds are; 

  1. Choose Less Popular Locations
    It sounds obvious right but instead of opting for well-known tourist spots, consider more secluded and off-the-beaten-path locations. (We have LOTS of them). Wales is filled with hidden gems that offer stunning backdrops for your elopement without the crowds. 
  2. Weekdays and Off-Peak Seasons
    Following on from the previous point, consider eloping on a weekday, preferably during the off-peak seasons. Many tourists visit Wales during the summer months, so planning your elopement in the spring, autumn, or even winter can significantly reduce the number of people at your chosen location. As we have already mentioned above, the weather is pretty reliable and almost always mild throughout the year so don’t let the weather put you off. Off-peak season can be so magical.
  3. Sunrise or Sunset Ceremony
    This one is our fave tips! Holding your elopement ceremony during the early morning hours at sunrise or in the evening at sunset not only provides a romantic atmosphere but also tends to be less crowded. Most tourists are not at popular locations during these times, and you will more than likely get the entire place to yourself. Ben and I always venture out before 7 a.m. and then return home for breakfast when the crowds start to build, it’s the perfect way to see the country, even as locals. 
  4. Local Knowledge
    Hire a local vendor, or reach out for some advice. We hold a bag full of knowledge that can be invaluable for your perfect elopement experience. Tap into our expertise to discover hidden spots that are less known to the general public. These hidden locations can provide a unique and crowd-free elopement. 
  5. Look for venues that are more remote and offer exclusivity.
    This could be a private estate, a secluded beach, or a mountaintop that requires a bit of hiking to reach. These venues often come with fewer onlookers and a more intimate setting.
An elopement in Wales
Photo by Stone & Ivy

3 Top Elopement Locations in Wales

Snowdonia National Park

The vastness of Snowdonia National Park allows for a sense of intimacy that can be challenging to find in more crowded destinations. The park and its surrounding areas offer a variety of cozy and romantic accommodations, including charming cottages, boutique hotels, and luxury lodges to head back to after tying the knot. We can’t possibly talk about Snowdonia, without a mention of Mount Snowdon,  the highest peak in Wales and England, Mount Snowdon offers a dramatic and awe-inspiring setting for your elopement. The panoramic views from the summit are unparalleled, making it a dream location for couples seeking a unique and adventurous experience. Snowdonia really is a dream elopement location, couples from all around the world head to this gem all year round. It is important to mention though that Snowdonia is one of the busiest tourist destinations in Wales, so please keep this in mind when planning, that’s not to say that you can’t find intimate private gems but it may take a little more searching. Psst, that’s where tapping into local knowledge will shine! 

Brecon Beacons National Park

Are you looking for a ‘sleepier’ National Park? Check this one out. The Brecon Beacons also known as Bannau Brycheiniog can be found in South Wales. The Brecon Beacons National Park offers a diverse range of landscapes, from rolling hills and meadows to rugged mountains and picturesque waterfalls. It’s diverse, that’s for sure! Also, The Brecon Beacons has been designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve, making it one of the best places in the UK for stargazing. Did someone say nighttime elopement under the stars? That would be so romantic!

The Brecon Beacons are home to “Waterfall Country,” a stunning area with a high concentration of waterfalls. Imagine exchanging vows beside a cascading waterfall, surrounded by the sound of rushing water. Yes please! 

Another win, The Brecon Beacons are relatively accessible, with good road connections and nearby train stations. 

Pembrokeshire Coastline 

Ok, so we have covered mountains, we have touched upon meadows and international dark sky reserves but what else is Wales known for? Enchanting Coastline of course!

The rugged cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and pristine waters provide a captivating backdrop. Pembrokeshire is home to many hidden and less-visited beaches. Choosing one of these tranquil locations for your elopement ensures privacy and intimacy, allowing you to celebrate your love in seclusion. Also, the coastline is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. You might spot seals, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds. How awesome, right? We had the pleasure of watching Dolphins with one of our couples once, on the Pembrokeshire coastline and honestly, it was the highlight of their trip!

It goes without saying that we have to mention the charming and cozy coastal villages in Pembrokeshire, such as Tenby and St. Davids, providing cozy and romantic accommodations for your stay. St. Davids is definitely worth the visit! 

Amazing Wedding Venues in Wales for intimate weddings

Here are a few of our favorites; 

Mwnt, Cardigan

This 14th-century church offers an intimate and romantic setting, with its simple but perfect architecture and it sits on the edge of one of the most picturesque beaches in Wales.  

Nantwen, Pembrokeshire

A rustic wedding venue and honeymoon cottage in rural Pembrokeshire

Fforest, Cardigan

Fforest is an eco-friendly retreat that offers a variety of intimate wedding options, from rustic barns to outdoor spaces. 

Penarth Fawr Medieval Hall, Anglesey

If you’re looking for a historic and intimate venue, Penarth Fawr is a beautifully preserved medieval hall with stunning period features.

How much does it cost to get married in Wales?

The cost of getting married in Wales, as in many other locations, can vary significantly depending on your preferences and the size of your wedding. Large weddings in Wales can be quite expensive, with costs adding up for venues, catering, decor, and more. However, opting for a smaller, more intimate wedding can offer a much more personal experience at a fraction of the cost. A smaller, intimate wedding allows you to focus on what truly matters – your love and commitment to each other – without the stress of managing a large guest list.

Welsh Luxury Elopement Costs

  • Luxury venues in Wales, such as castles, historic estates, and upscale hotels, can range from £3,000 to £15,000 or more for exclusive use, depending on the location and level of luxury.
  • Luxury wedding photographers and videographers may charge between £3,000 to £6,000 or more, depending on the package, coverage, and additional services.
  • Large, lavish floral arrangements and decor can range from £1,000 to £5,000 or higher, depending on your design preferences and the size of your venue.
  • Luxury accommodations for you, your partner, and any guests can vary widely, from boutique hotels to private cottages. Prices can range from £200 to £800 or more per night per room.

Of course like anything in life, you can go as wild as you like. If you want to include unique experiences like helicopter rides, spa treatments, or private tours, these can add to the overall cost.

That’s only a small number of things you will have to budget for, but we would estimate that in total, a luxury elopement in Wales can range from £15,000 to £50,000 or more, depending on your choices and preferences. 

Welsh Affordable Elopement Costs

The average cost of a mid-range elopement in Wales could cost between £5,000 – £15,000, once again depending on your preferences. 

  • If you’re hoping to elope in a countryside inn, a small hotel, a quaint church or a woodland/garden setting the venue could costs between – £1,000 – £3,000
  • Wedding Photographers and Videographers range in price depending on their expertise, package coverage and additional services but you could hire from anywhere between £1000 – £3000, the average cost being £2,500 for full day coverage. Always chat with your photographer/videographer about your expectations and needs for the coverage, most will work with you to produce a custom package. 
  • Flowers and decor – This budget varies depending on your preferences however, you could get a great florist from £600 upwards. 
  • Accommodation ranges, but you can find some lovely quaint rooms, cottages etc for between £100 – £300 per night.

It’s safe to say that there are options for all budgets in Wales. Please keep in mind that these figures are all approximate averages, and actual costs can vary based on your preferences and location within Wales. It’s essential to create a detailed budget tailored to your specific elopement plans and chat with your vendors to create the perfect plan for your budget. 

Photo by Stone & Ivy

Biggest Elopement Planning Mistakes Couples Make in Wales?

Explain some of the common mistakes that you see couples making when they are unfamiliar with the area

  1. One of the biggest mistakes we see is couples underestimating the importance of a site visit. If possible, visiting your chosen elopement location in advance can help you get a better sense of the area and any logistical challenges. This will ensure that you avoid any surprises on the actual day and everything will run smoothly! Whenever possible, consider a pre-elopement trip to scout locations and meet with vendors. Who needs a reason for a holiday to Wales, right? Take any opportunity you get, it will make all the difference on the day, we promise.
  1.  Of course, this is totally optional, but we often see couples ignoring the rich culture that Wales has to offer. Wales has a rich cultural heritage, and couples may overlook opportunities to incorporate local customs, traditions, or elements into their elopement. Sometimes, engaging with the local culture can add depth and uniqueness to your celebration.
  1. So, Wales is known as ‘Wet and Windy Wales’ for two reasons, because it is often wet and can most definitely be windy. Plan for weather changes and embrace the climate that we have. Couples who don’t account for weather variations can be caught off guard, especially if they plan an entirely outdoor elopement but don’t want to get caught in a shower. Always have a backup plan or be prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment for varying weather conditions.

What is the benefit of working with local vendors in Wales?

So it’s probably safe to assume that you are choosing to elope for several reasons, but some of the most poignant ones being to avoid the pressure that usually comes with planning a big wedding and the opportunity to be present on your special day. We couldn’t agree more, these are why most couples elope and it’s honestly one of the best decisions you could make. Of course, big weddings are beautiful too but elopements are just the bee’s knees, in our opinion. One thing that can ensure you have the perfect, stress-free elopement you’re dreaming of is choosing to work with local vendors, as this decision brings with it a host of advantages.

Their local expertise opens doors to hidden gems that you may never have seen or heard of, optimal weather insights, this may be super helpful because your vendor can guide you in the right direction with location choices and time of day depending on the seasons/weather, and you will also have access to unique cultural elements. They can recommend other trusted vendors and navigate the permit and regulatory landscapes which can be a little tricky at times. Their personalized guidance will ensure a seamless and memorable elopement, providing peace of mind and allowing you to fully embrace the beauty of your chosen destination.

This Post Was Written By

Name: Dion & Ben
Business Name: Stone and Ivy Photography
Based in: Wales
Services offered: Photography and Videography 
Website: https://stoneandivyphotography.co.uk/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stoneandivy.photo/

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