Why elope to Snowdonia?
Dreaming about running away to get married instead of having a traditional wedding? You’d like some epic scenery and possibly some dramatic Scottish’esque weather for your Destination UK Elopement? But you’d prefer things to be a little more charmingly rustic & low impact? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Snowdonia is one of the last true remaining wildernesses in the UK. Which makes it the perfect location for a once in a lifetime elopement wedding experience! As Snowdonia’s top wedding & elopement photographer I know the area like the back of my hand! I have put together the ultimate Snowdonia Elopement guide to tell you everything you need to know about eloping to beautiful Snowdonia!
Does your idea of wedding heaven involve exploring the great outdoors? Maybe you’ve just bought that nice house that you’ve been dreaming of for forever. And now you don’t want to splash your hard-earned cash on a somewhat wasteful wedding that is more about pleasing others than giving YOU all the feels? Eloping might be the way forward for you!
In fact, couples now elope for a whole lot of different reasons (another pandemic, anyone!?). Many of them are turning their back on the traditional wedding by planning a mini adventure they will treasure forever instead. In England & Wales, you cannot get legally married unless you’re in a licensed wedding venue. But that’s set to change in the not too distant future. So don’t let that stop you! Your Snowdonia Elopement can be exactly what you’ve always dreamt of! I’m happy to share a few of the things you can do to help you turn your dream into reality! Here’s the ultimate Snowdonia Elopement guide!
5 good reasons why you should elope to Snowdonia
1. You want a mini adventure!
The beautiful Snowdonia National Park offers so many epic spots and real hidden gems away from the more popular and often crowded tourist hotspots like Snowdon & Cwm Idwal. Having spent many happy hours exploring well hidden and utterly charming mountain ranges and deserted glacier lakes in Snowdonia with our dogs – I’ll happily guide you to some of my absolute favourite Snowdonia locations for a once in a lifetime elopement adventure in Wales!
2. You don’t care about the weather
Admittedly, our weather can be a little bit, urm….let’s call it *unpredictable*. It’s not unusual to experience all 4 seasons in one single day. Rather than letting that put you off though – embrace it! Makes for great memories you can laugh about for years to come while reminiscing about how frigging frozen your legs were during that wind chill before the sun came and gently tickled your face.
3. You want epic scenery
Snowdonia’s scenery is mind-blowingly insane! Charmingly rugged, the wild romance of one of the UK’s last remaining true wildernesses will blow your socks off. And even though it’s currently not legal to get married anywhere you like – you can totally embrace a simple, meaningful & mindful ceremony at a local registry office! Then all you need to do is pick a stunningly remote spot for quality time, just the two of you – how utterly romantic!! Beautiful beaches, remote glacier lakes, – I guarantee Snowdonia has a backdrop that will tick all your boxes!!
4. You want a mindful & stress-free wedding experience in Wales
Planning a big wedding can easily take between 7-12 months and set you back anything between £15k – £32k. Eloping to Snowdonia would enable you to concentrate on just the two of you on your wedding day. And to do things your way. No need to feel anxious about having to be the center of attention! Bring only your nearest and dearest to your humble ceremony then spend the rest of the day doing fun things. Or, prepare a hamper for a romantic picnic for just the two of you by a fast-flowing river. Leave nothing but footprints behind. Curious but not sure how this would work for you? Send me an enquiry! I’ve helped quite a few adventurous couples find their perfect location! I’m super passionate about all things elopements in Snowdonia – can’t wait to help you plan yours!
5. You just want a wedding or elopement for two in the UK
Book a romantic lodge or cottage for your elopement weekend in Snowdonia! Enjoy a glass of champers in the outdoor hot tub on your first night looking at nothing but your lover, the stars, and the moon. Share some caviar on toast & get dressed together in the morning. Then start your elopement day in Snowdonia with a scenic hike. Head to the local registry office together. Then enjoy your first day legally married in some of the finest scenery the UK has to offer. What could be more romantic!
The Ultimate Snowdonia Elopement Guide
Wedding ceremonies in Wales
If you want to get legally married in Wales but don’t want to fork out for a venue – you need to head to the registry office first. There seems to be this misconception that ceremonies can only be beautiful and romantic if you wear a designer dress & book a stunning wedding venue. But having witnessed my fair share of registry office ceremonies, let me assure you – they are just as romantic and tear-inducing as any other ceremony I’ve had the pleasure to witness! If not more – purely for the simplicity of it all!! Plus, OF COURSE, you could totally glam up a registry office just by wearing a fancy elopement wedding dress if you want to ;)
Keen to add more personal elements to your ceremony? Do the legal bit first, then head to your chosen spot and involve your friends & families in the ceremony of your dreams! Write some personal vows then read them to one another. Or add handfasting to literally *tie the knot*. Be as relaxed as you like – there are NO rules when it comes to getting married or eloping in Snowdonia. So anything goes – invite your friends and families to join you or have your dream day, just the two of you. Do what you like!
Legalities & paperwork
Anyone can get married or elope to Wales, as long as you’re 16 or over and not already married. If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to apply for a visa from the 1st January 2021 (thanks, Brexit…..). So check with your chosen registry office first to be absolutely sure you’ve got the right paperwork. You need to ‘give notice’ at least 29 days before your ceremony – this probably sounds way more complicated than it actually is. You’ll simply sign a legal statement at your chosen register office stating your intent to marry or form a civil partnership. Then you must hold your ceremony within 12 months of ‘giving notice’ or you’ll have to repeat the process.
How much does it cost to give notice?
The cost of giving notice is £35 per person (or slightly more if you’re not a UK citizen). You’ll also need to pay for a registrar to conduct your ceremony (£46) and you need to bring 2 witnesses. I’d be happy & honoured if you wanted to involve me in your ceremony to tick this off your elopement planning list. Check the official Gov.uk website for what documents you need to bring to give notice. Just imagine this: if you wanted to plan an epic elopement in Snowdonia but not wait super long – you could theoretically pull off a dreamy elopement in Wales in just 29 days. Exciting!
Quite a bit of semi-boring info to digest but it’ll be totally worth it, I promise. Just to look this happy on your epic wedding or elopement day in Snowdonia!
If you are considering eloping to Snowdonia but you still aren’t sure what to expect – check out these real Snowdonia Elopements:
- Paige & Carly’s romantic lesbian Snowdonia elopement,
- Steffan & Becki’s meaningful elopement by a fast-flowing river,
- Alice & Andrew’s beautiful Snowdonia Elopement,
- Ian & Magda’s from town to the mountains elopement and
- Vicki & Stephen’s elopement style wedding at Llandudno.
Snowdonia Elopement Planning Guide
Snowdonia Elopement Budget.
Obviously, your Snowdonia Elopement is going to cost far less than a full wedding day. But it makes sense for you both to maybe sit down together and agree on what you want to spend your money on. I don’t recommend doing this over a bottle of wine! If personal experience has taught me anything it’s that things usually turn out way more expensive if there’s wine involved… Snowdonia is pretty easy to reach from most parts of the UK. Compared to an elopement in Scotland or Iceland, the good news is: it’s probably going to be a bit cheaper with less travel time involved.
Snowdonia. Getting Here.
The closest airports are Manchester and Liverpool where you can hire a car and then drive to Snowdonia. Depending on where you stay, the journey should take just over 1.5 hours. If you’re coming from abroad – remember we drive on the right-hand side of the road. Direct train services take you to the popular coastal destinations in North Wales from most parts of Britain. From there you can take inland connections via the Conwy Valley Line which runs through the Snowdonia National Park to Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. The easiest way to get here is probably by road via the M1, the M6 and then onto the A5. From London, Snowdonia is only 3.5 hours away by car.
Where to stay for your elopement in Snowdonia.
For a country as small as Wales – we have some pretty awesome & super romantic love shacks for you to stay in! Cosy little cottages with outdoor hot tubs – perfect for weekend elopement celebrations in Snowdonia! Or remind yourselves of holidays spent in Wales as a kid on adventurous camping trips. For epic movie vibes book a stay at the campsite of Llyn Gwynant. It’s where Hollywood icon Angelina Jolie filmed Lara Croft Tomb Raider. And don’t forget to put wild swimming in a glacier lake on your dream elopement in Snowdonia bucket list. Rawer than the Lake District, staying in Snowdonia usually involves cosy wooden lodges, adventurous camping or clamping sites and self-catering accommodation. Roaring log fires in autumn and winter and glorious sunsets in mountain and 60km of beautiful coastlines in spring & summer.
What food can I expect to eat in Wales?
Organic Welsh Lamb and Welsh ale are served generously and melt-in-the-mouth Wagyu beef from Snowdonia should definitely be on your culinary wishlist. Pick mussels fresh from Newborough Beach. Or buy them sustainably hand-raked from on a pier in Conwy and cook a romantic dinner for two on your elopement day. Because the way to a lover’s heart is through their stomach, right?! Find your accommodation on Air BnB. And don’t forget to learn a few basic Welsh words such as Bore Da (Good Morning, pronounced bor-er dah), Diolch (Thank You, pronounced di-olk) and Iechyd da (Cheers, pronounced Yah-key-Dah) to impress the locals!
When and where to have your Snowdonia wedding and elopement ceremony.
When is the best time to elope to Snowdonia?
Try and avoid summer school holidays when things can get a little busy in Wales. As tempting as getting married on a super sunny day in the mountains sound – you’re probably better off getting married in the quieter autumn & winter months with fewer tourists around. May & October would be my personal favourites but then to be honest – any day is perfect for an elopement in Snowdonia!!
Other things to consider for your Snowdonia Elopement Planning
You’ll definitely need 2 witnesses. Bring a couple of friends with you or family members. I’m always happy and honoured to be asked to be a witness but as I’m shooting solo we’d have to find one more. I have shot an elopement in Gretna Green before where the bride & groom asked a random couple on the street to help them out. It was really fun and totally doable so don’t let the *no witnesses* scenario stop you from booking an elopement in Snowdonia!
Should I hire a photographer for my elopement wedding?
Absolutely! You don’t want to miss a single frigging thing of your epic Snowdonia Elopement day! Which is why you should most definitely invest in a Snowdonia Elopement Photographer (yup. that’s me! :)) As for other suppliers, I’m happy to recommend other local gems, from florists to hair + makeup. I’d say let’s keep the footprint pretty low though and use locals only. After the year we’ve had it makes sense to keep everything nice and local, right!?
What to wear on your Welsh Elopement Day
Check the forecast. What is the weather usually like around the time you’ve chosen for your elopement? It’s always a good thing to cater to both dry AND wet days, just in case…. You don’t want to end up soaked through 2 minutes into your dream Welsh elopement! It’s never a bad thing to keep spare, warm & dry clothes and shoes in the car or in your backpack. If you feel more secure knowing you have some brollies to keep dry under – opt for transparent dome-shaped ones rather than plain black ones. The darker ones can cast a shadow or hide your beautiful faces fully and we want to make sure we capture ALL the emotions!
If your chosen spot calls for a bit of hike – let’s make sure you’re wearing sensible boots! They should support your ankles, have sufficient grip, and keep you safe. Nobody wants to unnecessarily call out Mountain Rescue – least of all a team member’s wife…. And if you really want a few shots in your fancy footwear – just put them in your backpack and let’s put them on for a couple of photographs on location before walking back in your walking boots. Happy days!
Head on over to my post on how to pick an elopement wedding dress that’s perfect for you to read more of my thoughts on this subject. At the end of the day – this is your day so it’s really entirely up to you what you want to wear! Just bear in mind that your dress is guaranteed to get a little muddy when you elope to Snowonia…. Dry cleaners these days are awesome though and there’s not many things they can’t clean so nothing to worry about, right?
Things to do after your elopement or on honeymoon
Definitely make the most of your stay in beautiful Snowdonia! You may well end up wet & windswept. You may find yourselves on a busy Snowdon in the middle of summer. Or you may discover some talented artists and their creative art studios in Autumn. You may enjoy outdoor adrenaline-fuelled adventures on our lakes, mountains, and beaches. Or you may just get up at the crack of dawn to take in the most spectacular sunrises at peaceful glacier lakes that make your heart full. Whatever you do – I promise you’ll love it as much as your Snowdonia Elopement so make the most of it!
For more inspo, head on over to my post about the 15 best things to do in Snowdonia after your elopement or on your honeymoon.
So there we have it – the ultimate Snowdonia Elopement guide by your top Snowdonia Wedding & Elopement Photographer. And to me, love is love which is why I’m all-inclusive and a gay, lesbian & same-sex friendly UK Wedding & Elopement Photographer. If there’s anything else you need to go before you get planning your very own Snowdonia Elopement Adventure – contact me, I’m always happy to help!!
Snowdonia Wedding & Elopement Photography
Babs Boardwell is a wedding & elopement photographer based in North Wales, servicing Wales and the surrounding areas. Specialises in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce natural, romantic wedding & elopement photography in North Wales and beyond.