Isle of Harris beach wedding

 

Many of my clients plan an Isle of Harris beach wedding or elopement, drawn by its fabulous turquoise seas and white sands (when the sun is out!) These fabulous beaches stretch along the coastline between Tarbert and the south of the island and are relatively close to one another. You can drive easily from one to the other within about 15 minutes. All are beautiful and often deserted!

Isle of Harris beaches for your wedding or elopement

Luskentyre Beach 

Luskentyre Beach is by far the most well known and popular beach to be married on. Other popular Isle of Harris beaches include Seliebost and Borve.

Did I mention I like dogs? Even when they’re wet and sandy like these two. You’ve got to love them!

Scarista Beach

Scarista Beach is fairly quiet and has a large stretch of sand with fabulous waves. Accessed close to Scarista house, this is ideal if staying at Scarista House – just a 5 min walk across the road.

 

Hushinish Beach

 

Hushinish Beach is a secluded beach which is as remote as it comes. Down the end of a fabulously long single track road you pass through Amhuinnsuidhe Castle and the small village first and at the end of the road you’ll find this cove shaped beach with turquoise waters and white sands. It is around a 30 min drive from the main road between Tarbert and the south of Harris.

 

 

How to get to the Isle of Harris for your wedding or elopement

Calmac provides the ferry service to the Isle of Harris. There are various routes, both direct and indirect outlined below.

 1/  The most direct route is via ferry from Uig to Tarbert. Uig is in the north of the isle of Skye and Tarbert is Harris’ main ferry terminal. The crossing takes about 90 minutes and you arrive in Harris’ main village.
2/  You can take the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway. Ullapool is on the north west coast mainland and Stornoway is Lewis’ main ferry port. This takes around 2 hours 45 min. With this option, you arrive in Stornoway and drive down to Harris which takes about 60-90 minutes.
3/ You can also take the long, scenic way to Harris if you are looking for a multiple stopover trip through the islands. In this option, depart Oban for the Isle of Barra. From Barra, there’s a short drive and another ferry to the Isle of Uist. You might need an overnight on Uist and then head from North Uist over to Harris, arriving in the south of Harris at Leverburgh.  This trip take a few days but is well worth it. You can purchase an island hopper ticket and complete the circuit by travelling back via Stornoway to Ullapool.
4 / The last option would be to fly to Stornoway and car hire and drive down to Harris from there. Flights go from Glasgow and Inverness. Car hire can be arranged to collect from outside the airport.  

Planning a wedding on the Isle of Harris

I’m not a wedding planner, but I have been photographing weddings for more than 13 years now and have a lot of experience with all sorts of weddings on the Isle of Harris. A lot of brides are asking me for advice on venues and even just how to go about organising an elopement to the Isle of Harris, often from out of the country. So I decided to create this short guide on everything I know about getting married on the Isle of Harris to help those who want to!

Isle of Harris wedding celebrants

Harris registry office is the point of contact for civil ceremonies on the island. I have worked with the lovely Helen Maher for many years on many different beaches and venues and she always manages to make each wedding very special. She will come out to your  location and also help you organise your ceremony. Once you have thought about a possible date, the celebrant is one of the first things on your list to organise.
Just contact or call :  Registration Office, Isle of Harris. Tel: 01859 502367  Email: registrars@cne-siar.gov.uk

A useful page on the technicalities of getting married in Scotland is here: https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/registration/getting-married-in-scotland/how-do-i-go-about-it

If you are looking for a humanist, Neil Lynch is a humanist celebrant happy to travel over to the Isle of Harris /www.neillynch.co/

Isle of Harris wedding venues & accommodation

There is an overlap here with some of these suggestions as your accommodation in the Isle of Harris can also be the back-up plan for your ceremony should the weather be really too bad to be outside. I have to say though that in all my years of photographing beach weddings on the Isle of Harris, I have not yet seen one rained off!

Tala Na Mara 

Talla Na Mara has just been built and is now open for fully catered weddings on Harris. You can either have your ceremony on the beach or at Talla na Mara and then have your reception at the venue. Talla Na Mara holds up to 120 day guests and up to 80 additional evening guests. With Talla Na Mara you have exclusive use of the main hall and gallery, use of the decking and full use of the grounds. Directly facing out towards the water, this is a venue with a difference.

The facilities are all brand new, the hall is spacious and filled with light and the staff are welcoming. There is even a room available for brides to have beauty treatments or massages before the wedding. You can visit this venue as it is also a gallery space, has artists space and is home to a lovely cafe / restaurant – The Machair Kitchen. 

Talla na Mara, Pairc Niseaboist, Isle of Harris, HS3 3AE   (01859)503900 Email:anna@westharristrust.org     

Sound of Harris

BBaSound of Harris is self catering, luxurious accommodation in the south of the isle of Harris and is the perfect setting for your wedding or elopement. Its’ clifftop location and stunning views make it a good choice for those wanting peaceful luxury.

The Big House, in particular, is an ideal venue for an intimate wedding or elopement. If the weather is good you wouldn’t have to go far from the back door to find yourselves standing on the edge of dramatic cliffs with stunning views all around and not another soul in sight whilst saying your vows. Couples travel far and wide to find little gems of locations like this to be married at and here you have an amazing location on your doorstep.

The living area in the big house is large enough to hold a small wedding  if the weather be less than ideal outside. Scarista Beach and other beaches are only about a 15 min drive away if you wanted a beach wedding.  The accommodation consists of two adjoining houses which both sleep two adults. Therefore it would also be possible to have very close family or friends to stay whilst still having your own private house to yourselves. I love the main bedroom which is complete with its own Japanese style soaking tub for two.

Website  t 01859 520 208 e info@soundofharris.co.uk

    

St Clements Church, Rodel

One of the most stunning churches I have seen is in Rodel in the south of the Isle of Harris. St Clements church was built around 1520. It is open to the public and run by Historic Scotland but can be booked for religious ceremonies. Suitable only for smaller weddings due to its size!  You can see more images from weddings at St Clements Church on my site here

Scarista House

A beautiful Georgian manse overlooking Scarista beach, this is the place to stay for great food in a fabulous setting. Maximum number for a wedding at the house itself is 28, but the beach is a stones throw away so an outdoor small wedding is perfect if you are staying here.  Listed in the Michelin guide, good food guide, as well as being named by The Times amongst the top 10 places to eat by the sea in the UK.  

Borve Lodge Estate – The Broch

A stunning three-storey tower built into the landscape overlooking Borve Beach. The inspiration originally came from Scottish dwellings during the iron age.  The beach is within walking distance from the Broch …. a wonderfully unique place to stay that’s made for two!

Borve Lodge estate – The Rock House

Overlooking Borve Beach, the Rock House is blended into natural rock terraces. With walls made of huge rocks and a turf roof, you can stay at this unusual house and watch the waves roll in through the panoramic windows facing out towards the water. The Rock House is just minutes walk away from the beach if you are looking for a beach wedding that you can access easily.

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle

I find it almost as difficult as it is to pronounce the name of this castle as to describe its amazingly remote and stunning location. This is a unique venue which can be hired out exclusively for your wedding or is also available on a nightly basis during the summer months. It can cater for larger weddings where the whole castle is taken by your wedding or you can use it as a base for your elopement. I have photographed larger weddings and elopements and both work so well at this castle. Hushinish Beach is about a 15 minute drive away.

Food for your Isle of Harris wedding

Chris Loye from Flavour  is the most incredible chef who offers a unique fine dining experience in the comfort of your own home, self catering accommodation or chosen venue. Your personal Chef creates a Hebridean fusion menu using local sourced produce and speciality ingredients from around the world. Nicola hosts your evening, leaving you to relax with no stress of cooking or cleaning up. How amazing is that for your wedding day!

Croft 36 You can  collect meals at their shack. They specialise in produce from the Hebrides such as fresh seafood rabbit and venison. See a more in-depth review of Croft 36 on my blog here

Additional Isle of Harris wedding details

The below have no images as I have yet to stay or eat at these places! So I have listed below as they come highly recommneded and need to be included in this guide to weddings on the Isle of Harris. I will update the page as I get those valuable images to show you how it looks and feels to stay or eat at these places!


Blue Reef Cottages  Set in the hillside overlooking Scarista Beach, Blue Reef Cottages are luxury in the wild. Two turf-roofed, self catering holiday cottages on the Isle of Harris with 5 star accommodation for couples. Each cottage is complete with its own sauna and jacuzzi. The cottages are close to Scarista Beach look over towards Taransay.


Registry Office, Tarbert  The small marriage room is part of the newly-converted, listed Old Primary School building. Contact the registrars for more info. 


Machair Kitchen, Talla Na Mara is a brand new informal restaurant just opened at Talla Na Mara community centre. Open for lunch and dinner.


Skoon Art Cafe is open Tues to Sat. This a small cafe which sells a unique combination of cakes, bread, soup and art. You’ll find it at the end of the most unusual and hair-raising roads just off the main road. You will feel like you have had a road trip all of its own just driving to get to the cafe.

Isle of Harris wedding photos

Isle of Harris wedding stories 

Amie & Jack’s elopement to the Isle of Harris

Amie & Jack’s elopement to the Isle of Harris

Amie and Jack eloped to the Isle of Harris and decided upon Seilebost beach for their ceremony. Despite a shower during the ceremony, we waited just 15 mins and the sun came out again for their photos. Their two cocker spaniels made the most of the time on the beach...

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Siestke & Paula’s elopement on the Isle of Harris

Siestke & Paula’s elopement on the Isle of Harris

Siestke and Paula married on Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris in a simple ceremony with myself, a witness and Helen the registrar and their two beautiful dogs. In the midst of a stormy, wet and cooler week of weather, the day cleared for their ceremony and they...

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Danni & Dave’s beach wedding at Scarista, Outer Hebrides

Danni & Dave’s beach wedding at Scarista, Outer Hebrides

Danni & Dave married on Scarista Beach on the Isle of Harris with just close family at the ceremony and three gorgeous sausage dogs: two of their own and one of their parents' dogs. Having spent a blustery week at the amazing Machair Cottage in Harris which looks...

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