Back in November, my boyfriend of 10 years proposed to me at a Christmas tree farm with the entire family surrounding us. It was one of the most memorable days of my life. The following few months were filled with disappointments and heartbreak as I realized that we were financially unable to have an ideal traditional wedding. The venues, the catering, the rentals, the photography….there were SO many things to think about that when added up, cost a small fortune. There were family issues and personal thoughts to take into account. It was stressful but we knew we had to come up with something that we could work with. Brandon and I wanted a wedding that would make us happy. Too many people leave their weddings wishing they had done something differently and I didn’t want to be one of those people.
Iceland had been on our bucket list for a while – and we decided for a number of reasons that this would be perfect for us. We were going to get married in Iceland with no one but our officiant and a photographer. It was the perfect compromise. Once we made this decision, it was like a weight had been lifted.
I stumbled upon the Búðir black church and just knew that was going to be the place.
Before the Wedding
It took months of planning in order to get everything straight. With the little bit of money we were able to save up, some resourcefulness, and support from some wonderful loved ones, we found a wedding planner/officiant to take care of some of the legal details and we crossed paths with an amazing photographer that was excited to work with us. Unfortunately, our decision to marry in another country without friends and family was met with tremendous criticism from some. From others, we were met with overwhelming support. There seemed to be a lack of understanding in our decision. It was emotionally draining to deal with the drama as well as plan a wedding/honeymoon in another country. This was just a small piece of a long string of bad luck that struck prior to our wedding/honeymoon adventure.
September 16th we landed at Keflavik Airport in Iceland. It was a long and exhausting day and I was more stressed out than I have ever been. Not to mention, the thought of marriage terrified me and it was becoming more and more real as we got closer.
From the moment we landed at the airport until Monday – it rained. It seemed as though it would never stop raining. It wasn’t just rain, there were strong gusty winds accompanying the downpours. I knew Iceland was a rainy country but this was more than I could have imagined. I was starting to believe that the universe was trying to send me a message. I was flooded with every emotion a person could possibly feel – but all at one time.
On Monday, the rain stopped for a little while, allowing us to explore a bit. We decided to take a look at the church we’d planned to marry around, just to make sure it was what we were hoping for. We quickly realized that it was even more beautiful in person and we couldn’t have been surer.
September 19th – The Big Day
I woke up to clouds the morning of the wedding with only a couple of hours until the local make-up artist arrived. In the distance, however, I could see sunlight. We hadn’t seen sunlight since leaving Baltimore a few days prior! It began to rain again but the showers would come and go. My anxiety was getting the best of me and I couldn’t relax – but I hadn’t really been able to relax in a couple of weeks anyway.
Around noon, Brandon drove to the church to wait and I stayed to continue getting ready with the photographer. I was so thankful that she was there to help me with my dress! Once I was ready, we walked out the door to find a beautiful rainbow spanning the distance! It felt like a sign. I was still a nervous wreck but it felt like my luck was beginning to turn for the better.
On our way to the church, we saw another beautiful rainbow. It continued to drizzle but sun rays tried to poke through, and by the time we arrived at the church, the clouds had opened to an amazing blue sky.
Our ceremony was simple and beautiful and we couldn’t have been happier with our officiant. She was funny, genuine, and sweet – just perfect for our wedding. I only wish that I were less stressed out so I could have been the chipper bride I always see in the movies! In retrospect, I see just how amazing our wedding day actually turned out to be. It didn’t rain the rest of the day and we even got to see the northern lights that evening! Our wedding day was the only day that week we had clear skies. I guess the universe really was trying to tell us something after all.
We’re so thankful to those who helped make our wedding dreams come true! While we had started with very different ideas of what we wanted in a wedding, we ended up getting exactly what we needed, and looking back, neither of us would have done it any other way.
I hope that if you’re considering a wedding in Iceland or anywhere else abroad, you’ll listen to your heart and ignore the opinions of others. Stay true to you because it will all be worth it in the end! If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it work – just as we did somehow!
We have zero regrets and a ton of amazing memories.