Congratulations – you’re engaged! Now is the (what is supposed to be) fun part, planning the big day. But not everyone wants a nice traditional wedding, or maybe, like me, you can’t afford to go that route. So why not get married somewhere beautiful and combine it with a honeymoon?
Iceland….perfect. Beautiful, adventurous, and unique.
But….how does one even begin this process?
This is EXACTLY what I endured when planning my wedding. So if this is what you’re planning on doing, I am going to help you get the ball rolling. It can be a daunting task– especially if you are on a small budget. I couldn’t find any clear-cut resources to get me started. It wasn’t until I found a very nice woman in a Facebook travel group pointing me in the right direction, that I actually made any headway. I did the work – now here I am passing the torch along to you.
Be advised – this method utilizes the help of a planner and requirements will vary by location. I live in the U.S. so this is targeted toward such residents. However, this can still help you get started if you live in another country.
• RESEARCH! Decide if you are absolutely 100% sure that this is the route for you. I had never been to Iceland prior to our wedding so it was all foreign to me (and my now husband). We were drawn to the amazing landscapes and vast scenery – we had been dying to go to Iceland for quite some time. I spent hours researching and I felt like I knew the country like the back of my hand before even arriving. However, nothing could have prepared me for the amount of rain there in September. We lucked out tremendously as our wedding day was the only clear day we had that week! We also got to see the northern lights on our wedding night!
• DECIDE ON YOUR BUDGET. We didn’t have a very clear budget, but we knew we were going to make it happen one way or another. A lot of drama as a result of our decision to marry alone in Iceland made things difficult, as we were no longer going to have the financial help we hoped for. That being said, if you can, figure out how much you are willing to spend on your wedding, as it will provide a baseline to get everything figured out.
• FIND A PLANNER THAT SUITS YOU. Depending on your budget and personality, there are planners for everyone’s needs! If you’re looking for something more adventurous, look at someone like Your Adventure Planner. Pink Iceland specializes in LGBT weddings, but they work with people in all walks of life.
We ended up working with Love Iceland, which consists of a husband and wife duo that not only do the planning but are also both pastors. We adored them!
• DECIDE ON A DATE. When you’re in discussions with the planner, you’ll need to land on the desired date. I advise you to consider researching travel costs during the time of year you’re interested in getting married. Also, be sure to weigh your decision heavily on the weather at that time in Iceland. Winters can have strong snow storms and opportunities to see the northern lights while summer presents long days (due to the midnight sun). Fall is their shoulder season, which tends to be cool and rainy – but also offers the possibility to view the northern lights, albeit a smaller chance than in winter.
• CHOOSE A LOCATION. Iceland is full of incredible scenery and tiny historic churches. You really can’t go wrong with any location. We chose the iconic Búðir black church on the Snaefellsnes peninsula (approximately 2.5 hours north of KEF) because it offered the best of both worlds: dramatic landscapes if we decided on an outdoor ceremony and the church as an indoor option.
TIP: We noticed very quickly that tourists flock this adorable little church, so don’t be surprised if you have people gawking and snapping photos as you’re entering and exiting the church. You may also run into other brides that are utilizing it as a backdrop for their own wedding photos.
• BOOK YOUR TRAVEL, LODGING, ETC. Once you know where you’ll be tying the knot, you can figure out what area is best to base yourself. We used AirBnB & VRBO for our needs and they worked perfectly. We used Cars Iceland for our Jimny rental, as they had the best price for the vehicle including insurances – and I highly recommend you get the additional insurance options!
• SIGN THE DOTTED LINE(S). Once everything is together, you’ll need the appropriate documentation to ensure your marriage is legal. Depending on your country, requirements may differ.
These are the documents we needed to provide:
+ Notification of Marriage document
+ Declaration of Honor document – notarized & dated no more than 8 weeks prior to the ceremony.
+ Original or a notarized/certified copy of each birth certificate
+ Scan of passport photo pages
+ Power of Attorney document
+ Certificate of non-impediment (this document can have different names depending on location). – notarized & dated no more than 8 weeks prior to the ceremony.
• SEND THE PAPERWORK ONLINE – THEN OVERSEAS. After the paperwork is finished, it’s recommended that you scan them and send them via e-mail to the planner to view and make sure there are no errors. If everything looks good, you’ll get the green light to send them overseas. Remember – it takes time for mail to arrive in Iceland! Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time but also stick to the requirements.
A Few Tips:
- Start looking at photographers early (if you plan on having one). Iceland is small and there are not many photographers and videographers, so they tend to be busy. You may have to fly one in, as we did.
Iceland is VERY expensive! Be sure to consider high-cost tolls (about $10 each), food, gas, etc. when planning your trip. For Iceland budget ideas, check out my other article here.
The farther from Reykjavík you plan on getting married, the pricier it can be due to the cost of travel for the officiant and other vendors. Take this into account when picking a location.
Make-up artists are not cheap….particularly in Iceland! If you can drive to them, you’re going to save some money. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula only has one (that I know of) that is relatively close – Silfur hár og förðun (Silver Hair & Make-up). Guðrún is fantastic and did a wonderful job on my wedding day!
Packing your wedding dress in your carry-on is ideal rather than the checked in baggage. Click here for a helpful tutorial.
For more information, I compiled a few helpful links.
- U.S. Embassy – Marriage in Iceland
Iceland Wedding Planners:
Make-up & Hair: