Planning a Wedding in Iceland
If you’re thinking of eloping or hosting your destination wedding in Iceland, you’ve come to the right place. Complete with magical landscapes, black sand beaches, wild Icelandic horses, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, lush green countrysides and quaint wooden churches, and a once in a lifetime view of the Northern Lights, Iceland is one of the most unique places you could get married. And there are lots to do around the country after the wedding!
We have put together some of our top tips for planning your wedding in Iceland. We hope you enjoy!
When to Get Married in Iceland
As its name indicates, Iceland can be rather cold, even in the summer months. Summers are mild, temperatures should be around fifty nine degrees, with a low of forty seven degrees, and you may have some wind or rain. But, the daylight hours never end in the summer, with the midnight sun showing up from May through August. Keep in mind, June through August is the most popular season for weddings and tourism, so prices can go up during this time and you may not get the intimate experience you’re looking for.
November through March are considered the winter months, and are also the best months to see the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. While the temperatures are lower, getting as low as twenty eight degrees fahrenheit, the tourism is also was less active and will create the perfect private environment for your wedding and stunning wedding portraits. Keep in mind there are very few daylight hours in the winter, so you’ll want to plan your ceremony and photos accordingly.
What to wear for your Iceland Wedding
As we mentioned, Iceland is cold no matter how you slice it, so it’s important to prepare with proper wedding attire. Plan on a warm coat to match your wedding gown, and plan to do the same for your bridesmaids. It’s a great idea for both bride and groom to don wool tights and warm socks under their dress and suit, and for brides to wear boots under their gown.
As much as it may sound silly, we promise you’ll be a lot more comfortable, and you won’t be able to see them under a long gown. Because the weather in Iceland can vary so much even throughout the same day, it’s recommended to be prepared for even colder temps in the evening, so bring a warm winter coat for in-between photos, and make sure your guests do the same.
Where to Get Married in Iceland
There are great options for both religious and civil ceremonies in Iceland. If you’re having a larger wedding, you may want to consider a country hotel or lavish banquet hall on the water like Harpa Concert Hall. For religious ceremonies, you can find a church anywhere you go.
If you’re more the adventurous type, there is no shortage of natural wonders, waterfalls, cliff sides, and black sand beaches which all serve as the perfect backdrop for your vows. But, keep in mind that it’s smart to have an indoor backup option for your ceremony in case of rainy weather, and your guests will want a warm and cozy spot to celebrate for the reception.
The Crashed DC-9 Airplane
This location is STUNNING. A WW2 era plane that crashed on the beaches of Iceland is now a stunning tourist site. This location requires a little bit of a hike to get to after farmers that own the highway shut down the road a few years back, but if you are ok with the trek, this is an amazing location
This waterfall screams Iceland. There are not many more beautiful locations then this in Iceland. This location is wet and can get cold as is much of Iceland so make sure that you give yourself ample amount of space to set up for your ceremony.
Can you say that 3 times fast? Probably not even once.....but no worries, you can call it the green canyons and the locals will know what you are talking about. This location recently closed to the public, but you can plan a quick photoshoot on the outskirts of it before heading to Diamond beach to get some beautiful shots on the glacier.
Eldhraun Lava Fields
This is a beautiful location with Lord of the Rings vibes. The Icelanders look at this moss as sacred as it takes years to grow, so be careful not to trample it and be considerate of the environment
Black Sand Beach
Located close to Vik, this location is quintessential Iceland. You can get married on the beach or in the cave, just be careful not to venture too close to the water as it has been known to be deadly!
This is another postcard Icelandic waterfall. However like Skógafoss it is very wet, so give yourself ample space and account for tourists
This cathedral is unique, and inspired the design for Asgard in the movie Thor. It features beautiful architecture and a unique set of lines on the floor.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Iceland
To apply for a wedding in Iceland, you’ll need to send in your paperwork at least two week prior to your wedding, though it’s recommended that you send it closer to six weeks in advance if possible in case of delays. The paperwork includes your passports, birth certificates, certificate of Marital Status, witness forms signed by two witnesses, your airline tickets, confirmation from the Directorate of Immigration that you are legally staying in Iceland, and divorce papers if this is your second wedding. You’ll want to pick up your marriage license two days before the ceremony.
Of course, if you want to skip the paperwork, you can have a symbolic wedding in Iceland and have a civil ceremony at the courthouse back home, and no one will be the wiser.
Same-Sex Marriages are legal in Iceland and have been since 2010. There’s an annual Reykjaviík Pride festival in August, with about a third of the nation attending, and is one of the largest celebrations in the country. People from around the world come to celebrate their love and get married.
Popular Activities After the Wedding
If you’re looking for something fun for you and your guests to do before or after the wedding, Iceland has no shortage of excursions. Consider horseback riding, snowmobiling, exploring the interior of a glacier or cave, river rafting, snorkeling in Silfra, or super jeep trips to the highlands in the summer.
If you’re looking to see the Northern Lights, your best chance to see them is on a cold clear night from October to March. It’s a magical way to end your wedding weekend if you can catch it.
Hire a Planner
While we always recommend hiring a wedding planner for a destination wedding, it’s arguably more important here more than anywhere that you have someone to figure out the logistics of your big day and handle any last-minute changes that may come along.
Because the weather conditions in Iceland are so unpredictable, it’s essential that you have a Plan B, and sometimes even a Plan C, if the weather takes a last-minute turn.
Your planner will also be able to negotiate the best deals for accommodations, transport, and even your other wedding vendors. They’ll be able to handle any communication with your wedding day team, and help you apply for your marriage license to ensure everything goes smoothly and you can legally get married on your wedding day.
Your planner will also be to help arrange activities for you and your guests before and after the wedding day helping you make the most of your Iceland experience!
We hope this article will help you get started in planning your Iceland wedding. For more great tips on planning a destination wedding, read our Destination Wedding article on the blog, where you’ll find all of our advice on when to send out invitations, how to budget, and how to prepare. Happy planning!