A complete guide to planning your iceland elopement
If you’re wanting to step off the beaten path of traditional weddings and celebrate your love in an adventurous way that focuses on intimacy and connection while being 100% yourselves, continue reading to learn how to elope in Iceland and create the adventure of your dreams. Iceland is known as one of the best places in the world for adventuring and epic landscapes. From the thousands of waterfalls to volcanoes, Iceland has a little bit of something for anyone wanting to get married in an epic landscape while having an intimate and meaningful wedding day.
One of the perks about choosing an elopement over a traditional wedding is that eloping allows you the total freedom to spend your wedding day doing exactly what you want. You don’t have to spend money on things that aren’t important to you. Many couples that elope in Iceland choose to continue their celebration by spending their honeymoon adventuring around the Icelandic countryside.
Planning a destination elopement can seem a little stressful at first, but as your Iceland elopement photographer and guide, I’ll be there for you through every step of the way, making sure you have a unique and one of a kind wedding experience that way you can focus on the things that matter most while soaking up all the adventure and landscape that Iceland has to offer!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Deciding On A Photographer For Your Iceland Elopement
Finding a photographer is one of the most exciting parts about having a wedding and there are tons of amazing photographers out there! There are a few things to keep in mind when having an elopement in Iceland and deciding on the perfect photographer to capture your day. The most important thing when you’re finding a photographer to document your special day is to make sure they are familiar and understand not only what an elopement is but what it means to you.
There are photographers out there that photograph traditional weddings, elopements, intimate weddings and even some that photograph all kinds of weddings. However, I will always recommend that couples hire a photographer that specializes in elopements and intimate weddings. You might wonder why this matters, but the truth is that couples that choose to forgo the traditional wedding and opt-in for an elopement are 99.9% of the time choosing to have an elopement because it feels most like them. Many couples that have elopements are choosing to elope because they want something intimate and personal that speaks to them in ways that a larger traditional wedding doesn’t. While some couples crave the life of the party and a big celebration, some couples want something more easy going and prefer to celebrate their marriage in an intimate way whether it be just the two of them or with a handful of guests, such as friends and family. Choosing a photographer that has an understanding of the location will allow them to be the expert on your location and be able to give you the in's and out's on everything you need to have the best day ever!
Having a photographer that specializes in elopements and intimate weddings will not only allow you to share similar values but also help when it comes to planning your Icelandic elopement. Being a photographer that specializes in elopements, I get to play a special role throughout my couples wedding celebration that traditional photographers don’t. Elopement photographers are used to navigating intimate ceremonies and most of the time, spend a lot of time guiding the couples throughout the planning process. As an elopement photographer, I handcraft unique elopements for my couples while watching the day unfold, capturing each and every moment.
When deciding on a photographer for your elopement in Iceland, another thing I highly suggest is to choose someone who is familiar with Iceland! While many photographers travel worldwide for their couples, hiring a photographer that is familiar with the land is going to be a huge plus. The great thing about hiring someone who knows Iceland, is that you’ll get an elopement that is far from a typical tourist experience. Being a photographer based in Iceland, I love nothing more than to take my couples to all of my favorite hidden gems and epic ceremony locations that you won’t find on a google search. Being familiar with the land isn’t just about giving you super secret locations to get married; I also help you navigate your entire trip by giving you local insight into the Icelandic weather, culture, restaurants, activities, customs and all that good information to make sure you have the best elopement experience ever!
Summer Elopements In Iceland
Fall Elopements In Iceland
Choosing to plan your elopement in the fall while in Iceland is perfect for those that desire a true fall. With the average lows being 39-48 degrees and highs being in the mid to high 50’s, having an elopement in the fall will give you a true autumn experience. Fall in Iceland is best to be thought of as August through late October, as it can start to feel like the beginning of winter towards the end of the month and into early November.
Elopements in fall are a great time to catch all the autumn colors as the season begins to change while the climate is still relatively mild. Another perk about planning your elopement in fall is that tourist season is beginning to slow down since school starts back up and many of the summer vacation plans are coming to an end, so you have a better chance at popular locations being less crowded. It also tends to be less expensive for travel costs during the fall, as autumn is the off-season for tourism. If you choose to visit during the fall and want to have a trip that includes water-based activities, it’s best to plan for the early fall since most of these excursions will start to close for the winter season in late September.
Choosing to elope during the fall in Iceland is a great chance to enjoy a less crowded experience and see the season change the landscape. If you crave an elopement that will give you the chance to explore the Icelandic countryside while skipping out on the summer crowds during a time when the landscape begins to change colors, choosing to elope in the Fall is perfect!
Winter Elopements In Iceland
Spring Elopements In Iceland
If you envision saying your vows in a landscape straight out of game of thrones, having an elopement in the winter would be perfect! During the winter months from November to March, the average minimum temperature is around 26 to 30 degrees fahrenheit and chances of snow and rain are most common. Getting married in the winter months will give you some experiences you won’t be able to witness during the other seasons. During the winter, Iceland has shorter days and longer nights, making it a perfect opportunity for seeing the northern lights. Imagine having couples portraits while the aurora borealis gleams overhead, sounds pretty magical right?
While the winter tourist season isn’t as popular in comparison to the summer months, Iceland still receives many visitors during this time for people wanting to experience the northern lights in all its beauty. Some other popular things to explore during your winter elopement are the ice caves and glaciers! While you can see glaciers in the summer months as well, during the winter time is when the glaciers are at its peak and you can fully bask in the awe of the unique landscape.
If you decide to elope in Iceland during winter, you’ll want to make sure you pack accordingly and rent a 4x4 or AWD vehicle to navigate through any snow filled terrain. One thing that’s neat is that many of the main streets in the city center of Iceland are heated! While it’s just a thing in Reykjavik, you won’t find your car completely stuck to the ground during the snow filled days if you choose to stay overnight in the city.
A thing to remember is that there are many roads that close during the winter time throughout the country, so it’s important to have an idea about the type of landscape you want to elope at during the winter time to make sure it’s accessible for your elopement.
Planning your elopement for the spring in Iceland is a great way to experience the country's beauty in a less crowded way while the temperatures begin to rise and the landscape starts to blossom. The temperatures during the spring will range with the coldest weather being in the lower to mid 30’s and warming up to anywhere between the mid 40. While the early months of spring are still relatively cold in comparison to the summer, the roads closed during the winter begin to open back up, giving you the chance to explore more of the terrain and countryside.
During the spring there’s still opportunities to see the northern lights throughout early April and even later in the month if you’re in the countryside. Having an elopement in spring also will give you more flexibility with planning your day, as daylight extends starting in march and by April, you’ll experience 4 extra hours of daylight in just a month's time!
If you dream of having an elopement and exploring Iceland during a time where there’s longer days, less crowds and chances to see the northern lights without the colder winter temperatures, getting married in Iceland during the spring checks all your boxes!
Kirkjufell - Located along the North Coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell is an epic location to elope because of its shape! Referred to as “Church Mountain”, Kirkjufell is a distinctly shaped and free standing mountain situated next to Grundarfjörður. The mountain itself is not volcanic, however it’s layers are shaped from the result of several volcanic eruptions making it unique. The waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss is also nearby, so you can venture to both locations during your elopement and experience the beauty of both. Chances are you’ve seen this iconic landmark in photos as it’s become a famous location from in Game of Thrones.
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon- My favorite canyon in Iceland, Fjaðrárgljúfur is picturesque and one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever explored. Located in South Iceland between Vik and Skaftafell National Park, Fjaðrárgljúfur is filled with stunning vegetation while boasting epic views. When exploring the canyon, I suggest making your way to the top to get the best views.
Reykjadalur valley - This location is popular for the hot springs, however the valley leading up to the hotsprings is breathtaking. If the rolling green hills of Iceland is what you’re after, consider exploring this location. After your elopement, you can even take a dip in the hot springs and relax as you soak up the beauty that Reykjadalur valley has to offer.
Skógafoss- Located in South Iceland, Skógafoss is a popular location for elopements and tourists. Being one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, this spot is a top pick because of how easily accessible it is! Imagine saying “I do” with an almost 200 foot waterfall right behind you. A great thing about this location is that you’ll be able to walk right up to the waterfall. Although this is one of the more popular locations to explore in Iceland, it remains a top location for it’s accessibility and beauty.
Seljalandsfoss- Located along the Southern Coast of Iceland, Seljalandsfoss is an epic waterfall you can actually walk behind! If you ever thought about getting married behind a waterfall, this is the spot for it. Similar to Skogafoss in terms of accessibility and popularity, Seljalandsfoss is an amazing location to elope or explore while visiting Iceland.
Mögáfoss- If you dream of a luscious canyon overlooking a waterfall, this location will check your boxes! Mögáfoss is surrounded by greenery and you’ll find yourself falling in love with the epic views here. The waterfall itself is considered a low volume fall, however the beauty that surrounds it makes it worth mentioning.
Gljufrabui- Another gem that can be found in South Iceland, Gljufrabui looks like it’s straight out of a movie. The waterfall is tucked in between a canyon, which can make your elopement a bit more secluded. From afar, you’ll see only the top of the waterfall but if you go inside the canyon, you’ll be able to witness this gorgeous location.
Kvernufoss- Situated in the Southern Region, Kvernufoss is my favorite location on this list! It’s publicly known yet considered a hidden gem as most tourists tend to visit others like Skogafoss, making this spot often overlooked as a “must see”. Being half hidden, Kvernufoss is a 100 ft waterfall surrounded by stunning greenery. Kvernufoss takes the #1 pick for being an epic elopement, the land itself gives many opportunities for photos that aren’t just waterfall filled. The landscape here is truly stunning and is a must see whether you choose to elope here or just explore!
iceland beach wedding
Reynisfjara (black sand beach) - A must see location situated in South Iceland near Vik, Reynisfjara is infamous as the Black Sand Beach. If saying your vows while witnessing the harsh waves roll in along basalt columns sounds up your alley, consider eloping at Reynisfjara. This location is a several hour drive from Reyjkavik and while it’s popular as a “must-see”, you can still elope here and avoid some of the larger crowds that many of the must-see locations attract.
Jökulsárlón - My favorite place to visit because you’ll feel like you’re in Antarctica. Filled with Glaciers that roll in from the glacier Breiðamerkurjökull, Jökulsárlón is a glacier lake filled with icebergs that will be sure to make your list of the favorite places you experienced while in Iceland. The icebergs are an absolutely beautiful shade of blue and you can say your vows as the icebergs float their way across the lake and down to Diamond Beach. If you decide to elope in front of this gorgeous glacier lagoon, you’ll have to hop across the road and check out Diamond Beach, where you’ll be able to walk up to the iceberg chunks that have washed ashore.
While this list is for highlighting popular locations you can google and check out, to see more locations where you can elope in Iceland; check out the map for more epic locations to elope in Iceland or book with me to get my personal list of hidden gems for a completely unique elopement celebration!
how to get married in iceland
Deciding to get married in Iceland is super exciting! Iceland is truly breathtaking and getting married here is something you’ll remember for a lifetime. When it comes to getting married in Iceland, there are legal requirements and paperwork that need to be in order to make the marriage legal. When looking into the marriage requirements on the Icelandic official site, it can seem a bit intimidating since some of the requirements are ones that Foreign couples might not be familiar with, but don’t worry! Here’s the rules and how to’s, so you can worry less about the paperwork and focus more on the celebration!
Eligibility Requirements To Get Married In Iceland
The Legal Paperwork For Your Iceland Wedding
Submitting your paperwork to get married in Iceland doesn’t have to be complicated. You’ll want to make sure you submit only original documents and they need to be in either English or another Scadinavian language. If you’re from a country where a translation will be needed, the documents will need to be provided by a certified translator in order to be accepted as authentic. It’s important you follow the timelines and deadlines for submitting the paperwork in order to make your marriage in Iceland legal. All of the requirements for making your marriage legal in Iceland can be found on the Iceland Registry website.
Here’s an overview of what you will need and the paperwork required to apply for a marriage in Iceland:
+ Valid Identification - You can use your passport, drivers license or identification card.
+ Valid Visa or Passport showing you are here legally ( visa, passport and stamps, airfare tickets, etc)
+ Birth certificates - you'll need one from each person marrying and they need to be original or certified copies from your home country/state/counties issuing authorities. You will attach these to the Marriage Application.
+ You will need a celebrant / officiant for the ceremony.
+ Marriage Application (Announcement of Marriage)
+ Marriage Notification (Hjónavígsluskýrsla): can be obtained here, you’ll both need to fill this out after your ceremony and will need a celebrant/officiant and 2 witnesses as well (They’re attesting to your marriage). However, the witnesses are not required to be present during the actual ceremony.
+ Certificate of Marital status (also known as: Certificate of No Impediment / Certificate of Freedom to Marry / Certificate of Nulla Osta) - This certificate will state that you are free to marry and must be issued from your home state/country within 8 weeks prior to your intended date of marriage.
*Note* (Some countries that issue this document may have additional requirements to obtain this document, (I would recommend getting in touch with authorities as soon as you decide to elope in Iceland, to make sure you can obtain this in time)
Additional Paperwork that you might need to include:
For divorcees, you will need to include a certified divorce decree.
For widows/widowers, you will need to include an official decree stating that the estates/collected assets have been finalized.
Finding out if you’re eligible to get married in Iceland is easy and fairly similar to many countries' marriage requirements.
- You need to be 18 years of age or older
- You’ll need to have the right to legally marry, meaning you can’t already be married. (For divorcees and widows, I’ll go more into this later)
- You will need to be in Iceland legally.
(This means you have to be present in Iceland with the correct visiting rights and have documentation you are here legally.)
** Some documents that can be used as proof include: airline ticket, your valid passport with stamps showing entrance, or by providing a valid visa.
*Note: For many countries you won’t need a visa to visit Iceland, but for some countries; you may need a visa. Here’s an overview of the countries that DON’T require a visa and the countries that DO require a visa to visit Iceland.
When To Submit Your Marriage Paperwork To The Iceland Registry
+ You’ll want to submit your marriage documents at least 3 weeks prior to your intended date of marriage.
+ If you’re abroad, you can email the documents, but will need to turn in the originals no less than 5 days before your wedding. If you are not planning on being in Iceland 5 days prior to your ceremony, get in touch with the District Commissioner to see about alternative methods for submission such as mailing certified documents).
+ After the ceremony, you can pick up your birth certificates from the Registry.
You’ll receive a marriage certificate in Icelandic however you can request an English version.
Some couples don’t want to worry about doing all the paperwork in Iceland but still want to plan their elopement here and that’s totally fine! An alternative to doing the paperwork in Iceland is to complete the marriage paperwork at the auditor, courthouse, or register in their home country/state and plan their elopement in Iceland.
Doing the paperwork at home doesn’t mean you can’t have your actual elopement in Iceland! You can go to the courthouse, do the application and pay the fees to make the marriage legal.
Typically in the US this can cost anywhere from $35-100 dollars depending on your state. You don’t have to dress up, have flowers or make it fancy and can still share your personalized vows during your actual elopement!
This is the easy alternative that is common for foreigners since it will save you not only money but also time. You won’t have to worry about the costs associated with having a celebrant, the Iceland registry paperwork or obtaining certificates of marriage status.
Iceland Wedding Costs
How Much Does It Cost To Get Married In Iceland?
Getting married in Iceland is such a unique experience! Luckily, traveling to Iceland has been pretty affordable in comparison to other european countries but it’s still important to know how much you can expect to spend. The currency used in Iceland is the Króna or Íslenska Krónan also referred to as ISK. The currency exchange rate is always changing, so it’s best to reference the current exchange rate when planning however currently $1 USD is equivalent to about 124.000 ISK and 1 Euro is equivalent to about 147.000 ISK.
A great thing about visiting Iceland is that you don’t really need to carry cash. 99.9% of everywhere you go accepts cards and in the last few years I’ve never been to a place that doesn’t. Iceland relies heavily on credit and debit for methods of payment and it’s become pretty uncommon to use cash. While the cost for eloping in Iceland is going to vary depending on the type of experience you desire, here’s an idea of what to expect while you plan your elopement in Iceland.
Food In Iceland
When you’re in Iceland you’ll probably want to experience all of the amazing local restaurants it has to offer and I have a list of my go-to places for authentic Icelandic food. If you prefer to cook at home for most of your meals, you’ll both save money and get to experience the grocery stores where you’ll find tons of food you probably haven’t seen before. Some of the popular supermarkets include: Bonus and Kronan. Some popular Icelandic foods to try are Plokkfiskur (fish stew), Pylsur (Icelandic Hotdog), Rúgbrauð (dark rye bread), Lamb and Skyr (Icelandic yogurt). You’ll find most of these on menus at restaurants with the exception of Pylsur, which you can find in downtown Reykjavik at the hot dog stand and at gas stations. Skyr comes in a bunch of different flavors and since it is a breakfast staple, it’s most commonly found at grocery stores, but you may find it on a breakfast menu at one of local cafes.
Getting Around Downtown Reykjavik
The great thing about Reykjavik is that it’s not huge! You can easily navigate the city either by foot or scooter. Scooters are a popular thing here and will help you get from point A to B pretty quickly. The streets in the city center are fairly narrow so parking fills up quickly and can be hard to find at times, so I suggest doing as much as you can downtown on foot or scooter. Iceland is also noted as one of the safest cities in the world, so walking around is a pretty safe thing to do while in town.
Driving And Roads While In Iceland
If you’re from a country that drives on the right side of the road, you’ll have no problem driving in Iceland since it’s the same here. If you’re American, when driving you should pay attention to the street signs since Iceland uses the metric system and you won’t find your speedometer indicating your MPH but instead KM. If you’re planning on renting a standard vehicle for your trip, I suggest renting a car from the Keflavik Airport since it’s easy and you’ll be able to drive into town without having to take a taxi or the Flybus. The international airport is in Keflavik, located just 50 km from Reykjavik and an easy 45 minute drive. Taxi’s in Iceland can be pretty expensive as well, so renting a vehicle at the airport is going to be the best option.
Buying Alcohol In Iceland
For your elopement you may want to pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate! I 100% support this and think it’s a great way to toast to your commitment and new adventure together as a married couple. When deciding on if you should buy or bring alcohol to your elopement it’s important to know that in Iceland you won’t find alcohol at a grocery store. So If you’re planning on bringing alcohol to your elopement, you’ll want to get this ahead of time. In Iceland alcohol can be bought at Vinbudin during the day, however I suggest couples that are flying into Iceland from abroad stock up on their drink of choice prior to leaving the airport.
Vinbudin has limited hours and most locations will close between the hours of 6pm-8pm. Buying alcohol at Vinbudin is actually really expensive and if you want to save money, you should instead buy it at the duty-free exchange in the airport. If you’re coming from the US, buying it at the duty-free exchange before you board to Iceland will save you the most money and you’ll be able to collect your purchase at the gate after you land. If you aren’t able to get it in the US before you board for Iceland, buying it at the duty-free exchange at the Keflavik airport is another option!
You’ll find the selection at the Keflavik airport to not be as diverse as you would find at a US airport and it may be a bit more expensive, but in the end you’ll still be buying it cheaper than you would at the local Vinbudin.
Renting A Vehicle For Your Iceland Elopement
Renting A Camper Van For Your Elopement
If you are planning on adventuring for the entirety of your elopement, renting a camper van is a perfect alternative to staying at an airbnb or hotel. Staying in a camper van is not only fun, but it will allow you to have everything “on the go”, making traveling throughout the country fairly easy. Don’t let the rental prices intimidate you! When you think about the cost of lodging and a regular car rental, you’ll see that renting a camper van is actually a great alternative which will also save you money. Here’s where you can rent a camper van from during your elopement: Happy Campers, KuKu Campervan Iceland, Go Campers Iceland and CampEasy Iceland.
Exploring The F-Roads During Your Elopement
If you envision spending your elopement off the beaten track, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared to access the rugged terrain that Iceland offers by renting a 4x4 vehicle. Accessing this rugged terrain is done by taking the F-Roads, which are mountain roads that are unpaved and require certain vehicles in order to explore. While driving the F-Roads you’ll find yourself driving through gravel, potholes, rocky inclines and even fording rivers. Navigating the F-Roads is an incredibly rewarding experience and will take you to some of the most desolate and rugged scenery you can experience while in Iceland, giving you a true Iceland adventure experience for your elopement.
Renting A 4x4 Vehicle For F-Roads
If you plan on taking F-Roads you’ll have to rent directly from a vehicle rental agency that is specific to 4x4 vehicles. You might be thinking that you can take your regular car rental on the F-Roads since it’s 4 wheel drive, however this is a big no-no. Since the F-Roads are rugged, they require a special kind of insurance for the vehicle which is not provided through standard car rental agencies like Enterprise or Hertz.
Since not all 4x4 vehicles are created equal, I suggest deciding which F-Roads you are wanting to take to make sure the 4x4 vehicle you rent will have proper ground clearance for your desired terrain. Another thing to remember is that even 4x4 vehicle rentals are not insuring the vehicle for fording rivers. If there are rivers you know you will have to cross for the F-Roads you plan on taking, it’s important to follow the road conditions before going and make sure the water isn’t any higher than 3/4 of the total height of your tires when fording a river.
Exploring the F-Roads will give you an elopement experience like none other, but it’s important to be prepared and have the emergency contact information for your rental agency and know the Iceland emergency number (112). Many of the locations you will end up in might not have cell coverage, so I suggest downloading the Safe Travel App, that way if you are out of a service area you can get in touch with authorities via text using the app. Having a 4x4 vehicle for exploring the Fjords and F-Roads is a necessity as you can end up getting stuck in the middle of nowhere in Iceland and that’s not a fun thing to experience. Here’s some of my favorite businesses to rent 4x4 vehicles from for your epic adventure: Isak 4x4, Go Car Rental, Icerental 4x4.
Get Married In Iceland
creating the wedding of your dreams
If you’ve decided that eloping in Iceland is for you, let’s chat about how magical your wedding day can be. Since there’s so much to explore throughout Iceland, wedding packages are based on a half day and full day experience. Once you decide on coverage; I handcraft each and every elopement so it is completely personal and unique to you while focusing on your wants and needs during your trip. You’ll get not only guidance with planning your elopement, recommendations for vendors, and ideas for how to spend your day; But I’ll also help you with your itinerary and travels! From helping you find the perfect location to say “I do’ to all the local tips on the best restaurants and things to do, you’ll be ready to have a one of kind wedding experience and trip to Iceland you’ll never forget.
No date or set location? No problem! When we have our consult, we'll talk all about your vision & what your dream elopement looks like. I'm here to help you with setting the foundation, whether that means setting a date or finding the perfect location.
From my exclusive elopement guide to checklists and more... you'll have access to in depth resources and everything you didn't know you needed.
I'll deep dive into your questionnaire, getting to know the real you, so I can build the framework for your elopement and craft an experience that is 100% unique to you.
You can count on me to support you every step of the way. Need to talk? Let's have a chat! I'm only an email away.
I'll be there to guide you through the day, so you can sit back and relax, and enjoy every second being fully present. Without the stress, pressure or theatrics-- you'll take each moment as they come and just get the chance to really just soak it all in and feel. I'll be there documenting your day authentically and beautifully, capturing the big moments and the ones in-between for you to cherish forever.
I'll scout locations that align with your vision to make sure I check all the boxes for your dreamiest location to say "I do".
I'll equip you with all the info on any required permits & applying for marriage licenses, how to file for them & any associated costs, making it as easy as signing on the dotted line.
You'll receive your epic gallery full of images that you can look back on for the rest of your lives and think to yourselves "I'm so happy we did this for us".
You'll get recommendations for all the best vendors to help bring your vision to life.
You'll receive activity options for your day from your favorite hobbies to trying something new. I'll provide ideas for your elopement that are totally your vibe & help you create an itinerary that is uniquely yours.
Whether you want to cozy up in a cabin or spend the night in a 5 star hotel, I'll provide you with my favorite lodging and travel recommendations to create the ultimate experience.
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