Elopement In Iceland | A Practical Guide
Considering an elopment in Iceland? This past fall in October 2018, we had the opportunity to shoot our very first destination elopment film in the beautiful, remote, western region of Iceland – do yourself a favor and check out our wedding film linked below to witness the incredible scenery and magic that this country has to offer! Being our first destination wedding film in a foreign country, and one as extremely remote as Iceland, we wanted to summarize our thoughts, findings and tips when it comes to planning an elopement in Iceland. Let’s dive in.
Iceland is an incredible place, and if you’re the adventurous type of couple looking for a rugged experience you’ll never forget, as well as some incredible memories, photos & videos from a wedding held in such a surreal, incredibly beautiful and alien-like terrain – look no further than Iceland. Whether you’re planning an adventure elopement with your photographer/videographer and just the two of you, or you’re planning a smaller, intimate ceremony with just your closest family & friends, there are a few things to look out for and be aware of:
Iceland Is Expensive | Upon getting off the plane in Reykjavik, the general inflated cost of everything in Iceland is one of the first things you’ll notice. If your experience is anything like ours, the flights from any major airport in the states out to Iceland are relatively reasonable and pretty in-expensive (the good news)! However, once you land you’re in for a bit of a rude awakening. Due to the remote location, and need to have most items brought into the Iceland via ocean freight, simple expenses like food can really add up. It’s tough to get out of any restaurant for lunch without spending at least $20-$25 USD. If you’re up for it, shopping at the local supermarket and cooking in your lodging is the best route to go. Be sure to save your receipts though, as sales tax for tourists is refundable at the airport when departing Iceland!
Consider Hostels | With most major hotels in Iceland ranging anywhere from $190 to $300 USD per night, a good and cheaper alternative is the local Rekyavik hostel scene. If you’re the adventurous type and don’t mind shared sleeping quarters with other traveling adventurers, or if you’ve got some adventurous guests flying into Iceland for a wedding, a hostel might be a good alternative! We spent a considerable amount of time hanging out in the lounge at the incredible Kex Hostel in downtown Reykjavik and were impressed with the incredible food options, beer selection and eccentric decor and had some pretty interesting conversations with folks traveling to Iceland from around the world. Kex Hostel also offers some slightly more expensive, yet more private rooms in case the idea of shared sleeping quarters freaks you out a bit. There are plenty of other hostels outside of Reykjavik, so do your research if you’re going out into the more remote areas of Iceland.
Hire A Local Planner | If you’re looking to get out into the remote regions and are looking for a truly unique elopement setting in Iceland, away from the densely populated tourist traps, definitely look into a local Iceland wedding planner. We’ve been stalking the incredible team at Icelandweddingplanner.com for some time, and are in awe of some of the incredible places they find for their clients. Seriously, we see the most insane stuff on their IG stories – ceremony locations adjacent to incredible waterfalls, inside glaciers, black-sand beaches, you name it. Other than location scouting, they’re more likely to help you understand the particulars in eloping in such an extreme place including what to expect from the weather, best times to view the northern lights, and much much more. Don’t skimp out on this, seriously.
Watch Out For Tourists | As mentioned above, Iceland has seen a surge in visiting tourists over the last few years, and as such, many of the popular tourist destinations are packed with people. It’s getting harder and harder to find remote, completely tourist free locations for an intimate elopement ceremony or portrait session. With a good amount of research, a willingness to go off the beaten-path a bit, and a solid 4x4 vehicle, there are some incredible and remote locations to be found to hold your elopement in Iceland.
Language Barrier (or lack there-of) | Simply put, 98% of local Iceland residents speak english well enough to make them understandable. So if you’re worried about how you’re going to communicate with the locals in Iceland, don’t worry! We frequented many coffee shops, restaurants and various locations around Reykjavik and in the remote western region of Iceland and had zero issues communicating with the locals.
Driving Can Be Dangerous | If you’ve got any plans of traveling down dirt roads, or adventuring out into any sort of remote region, a 4x4 vehicle comes highly recommended. One of the nights we were there, a group of us hopped in a car, and quickly drove up a steep mountainous road in order to get a short glimpse of the northern lights, and even in a 4x4 it was a sketchy endeavor. No way in heck we’d attempt something like that in a FWD car. Additionally, if you plan on renting a car at the airport, opt in for the full coverage insurance. Someone from our group just opted for the basic insurance, and hit an Icelandic sheep in the middle of the night, having to pay over $1,000 USD for damage. Icelandic sheep are a big part of the local culture, and often free roam around the vast expanses of fields, so they can run into the street at any given moment. Additionally, we had an Icelandic horse run out in front of our bus in the pitch dark one night. We were able to avoid it, but it gave us a bit of a scare. In short, don’t skimp, get the extra insurance.
Our Suggestions | While we captured this film, we stayed at the beautiful and remote Fosshotel Hellnar, which was a few hours drive from Rekyavik and was the perfect mix of a remote location, yet included incredible comforts of a 4 star hotel – the highlight being a delicious morning breakfast complete with some local Icelandic specialties. This would be a perfect jumping off point for you and your guests into the lesser populated areas of western Iceland. The ceremony in this film was captured at the beautiful Budir Black Church, set into one of the most incredible ocean-side lava fields I’ve ever seen – seriously, take a look at the drone footage in the film below, most of which was shot at the Budir Church. Also worth checking out is the Hotel Budir right next door to the church, which would act as a good spot to house you or your guests for a ceremony at the Budir Black Church.
We realize most of these suggestions focus around the western region of Iceland, but honestly there is so much more to explore in this beautiful country that can’t be highlighted in a single blog post. The Icelandic people are incredibly hospitable, welcoming and the stunning outlooks and raw displays of nature around every corner make this a country worth visiting, and eloping in if you’re the open-minded adventurous type. It’s a place words can’t accurately describe, but your eyes must actually see to appreciate.
A Farm Neck Golf Club Wedding Film
Najah & Omar are pretty special people, and that became pretty obvious when we first hopped on the phone with them to discuss our package options as well as their detailed plans for a destination wedding on the gorgeous island of Martha’s Vineyard. This was a wedding we’d been stoked on for MONTHS leading up to, as it was our first time getting to experience the island and all of it’s incredible charm. So when September 2018 finally came around, we couldn’t have been more excited to jump on the ferry from New Bedford MA, start the incredible weekend off, and tackle our first Farm Neck Golf Club wedding film.
Naj & Omar met at work during a training session, and after Omar overheard Najah talking about the awful dating scene in the Atlanta area, Omar chimed in and asked why she was trash talking his hometown. From there, they continued email discussions for a few weeks while Najah was in Asia on a work assignment, and when she returned, invited Omar to her 25th birthday party, and the rest is history.
Fast forward a few years to a gorgeous early fall weekend in Martha’s Vineyard, Najah & Omar made things official. As soon as we landed on the island the day before the wedding and saw the quaint surroundings of downtown Oak Bluffs, MV, we knew this was going to be a wedding we wouldn’t soon forget. From our first lobster roll experience, to the shops, restaurants and bustling dock-side bars, we were in love immediately and quickly understood how people can get so crazy about this place. On the wedding day, getting the opportunity to work alongside the hilariously funny Pizzuti Photography team, our friends at Blue Lane Events, as well as all the other incredible vendors made for an amazingly smooth, fun-filled day. The ceremony was held at the historical Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, followed by a gorgeous reception in a beautiful tent on the grounds of Farm Neck Golf Club. Naj & Omar’s family and friends were all such incredible people, with such amazing things to say about them; and dang, let’s talk about the dance floor situation. The hottest dance floor of the 2018 season, hands down – seriously, watch the video and tell me I’m wrong.
On the ferry ride home, we were coming down off such a massive high from all of the events of that weekend. The memories we made, people we met, and footage we captured. We’ll never forget our first trip to Martha’s Vineyard, and couldn’t have been happier to spend it with Najah & Omar. We poured our heart into this film, and really wanted to highlight the magic of that special place. Take a look below and let us know what you think! Huge thanks to Najah & Omar for having us out to the island, and for allowing us to be part of their amazing day. We can only hope this is the start of a long future for New England Creative and MV weddings <3
Photography: Pizzuti Photography | Venue: Farm Neck Golf Club | Planning & Decor: Blue Lane Events | DJ: Taela Naomi | Catering: | Floral Design: Flowers On The Vineyard | Cake: Val Cakes | Makeup: MirnEst
Lyman Orchards Wedding Film
Alyssa & Phil are a lot like me; busy parents, demanding careers, crazy in love with their kid and incredibly driven individuals. Both are busy professionals in the insurance industry here in CT, proud parents of adorable Calvin (he makes a few appearances in their film below), and when Phil isn’t busy in the professional world, he’s working the DJ booth alongside some of the most talented DJ & event crew in the state at Power Posse Productions – hands down the best DJ crew we’ve worked with (brides take note!). After meeting during their college years at UCONN and starting a family, these two tied the knot on a gorgeous day in August, and we were honored to have captured their Lyman Orchards wedding film.
This was our first trip to Lyman Orchards to shoot a wedding, but we definitely see what all the hype is about. From the gorgeous & Lyman Homestead where Alyssa & Phil got ready, to the orchard first look location area where some early season apples were starting to fruit, back over to the venue & tent which were cradled right next to a full on driving range – this place was sweet. Within a 40 foot walk you can hit the dance floor, grab a drink and then hit the driving range (as many folks in the video did) – a pretty magical experience if you ask us.
I could go on for awhile here, but getting the opportunity to work alongside Jerry from Power Posse, share long golf cart rides with Erin, Amy & Peter from the extremely talented Daphne & Dean Photography, and the amazing and hospitable staff (looking at you Jenna M!) from the CT Wedding Group, made this an awesome stress-free day for us all around. Stress free is the way to be, for us, and our couples! If you’re considering hiring a videographer for your wedding, definitely check out a blog post we wrote up earlier this year titled “How You Can Help Your Wedding Videographer” – some good advice for all couples looking to assist in making an incredible wedding film and helping facilitate a stress free wedding day!
Huge thanks to Alyssa & Phil for having us out, and for the incredible post watch video selfie review they sent our way – stay tuned for that, as we’ll be releasing it soon!
Videography: New England Creative | Photography: Daphne & Dean Photography | Coordination & Planning: CT Wedding Group | Venue: Lyman Orchards Golf Club | DJ: Power Posse Productions | Floral Design: Sage Hill Florals | Hair & Makeup: Larissa Lake & Co | Officiant: Darlene Rice
Eolia Mansion Wedding Film
On a brutally hot day in July, Becky & Matt got married, and we got an opportunity to shoot our first Eolia Mansion wedding film at the beautiful Harkness Park in Waterford, CT. It just so happened that they booked their wedding on the same night as the annual Groton/New London fireworks display; the same fireworks display that was an annual tradition for our family to visit every year growing up in the Groton area. We’d round up our camping chairs, grill, and head down to the local beach to check out the event. To witness it, this time, from the Waterford side of the river, right at the conclusion of Becky & Matt’s incredible day, was a special treat for us, and a day we won’t soon forget.
Becky, an environmentalism student at Yale, and Matt, a conservationist who’s spent many years in Africa dedicating his life to saving, studying and conserving the endangered elephant population, are two of the kindest and most endearing people I’ve met. From our initial Skype call in early 2018, to their immediate welcoming of us on their wedding day, it was critical for them to support a smaller, sustainable business that put a lot of thought into what they wanted, and highlighted their passions for the environment & conservationism in their story – we were beyond excited that they chose to work with us.
From their sustainably sourced dinner menu, to their selection of environmentally friendly products, it’s clear these two had a certain love and respect for the environment; which I believe carries over to their incredible mutual respect for each-other. Just watch their film, listen to their vows and the way they talk about each-other, and what they admire most about one another. Cap it off with officiant Shawn Fisher’s incredible words on servitude towards others; and this was one of those events that really made me think about what’s important in life, and reflect a bit on those closest to myself.
Thanks to Becky and Matt for having us out to capture their incredible day, and a special shout-out to Jesse from On-Point Images who was a great dude to work with, and generally made the day that much more enjoyable for us. We love working with photographers who we can creatively collaborate with, and connect so well with – definitely check out Jesse’s work!