Ultimate Iceland Elopement Guide | How to Plan an Iceland Elopement
Iceland is home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the world. From towering waterfalls to active volcanos, glacial lagoons, black sand beaches, hot springs, expansive fields of lupines, and more. You’re sure to find your perfect Iceland elopement location somewhere in this gorgeous country!
Planning a destination elopement can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be quite overwhelming. Between finding locations, dealing with any permits, and the general to-dos of wedding planning, there are a lot of steps to go through before the big day. That's where this guide comes in! As an Iceland elopement photographer, I can guide you through the Iceland elopement planning process. This Iceland elopement guide is to help walk you through the process of eloping in Iceland and point you in the right direction for more information.
If you're looking for an Iceland elopement photographer, learn more about us here!
Choose When to Have Your Iceland Elopement
Choosing when to elope can be one of the most challenging steps of elopement planning. Iceland is beautiful any time of year, so you can’t really go wrong, but some seasons have more pros than cons depending on the Iceland elopement experience you are looking for. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each season:
Summer Iceland Elopement
Pros of Eloping in the Summer
Warmest Weather: Average summer temperatures in Iceland vary between 50-60ºF
Wildflower Bloom: If you’re looking to elope in Iceland surrounded by fields of lupine, summer is the season to visit! Lupine begin to bloom in June and continues through August, covering the landscape in purple wildflowers.
Longest Days*: Visiting Iceland in the summer means you have almost 24 hours of daylight to explore the country! Summer is the peak of tourist season in Iceland, so popular locations can be overrun and crowded by tourists and tour groups. Long days mean you can head to popular locations at off times to see the amazing views with fewer crowds.
*Tip: If you want to elope at some of the most popular locations in Iceland, but want privacy, plan your elopement for very late in the evening or very early morning! The sun is out for the majority of the day in the summer so you could plan your elopement in the middle of the night and still have daylight to explore with. This would allow you to experience some of the best locations in Iceland with little to no crowds!
Peak Season: Summer is the busiest time of year so everything in Iceland is open and there are tons of things to do!
Cons of Eloping in the Summer
Crowds: The peak tourist season in Iceland is the summer months. The majority of visitors are coming in June-August which means crowds at peak times can be very large. There are easy ways to combat this issue, like visiting locations off-peak times or exploring hidden gems during the busiest time of day.
Fall Iceland Elopement
Pros of Eloping in the Fall
Fall Colors: Between September and October Iceland’s lush greenery transforms into a blanket of orange, yellow, and red! Fall colors don’t last for long in Iceland, so visiting during this time can be a truly unique experience.
Mild Weather: If you’re someone who enjoys cool temperatures fall might be your best season! Temperatures in September range between 50-55ºF and in October between 45-50ºF.
Daylight: Iceland in the fall sees around 11-13 hours of sunlight per day
Northern Lights: Starting in September, the northern lights become visible in Iceland!
Fewer Crowds: Choosing to visit Iceland in the slower season means fewer crowds when you visit a popular destination.
Cons of Eloping in the Fall
Unpredictable Weather: Weather in Iceland is always unpredictable, but more so in the fall and winter. Your chances of being caught up in a storm increase as temperatures decrease.
Fall Colors aren’t Guaranteed: There is a chance that fall colors will be completely skipped depending on the year
Winter Iceland Elopement
Pros of Eloping in the Winter
Northern Lights: Your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is by visiting Iceland in the winter! With almost 20 hours of darkness each day, the odds of seeing the northern lights greatly increase.
No Crowds: Winter is the off-season in Iceland and tourism slows down immensely. You will practically have locations to yourself!
Ice Caves: Visiting Ice Caves can be a truly unique elopement experience and one you can only get during the cold winter months.
Cons of Eloping in the Winter
Off-Season: Since winter is the off-season for Iceland, some businesses and tours will be limited or closed. And because of freezing temperatures and snowstorms, some popular locations will be frozen over or inaccessible due to deep snow and/or ice.
Limited Travel: Because of the intense Icelandic weather and snow conditions, highland roads are completely closed during the winter months. Access is limited to tour groups.
Weather: Iceland is COLD in the winter and weather can be unpredictable. If you're planning a winter Iceland elopement, expect high winds, freezing temperatures, ice, and the possibility of a snowstorm. Average winter temperatures in Iceland reach highs of 30ºs and lows of 10ºs.
Limited Light: In the middle of winter the sun is only out for 3-4 hours, greatly reducing the amount of time you can spend exploring and sightseeing.
Spring Iceland Elopement
Pros of Eloping in the Spring
Warming Temperatures: Although the beginning of spring can still be quite chilly, later spring temperatures are the perfect hiking conditions that make exploring in your wedding attire a lot more enjoyable.
Slow Season: Spring is between the off-season and peak season for Iceland which makes it the perfect time to visit! Everything in the area is open but there are fewer visitors this time of year making crowds much smaller.
Waterfalls: Spring is the best time to view the many waterfalls in Iceland as snowmelt increases the water flow.
Longer Days: March averages about 10 hours of daylight and increases as you get closer to summer
Cons of Eloping in the Spring
Early Spring: The only cons of eloping in the spring are all associated with the early spring season. Early spring can still be quite cold with snow on the ground and F-roads may not fully be open. Choosing to elope in late spring negates most downsides.
Personal Recommendations: The Best Months to Elope in Iceland
May: If you want to take advantage of all that spring has to offer, May is the best month to visit! Most F-roads are open, lupine are starting to bloom, temperatures are warming, waterfalls are flowing, and long daylight hours give you the opportunity to explore for hours in golden light.
June: Early June is gorgeous in Iceland. You are greeted with stunning views of lupine and since it's still early in the season, there are fewer crowds at popular destinations.
August: August is one of the best times to visit Iceland. You can take advantage of the best weather, lupine bloom, and get to appreciate all that Iceland is known for!
September: If you want to see Iceland in the fall, but don’t want to worry about unpredictable weather, September is your best chance!
Decide on the Number of Guests for Your Iceland Elopement
Iceland offers hundreds of incredible elopement destinations with a variety of views, accessibility, and features meaning no matter who you decide to invite (and what their abilities are), you’ll be able to find an elopement location you love!
Different Guest Size Options to Think About
“Just Us” Elopements
An elopement with just the two of you is perfect if you're looking for an epic adventure or something super intimate. It gives you the freedom to go anywhere and do almost anything!
Family & Friends
Having your family and friends with you during your ceremony can be extremely meaningful and emotional. There are so many amazing ceremony locations that can accommodate larger group sizes so you can have everyone important to you with you on your wedding day. It's important to keep in mind though, the more people invited means the more limited your ceremony locations are.
Can’t Decide? Don’t!
There are many ways to include guests in your wedding day beyond the ceremony. Having your guests present at your ceremony is completely optional and there are alternatives if you decide you don’t want them with you for that moment. If you want the experience of having a ceremony with just you and your partner AND want to experience a larger ceremony with your guests, that is entirely possible too! It is very common to exchange private vows with your partner prior to a larger ceremony with your guests. Your wedding day is completely customizable so don’t be afraid to go out of the box to get the experience you dream of!
If you want to learn more about different ways you can elope with guests, check out this blog post!
Find Your Iceland Elopement Photographer or Planner
Once you have a general time you want to get married and an approximate guest count, now is the time to reach out to some big vendors that will help with the other steps!
You don’t need to have an exact plan for your wedding day when you start reaching out to vendors. A lot of the time your Iceland elopement photographer will help you out with the big decisions and lead you through the process.
As Iceland elopement photographers, not only do we photograph the wedding, but we also help couples:
- visualize what they want their day to look like
- provide them with personalized location recommendations for their ceremony and other spots they may want to visit
- provide vendor recommendations
- permitting help
- build a timeline that includes everything they want to do while optimizing lighting
If you're looking for an Iceland elopement photographer, learn more about us here!
If you have more intensive plans for your wedding day, it may be helpful to reach out to an elopement planner that can take on some of the detailed help. Elopement planners can help book vendors and make your detailed vision come to life, whereas elopement photographers help with larger aspects like location ideas, vendor recommendations, and timeline creation.
Choose Your Iceland Elopement Locations
Choosing where to elope in Iceland can be overwhelming! The best part about eloping is the freedom to choose anywhere to have your ceremony, and the best part about eloping in Iceland is the huge variety of stunning locations to choose from! The downside is that sometimes it can feel like there are too many options. If you’ve booked a photographer that helps with finding locations (like us!), this step will be fairly easy for you. We provide couples with detailed location guides that are personalized to their vision for their wedding day.
Imagine yourself during your ceremony about to say your vows, where do you want to be? Once you get a rough idea of what kind of scenery you want to be surrounded by, it’s time to find some specific spots! Some of the most popular Iceland elopement locations are Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skógafoss waterfall, Dyrholaey, Thingvellir National Park, Reynisfjara, Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lagoon, and Kirkjufell (but we provide our clients with lists of some of the best-hidden gems)!
Choose What to Do During Your Iceland Elopement
The main thing you're doing is obviously getting married, but you can include so much more in your day as well! Think about what your perfect day would look like. Who would be there? What would you do? Where would you go? Make that perfect day your wedding day!
Iceland has no shortage of amazing things you can do while you visit, so why not include some on your wedding day as well? Some ideas of things to do in Iceland are:
- Explore waterfalls
- Traverse a glacier or take a glacial tour
- Kayak around a glacial lagoon
- Go ice climbing
- Hike around canyons
- Explore the coast and black sand beaches
- Soak in hot springs
- Go sailing
- Watch wildlife or take a wildlife tour
- Traverse 4x4 roads
- Explore the highlands
- Hike around volcanos
Also think about things you can include in your day that might be special to you and your partner, for example:
- Reading letters from family and friends that aren't there
- First Look
- First Dance
- Something you love to do together (board games, making breakfast together, etc.)
Your wedding day is all about celebrating the love you have for each other and the life you're building with one another. Including things in your day that are special to both of you can make the experience even more enjoyable and memorable.
Book other Vendors, Accommodations, and Buy any Necessary Gear
Once you have a better idea of where you'll be going and what you'll be doing on your wedding day, now is the time to buy any additional gear or hire any other vendors you need!
Apply for Permits (If Needed)
Thankfully most locations in Iceland are accessible without a permit but it’s always best to double-check!
Choose How to Elope in Iceland
This is the most important part of your Iceland elopement! Actually getting married! You don't want to get all the way through your amazing elopement day and then realize it's not even legal.
There are two ways you can choose to elope in Iceland:
- Fill out the necessary paperwork in your home country beforehand. This option is the easiest solution to getting married abroad and ensures all the paperwork is done correctly before the big day so your Iceland elopement is as stress-free as possible!
- Get legally married in Iceland. This option is a little more complicated. It requires you to mail in documents a few months before your elopement and bring the original copies to the National Registry Office in Reykjavik at least 5 days before your elopement to be approved. For more information on how to get married in Iceland, check out this blog post!
Have the best day ever!
After months of planning immerse yourself in the wedding bliss and have fun exploring the beautiful country of Iceland on your wedding day!
For more wedding information check out https://www.syslumenn.is/thjonusta/fjolskyldumal/civil-marriage/
That's it! You've planned your Iceland Elopement!
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