July 12, 2020 / Weddings

Iceland Elopement Guide for 2020

Everything you need to plan. Best locations, travel tips and etc.

Couple holding hands standing in the hidden cave in Iceland

Are you dreaming of an Iceland elopement? Iceland is an amazing country and its nature is really impressive! It is a land of giants, trolls and legends. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed if you choose Iceland for a wedding or elopement and here are some reasons why:

  • Endless plains, powerful waterfalls, giant volcanoes and geysers. All these will take you breath away;
  • Easy to come;
  • A possibility to hold a wedding ceremony in incredible landscapes;
  • You can register your marriage officially.

Difference between Wedding and Elopement

Elopement is an intimate experience to share with your best half. This practice is a popular alternative to the idea of a traditional wedding. It allows the couple to enjoy the ambiance of love, unity, and secrecy as the most fundamental elements of that special moment.

You don’t need to trouble over large-scale planning, guest lists, and a budget. Instead, you can take advantage of a flexible format that offers you a chance to invite fewer guests or not to have any of them. The couple, along with a photographer, can choose the most picturesque and charming setting that will reflect their personal vision of the event.

Elopement is also a unique opportunity to combine a new status of newlyweds with a joint adventure to a new place. The first day of your married life will be exciting and memorable due to the variety of destinations and spontaneous decisions. The day guarantees a romantic atmosphere, which is an essential element of your story.

Bride and groom walking to the secret waterfall in Iceland

Best time to visit Iceland for your Elopement

Iceland is a wonderful destination to elope throughout the year. Each of the seasons is exceptionally beautiful and offers its unique features that can attract your personal vision.

Being the most popular decision for tourists, summer is a perfect time for those who want to enjoy the gorgeous flowers and blooms. The long daylight hours will help the couple to implement all the ideas providing them with picturesque photo motives. Fall and spring can satisfy the couple with nice weather, the accessibility of the most roads, and fewer tourists. You still have a chance to experience long daylight hours for outdoor activities. Wintertime will be a perfect option if a frozen and isolated landscape appeals to you. Northern Lights are the main attraction of winter and can make your elopement truly romantic. You are encouraged to have good planning skills to take into account 5 hours of effective daylight. Nevertheless, the fabulous atmosphere will charm everyone and guarantees a memorable event.

Best Iceland Elopement Locations

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Bride and groom holding hands in front of Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Seljalandsfoss is one of the best-known waterfalls in Iceland. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive from Reykjavík to Seljalandsfoss. The waterfall is around 60m (200ft) high.
You can walk behind the waterfall for some beautiful photos, but don’t forget to bring a raincoat.

Skógafoss waterfall

Bride and groom posing in front of Skógafoss waterfall

Skógafoss is just 30 minutes apart from Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country, with a drop of 60 m (200 ft) and a width of 25 meters (82 feet). There is a path to climb to the top of the waterfall for an amazing view. Be ready that this location can be crowded with tourists in high season.

Gullfoss waterfall

Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. The waterfall can be reached within 1 hour and 40 minutes from Reykjavík. It drops a total of 32 meters (105 ft) in two stages in a dramatic display of nature’s raw power.

Dyrholaey Sea Cliff

Bride and groom posing on the top of Dyrholaey Sea Cliff

Dyrholaey, or «a hole in the door», is the extreme point on the South of mainland Iceland. The water has been destroying 120-metered volcanic lava rocks for many years and thus created such incredible forms. This absolutely windy place is full of puffins, razorbills, cormorants and different kinds of seagulls in July.

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is a breathtaking place that will help everyone to get much inspiration. Situated in an active volcanic area, the facility boasts of a valley with the faults and fissures witnessing the rifting of the earth’s crust. It is surrounded by the mountains, featuring lava fields. The beauty of the park is highlighted by the largest natural lake lying to its south.

Solheimasandur DC-3 Plane Wreck

Solheimasandur DC-3 Plane Wreck

Perhaps you saw some photos of this place or even heard some stories. A forsaken plane wreck place on the deserted sandy beach Sólheimasandur is one of the most favorite tourist sightseeing in Iceland. In 1973 a pilot of US Navy airplane had to do a forced landing on the shore of Southern Iceland. Surprisingly, everybody survived this catastrophe. US Navy removed all the subjects that could be used and left the rest on the beach. Please, keep in mind that the road to this place is closed for cars now, so you will have to hike there – near 4 km one way.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Bride and groom walking on Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in Iceland

Reynisfjara Black Beach is a very popular place among tourists and is located in the south of Iceland. It’s famous because of its unusual black sand. Beach Vik appeared from volcanic lava from a volcano nearby. Despite the fact that Reynisfjara is situated in the south the weather is very windy, cold and humid there, so be prepared for this and don’t forget your wind- and a waterproof jacket as well as boots!

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon astonishes everyone with its magnificent ambiance. It offers quick access from the main road and is 100 m deep and 2 km long. The trail along the side of the canyon allows you to enjoy the marvelous views of the mossy floor. You can also take advantage of the observation platform at the end of the eastern edge to have a look at the occasional waterfall.

Jokulsaron Iceberg Glacier Lagoon

Bride and groom holding hands near Jokulsaron Iceberg Glacier Lagoon

There are places on the island where it’s always cold and frosty. A lot of glaciers and Jökulsárlón lagoon itself are located in these very places. Trust me, the beauty of the glacial lake will blow you away! It’s hard to believe that all this was created by nature. We can do great wedding pictures there!

Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell, also known as a Church Mountain, is a charming place that has the status of the most appreciated among the photographers. The waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss along with 463 meters high mountain is a perfect combination that makes you fall in love with such a backdrop at first sight. The landmark preserves its beauty throughout the year allowing each season to reveal the best features.

Stone Bridge

A couple walking across the Stone bridge in Arnarstapi, Iceland

Stone Bridge is a rock formation, highlighted by a natural stone arch. You can find yourself inspired by its breathtaking setting that is complemented by birds and beautiful flora around. Easy access from the main highway will make your trip flawless.

Budakirkja black church

Budakirkja black church in Iceland

Icelandic black church Búðakirkja is located in Budir village and is very popular for weddings and elopements among tourists. This church was built in 1700 but since that time it was rebuilt many times. It exists in the present form since 1987.

What documents do you need to get married in Iceland?

Iceland is a part of the Schengen visa agreement, all the laws are clear and official procedures quite simple for foreigners. You will need to submit the following documents for an official marriage procedure:

  1. Marriage notification / hjónavígsluskýrsla.
  2. Birth certificate of both partners.
  3. Certificate of marital status. Both the bride and groom should present a certificate of marital status which states that there are no obstacles to the planned marriage.
  4. If the bride/groom is divorced. In that case, you should send a document that proves the end of your previous marriage and that all the formalities are settled between former spouses.
  5. If the bride/groom is a widow/widower. You will need to show that all the estate of the deceased spouse has been finalized/divided.
  6. Passports. Both partners must present valid passports.

You should keep in mind that you must submit only original documents, if they are not in English or Scandinavian, they should be translated. Everything should be sent 3 weeks prior to the planned wedding.

Travel tips for your Iceland elopement

  1. Pack windproof and waterproof clothes and hiking boots. The weather in Iceland is changing very fast and can be quite severe not only in winter but in summer as well. It’s really important to stay dry and warm, so don’t forget about thermal underwear and fleece base.
  2. Plan and book everything ahead, it will save you money.
  3. Cook the food by yourself. Eating out in Iceland may be extremely expensive (especially when you are in the middle of nowhere), so it’s cheaper to buy everything you need in a supermarket in advance and cook in the hotel, guesthouse or camping.
  4. Drink tap water, it’s very pure in Iceland.

What to do in Iceland after your elopement?

Reykjavik

Being the largest city in Iceland, Reykjavik is a cultural, economic, and governmental center. It can truly boast of its immaculate streets, beautiful parks and gardens, an area of green respite, and the reputation of the safest places in the world. Though peaceful and calm, the capital is full of colors. Therefore, each couple is guaranteed a variety of activities that suit their state of mind.

The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a popular route that contains most tours and travel-related activities in Iceland. It envisages breathtaking landscapes and several unique sights in the southwest of Iceland. Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall are among them. They are not far from each other and are easily accessible from Reykjavik. Thus you need just one day to visit them.

Natural Hot pots

Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

The geographical position of Iceland allows you to take advantage of natural hot pot experience. The hot springs are in abundance in Iceland and are most likely to be found in the area near or on the ridge. The tradition of bathing outdoors in volcanically heated pools dates back to Viking times. Nowadays anyone can visit almost all of them for free. Built in 1923, Seljavallalaug is one of the oldest man-made pools with magic scenery.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located in a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Its proximity to Keflavík International Airport and to the capital allows you to get quick access to the place all year round. You can also visit local cafes, restaurants, and the spa itself that belong to this spot. The setting will ensure the romantic ambiance to follow your elopement.

Grjótagjá cave

Grjótagjá cave

Grjótagjá is a small lava cave situated near lake Mývatn in Iceland. It used to be a bathing place but its temperature doesn’t allow it to offer this experience anymore. Nevertheless, it keeps on surprising people all over the world with its stunning views and landscapes. It is a source of inspiration for filmmakers which made this place a popular spot for filming Game of Thrones.

Myvatn Nature Baths

Located in the North of Ireland, Myvatn Nature Baths offers a unique experience to spend a day relaxing and enjoying the surroundings. The complex appeared in 2004 and has preserved the traditions of many centuries. The feature of the attraction is geothermal pools along with the baths that surround a lagoon. The water is full of minerals, silicates, and geothermal microorganisms thus making it beneficial for your health.

Hvitserkur

Hvitserkur

Hvitserkur is a magnificent rock formation situated along the eastern shore of the Vatnsnes peninsula in the Northwest of Iceland. You will have a real adventure that requires driving and walking. Being 15 meters in height, the animal-like monolith allows you to enjoy a stunning view and have wonderful photo opportunities. There are also several seal colonies, along with different kinds of birds to make your experience vivid and exciting.

Goðafoss Waterfall

Goðafoss Waterfall is a breathtaking natural attraction situated in the North of Iceland. Its name remains a mystery and provides you with a few hints to guess the origin. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót is 12 meters high and 30 meters wide. The place offers a variety of spots to sit near the edge of the rocks enjoying the stunning views.

Dynjandi Waterfall

Dynjandi

Westfjords boasts of a romantic destination that represents a series of waterfalls called Dynjandi. Its name can be translated as “thunderous” from Icelandic. This fact seems to prove the idea of its endless power and magnificence. The whole complex is 100 meters high and all the components make it resemble a wedding veil.

Northern lights

The Northern Lights also referred to as Aurora Borealis, are the visual result of solar particles that enter the earth’s magnetic field at high atmosphere and ionize. Their intensity is in direct correlation with the activity of the sun and the acceleration speed of these particles. The lights can be of various colors that depend on the elements being ionized. Located at high latitude, Iceland allows you to witness Northern lights from late August to mid-April with their peak in September and March. You will have a better view away from Reykjavik, where there are fewer street lamps to ensure a display without light pollution.

Garðar BA 64

Garðar BA 64

Garðar BA 64 is the oldest ghost ship made of steel that is left on one of the beaches of Iceland. It is a real treasure for those who enjoy the atmosphere of abandonment. The ship itself was constructed in 1912 in Norway and later in Iceland, it was used for whaling. The vessel has been beached for years and now it attracts people with a rusting ruin.

How to drive in Iceland

road in Iceland with mountains

The best way to explore Ireland is to rent a car as public transport is not so much developed. This opportunity will allow you to have more freedom to choose where to stop and when. Self-driving can help you experience the adventure of independent travel. An international driver’s license is not required. All you need is to show your passport, credit card, and driving license. Be aware that the headlights must be kept on throughout the day. All the drivers should take into account the gravel roads, blind hills, and blind curves that can test a driver’s skill. It is also essential to consider livestock on the road that can be in your path.

National Food

The climate limitations of Iceland and its isolation from the world made its cuisine simple, elegant, and natural. The geographical position of the country presupposes the abundance of seafood. History proves that fishing has been an important way to feed the Icelanders. Therefore there are more than 320 species of saltwater fish. Fermented shark is one of the most prominent dishes that make your visit to Iceland truly unique. Don’t forget to try Icelandic Skyr which is a thick and creamy dairy product that resembles yogurt. Lamb can please all the gourmets as it is served a variety of ways all around the country.

Tipping policy

Tips are not required in Iceland due to the fact that many bills envisage the gratuity or service charge included in the total. Nevertheless, if you have exceptional service, feel free to leave a 10 percent tip. It should be noted that it is your personal decision to please the waiter or guide. Icelanders will not be offended by your generous gratitude.

Languages in Iceland

Being a monolingual country, Iceland has one official language which is Icelandic. It was adopted by its constitution of 2011. However, most Icelanders can speak other languages that might be helpful for those who come to visit this country. It’s obligatory for students to study English and another Scandinavian language. As a result, such languages as English, Danish, German, Spanish, and French can be heard in Iceland.

Are you planning an elopement or wedding in Iceland? Get in touch, this is going to be fun!

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