It’s 5 a.m. in the morning and we can’t sleep. It’s not because of the hotel. The Stracta Hotel is charming and quite comfortable. It’s not the weather outside. Everything is calm and serene. It’s not even the threat of the towering Hekla volcano in the distance that has been rumbling in recent days. No, it’s none of those things. It’s simply the fact that David and Rachel’s nuptials are just hours away and we have the incredible privilege of documenting their day. How surreal is this? We’re in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a Nordic island the size of the state of Kentucky. Outside our window is the small town of Hella. A population of roughly 780 but sheep and horses seem to dominate the view across the fields. Anticipation and adrenaline mix into this dreamlike state. There’s so many opportunities to create photographic memories with a setting like this. It’s no wonder we’re ready to get out of bed so early.
Everything begins in the capitol city of Reykjavík. David and Rachel decided to move here from England to create a new life for themselves filled with adventure. Reykjavík provided the perfect balance for their lifestyle. Mixing professional careers with their love for the outdoors. David could follow his path as a software engineer and Rachel could expand her rise as a talented graphic designer. With gorgeous terrain and shorelines all around them, every afternoon becomes an opportunity for exploration.
In 2016 something totally unique occurred. Following an old leap year tradition, Rachel proposed to David on the 29th of February. They were soaking in a local hot springs pool by the city lighthouse when she popped the question. Of course he said yes and the rest is history. It was now time to begin planning an intimate destination wedding for their family and friends from England. Thankfully, photography was high atop their list as one of the primary items to secure. Through a series of emails and Skype video calls, we were able to finalize arrangements to photograph their wedding.
In late August we arrived in Iceland. Several days before the wedding so we could do our own sightseeing. Before heading out on our mini vacation, we were able to connect with David and Rachel and enjoy a wonderful dinner at Snaps Bistro. We were also able to enjoy an afternoon hike with them which yielded one of the most impressive sunsets we’ve ever seen.
So how exactly do you plan an intimate wedding in Iceland that takes advantage of the southern coast of the country? Well, allow us to take you through a visual journey of David and Rachel’s big day. In the end it may serve as a rough draft for future brides looking to elope or host an intimate wedding in Iceland.
If possible, plan to make a grand entrance. The wedding ceremony was set to take place in a small church in Hella, but the bride was getting reading in Reykjavík; about an hour and a half away. So she reached out to a close friend who happens to be a pilot so she could be flown to the countryside church. Not only was this a notable way to arrive for the occasion, but it also allowed her to enjoy a scenic tour of the coastline from the air with her father. He had never been to Iceland before.
We rushed over to the grassy runway with a our cameras to capture every angle possible. As we were waiting for the plane to arrive we ran into another group on a bachelor party weekend. Their groom was about to parachute in as they were enjoying some drinks and a feisty game of football (soccer for us American folks).
At last Rachel arrives with her father by her side and we quickly make our way over to the small quaint church.
After the ceremony, we grab a few quick photographs in the sprawling fields and hills around the church.
Throughout the morning we’ve enjoyed sunny blue skies but in Iceland, the weather can break at any moment. As we make our way further east to seek out a waterfall for some epic portraits, the clouds begin to roll in and droplets hit our windshield. Nonetheless we push through and arrive at Seljalandsfoss, one of the best known waterfalls in the southern region just off the Ring Road on Route 1.
It’s also one of the only falls where you can actually hike up the side of the mountain and walk directly behind the cascading water. Our brave bride makes the trek up the mountain in heels with water spraying everywhere. Every step a slippery adventure. Thankfully the weather holds off long enough to get several images on and around the waterfall.
It’s now time to make the commute back to Reykjavík to meet up with family and friends for the festivities. On the way back into the capitol city, we make a quick stop at Heiðmörk as we try to squeeze in a few more portraits in between rain clouds.
Finally we arrive a Flóran Café Bistro, the site of David and Rachel’s intimate wedding reception. A wonderful spot located inside the Botanical Gardens of Reykjavík.
Without a doubt, Iceland left a gigantic impression on us. A dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, lava fields and massive glaciers. So many photographic options for a destination wedding. We sincerely thank David and Rachel for bringing us along to document such an important day.
If you are considering a simple elopement or an intimate wedding in Iceland; we’d love to speak with you. After traveling through this great island, we have many tips on how to plan your wedding on a mountaintop, the countryside or on a black sand beach. We can also share other suggestions on hotels, Airbnb’s and great places to eat. Feel free to pick our brain. Contact us here to begin your journey!