ICELAND ELOPEMENT GUIDE
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE PLANNING AN
Hey there, my name is Lukas, an elopement photographer that wanted to help you plan your ideal Iceland Elopement experience
Having traveled around the entire country multiple times, including for my own elopement, I felt it was the right time to share my knowledge with everyone. (That's my lovely wife Lena and I on the image, by the way.)
My connection with Iceland is really deep, and I never felt at home as much as on this beautiful piece of land. You should not think twice about eloping in Iceland.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO
ELOPE IN ICELAND?
There are many reasons why Iceland should be on the top of your list when it comes to elopement locations. The beauty of the country is probably one of the main reasons. No matter what scenery you love, you will find it here, from black beaches over to majestic waterfalls, hidden ice caves, or ancient glacier canyons.
Eloping in Iceland is easy in a country so rich in scenery with that feeling of being the only two people in the world.
But what are the best elopement locations that Iceland has to offer?
The best places to elope in iceland
Reynisfjara - BLACK SAND BEACH
Black Sand Beach is located in the Southern Region of Iceland next to the small town of Vis. It's an easy 2.5-hour drive from Reykjavik along the famous Iceland Ring Road.
You can park right next to the beach and even some food and water at the small restaurant nearby. As every location among the ring road, black sand beach is very popular with tourists, so make sure to arrive early for an elopement ceremony.
The sun is rising right at the beach, and if you are lucky to catch a sunny day, the photos you can take will be spectacular.
The best places to take photos are the beach, the famous basalt columns, and several cave formations.
Please be careful when shooting at the black sand beach, as the entire area is famous for freak waves. Follow the rules to walk on the beach that is displayed at the entrance.
Jökulsárlón - Glacier Lagoon
Glacier Lagoon is located in the South East Region of Iceland next to the Vatnajökull National Park. You will need around 5 hours if you are starting your journey in Reykjavik. The drive is worth it, believe me.
Parking is possible next to the Lagoon, and a small café is ready for all of you to grab some warm coffee as the weather can be pretty cold out there.
That being said, make sure to bring enough layers to keep you warm in between shots. One of my previous couples had to stop shooting as they were not prepared for the weather conditions.
The best spots for a ceremony would be directly at the Lagoon ( You can easily walk away from all of the tourists that usually gather right next to the café) or at the diamond beach.
The beach is right on the other side of the Ring Road, and it's usually filled with ice blocks washed to the shore on its beautiful black beach.
Kvernufoss is most likely not really well know to most people that travel to Iceland. I have to be honest. I also missed it during my first visits. However, once you visit it, you will never forget it and always come back, I promise.
This waterfall is located right next to the famous Skógafoss at the Ring Road in the Southern Region of Iceland. 1.5-hours away from Reykjavik will make it easy for anyone to go there. Click on the coordinates above to view the exact location, as there are no signs that will point you there.
You can park at the main parking for Skógafoss and just walk over there. You need to bring your hiking boots however as you have to walk along a small river. It is an easy walk, however, so don't worry.
Chances are pretty high that you will end up being the only people there as everyone else will gather around Skógafoss. That fact alone makes Kvernufoss the perfect location for an intimate elopement, and you will have enough time to take amazing photos. Or maybe I can take the photos?
Reach out to me and see if we can make it happen, as I would love to revisit this wonderful waterfall.
Now that I mentioned Skógafoss so many times above, I feel it would not be fair to not talk about this majestic and powerful waterfall.
It is located right next to Kvernufoss as described above and you should have no problems finding it among the Ring Road as there are signs everywhere.
This waterfall is simply beautiful. If you are lucky to be there at the right time, you might as well catch the rainbow that appears next to the waterfall under the right conditions.
You will never be alone at this place; keep that in mind. There will be hundreds of people walking around the area in front of the waterfall all the time. You need to be comfortable being in the center of attention for everyone.
You can either wait for them to make space, arrive early or shoot in the middle of the night during the summertime. There will be enough light to capture some mesmerizing images.
Make sure to bring some towels and prepare to get wet as this waterfall's splash zone is immense. I would not recommend it for an elopement ceremony and only put it on the list of locations you should shoot at.
Dyrhólaey is located in the southern region of Iceland as well. It is actually pretty close to the Black sand beach, and you can look down onto the beach at the top of this peninsula.
It is super windy up there, and birds will usually gather fly around your heads the entire time as their caves are nearby. Dyrhólaey is the southernmost point of mainland Iceland, and it's a beautiful sight once you are up there.
Speaking of getting up there, you can drive all the way up, but you need a four-wheel drive for this. It is not an easy drive, and the dirt road is not the best, especially during busy months.
If you are not brave enough to drive up, just park your car at the bottom and walk-up. It will take you around 20 mins to walk so remember that in case you need to carry a lot of things.
The best times to go there are at sunrise again as the sun will rise in the area of Iceland, and the views will be fantastic.
Fjaðrárgjúfur is not the easiest name to pronounce, so this canyon is called Ice Age Canyon by most of the visitors.
The canyon is located approx 3.5-hours away from Reykjavik. It is a must-see location for many people on the way up to the Glacier Lagoon.
You can get there with any type of car, but once you make the turn on the Ring Road towards the canyon, you will be surprised with a "lovely" dirt road. It is not the worst road to drive on but can be pretty bumpy at times.
However, it is worth the drive as the canyon is simply beautiful and gives you several opportunities for photos, especially for a ceremony.
The area is also pretty quiet, so you won't have any issues with other people. A couple of tourists will always end up there at the same time but don't worry.
You can plan your elopement ceremony at any time at this location but try to avoid the winter months. It can be pretty slippery among the canyon.
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall will be the first main attraction along the Ring Road when starting in Reykjavik. It's a good hour's drive, easy to access.
You can park right next to the waterfall, and it's a beauty to look at, especially in the evening when the setting sun will cast its light onto the waterfall.
You can either take photos in front of the waterfall or actually walk behind it as there is a small pathway that will leave you around it. Just make sure to be prepared for droplets of water in the air that will.
The best time to shoot or elope here would be in the evening in the setting sun. This will give you a lot of options for your photos, and the view is stunning.
If you are spending your Iceland trip in a camper van, there is a camping ground next to the waterfall.
It's an excellent place to stay, especially if you plan to visit the Vestmannaeyjar islands. The ferry terminal is just 15 mins away from the camping ground.
The Gljufrabui waterfall is undoubtedly a hidden gem and is often missed by most Seljalandsfoss waterfall visitors.
It is located right next to Seljalandsfoss, and all you need to do is walk north along the hills along the path towards the campground.
The path will stop at one point, and you can walk down to a small creek that comes out of a cave. If you are brave enough and are prepared for splashing water, make sure to enter the cave.
Most people will stop in front of the cave, but you can actually walk along some small rocks into the cave and make your way along the cave walls to reach this waterfall.
An elopement ceremony is possible here but probably not recommended as it's too loud and really, really wet.
That being said, it doesn't mean that you can not do it. It is totally possible and indeed one of the most unique elopement locations in Iceland.
Sólheimasandur DC-3 Plane Wreck
You probably saw this plane wreck on your Instagram feed for the first time. It is a super popular spot for most people, especially after Justin Bieber recorded one of his music videos at the plane wreck and skateboarded on the wreckage.
Thanks to Justin, you now have to walk to the plane wreck from the parking spot at the Ring Road as driving up to it with cars is no longer possible.
You can plan in a 2 hour round trip walk that is relatively easy and should be doable for most people. Make sure to check the weather conditions when starting to walk, as you might get caught by rain or a small storm.
If you are a big fan of planes, this might be one of the best options for your Iceland Elopement. You might have to wait a bit to get a clear shot, but it sure looks cool to see this plane that sits on a black beach-like surface.
Nobody was killed in this plane crash, so you should be OK, especially if you had mixed feelings about shooting at a plane wreck site.
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park is only a 45 minute drive away from Reykjavik and one of the most historic sites in all of Iceland. There are several big parking spots at the national park and you actually have to pay a small fee for parking there.
The entire park sits in a rift valley that is caused by the separation of the Eurasian and North American Tectonic plates.
You will be able to clearly see these cracks or faults in the various lava fields that surround the entire area.
The best options to plan your elopement ceremony in Thingvellir are in front of the Öxarárfoss waterfall or in front of the tectonic plates.
More adventurous couples can also look to snorkel in some of the rifts in the park that are filled with crystal clear glacial water. Hit me up if you want to take some photos underwater and try to create something really special.
The park is also contains Thingvallavatn, the second largest lake in all of Iceland. Eloping along the shores of the lake might also be an option for you.
Búðakirkja - Black Church
The black church in Budir is most likely one of the most favorite elopement & wedding locations in all of Iceland.
It is located on the the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a region in western Iceland known for dramatic landscapes. It takes around 2 hours to get there from Reykjavik.
Most couples plan their elopement with 1-2 nights at the Hotel Budir, located right next to the black church.
It is also a good starting point to discover the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in all of its beauty. There are many incredible photo opportunities, including one of my favorite locations, the stone bridge.
I recommend reaching out to a wedding planner if you want to get married at the black church, as you need to organize an officiant to host the ceremony.
As mentioned above, the stone bridge is one of my favorite places in Iceland, and rightfully so. The dramatic stone arch is impressive, and the combination of rocks and ocean makes every photo there unique.
It is located very close to the black church and worth a trip or elopement. I personally never had an actual elopement ceremony at this location. Still, I can only imagine how impressive this would look like.
You can really feel the power of the Atlantic Ocean at this location as the waves crash onto the shore.
The stone bridge is definitely not the right choice for any couples that are afraid of heights. You need to be able to walk very carefully.
I would not recommend eloping here during the winter as the wind and snow would make this location very dangerous.
Make sure to plan your Iceland Elopement during the summertime here.
Hvitserkur in the northeast region of Iceland is the last on my list but should be high on yours if you love the ocean and spectacular images.
The location is not really easy to get to, as the last part of your journey will lead you over a pretty rough dirt road, especially during the winter.
It takes around 3 hours from Reykjavik to get there, but the drive is undoubtedly worth the wait once you see this epic location.
I enjoyed photographing an incredible Elopement planned by the wedding planners from Pink Iceland there recently.
You can elope right at the foot of Hvitserkur but be aware that the tide might play a pretty significant role during the ceremony. Expect wet shoes and a muddy dress once you are done with your ceremony.
What do you need to get married in iceland?
Getting married in Iceland is pretty easy but there are some things you need to do
All of the following documents need to be send to the Icelandic government at least 3 weeks before your arrival.
You better start collecting all of these things now!
Both of your passports
both of your birth certificates
The iceland marriage notification form ( View here )
The certificate of martial status
Widow certificate ( If applicable )
Divorce documentation ( If applicable )
And the most important thing that you need, would be a photographer that captures the beauty of your Icelandic Elopement.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO GET MARRIED IN ICELAND?
The beauty of the lupines
The Summer months in Iceland are my personal favorite. Not only is the landscape filled with beautiful Lupine flowers, but you also get the benefit of a lot of daylight.
Depending on when you want to elope, you might not even see the night sky at all. Maybe I am a bit biased because my own Icelandic Wedding was on June 21st, the longest day of the year.
The mild temperatures might also be a huge benefit for most people and will surely help you with any Elopement pictures that you want to take.
THE BEAUTY OF THE GOLDEN SUN
The winter months in Iceland have their own beauty. There is not much daylight, and it is generally freezing, but there is so much charm about a landscape that is mostly covered in snow & ice.
Everything looks different. Since the sun is just hovering above the horizon, you will be pleased with soft and golden light throughout the entire day.
However, most couples pick the winter months as it's the time of the year where Northern Lights will be appearing the most in the Icelandic Sky.
SPRING & AUTUMN
THE BEAUTY OF THE INBETWEEN
Spring & Autumn are usually the time of the year with less tourist as everyone wants to be in Iceland during either summer or winter.
The weather can be unpredictable, it can snow, the sun can shine, you might see some northern lights. It's like a surprise and no trip will be the same.
That is also what I love the most about these months as you will simply never know what to expect.
General advice about Travelling in iceland
Staying in Iceland can be very pricey
For most travelers, staying in Iceland can get very expensive. The average costs of food, accommodation & gas are higher than most other countries. Especially the food can be hefty on your wallet if you are not careful. Most visitors bring their own food over to Iceland to save some bucks. Having your own food will also make you more flexible while on the road.
How much does it cost to elope in iceland?
One of the most asked questions by couples that are planning their elopement in Iceland is the costs!
There really is no honest answer to that as it also depends on what your elopement should look like?
The right question should be how much you really want to spend to make your elopement unforgettable.
No matter what your answer is, an elopement will usually always be cheaper than any ordinary wedding.
The weather can always change
No matter how good the weather looks, it can always change in an instant. Please make sure to read weather and road information before you are planning a trip. Sudden rain or snowstorms can happen around certain times of the year, but wind can hit you at any time and is a force to be reckoned with in Iceland.
Respect the beautiful nature
What most Icelandic locals hate about tourists the are coming into their country is that they don't treat it with respect. Please follow all the rules when you visit certain locations & attractions and make sure to not leave a trace when you are out exploring the amazing nature that Iceland has to offer.
Make sure to plan ahead
Do you have questions about the costs for elopement photography?
Please do not drive around in Iceland without a plan. Make sure that you know what you want to do and where you want to go. This will help you spend your time more effectively and prevent you from getting lost, especially when you are on hikes in a remote environment. No matter how beautiful everything looks, Iceland is still dominated by the forces of nature.