You're probably thinking, what's the point of this blog post, and why am I saying you shouldn't elope in Iceland? Let's start this by saying that every time I've visited Iceland, I've loved it. However, I think there are some things you should know and consider if you're eloping there. Also, I want to share some of my favorite, not super-popular, elopement locations you probably haven't thought about. But let's start by describing my first experience in Iceland and why so many people dream of eloping in Iceland.
Options for your iceland elopement
Now, if the beauty of southern Iceland has captured your heart, but the idea of navigating crowds or incurring hidden costs has you second-guessing, I've got some fantastic news. Several equally bewitching and secluded destinations are waiting to be the backdrop to your love story.
But I want to be clear: I'm not saying you shouldn't elope in Iceland. I'm just suggesting you explore beyond the trend. Every couple's story is unique, so why not choose a location that resonates more personally with your journey? With that in mind, let's start planning journey through some less-traveled yet equally magnificent elopement destinations.
As you probably know, elopements have transformed in recent years. Couples are not just seeking a quiet escape but chasing the adventure elopement of a lifetime. The thought of pledging love amidst breathtaking landscapes, captured by an elopement photographer, has seen Iceland become a hotspot. With its captivating northern lights, waterfalls, black sand beaches, and ice caves, an Iceland elopement offers an enchanting wedding experience.
And it's the truth: Iceland is truly unique. Its dramatic landscapes and planet Mars-like beauty make it a dreamy wedding and elopement destination. From its famous geysers and hot springs to the vast glaciers, Iceland's nature is both raw and captivating. The allure of the midnight sun, the dance of the auroras, and the mystique of its culture can be enticing for any couple. In fact, it wasn't very fun to drive there because it was so beautiful that I had to stop every 5 minutes to take images.
I visited Iceland for the first time back in 2015. It was well before it became a super popular elopement destination. I remember that the locals didn't lock their doors in Reykjavik, which felt strange, especially if you live in a vast city, but also cute and awesome. I married my wife that year, and honestly, I didn't even know eloping was a thing - let alone that you could do that in Iceland. But I wish that I had known that eloping was possible. I would have loved to elope in a way that would honour our relationship because both my wife and I are all about the experience. We had a lovely traditional wedding, and I love my friends and family, but that moment was supposed to be ours alone. But let's not get into that too much! If you want to hear more about my story and why I became an elopement photographer, head over to my About page.
Seeking Authenticity Amidst Popularity:
The True Costs of the Iceland Elopement Experience:
Nature's Quirks - Weather Challenges in Iceland:
The Reality of Seclusion in Popular Icelandic Spots:
Faroe Islands: Where Green Cliffs Meet the Ocean
Norway: Stunning fjords and quiet lakes
Scotland - The Mystical Alternative for a Dreamy Elopement
Slovenia: Stunning Alps and dence forests
Croatia - Where the Mediterranean Meets Elopement Dreams
Austria: The Alpine Dream for Elopement Enthusiasts
Especially if it's cold, remember that most bridal gowns aren't designed for chilly conditions. For those who are planning a winter elopement, consider slipping on some nude-colored thermal leggings beneath your gown. They're a discreet way to stay warm. Avoid darker leggings or tights beneath a white gown because they are easy to notice. Instead, opt for a shade that closely matches your skin, ensuring it appears as if it's just your skin in the photos. As for suits, consider wearing a merino wool baselayer beneath. This adds warmth without bulk. However, ensure your suit offers a comfortable fit even with the added layer.
Your elopement attire should resonate with your destination. Consider elegant yet warm attire for a winter ceremony in the Austrian Alps. If you're saying 'I do' on Croatia's sandy shores, flowy dresses and lightweight linen suits might be more appropriate, allowing you to celebrate amidst the sea breeze comfortably.
I have a whole blog post about why dreaming big is so important when hoping to elope in Iceland or elsewhere in the Nordic countries. Also, if you're particularly interested in eloping in Scandinavia, check out this awesome article about elopements in Scandinavia.
I know that most people can't just pick the perfect time to elope in Iceland or Scotland, so you probably have to first look at your calendar and then discuss the perfect time to elope, considering your life situation. Just as one would consider the winter months for a winter elopement in Iceland, it's essential to research the best times to visit your chosen destination. From the midnight sun in Norway to the mild Mediterranean climate in Croatia, each destination offers unique conditions that can shape your elopement experience. If you're unsure what would be the perfect season considering the elopement location, head over to my destinations page, where I have hand-picked the best locations to elope your secluded and intimate wedding experience.
Usually, with adventure elopements, you need to have the necessary permits to access those adventurous elopement locations, but luckily, in Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), you don't need permits for your elopement ceremony. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider local vendors or plan early. I suggest you create a timeline for the days leading up to the ceremony, ensuring you have enough time to relax, explore, and enjoy every moment. And it's good to have at least one extra day if the weather isn't best.
I'd love to help you plan and photograph your elopement in Iceland. That being said, it's close to my heart that you're fully prepared for your big day. Iceland is breathtaking, but its storms can be unpredictable. No one likes to dwell on it, but it's always wise to have a backup plan(s) if the skies decide not to play along.
If you're still unsure of your intimate wedding location, I recommend heading over to my Europe elopement guide. Whether you choose to elope in the Scottish highlands or along the Croatian coast, I'm sure choosing a photographer who values your experience over the photos is essential.
My elopement package packages always include customized location ideas that I've visited before your elopement, local vendor recommendations, personally designed timeline of the day, activity ideas, and, most importantly, plenty of advice and tips on making the most of your elopement experience.
It's no secret that the trend of Iceland elopements sparked a revolution in how couples perceive their wedding day. However, the essence of eloping is not tied to a specific location, be it the ice caves of Iceland or the waterfalls of Norway. As long as I've been an elopement photographer, I've thought that your memories of your elopement day are more important than the photos. Instead of taking inspiration from those awesome shots you see of couples on Instagram or Pinterest, I want you to think mostly about one thing: how do you want to feel about each other when you look at your wedding photos?
When you look at your wedding photos, I want you to see that story. The story of how you promised each other the rest of your lives, the love you felt, the connection, the great adventures you embarked on together on this day. If you feel it at the moment, you will feel it when looking at the photos. That's what matters most to me.
If you're anything like me, you've seen so many beautiful locations for elopements, but sometimes you wonder how genuine those places are. I want pictures that show the places as they are, without people clone-stamped out (because the last thing the two of you would like would be to line up behind a group of people to take a picture at a place that looks secluded on Instagram). When alone, you'll experience the connection with nature, and it's much easier to enjoy the stunning, beautiful scenery, and, more importantly, your loved one.
Let me explain: I can create the ideal Instagram image on a mountaintop by positioning you perfectly and provoking laughter to capture "an emotional moment." But when you look back at the photo, you'll only recall the silly joke I told and the discomfort of being posed in that manner.
I don't want any of that for you. Instead, I want you to be yourselves and focus on the experience, the moments, and the memories in the making. We can still climb that mountain together or find a spot by the lake. But they aren't backdrops for a photo; they are the settings for your story. So, I promise we won't do anything just for a photo. We will do it for the experience.
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get to know me
Hey, I'm Jaakko. I'm a Nordic adventure elopement photographer based in Finland.
A few years ago, I married my wife pretty traditionally. At the time, it felt like the best decision. However, I didn't quite understand how emotional the day would feel and how hard it was to be 100% myself. We didn't get a meaningful experience as a couple because we were self-conscious in front of crowds and cared too much about what everyone else was doing. It's easy to say now that because both my wife and I are all about experience, we should've eloped.
So, I want to help couples learn from my experience and understand that they are allowed to plan a day that is just for them and about their love.
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