With its dramatic landscapes, Iceland is a unique destination that offers couples the most incredible backdrop for their wedding celebrations.
Located halfway between Europe and North America, Iceland is fast becoming a destination wedding hotspot. Bursting with natural wonders and a lively cultural scene, it’s the perfect fit for couples keen to incorporate adventure and fun into their wedding.
To highlight the benefits of what Iceland has to offer as a wedding destination, we have asked Vigdís from Icelandic boutique wedding and event planning agency Luxwedding, to provide some insider information on how, when and where to get married in Iceland.
At a Glance – Why Get Married in Iceland
- Straight forward marriage requirements
- Legalised same sex marriage in 2010 and listed as one of the top 10 gay marriage countries
- Spectacular wedding photos
- Marry on top of a glacier, in a cave, on a cliff, beach or elsewhere in the stunning landscape of Iceland
- Nature lovers paradise and unique adventure location with a wide range of activities
- Icelandic people are very friendly, most talk very good English
- Reykjavik is the northern most capital in the world and is one of the cleanest, greenest and safest cities on the planet. Home to a thriving arts and culture community
Getting to Iceland
Wow and Icelandair are Icelandic airlines that fly directly from Europe (London 3 hours) and North America (New York 5 hours). It is also served by many European, American and budget carriers including Easyjet. Keflavík International Airport (KEF) is about 45 minutes from Reykjavik.
Best time to Get Married in Iceland
Each season has its pros and cons which are outlined below.
Summer (June – August)
- Midnight sun
- Green areas
- Highland roads are open
- Better weather and therefore it’s easier to get around
- Average temperature 8 to 15 °C
- High season – more expensive
Autumn and Spring (May and September)
- Northern lights (September)
- Shoulder season – less expensive than high season
Winter (Oct -April)
- Northern lights
- Natural ice caves and other winter activities
- Snow in many areas
- Average temperature – 3°C and 2°C
- Low season – less expensive
Good to Know
Depending on the time of year, daylight hours vary from 4 to 22 hours.
The Northern Lights are not visible year round. Your best chance of seeing them is on a cold clear night, from October to March.
The weather in Iceland is highly unpredictable, especially in the winter time. People who want to get married in Iceland need to be aware of this and understand that they might get totally different weather than they expected.
Make sure you have a Plan B if you intend on having your ceremony outdoors.
Ensure you obtain permission from the landowner/National Park if you intend to marry in an outside ceremony.
Paperwork for a legal wedding needs to be handed in 5 working days prior to your wedding. If you don’t have a wedding planner you will need to be in Iceland at least 5 working days prior to your wedding day. If you have a wedding planner you can arrive 1-2 days before you get married in Iceland since they can do this for you.
Popular Ceremony Locations
- City ceremony location- Hallgrímskirkja (the big church in the city centre of Reykjavík)
- Outdoor in the countryside, by a waterfall or on a cliff
- In one of Iceland’s small churches in the countryside
- Adventure wedding can be held inside a glacier or inside a cave
- Private location where you are taken by a helicopter
Popular Pre / Post Wedding Day Activities
- Horseback riding
- Exploring inside a glacier or cave
- Snorkelling in Silfra
- Superjeep trips to the highlands (summer)
There are so many more activities to do, but the above are the most popular ones, plus hiking, biking, river rafting and more!
What it Cost to Get Married in Iceland
It’s usually less expensive to have a wedding ceremony within one hour from the city and then have the reception in the city. This gives guests the opportunity to have their accommodation wherever they want.
For those with a bigger budget, you have the option to rent a whole hotel in the countryside. You also have the option to have the ceremony in the area and the reception at the hotel. Iceland has some very nice hotels in various locations in all parts of the country.
The average cost of a wedding meal in Iceland without wine is from ISK 9.000-12.000 per person. A meal in a restaurant is very similar to this but high-end wedding venues can be more expensive.
Most alcohol is imported, making it expensive and fresh flowers can be expensive so consider alternatives.
Luxwedding customise their services according to the client’s budget and wish list.
One of the greatest advantages about getting married in Iceland is that couples from all over the world can legally marry with no need for costly translation of documents if they are in English. Iceland is also a gay marriage friendly country, as of June 2010 same sex marriage became legal in the country.
In order to obtain a marriage licence you will need to prepare and send your paperwork to the National Registry Office in Reykjavik at least three weeks prior to the wedding date.
All documentation must be original. If documentation is not in English or Scandinavian languages, it has to be accompanied by a translation. Paperwork for a legal wedding needs to be handed in 5 working days prior to your wedding. You will be required to produce the following:
- Marriage notification (Hjónavígsluskýrsla ) – this form is provided by Sýslumaðurinn í Reykjavik.
- Birth certificate
- Certificate of Marital Status
- If bride/groom is divorced, a divorce decree – a document to prove that previous marriage has ended with a divorce
- If bride/groom is a widow/widower – an official document showing that the estate (assets and liabilities) of the deceased spouse has been finalised/divided
- Legal stay in Iceland – it is required that both parties are staying legally in Iceland when the wedding takes place. Proof of that must be presented: Residence permit, visa or confirmation of arrival date (passport stamp or flight ticket). Information regarding residence permits and visas can be found at the website of The Icelandic Directorate of Immigration:
- Passports – both parties must present valid passports at the ceremony
For more information on the legal requirements and documentation required to get married in Iceland visit here
The benefits of hiring a wedding planner in Iceland
- Be stress free on your wedding day
- To ensure you have a Plan B and sometimes C for your day, this is essential due to weather conditions
- Negotiate the best deals for accommodation, transport and wedding suppliers
- Communicating with all suppliers i.e. florist, hair and makeup artist, officiant, photographer, hotels, transport companies etc.
- Assistance with all the paperwork and legal documentation
- Arranging pre/post wedding day activities
Luxwedding specialises in luxury and adventure weddings anywhere in Iceland. Whether you would like to elope in Iceland or bring your family and friends with you they would love to help you. They understand this is the event of your lifetime and a celebration of your love story, and want to make it perfect for you.
Luxwedding is a member at Meet in Reykjavík and therefore have an excellent network with the best hotels (3, 4 and 5 stars), transport (luxury cars, busses, helicopters) and adventure activities companies in Iceland.
Luxwedding is also a member of the Icelandic Tourist Board which gives them full permission to plan every single detail of your event or wedding in Iceland. Hiring them means that they can take care of everything from your accommodation to transport and activities while you are staying in Iceland.
The most important thing they provide is a first class and friendly service, they are there for you throughout the whole planning process. Listening and working closely with you gives them the opportunity to get to know you and create your special wedding day, just as you have dreamed.
Iceland is truly a unique place for your destination wedding which combines luxury and adventure for your wedding and honeymoon. Let Luxwedding do the work so you can enjoy your day!
Images via Luxwedding.*Costs & legal requirements correct as at June 2017
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To find out more about how to get married in Iceland you can use the form below as a quick and easy way to contact Luxwedding, who will be more than happy to help you.