The third stop on our American’s Guide to Eloping in Europe is ICELAND! What was once a far off dream destination for us is now so nice we are doing it TWICE!! Vi and Bryan’s Iceland elopement at Reynisfjara was EPIC. Now we are here to share with you what you need to know! This includes what we did in 2022 and how we are TRYING to go even more magical for 2023! Unsure if it’s even possible.
American’s Guide to Eloping in Europe
We told you in our American’s Guide to Eloping in Europe – how to elope in france that we would be sharing with you an EU location where you CAN elope! (France and Spain were muy difícil). That destination is Iceland! We love the Icelanders and their legal system. Fun fact – Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Pretty crazy that the most sparsely populated country has the easiest system to elope. Bigger isn’t always better hmmm.
making it legal
So, how quickly CAN you get married in Iceland? Pretty fricken fast if you have us planning with you and creating your personalized elopement package! We are here to help you Americans IE foreigners get married in Iceland.
We will help you submit the necessary documents at least three weeks before your wedding date – we can do this through email! Just make sure you have all your original documents to provide for the authorities no later than five days before your wedding date in Iceland. Then, decide on an officiant (Iceland recognizes both religious and non-religious ceremonies!), who you want to be there (if more than you two), and away we go!
Get that documentation in check
Marriage Notification (this is Iceland’s marriage license)
Birth certificates of both partners
Divorce or Widow Certificate/Documentation (if applicable)
Valid passports of both parties
If you’d rather legally get married in the US, or the above process creates stress for you and your partner, head down to your local courthouse, sign the deal, and celebrate your love with your vows during a symbolic ceremony in Iceland! With this option, you won’t have to worry about the costs associated with having a celebrant, the Iceland registry paperwork, or obtaining certificates of marital status.
Truly – we’re here to help you through either of these options! COVID heads-up: Vaccinated passengers or those with proof of antibodies only need to complete an online pre-registration form before arrival.
Show us the money
While getting ready for the American’s guide to eloping in Iceland, we have a bit of preparation. First our American friends, you CAN switch out your dollars for Icelandic króna. As of January 15, 2023, the exchange rate is 1 US dollar to 142.21 Icelandic króna (ISK). Many places (restaurants, bars, tourist attractions) will take US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish currencies.
Our American pal, Jeannie, has been living in Iceland since 2014 and recommends just sticking with your card here instead of messing with conversion as almost everywhere accepts the chip card. Pro tip – gratuity is already built into the cost of the meal, ride, bar, etc. Tip if you’d please, but it is not the same as we are used to in America.
Passport – Make sure you have your passport ready to go! You will not be able to cross country lines without it.
Chargers – You will also want to make sure you are set up for charging. Iceland uses the standard Europlug socket with two round prongs. For these plugs, you can use adapter types “C” or “F”. These are often labeled as a Northern Europe adapter. If you forget to pack this before you go, fear not – converters and adapters are available in Iceland at the duty-free store in Keflavík Airport as well as electronic stores, souvenir shops and bookstores and some major hotels. Nordic Visitor Iceland also advises not to bring a hair dryer and to check voltage labels. The more you know!
Attire and accessories – The weather in Iceland is radically different from the US of A. The Iceland Midnight Sun, also known as ‘polar day’, is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the summer months when the sun remains visible 24 hours a day. The daylight hours in Iceland during the months of November, December, January and February are scarce. The average sunlight per day is about 4 and 5 hours. Dressing for this includes sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen! It can also be packing headlamps, flashlights, and reflective clothing.
Best time of year to visit
Due to great weather and a 24-hour sun in many parts of the country, June through August are consistently expensive months to visit Iceland. They’re also the most tourist-traveled months, so if you’re looking to save on cost and avoid crowds, we recommend staying away from these months. Therefore, September to November and January to May are prime months to visit Iceland! The weather can be a little unpredictable based on the month during these times, but the tourists tend to stay home, leaving you with non-peak season prices for a winter wedding, fewer people to wait in line at the blue lagoon, and access to all Iceland has to offer.
Psst We break it down season by season in our OG how to elope in iceland guide.
Plan to fly into Reykjavik, Iceland’s Capital. The cheapest flight options can be found from Skyscanner, Momondo, and Google Flights. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can enjoy a stopover in countries along the way or make a plan to get to Iceland and enjoy yourselves.
Have a bit of time on your hands and up for an adventure? You can travel to Iceland through the MS Norrona ferry from Denmark. It will take about a week, but you can have your own car and stop along the way – the Faroe Islands are absolutely incredible if you have the time! The ferry (kind of like a cruise/ferry situation, and we’re here for it) ports in East Iceland, which is synonymous with authentic nature experiences. Getting around is one of the biggest questions that we answer in our American’s guide to eloping in Iceland.
There are plenty of options for where to stay in Southern Iceland. You can keep it old school with a hotel, a little room service and a lot of bubble baths. You can go full adventure mode and pitch a tent under the Northern Lights. Orrrr you can live like the Icelanders do, in their homes. Where to stay is one of the more fun parts of our American’s guide to eloping in Iceland.
If you’re excited to camp while in Iceland, we recommend getting a Campingcard which gives you access to campsites all over Iceland! If you’re torn between camping and booking a room, can you present you with the almighty GLAMPING? Volcano Huts in Þórsmörk are located where the most famous hiking trails in Iceland meet. Here you’ll find a home to stage your exploration in Þórsmörk and a place to rest after your long trek on your way through the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails.
If you’re coming with a crew, tiny houses in Vik, Iceland is a fun choice. The four cabins side by side keep the party together and going all throughout the night.
For those looking for a true getaway experience, the Cabin in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland offers privacy and incredible views.
If modern is your thing, the Skandinavian house in Elf town, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland is in the center of town with access to shops and restaurants.
Wherever you sleep, we will be there with you the next day to start the adventure!
Areas to explore in Iceland
When researching the American’s guide to eloping in Iceland, you will need to narrow down the region for your ceremony. Depending on the location, you could potentially see multiple areas in a two day period and build out the rest of your adventure around that. We are all about the two day elopement photography to capture both the magic of your big day and the magic of you and your love every day!
Iceland is broken up into six regions: North, Highlands, South, West, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and the West Fjords. The North region offers massive waterfalls and geothermal regions you have to see to believe!
North IE the majestic Reykjavik
The North region takes about 6 hours to travel from Reykjavik in a regular 2-wheeled car, and you can visit just about any time of the year.
Highlights from our 2022 experience: first looks with majestic horses, salt columns, black sand, Skógafoss Waterfall and Reynisfjara Beach. It was both our elopement photographer dream and our couple’s bucket list location!
Our foodies will love Suður-Vík restaurant, we like to call it wharf chic. Our meal consisted of a pizza with a butter sauce base with pesto and candied onions and prosciutto. We also enjoyed cappuccinos and got a cheesecake to go. They say that what people remember most about the wedding is the food! Elopements are no different, yum.
The South region is generally the most famous as it’s home to iconic glaciers, Diamond Beach, waterfalls, moss-covered lava fields, Black Sand Beach, and more! This region can be reached in about 2-6 hours, depending on the location, from a 2-wheeled car. The best part is you can visit this region anytime, but we recommend November-March if you’re looking to elope in an ice cave or June-July if you’re partial to Lupine fields.
Skõgarfoss Waterfall is rated #1 across many independent websites. It’s located next to the main road and has featured in many films from Thor to Walter Mitty. Skõgarfoss Waterfall is considered a moderately challenging route, and takes an average of 2 h 28 min to complete. The route is also used to reach the Thórsmörk valley via the Fimmvörðuháls pass. This is an extended hike where you can see the huge canyon above the waterfall. Any athletes ready to take it on with us?
For things to do check out Pink Iceland. The South Shore Safari / Private Tour has you seeing farms, beaches, volcanoes, glaciers, and hidden waterfalls. This tour includes the magnificent Skógafoss in front of which Jon Snow and Daenerys shared a passionate kiss in the last season of Game of Thrones. There is nothing an American loves more than Game of Thrones. Just ask Joe Jonas.
Pssst Pink Iceland also hooked up with hair and makeup for our 2022 bride. So we are basically besties with them.
Here’s the time in your life when you DO want to go chasing waterfalls. Háifoss waterfall is a breathtaking option. You will need four wheel drive to get there and since the road isn’t serviced during the winter, June – September is the time to go. After you park, the falls are about a fifteen minute walk. If you are ready for a hobbit style unexpected journey, throw on that hiking backpack and head that extra 90 minutes out on foot to see the bottom of the falls. Check out one explorer’s experience.
Northern Lights (IE Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon)
Okay, okay, we know, part of the thrill of Iceland is a chance at the Northern Lights. While you may see them from a variety of locations, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is said to be THE BEST! Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon lies by the Vatnajokull glacier. You can drive to the lagoon along the Ring Road from Vik or find one of the black sand beaches of South Iceland to enjoy the view of the lights dancing across the sky. American’s Guide to Iceland has all the deets.
West, Highlands, Westfjords, and Snaefellsnes Peninsula
The West region is both the closest to Reykjavik (20 min – 1 hour in a 2-wheeled car) and the most accessible region. Here you’ll find moss-covered lava fields and waterfalls and can reach the area any time of the year!
The Highlands are full of incredibly colorful mountains, steam vents, hot springs, and even active volcanoes! The Highlands and adventure are synonymous, and you can access the area several hours from Reykjavik in a 4-wheeled car. We recommend checking out jeep tours for this region and visiting during the summer months (June-September).
The Westfjords are simply the coolest. We’re talking coastal cliffs, mountains, waterfalls (yep – waterfalls are everywhere in Iceland!), wildlife, and even hot springs. The Westjords are about 3 hours away from Reykjavik in a 2-wheeled car and can be accessed during every season but winter.
Lastly, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is said to be one of seven “energy chakras” in the world. If you are looking for American’s guide to eloping in Iceland, having energy chakras is definitely a good omen.
You can enjoy the roughly 2+ hour drive from Reykjavik to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in a 2-wheeled car – the views along the way are stunning. Here you can find mountains, cliffs, the infamous little black church (please please let us be part of your goth wedding here),and the Gatklettur arch.
We are beyond STOKED for our 2023 Iceland trip. ARE YOU GOING WITH US?! WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!! Tap the link and CHEERS TO THE BEST ADVENTURE EVER!
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