Iceland is one of those places you just need to see to believe. Known as the country of fire and ice, this spectacular place holds some of the Earth’s most breathtaking landscapes. Beauty aside, Iceland just so happens to also be one of the easiest countries to get married in, no matter where you’re from. It’s also a great location to visit for couples traveling internationally for the first time, especially from the United States.
I created this comprehensive guide to help you see just how simple it is for you to plan your very own Iceland elopement by including all the information you need to know about marriage laws, elopement locations, rental cars, Iceland elopement packages, and so much more! So whether you’re coming to Iceland for the beauty or the hot dogs (they’re known for their delicious hot dogs), you’re in the right place. This is the ultimate Iceland elopement guide.
Iceland Elopement Checklist
- Choose the best time of year to elope in Iceland
- Choose your perfect elopement location
- Get your marriage license
- Book your lodging
- Book your activities
- Wrap up the details (rental car information, important tips, cost etc.)
- Iceland elopement packages
The Best Time of Year to Elope in Iceland
Summer (June-August) is Iceland’s most popular time of year to visit. Nice weather, no snow, and the midnight sun make this time of year in Iceland amazing! However, the nice weather and long days come with some drawbacks. During the summer, the country is pretty packed with people. Prices are more expensive, scoring some rental cars and lodging takes a bit more effort, and famous attractions like the Blue Lagoon are flooded with tourists. While summer is a great time to visit, I suggest either visiting during a calmer time of year, or having your ceremony around midnight (yes, the sun barely sets in the summer) to avoid all the crowds.
The beginning of fall is a great time to visit Iceland if you want to avoid the crowds but still have semi-pleasant temperatures (specifically around the month of September and into early October). This is personally the time of year I recommend eloping in Iceland. If you visit late enough in the fall, you may be able to see the northern lights. However, the fall season is when the sun begins to set a bit later, so if you want maximum amount of coverage in Iceland, I recommend booking a 2-day elopement experience.
Winter proves to be a difficult season to plan elopements in, simply due to the unpredictable weather. However, if timed right, winter can be a magical time to visit. This is an ideal time to see the beautiful northern lights, take a dip in the local hot springs, and walk on a glacier. The only drawback of winter is not getting those lush greens Iceland is known for.
The spring is another magical time to visit Iceland. As the snow melts away, the greens become as vibrant as ever. This is also a great time to see Iceland’s unique wildlife. From puffins and whales, you can see it all. You always run the risk of rain or snow during this time of year, but it’s all part of the adventure. And don’t even get me started on how beautiful the greens are this time of year.
8 Jaw-Dropping Elopement Locations in Iceland
Below are some of Iceland’s must-see destinations. However, there are so many beautiful off-the-beaten path locations around the country that are completely private. Pro tip: Hire an elopement photographer who specializes in scouting out hidden locations to have an incredibly private ceremony. I create personalized location lists using an in-depth questionnaire for all my couples.
Kirkjufell is the most photographed mountain in Iceland, and one of the most breathtaking places to have a ceremony, especially during sunset. It’s also a great place to watch the northern lights, see wildlife, and enjoy the numerous waterfalls Iceland is known for. This is one of Iceland’s most-visited attractions, so prepare for some crowds.
That famous black sand beach in Iceland that you’ve probably seen in pictures is called Reynisfjara Beach, and it’s one of the most breathtaking Iceland elopement locations you’ll come across. It looks amazing against a white dress, and the basalt rocks make for some epic pictures. There are also some incredible cliffs overlooking the beach for pictures nearby as well.
Skógafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, and certainly one of the most epic. Keep in mind that this waterfall is one of the most popular in Iceland, so if you’re wanting an intimate wedding, I recommend having your ceremony during sunrise or sunset on a weekday at this location. Don’t worry though, there are 9,999 other waterfalls you can choose from (yes, seriously! Iceland has 10,000 waterfalls).
Westfjords is one of the least visited parts of Iceland, but don’t let this deter you, it just so happens to be one of the most beautiful parts too. This place truly has it all. Waterfalls, hot springs, fjords, wildlife, and beaches are just a few of the many sights you’ll see in this part of Iceland. I always recommend this location for couples looking to have a more intimate wedding.
Landmannalaugar is one of the most unique and colorful places in Iceland. It’s a geothermal nature reserve, known for its hot spring pools and colorful mountains that are pink, blue, black, and more. It’s an unforgettable area you must see to believe.
The Black Church of Budir
If you’re wanting a more traditional or religious elopement ceremony (or even just cool pictures), The Black Church of Budir is the Iceland wedding venue for you. It’s one of the most photographed places in Iceland, and certainly one of the coolest for wedding photos.
Víti Lake is a geothermic lake known for its opaque aqua-colored water. It’s the perfect wedding venue in Iceland for couples looking for something more simple, yet timeless. It’s a great spot to relax as well!
Lagoon of Jökulsarlón
If you’re a big fan of glaciers, Lagoon of Jökulsarlón is the perfect spot for you. Around the lagoon, you’ll see seals, black sand beaches, and even the northern lights. It’s a super unique location and perfect for the couple looking for an adventure. Did you know Iceland has hundreds of different glacier tours?
Can Foreigners Elope in Iceland?
Yes, foreigners can elope in Iceland. In fact, the process is much easier than other countries. Iceland also recognizes elopements of any religion or sexuality.
How to Get a Marriage License in Iceland
Below, you will find all the necessary steps you need to take to get a marriage license in Iceland. Usually, I recommend hiring a local wedding planner to help you with this process, as they can send in all documents and set up all necessary appointments on your behalf.
Note: This process specifically applies to foreigners getting married in Iceland. The process is different if you currently live in Iceland, or some of the surrounding European countries.
- Obtain and fill out all necessary documents below.
- Marriage notification (also known as hjónavígsluskýrsla). This is a document stating that there are no legal impediments to your marriage.
- A certificate of marital status from both parties (also known as a no marriage record). The certificate must be issued within 8 weeks prior to the wedding ceremony.
- A divorce decree (if applicable).
- The original copies of your birth certificate.
- An official document showing that the assets and liabilities of the deceased spouse has been finalized/divided (if widowed).
- Passport copies.
- An itinerary of your trip (entrance/exit date).
- Send in all the documents above to the National Registry Office in Reykjavik at least 3 weeks before your wedding date. I always recommend sending it in a bit earlier though in case there has been an error or mistake.
- The week of your wedding, you’ll set an appointment at the regional district commissioner office (TBD once the wedding ceremony location is chosen) to review your documents and give you the marriage license. It’s a quick 5 minute appointment. You must have original documents with you.
To see more details about how to obtain a marriage license in Iceland, check out the official marriage site here.
If you are overwhelmed with this process, I always recommend getting married within your home country, then having a symbolic ceremony in Iceland. This is the easiest and most stress-free option. There are also planners in Iceland you can hire who can specifically help with the marriage license portion.
Do I Need an Officiant and Witness in Iceland?
Yes, you will need an officiant and two witnesses to elope in Iceland.
Unfortunately, your friend or family member can not officiate your elopement. Iceland has extremely strict rules with this process, so you must hire an officiant or have a symbolic ceremony where a friend or family member can act as an officiant. There are a few organizations in Iceland that will actually match you up with an officiant which is my preferred method.
How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Iceland?
Iceland is the third most expensive country in the world, so expect to pay a bit more for your elopement here than you would in the U.S. or other countries. Depending on the current exchange rate, 1,000 ISK is usually around $8 USD.
To help you get a better idea of how much you should expect to pay for your elopement, check out these examples below.
Note: ISK prices were translated to USD and these are peak season prices, meaning you could save more if you visited during the off-season.
- $2,000 – plane tickets for 2 from NYC
- $300 – 4×4 rental car for 3 days
- $3,200 – 3 night stay in a luxury hotel
- $8,000 – photographer
- $700 – florist for bouquet and decor
- $3,000 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $300 – hair and makeup
- $800 – suit, accessories, and shoes
- $2,000 – private helicopter tour around Iceland
- $700 – private chef
- TOTAL: $21,000
- $2,000 – plane tickets for 2 from NYC
- $300 – 4×4 rental car for 3 days
- $700 – 3 night stay in a 3-star hotel
- $6,500 – photographer
- $400 – florist for bouquet
- $1,500 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $200 – hair and makeup
- $500 – suit, accessories, and shoes
- $170 – dinner in a fancier restaurant
- TOTAL: $12,270
- $2,000 – plane tickets for 2 from NYC
- $300 – 4×4 rental car for 3 days
- $450 – 3 night stay in an Airbnb
- $4,500 – photographer
- $200 – florist for bouquet
- $700 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $100 – hair and makeup (or free if done yourself)
- $300 – suit (rented)
- TOTAL: $8,550
If you want a better idea of how much things cost in Iceland, check out this super helpful article that breaks down everything you need to know about the prices in Iceland, and be sure to check out my Iceland elopement packages.
Best Places to Stay in Iceland for Your Elopement
Iceland has some absolutely incredible Airbnbs and hotels. From charming cottages to five-star resorts, there truly is something for everyone. Below are some of my favorite Airbnbs you can find in some of Iceland’s most popular places.
Reykjavik is the capital and largest city in Iceland. This is where most couples stay for their elopement, as it’s close to natural wonders, most activities, and offers modern amenities like restaurants and grocery stores.
- Garden Cottage – A charming and clean cottage located close to the seaside with boho touches.
- Northern Lights Luxury – A very popular stay with large windows, beautiful landscapes, and the perfect view of the northern lights.
- Seafront Villa – A stunning, modern villa located just outside the city on the water with beautiful architecture.
- Ocean View Home – A breathtaking home right on the ocean with rustic charm.
Though hard to pronounce, this oceanside town is close to Vik, another well-known town 2 hours from Reykjavik. This area is mainly known for the famous black sand, Reynisfjara Beach, and it’s close proximity to glaciers. This is the place to stay if you’re looking for something a bit more quiet within the country.
- Fossar Cabin – A cozy, secluded cabin located near a lava field and creek.
- Cabin 9 Iceland – A high-end luxurious nature resort with a sauna and sweeping views.
- The Cozy Cabin – Situated on a volcanic landform, this modern cabin is ideal for couples looking for an off-grid experience.
- Secluded Waterfront Cabin – This stunning cabin has the perfect view and modern amenities.
Located in northern Iceland, Akureyri sits at the base of snowcapped peaks. While less traveled than other areas of Iceland, this area of the country has some of the best sights to see.
- Peaceful Cabin – This cabin has some of the best views around! Located just 5 minutes from town, it can’t get much better than that.
- Luxury Villa – A small villa with floor to ceiling windows, a hot tub, and a priceless landscape.
- Cabin in the Woods – This off-grid cabin is not only tucked away in the forest, but it also has views of the nearby mountains and ocean.
- Modern Cottage – This stunning cabin has a stunning view of the fjords and is equipped with modern touches.
Best Activities to Do in Iceland
Most couples book a 2-day elopement experience to capture everything during their stay. One of the best parts about elopements is that you can incorporate activities the two of you would do (or would like to try) together. Lucky for you, Iceland is known for having some of the best excursions around. Just imagine just how cool it would be to have photos of the two of you on a glacier from a helicopter landing.
- Enjoy a romantic dinner at the Old Iceland Restaurant
- Take a soak at the Blue Lagoon
- See the Northern Lights during the winter
- Go whale watching
- Have a bonfire with s’mores on one of the beaches
- Take a ride on some Icelandic horses
- Have a romantic picnic near Kirkjufell
- Go waterfall chasing
- Explore the abandoned Solheimasandur Plane
- Go on one of Iceland’s many helicopter tours (glacier, craters, and volcanos oh my!)
- Hire a tour guide and hike a glacier
- Drive along the famous Ring Road and stop at some Iceland’s must-see attractions along the way
- Visit in the winter and go snowmobiling
- Take a tour of the ice caves in the winter
Iceland Travel Tips: Everything You Need to Know for Your Elopement
Iceland can be quite different compared to other countries. Here are some very helpful tips that will make your travel stress-free and easy.
Renting a Car in Iceland
If you’re eloping in Iceland, you’re going to need a rental car. Iceland is much larger than people think. It can take hours to drive from one spot to the other, and public transportation is not the best.
Most people rent 4×4 vehicles, as Iceland has many beautiful backroads to explore that don’t allow standard sedans. While not necessary, it’s extremely useful if you want to explore some of the off-the-beaten-path locations. Two of the most helpful articles I’ve read about driving in Iceland are linked here and here. Both articles go over the cost of gas (hint: $7 a gallon), insurance information, and driving laws.
Those of you coming from the United States will be pleased to know that in Iceland, you also drive on the right side of the road.
Language in Iceland
Citizens in Iceland learn English as a second language and is almost universally spoken in Iceland. It’s a very English-friendly country. You should have no problem reading or speaking to the residents in Iceland.
How to Pay in Iceland
Paying with card is so common in Iceland now, that many people don’t carry cash. Using a debit or credit card will get you by. Be sure to take note of your PIN number, as most places require it.
Like I stated earlier, Iceland is expensive. It’s not unusual for an entree to cost $30 a person. To cut back on expenses, prepare to cook food yourself. If you have the budget, Iceland has some great places to eat. That being said, save up before your trip. Between food, lodging, and gas, it adds up quick! To see a recent article about food prices in Iceland, check out this super helpful blog post.
Leaving No Trace
Iceland is well-known for their beautiful green moss, wildflowers, and overall uniqueness. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that the moss is extremely fragile and can take thousands of years to fully heal. In order to keep the country looking beautiful for years to come, please practice leave no trace principles during your elopement.
The northern lights can be seen during the winter months, specifically from September to March. If you’re expecting to see the lights, be sure to visit at a time where they will be visible. If you’re staying in Reykjavik, be sure to drive outside of the city to avoid light pollution. You can check out my northern lights wedding guide here to get more helpful tips and tricks.
What to Pack
Even in the summer, bring layers! The weather in Iceland is extremely unpredictable. It can go from being sunny to a full blown blizzard in a matter of seconds. You can never be too prepared!
Iceland Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, an elopement photographer who specializes in planning and photographing elopements all around the world. To check out more of my packages and to see more of my work, click here. You can get a sneak peek of what I include in all my elopement packages below!
Note: I also offer all-inclusive packages! Don’t want to worry about anything? Let me book your plane tickets, lodging, vendors, and so much more. I can create your perfect elopement experience. Get more information about my all-inclusive Iceland elopement packages here.
Iceland Elopement Packages – Pricing
- 8 hours – 3 days of elopement coverage anywhere in Iceland
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in Iceland are already included
- Starting at $10,500
Depending on where you will be traveling from, expect to spend around $8,000 for your Iceland elopement, though this number could be higher or lower depending on what you want included on your special day.
Yes, foreigners can get married in Iceland.
Yes! Any race, gender, sexuality, or religion can elope in Iceland.
DON’T FORGET YOUR FREE ELOPEMENT GUIDE!
An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.
YOU? YOU’RE THE KIND OF PERSON THAT GETS A LIL’ TEARY EYED LOOKING AT AN EPIC VIEW.
That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.
These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.
(I promise you won’t regret it.)
P.S. I’m Brianna, and I plan, craft, and capture elopements around the Pacific Northwest. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.