Destination Elopement in Iceland: Sydney + Alex

Every time I see photos of weddings and elopements in Iceland I want to immediately get on a plane and head there to see the beauty for myself. This elopement was no exception!

Sydney and Alex decided to elope in Iceland with a few family member present. They said their I do’s on the black sand beaches that appeared to be all their own at the time!

Here are a few words about the day from their photographer, Kara:

“Every detail of this day was special from the Nordic Cheifton, to the socks the couple wore and the rain that show how held off until photos were done. It was an incredible and intimate, amazing wedding day that was a LONG time coming (7 years, 6 months and 1 day to be exact)! To be married on a black sand beach- in Iceland. With your ‘Chieftan’ (as the officiant is called) speaking in his accent. The Icelandic traditions of holding a brass ring and also the long tusk- filled with a malt-like liquor- that everyone passed around and when holding it- you spoke your well wishes and then drank to the couple!”

Scroll down for some Q&A with the couple and amazing words of advice at the end if your planning your own elopement right now!

Photography: Kara Kamienski Photography

Event Planner: Pink Iceland

Event Designer: Create A Scene Events

Location: Black Sand Beach Reynisfjara

Getting Ready Location : Hotel Kria

Bridal Gown Store: Patty’s Bridal – Michigan

Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero

Lingerie : Aerie

Groom’s Suit: Milbern Clothing Co.

Socks: Divvy Up

Ring Designer: Douglas Diamonds

Calligraphy: Dash/Wood

Shoes: Red Wing Shoes

Videography: Maloch Media

How did you meet?

I joke I fell in love with a local in college, but our meeting was serendipitous in a way. I was the volunteer photographer for the Adrian, MI art fair, Artalicious, and Alex was working sound at one of the two stages. I spent two days running between the stages for the different events and wondering the art fair capturing photos. Apparently I caught Alex’s attention in the midst of this. We only talked briefly, realizing we both knew some of the same people at Adrian College, where I attended. Oddly enough a college acquaintance saw me talking to him after eyeing him up and gave me her number to give him, in case I ever saw him again. I didn’t for the rest of the weekend.

Flash forward a week and its Adrian College’s homecoming. Adrian is a college town, so our homecoming parade goes through part of town to the college. I was in the parade marching along when I suddenly hear my name being yelled. I look around, and who do I spot? Alex. Again, he’s there working sound for homecoming. Later I found out he may or may not have requested to work this event instead of something else (but he denies that!).

After the parade, I find him and we chat for a bit again. I went back to my apartment after the parade and I remember talking about seeing him again. Before long its time to go to the football game. I meet up with some of my fellow color guard and as were walking in, guess who I see? Alex. I end up spending most of the game talking to my friends about him… After the game I hunted him down and this time, I wasn’t leaving without his number. I remember talking for quite some time and he STILL hadn’t asked me… so I finally asked him.

How did you decide that an elopement was right for you? What challenges came with that decision?

There are a lot of reasons we chose to have a small elopement. First, we wanted to go somewhere special and different, while also making it more of an adventure. Iceland now holds a special piece of our heart as the place we were married. Second, having a wedding photography background, it was important to have somewhere gorgeous for photos. I had seen photos of Iceland’s black sand for weddings, and it was stunning against a couples attire. Third, I have a more complicated family, so we hoped an elopement would help eliminate some of that tension. We are very, very grateful to the family that did come.

Thankfully, I have helped plan weddings through being a wedding photographer. Your own wedding? Definitely a bit different…. especially when its in another country and doing it in 6 months flat! One thing we decided was to hire a wedding planner, Eva at Pink Iceland, to help us. They provided a lot of direction such as where to get married to have less people in the background, ideas of what to visit while in Iceland, and, of course, the biggest piece, they ensured our marriage was legal!

How did you decide on the location?

We knew we wanted to get married on the blank sand beach. I had suggested Reynisfjara Beach in Vik, but our wedding planner actually directed us to the ‘other side’ (Vikurfjara) where it would be less populated. We virtually had the beach to ourselves!

Did you tell everyone ahead of time you were eloping? How did you break the news?

A few weeks after we were engaged we started to tell immediate family of our idea to elope in Iceland. We knew it was going to be a hard discussion, as it was so nontraditional but we knew its what we wanted. Of course, it wasn’t without hiccups, but they all gracefully accepted it in their own time. We offered immediate family who was interested in attending an invitation. In the end we had Alex’s parents, Bill and Jamie, and his sister, Kristy, and on my side, my Dad, Ed, his wife, Leigh, and Leigh’s daughter, Madeline. Of course our photographer, Kara, and videographer, Trevor, were in the know too. Both were instantly on board. I do have to mention I worked for Kara before we relocated, so Alex and I both knew without a doubt she was going to be the one to photograph our day.

What was your favorite part of the day and why?

I think my favorite part as just being there having the entire experience with those that meant the most to us. And having the extra time to explore Iceland made the entire trip such an amazing week together. As well, our wedding day was a long time coming… we had been together 7 years when Alex proposed! I hope one day we can go back and finish exploring the rest of Iceland but for now, I’m so thankful we did things our way, in our time.

Do you have any advice for couples currently planning their elopements?

My advice for couples is to be accepting and understanding. Regardless if you do a surprise, destination, small elopement, or something else there will be a few hiccups along the planning process. Something unplanned will happen and that is okay. Someone will not be able to come, while someone else will want to come. Your future husbands dress shirt might get lost when you pick up his tailored suit, so they alter another. There will be ‘what if’ chats about things that are non-issues. But there will also be the day you pick up your wedding rings… and the weeks you spend “practicing” wearing them every night. The dress fitting with family who has only seen photos of your dress where the entire room is a teary eyed mess. At the heart of everything you are doing, remember it will still be your wedding day. You will still be standing next to your future husband/wife saying I do. The rest will fade away and in that moment, all your focus is on them. You got this. So dream wild and crazy, and make your day happen in your way.