Iceland elopement guide

Iceland Elopement Guide | How to Elope in Iceland

Iceland Elopement Checklist

  1. Choose the best time of year to elope in Iceland
  2. Choose your perfect elopement location
  3. Get your marriage license
  4. Book your lodging
  5. Book your activities
  6. Wrap up the details (car rental, important tips, cost, etc.)
  7. Iceland elopement packages
Vestrahorn and Stokksness elopement photograph of the couple from the bird view made with a drone

How to Plan Your Iceland Elopement?

So, you’re planning an elopement in Iceland? You’re in the right place! As local Iceland elopement photographers and guides, we are excited to share our rich expertise in planning your unique elopement in the land of fire and ice. We first visited Iceland in 2014 and since then we’ve seen even a larger boom in the popularity of Iceland as the perfect elopement and wedding destination. It came with the unprecedented wave of tourism started by the financial crisis of 2008 and (fun fact!) the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty! Sure thing, Iceland has been an iconic place for Hollywood since Game of Thrones, but after Walter Mitty tourism in Iceland just skyrocketed.

As your guides & elopement photographers, we will help you navigate Iceland’s most secluded and unique sights and ensure that your elopement is a truly unforgettable moment in your life.

How to legally Get Married in Iceland?

To legally get married in Iceland and get a marriage license, you’ll need to prepare a short list of documents:

1. Marriage license (marriage notification) with Iceland Registry. This document will have to be filled in not only by the two of you but also by an officiant during the ceremony.

2. Originals of Birth Certificates of both of you.

3. Passports of you and your partner (that’s pretty obvious – you’ll need to travel to Iceland anyway, right?!)

4. A certificate of marital status of both your partner and you released at least 8-12 weeks before a wedding date.

5. Divorce decree or Settlement Agreement/Finalization document (if applicable).

6. Official document that states all the assets and liabilities of the deceased spouse (if applicable).

It goes without saying, that to have a legal marriage in Iceland you and your partner need to be over 18 years old. 

You can find more legal information on the matter on Iceland’s District Commissioner official website.

However, if you find legal marriage too stressful and overwhelming, you can always get married in your home country and come to Iceland to say private vows somewhere eternally beautiful and of course, have elopement photographs in the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland. This is a popular option used by half of the couples we work with.

Can US Citizens Get Married in Iceland?

Yes, absolutely! As a result of the legal marriage, Iceland issues the international marriage license & certificate, which is valid in the USA. Iceland is one of the easiest countries in the world to get married legally.

Do I Need an Officiant and Witness in Iceland?

Unfortunately, you cannot legally marry in Iceland without the officiant. However, it’s pretty easy to organize and we’re ready to recommend you the trusted officiants we worked with. You’re able to change the price for the wedding officiant in Iceland here in the article we’ve prepared as well.

iceland elopement ring

Who Can Legally Marry You in Iceland

  • Ordained Icelandic Religious Pastor
  • Licensed Icelandic Spiritual Pastor
  • Icelandic Civil Officer (District Commissioner)
  • Ásatrú Goði
  • Humanist Organization

LGBTQ+ marriage in Iceland

LGBT elopement in Iceland

Love is love – we completely support this! So we’re happy to tell, you that Iceland is a very liberal country, where gay marriage (and same-sex marriage) has been legally allowed since 2010. It’s very important to keep in mind the position of the country towards LGBT weddings. It doesn’t matter what gender or sexual orientation you are – Iceland would be an ideal destination for your elopement.

Iceland Elopement Locations

Iceland has so much to offer even for the most sophisticated travelers and travel geeks. Having years of experience behind us, we can offer customized off-the-beaten paths where you can enjoy the privacy and beauty of flabbergasting Icelandic nature as well as memorize your visit to this country by the most epic and recognizable places.
There are popular locations such as Reynisfjara or Budir church which attract millions of tourists every year. However, their popularity is also their downside. To escape crowds, you’ll need to be local and thoroughly plan the ceremony place and time. We’ll be happy to help you with planning and elopement photography, as we know exactly what to expect from each location. Here is the list of our personal selection of locations for eloping. Now let’s get down to a quick overview!

Kirkjufell Mountain

Kirkjufell also known as “Church Mountain” is an easily accessible destination and most photographed too.
Its striking slopes and the picturesque Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall that is situated in front of the mountain make this whole scene a painted masterpiece you cannot but marvel at.
No wonder, they chose this little paradise on earth to film several episodes from the Game of Thrones. There are plenty of jaw-dropping locations nearby, so it’s an amazing region for elopement.

Arnarstapi Stone Arch 

Gatklettur (“Hellnar Arch”) is naturally formed over the years arch and is located between the villages of Arnarstapi and Hellnar. The easiest way to access the arch is to hike from Arnarstapi to HellnarIf. This route is approximately 5 kilometers long and takes two hours to get to the arch. You can enjoy a beautiful rigged coastline and huge basalt caves.

If you want to have stunning pictures that they show in captivating Hollywood movies or some popular travel blogs then we definitely suggest visiting this place. This location is a perfect match when you elope at Snaefellsness.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach Elopement

Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara Beach is only 112 miles away from Reykjavik and it is that very black sand beach Iceland is known for in all of the world.
Here the beauty of basalt stacks, the waves of the sea, and the black sand meet authentic Icelandic folklore and make this place so special. We photographed there many times and every elopement was still magical and unique.

Budir Black Church

Or Búðakirkja – is a small black wooden church with white doors and windows. It is not a typical Icelandic church and stands out against rough and virgin natural surroundings. Though it was built in 1848, it is still functioning and many come to have their destination weddings here. 
Don’t miss our story of the elopement of Georgia & Max, where we’ve also shared some useful info about Budir black church wedding.

Top Locations to Elope in Iceland

Kvernufoss

Kvernufoss is a 30-meter-high waterfall on the South coast of Iceland. It is not far from the famous Skógafoss waterfall but is more secluded and serene. Coming here at sunset or sunrise makes this place magic for intimate elopements. On the one hand, you will have a perfect backdrop with a cascading waterfall for your wedding ceremony, on the other hand, you will enjoy privacy in the lap of nature.

There is an opportunity to take breathtaking pictures from behind the waterfall.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of the most visited places in the country. The lagoon appeared naturally from melted glacial water and is growing these days as ice blocks crumble from the glacier. This is the deepest lake in Iceland (248 meters deep) and as it is connected to the ocean waters – sea and freshwater are mixed there, forming their unique color. There are also numerous ice caves for your elopement in Iceland.

You can have amazing pictures of glistening like diamonds in the sun pieces of icebergs on the black sand beach near the lagoon. 

It takes a five-hour ride from Reykjavik to get to Jökulsárlón.

Vestrahorn and Stokksness

Vestrahorn, Vesturhorn, and Stokksnes are names for one and the same area. This beautiful place with an untouched nature is only ten minutes drive from Höfn. There are mountains and the sea and if you go down the beach you can see reflections on the wet sand- endless possibilities for creative and marvelous pictures! 

Vestrahorn beach is a private territory, so be prepared to pay a small fee to enjoy amazing panorama of this place.

Hverir

Iceland is world-known as of fire for its stunning geothermal areas like Námafjall or Hverir. They are located on the Reykjanes peninsula. Here, smoking fumaroles, boiling mud pots, and colorful sulfur crystals create a unique landscape and it’s an amazing spot if you prefer to stay closer to Reykjavik when eloping.

Haifoss

Located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Haifoss, meaning ‘High Waterfall’, is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland. Its seclusion makes an intimate ceremony at Haifoss a truly outstanding idea. Ideal for adventurous couples, the area offers scenic hikes and breathtaking landscapes. You can have a ceremony both at the top of the huge canyon or even hike to the foot of the epic waterfall.

Why elope in Iceland?

Iceland is easily one of the most attractive countries to elope in! You can choose any kind of location to your tastes and dreams: majestic glaciers, stunning waterfalls, famous black sand beaches, lava fields and so much more. And if you want to experience northern lights elopement in all its glory, Iceland is the right destination to follow.

We have roamed different parts of the country far and wide, but every time we return, Iceland reveals new extraordinary beauties of its authentic nature and wildlife.

Not enough to choose Iceland?! Then there are more reasons to elope in Iceland:

  • You can legally get married in Iceland no matter where are you coming from!
  • Eloping in Iceland, you get the Hollywood movie locations for your elopement photographs.
  • LGBT elopements and weddings are not only legally possible in Iceland – they’re highly appreciated and easy to organize.
  • You can continue your honeymoon in Iceland after eloping, and trust me – this stunning destination has so many activities to offer!
  • Whatever season you choose – you won’t regret it. In summer you get almost 24 hours of sunlight, and in winter – incredible northern lights for your elopement!

What’s the Best Time to Elope in Iceland

Fall

We love fall in Iceland for its rich vivid colors and stunning other-worldly landscape views.
Tourists are no longer so numerous so you can enjoy more privacy and have amazing pictures of your memorable day. The weather is not so cold yet as in winter, but it is more damp, so consider layers and a raincoat when packing your suitcase. It’s easily possible to have stormy conditions on your elopement day, so be prepared to be flexible.

We strongly believe that Fall – from September to the end of October is the best time for elopements. Especially talking about September which we think is the best month to elope in Iceland.

Winter

As we say, Iceland enchantes at all seasons but winter is a bit more challenging. There is more snow and roads are often icy and dangerous. Consider checking road conditions before every road trip toward your discoveries of Icelandic beauties.

Winter is the right time to come to experience glorious pictures of northern lights or aurora borealis paintings in the sky. In Iceland you can see more colors and shades of northern lights than in other places, so be sure to see this amazing wonder of nature while visiting Iceland.

winter elopement in iceland

Summer

This is the most popular season as the weather is warm (an average temperature is 13 degrees Celsius) and the sun barely sets giving you long days to enjoy Icelandic sceneries to the fullest (this phenomenon is also known as the midnight sun).
Summer however is considered to be the busiest season in Iceland as a lot of tourists come here. So if you are planning an intimate elopement, we would advise you to make it at midnight or during the night and start for more isolated places to avoid crowds.

Gljúfrabúi LGBTQ elopement

Spring

Another season that we love a lot is spring in Iceland. Imagine you two exchanging vows in a field of blossoming lupines and majestic mountains at your back bathing in the golden light of the setting sun – what a scene to remember! 

You also may travel on a budget as early spring is not a season in Iceland yet and prices are lower than in summer. However, be prepared for non-stable weather conditions!

Where to Stay for Your Elopement in Iceland

Working in Iceland as elopement photographers we can recommend some beautiful places to stay for your wedding day. This is only our subjective opinion because we are all different and have our sense of comfort and beauty. However, it may help you to start searching in the right direction for your perfect spot.

  • Reykjavik Residence Hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Reykjavik. It’s an apartment-style hotel, the idea of which is to make its visitors feel at home away from home.
  • Hotel Borg is a historic hotel. It was the very first luxury hotel built in Iceland. It is situated in the city center and neighbors the Icelandic Parliament and Reykjavik Cathedral. It’s a great place to start your wedding in Iceland.
  • Black Pearl Apartment Hotel are luxury apartments in central Reykjavik that are just 350 meters from Old Reykjavik Harbour. Its spacious suites and panoramic windows make it the perfect hotel for getting ready pictures of your wedding day.
  • Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel – this hotel is located only a 5-minute walk from Harpa Concert Hall. Its comfortable rooms and great service make it a great choice for where your elopement adventure can start. 
  • Sand Hotel by Keahotels is a stylish hotel that reflects an Icelandic authentic vibe and colors. It is situated in the center of Reykjavik and offers a beautiful city view from its rooms.
  • Black Beach Suites – is a modern apartment hotel, built in the Scandinavian style. It’s situated just a few minutes’ drive from Vik and faces beautiful fields and the beach. We recommend this hotel if you plan an Iceland wedding.
  • Hotel Vík í Mýrdal – this modern and beautiful hotel is situated only 400 meters from the black sand beach and offers its guests great views and excellent service. It’s undoubtedly a great place to rest after a long day of exploring and a great start to discover new amazing areas of Iceland.
  • Hotel Kria – has everything for a comfortable stay and is located in Vik in a beautiful surrounding. It is a great choice if you decide to make your wedding day here or nearby. 
  • Vík Cottages – are located in an extremely picturesque territory with mountains and vast fields around.  The rooms are clean and facilitated with everything needed for a comfortable stay. 
  • Signature by Vik Apartments – is a luxurious apartment with a big terrace and a sea view. If you are considering eloping in Iceland we suggest including this place on your list. 
  • Arnarstapi Hotel – is situated in one of the best parts of Iceland and provides its visitors with clean spacious rooms and good service. The Cliffs of Arnarstapi and the village port are just a few minutes’ walk so you needn’t go miles away for the best places to see. 
  • Day Dream Hellnar – is an authentic house, so photogenic and great for getting ready and first look pictures of your adventurous Icelandic elopement. 
  • Hotel Búdir – has a modern design with a slight touch of antiquity. The hotel is 19 kilometers away from Arnastapi and is located in a beautiful area offering the guests spectacular views.
  • Kast Guesthouse – this is a cozy place with clean minimalistic designed rooms. Guesthouse Kast staff offers its visitors fishing licenses, horse riding tours, and hiking trips. And if you want to relax after a long journey- a swimming pool with naturally carbonated geothermal water is just 1 km away.
  • Gotuhus – Sea View Apartment – is a lovely cottage with just a dream location, by the coast. You simply go out to the balcony and all Icelandic beauty is at your service.

Iceland Travel Tips: Everything You Need to Know for Your Elopement

To have an unforgettable elopement experience it’s necessary to plan your trip thoroughly. When the place of your dream elopement is settled, it’s high time to plan your activities along the way. You have to think about must-see places, distribute the budget by days and locations, book lodgings, rent a car, book tours, or hire an expert guide if necessary. Iceland offers endless possibilities to enjoy its jaw-dropping landscapes, meet the local folklore, try the national cuisine, or even lose yourself in the farm life for a while.
Remember to book in advance for the best prices and accommodation.

Snaefellsness elopement

The national language of Iceland is Icelandic, but no worries – 98% (but it literally feels like all 100%) of Icelanders speak English.

Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore not only the most popular spots in Iceland but also some extraordinary off-the-beaten paths, so be sure to rent a 4×4 vehicle. You should follow the general driving rules and not speed up, as fines in Iceland are really expensive. We recommend reading this useful article on some special aspects of local driving that prevent you from getting into trouble and save you a lot of money.

We strongly support local businesses and can recommend Blue Car Rental, as our go-to car rental for more than 10 years already. No hiccups or issues at all!

The national currency in Iceland is Icelandic krona. However you will be fine paying by your credit, debit card or conducting transactions via mobile payment as it is widely spread in the country.

As the number of tourists visiting Iceland is growing every year, it is important to preserve the unique Icelandic environment as it is. Leaving no trace policy means you don’t waste, don’t go off roads, don’t take anything but pictures from the land, and don’t bother the wildlife. We practice Leave No Trace on our tours through the whole island and kindly ask you to do so.
Last but not least, if you are hiking to the place of your adventure elopement and meet other people on the way, be courteous and smile 🙂

Planning your visit to Iceland, remember that Iceland is the 8th most expensive country in the world. So our advice on how to cut expenses a little bit is – to take a reusable bottle (you can fill it up with tap water, which is pure and delicious in Iceland when needed), cook yourself, and bring sandwiches and high protein bars with you, save money before the trip. Be sure you have GPS and a map with you, an emergency kit with bandages, antiseptic, pain killers etc, swimsuit and towels, change clothes, and identification documents.

Iceland elopement packages

We propose multiple packages starting from a 6-hour coverage to a 2 full-day coverage plus multiple add-ons. All of the packages include:

  • Planning guidance and best vendor recommendations
  • Handcrafted elopement locations
  • Custom itinerary of the day
  • Digital photography
  • Drone photography coverage
  • Custom client gallery with full printing rights
  • All photography packages include travel throughout Iceland

Prices begin at $4900

Katla Ice Cave elopement photograph sjot on with a wide angle lens

STORYTELLERS

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YOUR ICELAND ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHERs are one of THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONs

We are Jane & Anton Iskra – a duo of wedding and elopement photographers and Iceland elopement experts.

Here on our website, you can see our vision of wedding photography and if you like it and our tastes match – then we will be happy to share the emotions of your special day and make tons of beautiful photographs.

Frequently Asked Questions


An elopement used to mean “a sudden, secret runaway, to get married, especially without parental approval”, but now it often means a small, personal ceremony for two with a few close people. It’s a great way to celebrate love in a simple, yet meaningful way, focused more on the moment and less on the big event.

Okay, depending on the destination you’re traveling from you need to expect to spend around $9.000 for your Iceland elopement, while most couples will spend around $18.000 according to our Iceland elopement cost breakdown we’ve made.

Yes, certainly you can marry in Iceland as a foreigner.

Of course yes! Any religion, race, sexuality, or gender can elope in Iceland!

Yes, you can! Even if you don’t need a visa to get to Iceland (if you’re from the Schengen zone or the USA for example), you still can legally elope in Iceland.

It depends on the country you’re from. We recommend checking the Directorate of Immigration to know if you need a visa.

Yes, they can! We even have an insight to make it even easier. We strongly recommend doing all the nuances and paperwork to legally marry in the US and come to Iceland for your adventurous elopement, having a great time, and not taking care of anything, but your love.

Yes! Wherever you come from, and whatever your gender, religion or sexual orientation is, you can get legally married in Iceland!

More Resources on eloping in Iceland

Best Iceland Elopement Locations
Best Iceland Wedding Venues
Budir Church Iceland Wedding
How Much Does a Wedding Officiant Cost?

Get In Touch


Jane Iskra

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