Words by Sydney Bowen
Photos courtesy of Photos by Miss Ann
Avid travelers Richard and Bethany knew from the start of planning that a destination wedding was a right fit for them. “We both love to travel, and have made travel a part of our lives together,” says Bethany. The couple chose to have their destination wedding in Iceland, with gorgeous mountains and icecaps being the backdrop of their ceremony.
While both of their families had positive reactions to the idea of a destination wedding and looked forward to an exciting adventure, some were curious as to why Iceland was the couple’s choice. “When thinking about locations for a wedding, we knew we wanted a place with striking natural beauty and an immersive experience for our families,” says Bethany. “Iceland certainly fit the bill!”
Planning a destination wedding can become stressful, but Bethany and Richard kept a calm attitude throughout their planning to keep stress levels at bay. “With a destination wedding you don’t necessarily have a chance to meet your vendors in person – lots of emails, pictures and trust. I can see how that can be uncomfortable, but we felt like we were always working with professionals and anything that didn’t come out like we’d expected would just become a memorable quirk.”
Seeing as Richard and Bethany are located stateside, technology played a huge factor in planning the wedding. “Most of the coordination either went through our wedding planner or was done via email or Skype. Communication was pretty straightforward too. We would collect pictures of what we wanted for tablescapes, flowers, hairstyles, etc., and asked if something similar was possible.”
Wedding planner Ann Peters helped ensure Richard and Bethany’s wedding went off without a hitch. Peters’ expertise and familiarity with the vendors and location made Richard and Bethany feel confident in her choices and ideas for the wedding. Due to a lack of Yelp! presence in Iceland, TripAdvisor was another great resource for the couple.
Another major step in planning was getting the bridal party and guests to Iceland smoothly. With family and guests located in different states, arranging travel accommodations was a top priority. “There are a handful of U.S. cities with direct flights to Reykjavik and two main airlines, so we worked on getting that information out to our guests as early as possible so everyone could coordinate,” says Bethany.
Upon arrival in Iceland, there were a few setbacks with driving logistics. “We had a mix of people using rental car GPS, downloading maps on their phones that could be used offline, and international data plans. All those options ultimately worked, but it’s easier and less stressful to do the set up at home than when you are trying to get to your destination.”
Despite traveling to Iceland for their nuptials, Bethany and Richard stayed within their original budget without sacrificing anything they dreamed of for their big day. “By doing a destination wedding, we had a smaller guest list and that allowed us to splurge where we wanted,” says Bethany.
The smaller guest list allowed for everyone involved to not only enjoy the wedding, but also experience Iceland together. “With twelve guests at a destination wedding, we had time to relax more and enjoy the company and Iceland.”
A small bridal party paired with an incredible location made this intimate destination wedding a unique and beautiful experience for Bethany and Richard. The couple’s advice to other couples planning their destination weddings is, “Laugh, take time out for yourselves during the process, and bring an alternate pair of flat, comfy shoes to get to and from your beautiful wedding destinations.”
For those who may be planning their own Iceland destination wedding, Bethany says, “Check the weather, it could snow in late April and you might want a coat.”
Vendors: Photographer: Ann Peters with Photos by Miss Ann, Wedding Planner: Ann Peters with Iceland Wedding Planner, Ceremony: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Reception: Icelandair Hotel Vik, Florist: Upplifun, Stationery: Serendipity Beyond Design, Hair & Makeup: Heiõrún Birna (Hair) and Harpa Finnsdóttir (Makeup), Gown Designer: Maggie Sottero, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Indochino