The short version: we eloped in Iceland. Just us, fancy outfits and our photographer-friend extraordinaire, with our only plan being to end up in a town called Selfoss at 2 p.m. to meet our officiant.
And that’s how it went down. Those uninterested in details need read no further.
The longer version begins in March when fiancé (now husband!) and I went to the movies. Our screening pleasure that night was “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which was set primarily in Iceland. Upon leaving, we both commented that seeing it had made us want to elope to Iceland. This was one of many in a long string of possible wedding scenarios, but it was the first we approached with any gravitas. So we began researching: finding gorgeous pictures of other elopements, discovering affordable direct flights, figuring out the legality of marrying abroad.
Within a few weeks, we had let our families know our plan, purchased our flights and arranged our photographer’s details. I knew I still wanted the Big White Dress™, but I had no other plans. I went shopping with my mother and found the right one at our first stop. Pretty much from then on, I felt that no matter what else happened, it would be all right. Like I told my sister, who was herself in the throes of major wedding stress, “If at the end of the day, you end up married to the man you set out to, nothing else matters.”
Soon it was time, and we set off excitedly for a travel adventure leading to our greatest adventure yet. We landed in Reykjavik early in the morning, and when the customs agent asked us our reason for our trip, “We’re getting married here!”, we received our first congratulations from the man in line next to us. We made it to our place, wedding dress unscathed, took a nap, then set out exploring. I really cannot emphasize how beautiful it is there. The next few days were filled with whale watching, urban exploring, some truly great jazz and tons of pictures.
Finally it was our day. We woke up and had breakfast together, after which I got my hair done (thank God for Pinterest inspiration, for real), and he went to get our car for the day. My sister got up at 5 a.m. her time to FaceTime with me while I put my makeup on, and our photog got me zipped into the dress. We made fiancé hide until it was time for the reveal. Then onto the road it was, with one pull-over photo session on the way.
We met Ólafur at his office in Selfoss for some paperwork. He had a Denver Police cap on his bookshelf and an Alice in Wonderland poster on his wall, so I felt we were in good company. Ólafur got a lady cop to serve as our second witness, and we headed to a bluff over the river for our ceremony. As soon as we heard his instruction to take the commitment of marriage seriously, bells from the nearby church started ringing and didn’t stop until we had kissed to seal our vows. I felt, in those moments, God smiling down on us, as we read our vows to each other off of postcards from Iceland.
The rest of the day was the best kind of whirlwind. Lunch at the local hotel with a complimentary bottle of champagne, followed by a tour of the Icelandic countryside, and so many wild horses and baby lambs. Each time we pulled over, we were greeted with congratulatory honks from fellow drivers, and we had a South Korean travel magazine stop to capture some photos of the crazy Americans taking pictures in the wild countryside in our wedding attire. We went to Seljalandsfoss and Geysir, and we drove through the national park, taking pictures until nearly 2 a.m. I got to spend my entire wedding day almost completely alone with my husband, doing the things we love the most: exploring, traveling and experiencing nature together. It could not have been more perfect.
A lot of people would probably be sad to have their family and friends absent on their wedding day, but the way I see it, we got one perfect day to ourselves that we can treasure for a lifetime, and we can celebrate our relationship in the company of those we love every day thereafter.
And to end, some pictures.
En route to our wedding!
Land of the 3:15 a.m. sunrise.
Saying “I Do.”
Holla! Our chariot for the day.
Water, mountains, fog, sky. Pretty much what Iceland’s all about.
He always leads me to the best art.
A little behind-the-scenes action: getting bustled before the waterfall.