GETTING MARRIED IN A MAGICAL LANDSCAPE ‘Expect the unexpected’ by Gwen Cover

jokulsarlon-glacier-lagoonJökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon (Iceland’s Iceberg Bay)

Forget debating over the benefits of the sun, fresh food and the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean when Iceland can offer a wedding destination that is unique, stunning and picture perfect beyond your imagination.

Couples who choose to have their ceremony in Iceland will have a vast choice of adventure with breathtaking backdrops.

Not for the faint-hearted, but for the bride and groom who are super excited to have an Iceland wedding adventure on an island of active volcanoes, snow-covered glaciers, hot springs and mountains near geothermal pools.

Affectionately named the ‘land of fire and ice,’ this beautiful North Atlantic island can cater to your fantasy of an epic wedding day.

iceland.wedding.bouquetrist

The question is . . . what type of ceremony would match your fantasy?

Here are some suggestions and tips to consider!

You can opt to wed in a romantic countryside church in a valley among the backdrop of tranquility and natural surroundings. You would need to book 6-12 months in advance as there are few small romantic churches in Iceland due to their small population (just over 328,000). Therefore, careful planning, especially in the summer months is advised in order to have the church of your choice.

northern.lights.at.hotel.budir.iceland

Above – Northern lights at the famous black church for Iceland Weddings.  Budir Church Wedding Snæfellsnes Peninsula (and below).

budir.church.weddinghttps://www.hotelbudir.is/weddings/

hellnar seaside church

 Hellnar Church Seaside Country Church Snæfellsnes Peninsula.http://icelandweddingplanner.com/?attachment_id=3547

The vibrant and artistic hub of downtown Reykjavik (pronounced Rey – ka – vik) – the capital of Iceland – is also a popular choice for ceremonies.

Below is the majestic Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Cathedral (the official church of Iceland), the tallest and most prominent building in Reykjavik. There are specific requirements to marry in this church and so to avoid disappointment, you would need to plan at least 12-18 months in advance and consider the help of an Iceland wedding planner.

Reykjavik's-churchhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallgr%C3%ADmskirkja

If you would rather have your epic wedding day outdoors, there are numerous options to explore. A few are mentioned below.

Your ceremony can be set against a 60 feet stunning waterfall such as the Seljalandsfoss below.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

The fabulous advantage of this waterfall is that you can walk behind and marry right in front of it. The practical issue to overcome is the noise level. The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is remarkable with a roaring natural sound. For your guests to hear the exchange of your wedding vows, you will need a microphone and speaker system. No kidding!!!!!

seljalandsfoss-waterfall.ann

http://icelandweddingplanner.com/?s=Seljalandsfoss+Waterfall&submit=Search

There are also safety factors to consider, such as wearing appropriate shoes so as not to slip on the rocks and taking an umbrella and coat to protect yourself and your guests from the waterfall sprays. With planning and good advice, you will marvel in the splendor of your surroundings and have wonderful memories of your wedding day.

Another outdoor ceremony can be arranged in the expansive moss lava fields that have grown over volcanic rocks for thousands of years.

Hotel ION – The luxury adventure hotel amidst the moss lava fields.

ION_17http://ioniceland.is/

Or on a magical black sandy beach on the shores of Reynisfjara beach, often referred to as Vik beach, if you like the ocean, the wind, puffin birds (if you are fortunate to see them) and the sand.

Vik Beach

http://icelandweddingplanner.com/?s=vik+beach&submit=Search

Skardsvik beach - Snaefellsnes peninsula

Skardsvik beach – Snaefellsnes peninsula

Below is a Basalt rock cave at Vik beach (Hálsanefshellir Cave) where you may have a spiritual Icelandic wedding ceremony inside.

reynisfjara.beach.weddingreynisfjara.vik.beach.cave

Be daring and consider having your ceremony in the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon (Yeah…try pronouncing this!!) in southern Iceland as featured below.

iceland.canyon.fjadrargljufur

And not to mention the stunning location in Iceland’s Iceberg Bay. Officially known as Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

glacier.lagoon.Iceland

As you can see, there are many surreal backdrops to choose from.

What about the weather you may ask?

Ignore the misconception that Iceland is covered in snow. It is an island of all weathers where rain, snow, wind and sunshine can be experienced in one day!! 

The temperature can range from somewhere between 35-55 fahrenheit. Therefore, expect to cater for the unexpected by being prepared.

Engage the help of your family and the relevant professionals. Learn a little about the culture. Have faith. Do your research. Have a Plan B. And budget wisely as Iceland is a very expensive island. You will be unable to control all potential worries (such as a volcano eruption) but working alongside a wedding planner will ensure plans are in place to cater for eventualities.

Imagine having your wedding day in the early morning of the daylight hours or under the midnight sun. Simply magical!

The summer months of June, July and August are bright with daylight up to 22-24 hours. You could be eating your wedding breakfast and enjoying your reception at a seaside restaurant under the midnight sun.  How awesome is that!

Or you can opt for the quiet, snowy tranquil dark hours of the winter months with less than 4 hours sunshine each day? And maybe have the chance to observe the Northern Lights at the same time.

Hotel ION – the Luxury Adventure Hotel

ION_18

http://ioniceland.is/

Whichever location and time of year you plan to have your ceremony, your epic wedding adventure in stunning Iceland will be magical.

Have a wonderful experience as you say “I DO” with dreamy memories to last you a lifetime.

About the Editor:

Gwen Cover is your Life Design Friend. She provides the space for smart women to nurture themselves, connect with their inner wisdom/beauty, have mind pampering treatments and reinvent their careers. She is highly sought after by private clients and business owners throughout the UK/London. Her clients describe having ‘aha moments’ creating a road map for a new lifestyle and perhaps more importantly, plenty of adventure along the way.

Cover resides in London, England where she runs a successful business through coaching, workshops, writing and kindness retreats named the Life Design Salon.

 Many thanks for the permission to use the Photos above courtesy of :

Iceland Wedding Planner and Photography Team

http://icelandweddingplanner.com/

https://icelandweddingplanner.com/iceland-wedding-planning/

Photos by Miss Ann

http://www.photosbymissann.com/

Hotel ION – The Luxury Adventure Hotel

http://ioniceland.is/

Hotel Budir – Weddings at Hotel Budir

https://www.hotelbudir.is/weddings/

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallgr%C3%ADmskirkja

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Exploring California

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Exploring California

by Victor Amos

When you think about honeymoon destinations, you often think about tropical beaches, scenic cliffside resorts, and historic architecture. What if I told you that you can find all of those things right here in America? Well, hold your breath no longer, because you can! California is the perfect place to experience luxury and history, all without a passport.

I started my journey through California in San Francisco. Oh man, what a romantic city! The picturesque hills, world-class shopping & dining, and myriad of art institutions make San Francisco a perfect destination for honeymooners seeking an urban experience. With boutique hotels abound, you are destined to find comfy accommodations that fit your personality. While chain hotels can be appealing, I highly recommend the experience of a boutique hotel. The architectural details and personal service make them my choice when visiting the city. The Mosser Hotel (www.TheMosser.com) is a great choice. Located in downtown San Francisco, you are in walking distance to the phenomenal shopping around Union Square and one block away from street cars that take you all around the city.

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Whether you rent a car or choose to tackle the city by foot, you will have no problem getting around San Francisco. For $6.00/per ride, you can crest the hills of the city on an open-sided cable car, one of San Francisco’s cultural icons. These are a fun way to summit the city while also getting fantastic photo ops! The city also offers a multi-day pass that will offer you unlimited rides at an enormously reduced rate.

One of the perks of renting a vehicle, however, is escaping the city for wine country! One hour north of the city lies a treasure trove of wineries ripe for exploring. My journey took me to the city of Napa. A short ride past the Golden Gate Bridge and I was immersed in a totally different landscape. I went from a concrete jungle to a botanical pasture. For as far as the eye could see, I was engulfed in rows upon rows of grape trees. My first stop in wine country was the Nicholson Ranch Winery (www.NicholsonRanch.com). Upon arriving at the estate, you are greeted with an introduction to the wines that are produced, and presented with a tasting menu. For $10, you can taste 4 wines, and for $15, you can taste 6. Their assortment of whites and reds were genuinely exceptional. I don’t know if it is the nostalgia of being at the winery that produces the wine, which makes the wine taste better than any you’ve ever tasted, but I was impressed and compelled to leave with a bottle.

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Once you’ve completed your stay in San Francisco, a hop down to Los Angeles could be an enjoyable second-leg to your trip. Ah… the city of angels. Home to the Hollywood Hills, Rodeo Drive, and Santa Monica Beach. A trip to California would not be complete without visiting this urban oasis. And lucky for you, a trip down to Los Angeles from San Francisco is painless and affordable. There are regular “shuttle” flights that take you from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about an hour and a half, and for about $80.

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Now, unlike San Francisco, it is virtually impossible to get around Los Angeles without a vehicle. There are a ton of rental car options when you arrive at the airport… pick one. You do not want to be at the mercy of public transportation. If you don’t want to spend most of your vacation plastered in your seat on the interstate, then I’d recommend picking a hotel that is near the attractions that you want to experience. For my stay, I wanted to spend the bulk of my time exploring the hills, so I chose to stay in West Hollywood. I would say this was a prime location, as I was less than 10 miles away from everything that I wanted to do. During my stay, I visited the Hollywood Reservoir, Runyon Canyon, Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Downtown LA, and the Santa Monica Pier. I can’t say that I have ever experienced better weather or friendlier people in California. Los Angels has a calming affect on the soul and I think I am going to attribute it to the gratuitous palm tress and sunlight.

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For the final leg of my trip, I took a 2-hour car ride down to San Diego. As huge as San Diego is, it has still managed to retain its small-town, maritime feel. I spent the bulk of my time hugging the coast along Mission Beach and La Jolla. One of my favorite attractions was the La Jolla Cove. Seeing that huge, hollow rock jetting out from the coast was awe-inspiring. While at the cove, you can enter into a quaint gift shop, and for $4, go down a creaky staircase which leads to the bottom of the cove. It’s an experience that should not be missed!

For those of you looking to freshen-up your tan, Mission Beach is your remedy. It is a fantastic place to experience the nostalgia of a beach-side theme park or a pick-up game of beach volleyball. If you want to add a little romance into the picture, you should consider staying at one of the beach resorts. You can spend your free time roaming the art galleries, eating at the boutique restaurants, and drinking at the many bars.

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Overall, California is a great place for a domestic getaway. There is something for everyone. Whether you want to go shopping, hiking, surfing, learning, or do nothing at all… you will be satisfied.