Jeff and I were married on April 8, 2017, on the windy Snaefellsnes Peninsula of western Iceland in the company of 27 loved ones. I’d read about Iceland and held it in my daydreaming mind for years. The idea to get married there came to fruition relatively smoothly, to my surprise, thanks to an awesome planner, adventurous friends, and an uncommonly supportive family. Naturally, Nikelle and I were giddy about doing flowers for my wedding, and managed to ship some flowers wholesale from Holland to Reykjavik. We were set back a few hours with a Customs snafu, but successfully picked up our flowers the day before the ceremony and headed off to Hotel Búðir.
A word of advice to those hoping or planning to do flowers for a destination wedding – make sure you are aware of all the necessary paperwork you’ll need from Customs ahead of time (and your wholesaler might not know, depending on the country in question). By the time we found out we needed more paperwork to release our flowers from Customs, our flowers were sitting in wait at the shipping office, and we could only get our hands on an Icelandic form! Thank goodness for our wedding planner, Birna from Pink Iceland, who helped us translate. For an early April wedding in Iceland it was easiest and closest for us to order from Holland; if you are able to source your flowers in-country, this is a safer bet for a smooth pickup.
Once we got to Hotel Búðir, boxed flowers in tow, the manager generously let us process in the chilly mist behind a shed, and the cooler-like conditions perked our flowers right up. We spent my wedding morning making arrangements in a bright room overlooking the water that I wish could be our permanent studio. To me, this flower time following a long walk was the perfect way to start my wedding day; it eased my nerves and helped channel my energy. I found it hard to find the words to express my feelings that day, but the flowers helped me communicate those overwhelming emotions in a different way, as I can always count on them to do. How lucky am I to have Nikelle to help me carry out such an insane plan as DIY flowers in a foreign country? There’s just so much that could’ve gone wrong with the shipping and the weather and the tight timeframe, but it all came together beautifully. The selection was a bit limited through our wholesaler, but it was the perfect time of year to get several of my favorite flowers from Holland: hellebore, checkered frittilaria, lilac, and black ranunculus.
Our ceremony was intimate and warm inside the perfectly quirky, black church of Budir. After Dad walked me down the aisle and I joined Jeff in front, our guests stood and read this enchanting Icelandic poem aloud together, a sweet surprise orchestrated by friends who love to scheme:
“On earth’s part
all days start beautifully
patiently it revolves and revolves
with its trees
and oceans and lakes
deserts and volcanoes
the two of us and the rest of you
and all the animals”
We cried and laughed, and I felt my mother’s presence strongly with us in the wind that whistled around the church. Jeff looked so handsome. Our minister was warmhearted and funny, and shared thoughtful words about the investment of time in each other that a lifetime of growing love requires.
My best friend since college, Lauren Martinez, was my Maid of Honor, and she looked stunning in a dark green dress that beautifully complemented the landscape. We hadn’t seen each other in three years, and I would’ve traveled across the world just for our reunion. As overwhelming as weddings can be, they’re an amazing opportunity to reconnect and forget the distance.
Our photographers Styrmir Kári & Heiðdís led us on an adventurous photoshoot after the ceremony, up mountains and along rocky beaches, braving the wind and catching astonishing views of the landscape. Birna held our coats during shoots and jumped in to bundle us up and offer hot cocoa in between. I couldn’t recommend our photographers S&H, or our planners at Pink Iceland highly enough – every detail turned out beautifully, and the process felt more like corresponding with old friends than with wedding vendors (I hate the word “vendors”- it feels so impersonal). It was as easy as planning a wedding abroad could be.
I miss walking on that moss!
We returned to the warmth of the Hotel for a beautiful meal of Icelandic lamb and salmon. Igor, the bartender Elsa’s dog, was everyone’s favorite guest. We stayed up late, soaking up each other’s company in a place that felt like a dream. Many guests had never met before, but mysteriously as it often happens when traveling, everyone bonded swiftly and tightly around memories we’ll hold for a lifetime. I’ve never felt so loved or so hopeful for our future.