Wow, Iceland is officially on my bucket list! As a couple who has certainly seen their fair share of the world, (I mean, who travels to Antarctica for work? So cool!) Amanda & Justin chose a gorgeous landscape that fit their adventurous side perfectly. My favorite shots are of these two crazy kids in the cave, and behind the waterfall – Amanda and Justin were blessed with an equally as daring photographer in Savannah Chandler who captured their intimate moments beautifully.
While everything outside was mind-blowing, I can’t forget to mention how cool their venue was – Harpa Concert Hall literally looks like a glamorous, modern igloo.
And as a non-heel wearer myself, I have to say I’m always excited to see brides make nontraditional footwear work. Everything from sparkly flats to lacy sneakers, sign me up. I’m on board. Up until today the front-runner for me was the ever dainty footless sandal we see a lot of beach brides wear… but move over, footless sandal – warm and fluffy bridal snow boots are officially IT. Practical, too! That’s some rocky terrain they tackled on their big day. Bravo to Amanda for making it work with her gorgeous lace gown.
Q&A with the Couple
What is your proposal story?
Which time?! Justin was sent to Antarctica for work on a trip that I was also supposed to go on. The month-long trip took its toll and we missed each other like crazy after 72 hours. Justin asked me over the phone while he was in New Zealand waiting for his next flight to Antarctica. The wedding planning began because it was only two months before the trip to Iceland where we were going to get married.
Within 24 hours of Justin getting back from Antarctica, he was already looking at rings. A couple days later, when Justin was moving out of his apartment, the ring was ready so while I “patiently” waited in the truck, he ran in to grab it. That night took FOREVER and ended with many romantic moments, but no proposal.
The next morning Justin brought me coffee in bed and kind of got a goofy grin and started saying how much he loved me. I thought “This is it!”. He kept going and then stopped saying he didn’t have the ring on him. I rolled my eyes and told him he could always go get it! He ran away and shortly returned with another goofy grin. He laid on the bed next to me and started his speech again. Quickly stating he forgot he should get down on one knee, he slid off the side and on to his knee and asked me to marry him. I think I said yes but soon enough we were kissing and our 4 dogs were on the bed ready to celebrate! It was great to have our “family” there with us.
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).
We had already planned a trip to Iceland for a video game conference for Justin. There was Fanfest and he was super excited. While I was looking at things to do I kept seeing the most breathtaking scenery and stunning wedding photos. We had previously discussed how we wanted to elope so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. For colors and style it was really just simple. I love pink so the soft colors seemed perfect to make a very subtle statement. My ring was rose gold so that’s why we added in that color. I was actually inspired by a color scheme I saw on Pinterest that became the inspiration for my office. Blush, grey, ivory and rose gold. I would also say we wanted things to be practical.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Mainly our shoe choices! We knew we would be hiking and walking so we wanted to make sure that we were comfortable. In all of the rivers and waterfalls, I walked through, my feet never got wet! Justin wanted a suit he could wear again! Mission accomplished! I tried on dresses at a consignment store. I needed something fast being a short bride so I needed to allow time for alterations!
I had tried on dresses before going with family because I knew I was going to be overwhelmed! I tried on one fitted, beaded dress with a huge train and gorgeous back! I tried on another that was unique, simple and flowy. Complete opposites. I had sent photos to some friends and had a 50/50 response. When I returned to the store with my friends and family, the heavy beaded one was gone! I had already decided in my own heart that the flowy one would be perfect for Iceland so it just all fell into place. My friends reacted perfectly (without knowing which dress was the one I loved) which made it that much more perfect. This was also the first time I saw my dad cry in my entire life.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning your elopement wedding in Iceland?
We 100% wanted to focus on the ceremony! Our vows and the promise to each other was the most important thing. And being a fellow wedding photographer, pictures were certainly the second highest priority! I would say we 100% succeeded! We had several Skype calls with Bjarni and he got to know us completely. We had our closest friends and family send him e-mails with an opportunity to contribute to our ceremony which was a sweet surprise at the moment.
We had well wishes, words of advice and beautiful readings. It made everything that much more personal and included our family even if they weren’t physically there. We definitely valued both of those services so paid what we needed to for those. They were the closest to a splurge for us. We skipped a wedding coordinator which could’ve been a bad choice at first! When we landed in Iceland there was incredibly heavy rain and sideways gusting wind. I knew it was forecasted to stay that way until our wedding so at the last minute we decided to find an indoor venue.
Harpa, where Justin’s conference was, blew me away and I knew it was perfect. CCP Games had the entire venue reserved through our wedding day. After some other options just didn’t feel right, we asked some volunteers at the event if there was anything that could be done. The message was quickly elevated to Steinthor who got in touch with Harpa to arrange everything for us and made it happen. I couldn’t have been more excited and grateful for video games at that moment!
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Justin says: Marrying my best friend. Seeing Amanda walk up the stairs for the first time all gussied up. Seeing Amanda’s face and the excitement when we took photos inside the waterfall!
Amanda says: Seeing Justin almost cry during the wedding. Hearing his vows and what the family had said. The first kiss! Hiking into a cave in my wedding dress. All of the moments when we were taking photos where it just felt like the two of us. We were only able to hear each other and either waterfalls and wind and it just felt like we were the only two people there. Definitely being inside the waterfall!
Did you include any special traditions?
Our officiant read us a traditional Icelandic poem during our ceremony.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their elopement wedding in Iceland now?
Focus on WHY you are getting married! It should be about the promises and commitments first and everything else second! Don’t stress over the small details that most people will never notice. Relax and enjoy the day. And don’t forget breakfast or to eat in general!
What was the best part of having an elopement wedding in Iceland?
So much less stress! If plans changed, we only had to make sure 4 people, including us, knew the plan. It made changes at the last minute so carefree and perfect! We absolutely got to focus on us and enjoy the day and our time together! We got married and went sightseeing (in wedding clothes) the rest of the day! No frills, just a great day with each other. Oh, and did you see those photos?! You don’t get photos like that in a hotel ballroom! It really made our day an experience and memories we will have forever.
What was the biggest challenge of planning your destination wedding?
Making sure the legal side was in order and working with language barriers. We had to provide a lot of paperwork 3 weeks in advance to the consulate and then travel with extremely important documents like our original birth certificates and Colorado marriage license. We took a taxi to the office but then couldn’t pronounce where we were to get picked back up!
Photography: Savannah Chandler Photography
Ceremony Venue: Harpa Concert Hall
Hair: Savannah Chandler Photography
Makeup: Cassidee Janke
Stationery: Blush Paper Co.
Floral: Sharon Nagassar Design
Shoes: Columbia Outdoor Apparel and Products
Bridal Salon: The Altar Bridal Centennial
Accommodations: The Centrehotel Klopp
Officiant: Bjarni Snæbjörnsson
Alterations: The Original Sewing Room
Special Thanks: CCP Games