We Ran Away to Iceland and Got Married in a Canyon for $9K

And our families came too!


Tara, Paralegal & Joe, Engineer

Sum-up of the wedding vibe: An outdoor adventure shared with our closest family and friends.
Planned Budget: $9,000
Actual Budget: $9,000
Number of Guests: 10

Wedding dress hanging on cement wallSunset on canyonHorse in field

Where we allocated the most funds:

The cost of our photographer. This was our largest expense for our wedding, and it was totally worth it! We had the best time traveling around southern Iceland with Ash Carr, our photographer, and the photographs she took not only captured the beauty of our wedding venue, but the entire emotion of the day. We will always cherish these photographs that captured our day.

Women buttoning bride's dresshandwritten wedding vowsGroom reading card, cryingBride in fieldBride and groom on rocks near ocean

Where we allocated the least funds:

We allocated the least funds to our wedding venue, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. We hiked in to Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon from the designated parking area and were pronounced husband and wife on the edge of the canyon cliff. It was outdoors, a beautiful location, and free!

Wedding ceremony in FjaðrárgljúfurBridesmaids in fur jacketsBride, groom, and officient in FjaðrárgljúfurBride looking at groom during ceremonyBride and groom kissing in wedding ceremony in Fjaðrárgljúfur

What was totally worth it:

Allocating a large chunk of our wedding day to photographs and portraits. After our ceremony, we left our family and friends behind to explore southern Iceland with our photographer, Ash Carr, for portraits. We drove and hiked, in our wedding attire, around Iceland’s diverse landscapes with Ash there to photograph it all. Through these portraits, Ash beautifully captured our giddiness and wedding day emotions in addition to the splendor of Iceland.

Bride and groom kissing in FjaðrárgljúfurBride and groom gazing at eachotherBride wearing white cable-knit sweater, with groom in Fjaðrárgljúfur

A few things that helped us along the way:

The biggest thing that helped us along the way was hiring a wedding coordinator located in Iceland. She was affordable and the biggest help when it came to planning our wedding abroad. She contacted local vendors, negotiated rates, and took care of all of our legal paperwork. All of our communication with her was through email. We never met her in person, and she wasn’t in attendance on our wedding day, yet she was the biggest help to us through the whole planning process. In the end, all of our vendors were where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be there, and everything came together beautifully, thanks to her.

Bride and groom in front of rocky cliff in FjaðrárgljúfurBride and groom near rocky cliff and ocean Bride and groom wedding portraitBride and groom in field in Fjaðrárgljúfur

My best practical advice for my planning self:

Less can be more. Flowers add up quickly. Not everyone needs to be wearing or holding flowers. We originally ordered flowers for everyone attending our wedding since it was small (ten people), but the cost added up very quickly. In the end I cut back on all of the flowers to save on cost and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. When you are already in a beautiful location, such as Iceland, you don’t need to jazz it up with a bunch of flowers that you will only use for one day. Save money and order less! We also cut costs by saving the flowers and using them as table decor for our wedding dinner.

Bride and groom at dinner wedding receptionChild in sleeping bag near table at wedding dinner reception Bride, groom, and guests toasting at wedding dinner receptionAurora Borealis over house

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Our favorite thing about the wedding was our ceremony. We were standing on the edge of Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon with our Lutheran pastor of the National Church of Iceland, Ingólfur Hartvigsson, that we met for the first time ten minutes prior to our ceremony. He calmed our nerves and made us feel comfortable. He made our ceremony personal based on a couple of emails we had exchanged a few weeks prior to our wedding. We recited our handwritten vows to each other halfway through the ceremony, which brought everyone to tears. Toward the end of our ceremony, Pastor Ingólfur recited the Lord’s Prayer in Icelandic that put everyone in awe. It’s hard to put into words, but it was just beautiful. The location, weather, pastor, and people in attendance made it a magical occasion that we will never forget.
Bride and groom black and white portrait


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