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The Bride's Guide Blog

Real Weddings: A Wedding in Iceland

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I recently came across a great wedding with a bride whose email totally grabbed my attention. She wrote:

My wedding took place in my native country of Iceland, a beautiful country characterized by its raw landscape and the midnight sun. However, having grown up in the United States, and reading bridal magazines since high school, my wedding was without a doubt influenced by my American upbringing. I, for example, brought a whole suitcase of candy and accessories from the States and introduced the all pink candy buffet in Iceland. It was a fun addition to the clean and modern lines of our reception venue.

Some of our memorable moments include the men swimming in the cold Northern Atlantic Ocean the morning of the wedding, walking down the aisle of Hallgrimskirkja cathedral, being showered with heart-shaped confetti on our way out, and climbing the big rocks lining the oceanside for our portraits after the ceremony.

iceland

I had to find out more and followed up with the bride, Alis Heidar. She met her husband, Stefan, through a friend during her days in dental school. After a long night of studying, she sent him a message on Facebook asking him only how he felt about hiking Esja mountain range in Reykjavik. Though they didn't make it up the mountain until the following summer, their first date was a few days later, in the area where they had their wedding reception. It took four dates for Alis to know Stefan would be her husband, and two years for him to propose. On July 14, 2012, they tied the knot in Hallgrimskirkja in front of 130 guests.

Though planning a wedding in her native country was a challenge—most vendors don't have websites, flowers are harder to come by, and there aren't many wedding planners around—Alis pulled a beautiful event together. See for yourself in the gallery of images by Nordica Photography.

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Stefan went swimming with his brothers, the bride's father, and the bride's brother the morning of the wedding.

3 Stefan went swimming with his brothers, the bride's father, and the bride's brother the morning of the wedding.

The aquatic activity is a normal weekly event for the groom and his friends. Regardless of the weather or temperature.

4 The aquatic activity is a normal weekly event for the groom and his friends. Regardless of the weather or temperature.

Alis had her hair done at Salon VEH (salonveh.is).

5 Alis had her hair done at Salon VEH (salonveh.is).

After getting her hair done (and affixing her cathedral-length veil to her head), the bride returned to her parents' condo to get her makeup done by Maria, who is the brand manager of MAC Cosmetics in Iceland.

6 After getting her hair done (and affixing her cathedral-length veil to her head), the bride returned to her parents' condo to get her makeup done by Maria, who is the brand manager of MAC Cosmetics in Iceland.

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Alis chose a dupioni silk gown by Paloma Blanca. She added straps to the design.

8 Alis chose a dupioni silk gown by Paloma Blanca. She added straps to the design.

The first thing Alis decided when she began planning was that she wanted to wear pink shoes. After numerous purchases and returns (thanks to Zappos.com), she found the perfect pair by Kate Spade.

9 The first thing Alis decided when she began planning was that she wanted to wear pink shoes. After numerous purchases and returns (thanks to Zappos.com), she found the perfect pair by Kate Spade.

The 4p.m. ceremony was held at Hallgrimskirkja cathedral (http://hallgrimskirkja.is/), Iceland's largest church and Reykjavik's most popular tourist attraction.

10 The 4p.m. ceremony was held at Hallgrimskirkja cathedral (http://hallgrimskirkja.is/), Iceland's largest church and Reykjavik's most popular tourist attraction.

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Small bundles of baby's breath decorated the church's pews.

12 Small bundles of baby's breath decorated the church's pews.

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Traditionally, Icelandic weddings do not have attendants, but instead only the bride and groom's fathers accompany them at the alter. In addition to their dads, the couple's best friends joined them at the front of the church. Alis's younger sister served as a flowergirl (she wore crewcuts by J.Crew) and her younger brother was a junior groomsman.

14 Traditionally, Icelandic weddings do not have attendants, but instead only the bride and groom's fathers accompany them at the alter. In addition to their dads, the couple's best friends joined them at the front of the church. Alis's younger sister served as a flowergirl (she wore crewcuts by J.Crew) and her younger brother was a junior groomsman.

The bride was escorted down the aisle by her father.

15 The bride was escorted down the aisle by her father.

They exchanged rings by Tiffany & Co engraved with each other's names and the infinity symbol, the same as her parents had at their own wedding.

16 They exchanged rings by Tiffany & Co engraved with each other's names and the infinity symbol, the same as her parents had at their own wedding.

The couple recited vows they had written themselves.

17 The couple recited vows they had written themselves. "I wanted to say to much in only a few sentence," Alis says. "I was revising them while getting my hair done that morning!"

The couple recessed to Purcell´s Trumpet Tune for trumpet and organ.

18 The couple recessed to Purcell´s Trumpet Tune for trumpet and organ.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds were showered with heart-shaped confetti, and grinning smiles of the surrounding tourists.

19 After the ceremony, the newlyweds were showered with heart-shaped confetti, and grinning smiles of the surrounding tourists.

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The all-white bouquet was arranged by Binni, at Blomaverkstaedi Binna, (whose quaint shop located in downtown Reykjavik does not have a website). It was tied together with a white handkerchief embroidered with an

21 The all-white bouquet was arranged by Binni, at Blomaverkstaedi Binna, (whose quaint shop located in downtown Reykjavik does not have a website). It was tied together with a white handkerchief embroidered with an "A," made by Alis's great, great grandmother whose first initial she shares.

The reception was held at Nautholl (http://nautholl.is/). During cocktail hour, while the couple had our portraits taken, champagne and white coconut macaroons by the bakery Sandholt (http://sandholt.is/) were served.

22 The reception was held at Nautholl (http://nautholl.is/). During cocktail hour, while the couple had our portraits taken, champagne and white coconut macaroons by the bakery Sandholt (http://sandholt.is/) were served.

Dinner began with grilled salmon in red curry with fennel-apple salad and celery root puree, while entrees served family-style included dishes like Icelandic lamb grilled on an oversized pan and salt cod croquettes with romesco sauce.

23 Dinner began with grilled salmon in red curry with fennel-apple salad and celery root puree, while entrees served family-style included dishes like Icelandic lamb grilled on an oversized pan and salt cod croquettes with romesco sauce.

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White mini cakes with a light pink rose on top (layers of caramel sponge cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate-covered almonds and caramel were in each) were served, as were traditional

26 White mini cakes with a light pink rose on top (layers of caramel sponge cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate-covered almonds and caramel were in each) were served, as were traditional "Sorur" cookies made by Stefan´s mother.

The candy bar, served later that evening, featured candies in various shades of pink labeled with tags and ribbons from Shop Sweet Lulu (http://shopsweetlulu.com/). It also served as favors, as mini polka-dot takeout boxes were provided.

27 The candy bar, served later that evening, featured candies in various shades of pink labeled with tags and ribbons from Shop Sweet Lulu (http://shopsweetlulu.com/). It also served as favors, as mini polka-dot takeout boxes were provided.

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Close to midnight Stefan and Alis snuck out for some portraits, as the midnight sun in summer provides such warm, beautiful light!

29 Close to midnight Stefan and Alis snuck out for some portraits, as the midnight sun in summer provides such warm, beautiful light!

The first dance was to

30 The first dance was to "How Sweet It Is" by James Taylor. They danced the social foxtrot style, which they learned thanks to a few pre-wedding lessons.

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After the reception, the pair headed to a cabin two hours outside of town for a few days before heading to Mexico. We exchanged gifts (called

32 After the reception, the pair headed to a cabin two hours outside of town for a few days before heading to Mexico. We exchanged gifts (called "Morning Gifts") the day after, an Icelandic tradition, where we both chose items by Hermes; I gifted him with cufflinks while I received a bracelet.

Comments (4)

  • wow what a great wedding!

  • So many beautiful things! Great job!

  • I'm trying to set up a ceremony in Reykjavik involving only the two of us, but I cannot find any wedding officiants. So frustrated...Any suggestions anyone?

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