Destination Wedding in Iceland Tip: Day of Gift

Hello Darling Brides-to-Be!

Outside of holding our Iceland wedding ceremony at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, one of my favorite “gives me goose bumps” moments from our Iceland wedding planning was arranging my husband, Chris’s day of wedding gift.

So many of you might be scratching your head right now wondering what I mean… So you ask, “Ann, what is a day of gift?”  A day of gift goes both ways: Bride surprises her soon to be and groom surprises the bride with a gift, showing the enthusiasm and anticipation of their wedding day.  This can be simplistic or elaborate; it’s all in how you are as a couple.  I’ll paint a picture for you on how we planned and exchanged our wedding day of gifts in Iceland so you may understand better.

Chris and I in a nutshell are “Type A” personalities in case you haven’t figured that out yet.  We are crazy detailed, thrive on adventure and we really seek it out in our travels and everyday life.  Fun fact: This is exactly why our Photos by Miss Ann tagline was coined years ago as, “Thriving on Adventure and Love…”  As cliché as it sounds, we truly do live life with no regrets and strive each day to do so as we build our personal lives together and individually, our businesses, and our bucket lists.  That being said, buying gifts for each other is really hard!  Neither of us wears jewelry nor have a burning desire for a specific tangible good, but we do both enjoy a challenge that is near to impossible.  So when we talked about whether or not we would exchange “day of gifts” on our wedding day in Iceland, we both agreed it would be fun and then swapped sneaky smiles!  Our marvelous challenge for Iceland wedding day of gifts commenced!

I racked my brain for a few days on what sort of everlasting sweet gift I could give Chris that could forever hold an impression on our marriage, make him tear up, and then it came to me!  One of our all-time favorite movies on the planet is “Somewhere in Time,” (circa 1980).  It’s a mushy time traveling film with Jayne Seymour and Christopher Reeve that is about two soul mates finding each other despite there being generations of time between them.  The catalyst of the time travel is a pocket watch from the early 1900’s and that simple element ignited my memory!  Chris had inherited one from his great grandfather decades ago, that he had always talked about getting restored to its original glory, just never had.  It was in really bad shape i.e., missing glass, hands, internal components, and needed heavy refinishing, so it took several months for the clock shop to find parts.

A week before we were leaving for our Iceland destination wedding, I picked up the pocket watch gift and was in total awe.  My gift to Chris was going to be time…Why?  Time is something we all run short on when we fall in love.  It seems like once we say, “Yes!” to “Will you marry me?” life gets jammed on the fast forward button and goes faster than we wish.  I think as couples in love, we forget to keep “dating” each other and do not always savor those small moments in the midst of all those big upcoming life moments.  Does that make sense?  Truthfully, I am not a woman of many emotions, but seeing and holding that watch, knowing what it represents, and then putting it inside the engraved box, immediately brought tears to my eyes.  The outside of the box was engraved simply with, “Today, I promise to love you until the end of time.”  There was no way I could have chosen a better wedding gift for him, it was truly priceless.  To top it off, I did add a super sweet card to his wedding day of gift that I had planned to hide in his tux pocket that playfully said, “I cannot wait to see your smile down the aisle!”  I packed everything in my polka dot carry on that night and did not even think about that he was going to give me a gift too!

Fast-forward to barely a week later, we had made it to Iceland, got our marriage license, checked out our wedding ceremony location at Seljalandsfoss, saw some rainbows at Skogafoss, and ran around Vik Beach just to make sure all three were our final choices for the following wedding day adventure.  After we finished, all of our to-do’s and were awaiting the start time of our Iceland wedding welcome dinner.  Chris suggested then, that this would probably be the last quite moment we would share together before the hustle and bustle of the wedding weekend had begun.  We decided to give each other our wedding day of gifts the evening before our wedding day.  I grabbed my special gift to him and gleamed with excitement as I handed it to him.  Chris gave me a curious look but still had no idea as he unwrapped the gift and read the outside of the special box.  Once he opened the box and saw his grandfather’s watch in its pristine glory, he instantly got choked up and shed a few tears even!  <Success! Bridal happy dance!>

After a few minutes he collected himself and told me to close my eyes <Eeeeek, I hate surprises, grrrr!> it was the longest 5 minutes ever!  I heard him fumbling around but didn’t really realize what he was doing until he said, “Open!”  Chris had spent months tirelessly building Photos by Miss Ann a new website from scratch, no templates, no predesigns, only him and the world of coding!  How incredibly thoughtful and such a unique surprise for him to give me!  All those months before our Iceland destination wedding, I had just thought he had been gaming on his computer until the wee hours of the night (Ahem, while I Iceland wedding planned, LOL) and really he had been doing a labor of love for my photography business!  <3

Chris and I dislike traditional things for the most part, but one thing in our wedding planning we did keep was ensuring he did not see me in my wedding dress until I walked down the aisle to him.  So after breakfast the morning of our Iceland wedding at Seljalandsfoss, we parted ways.  The really sweet thing was that we had saved exchanging cards until the morning of when we were both getting ready at Hotel Ranga.  I was getting my Iceland wedding dress on in the Royal Honeymoon Suite with my maid of honor and Chris was getting ready in another room with his best man.  Reading his card once I had my Iceland wedding dress on made it even more real and made me blaze with even more excitement!  Chris went to put his antique pocket watch in his inside tux pocket and was surprised to find my card while he and the rest of our guests loaded the bus for our surprise Iceland wedding ceremony location: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.  Sharing our Iceland wedding gift moment with Chris, will be forever be that “somewhere in time” moment for us!

In our opinion, day of gifts set the tone of the wedding weekend or wedding day.  Every bride wants her groom completely enamored with her on their destination wedding weekend especially in Iceland!  This little detail of gift giving before your wedding day expresses the appreciation you have for each other and exciting captivation you both have for saying “I do!” that day.  We’d love to share with you some ideas for your day of gift to your soon-to-be:

Day of Gift Ideas for the Bride:

  • A Heartfelt Card.
  • Red Roses or her favorite flower!
  • Diamond earrings or her birth stone (whichever she may prefer).
  • A Bracelet or Necklace (ladies do not feel obligated to wear it on your wedding day).
  • An item to complete your home (Example, A small bistro set for the porch or backyard to have dinner or coffee on together).
  • Book an exclusive dinner for your Honeymoon (Example: Like what we did on our honeymoon at the Ayana Resort in Bali Indonesia: Pesta Lobster dinner on their private jetty).
  • Something from Tiffany & Co.
  • A sweet Souvenir from the destination wedding location you have chosen (maybe something that goes along with an inside joke you guys have?).
  • Have the wedding night suite furnished before your arrival with a rose petal pathway, champagne, and fresh fruit (all the fabulous hotels we work with in Iceland offer this as an add on)!

Day of Gift Ideas for the Groom:

  • A Heartfelt Card.
  • A Basket of His Favorite Things.
  • A Watch (Feel free to totally steal our pocket watch idea- just make sure you have your Iceland wedding photographer take a photo!)
  • Book a surprise adventurous activity for your awesome honeymoon!
  • That “must have” electronic he has been eying.
  • An item to complete your home or to support his favorite hobby (Example, A workbench for him to build projects on).
  • A World Map of your Travels Together (past, present, and future)!  This was actually Chris’s first gift he ever gave me.  Three years later, we still love plotting our travels on it, so much fun!
  • Have a sweet saying engraved on the inside of his wedding ring. (Ideas: “Forever,” “Better Together,” “Fire & Ice,” “A Perfect Fit,” “Remember When…” “I Choose You, Every Day,” “Love Never Fails”).

If you’re having a destination wedding in Iceland and the wedding gift is too big, bulky, isn’t tangible to bring, it’s totally okay to print out a picture of your gifted item, put it in a small box, and wrap it for him/her to open.  In the end, it’s all about the thought and adding to the excitement of your wedding day!  We hope this blog post featuring our destination wedding in Iceland tip: “Day of Gift” has encouraged you and your soon-to-be to exchange special wedding day gifts!

Epically Yours as Iceland Wedding Photographers and Planners,

Ann & Christopher Peters

© 2002-2013, Photos by Miss Ann, All Rights Reserved

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