Do you smell adventure? Okay okay, so I’m not really asking if you can, as it’s more of a play on words on a term our adventurous Iceland wedding couple created by joining their first names. Meet: Sam + Melanie (aka Mel) and together “Smel.” These two instantly light up an entire room when they come into it with their amazing positive energy and their friendly smiles. Mel and Sam both derive from a place of genuinely caring for people, giving their all into everything they do, and adventuring on another level, most will never be able to attain. So naturally they were drawn to having a very intimate Iceland destination wedding!
Sam and Mel’s love story begins several years ago with Mel playing flag football with a bunch of guys (yes folks, she’s a super badass chick!). Sam happened to also be on the team and admired Mel from afar for a bit as she was in a relationship. In the words of Sam, he “went in the background and waited his turn.” His turn came and Mel was hooked! They had so many things in common like going to the gym together dead lifting, road trips, traveling, hiking, a passion for the mountains and beaches. As long as they were together they always found their way into an epic adventure!
Somehow between all of their hikes and trips, 3 years (to the day) had passed. They had chosen to explore Hawaii for their anniversary. Sam had thoughtfully planned the day out….The hike began at the morning shortly before sunrise to journey to the “Golden Arch.” Sam and Mel stood there watching the sunrise together that morning. Since Sam is big into adventure photography (and Mel too – Checkout both of their super fun Instagram profiles here: Mel + Sam) he brought along a tripod and sneakily set the self-timer to capture the exact moment he proposed! Yup, he’s the man!!
So when you have two really awesome, independent, energetic, audacious people come together as a couple you know they are going to rock out life together, but where do they begin with wedding planning?! Why they turn to the bucket list of course! They had both really wanted to visit Iceland so it seemed ideal to invite their friends and family to partake in an intimate Iceland destination wedding! Plus, who wants to hold an adventure wedding in a warm location?! Nah, bring on the Nordic countries instead!
Overall, Mel and Sam were seeking something outside of the traditional wedding day norms many North Americans get pressured into having and doing. Adventure being a core foundational characteristic in their relationship, they loved the idea of holding a full day adventure wedding. Our Iceland Wedding Planner team custom crafted some really incredible options, so come along with us today as we share with you Sam and Mel’s intimate Iceland destination wedding!
April Wedding in Iceland:
April is often an overlooked month to get married in Iceland. But it shouldn’t be! Yes, it’s a bit colder than other months, but if coming before April 15th, there are still chances to see Northern Lights activity possibly along with having the opportunity to visit ice caves! Mel and Sam had one of the best weather days in the month, they were very lucky! The night before during their Iceland wedding welcome dinner, they handed out sweet little welcome bags to their guests that said “And so the Adventure Begins…” The guests loved their Iceland wedding welcome bags!
Iceland Wedding Getting Ready Details:
With a 5:30am start to the intimate Iceland destination wedding, there was a lot of business happening between at Icelandair Vik with the hair, makeup, photo and video teams as everyone prepared. The excitement was high for both Sam, Mel, and all of their friends and family as they anticipated their adventurous wedding day! Our lovely bride Mel, had two gorgeous Iceland wedding dresses and Sam had a very GQ suit! Oh la la and can we talk about Mel’s Iceland wedding bouquet for a sec? She took our advice and ordered from our favorite faux bouquet company, Southern Girls Weddings.
First Look before Iceland Wedding:
One of the only traditional things Mel and Sam wanted to have happen before their intimate Iceland destination wedding was to have a formal moment where they saw each other before. So we had scheduled a sunrise first look on that beautiful April spring morning. It was so sweet to see them have their moment together before all of the amazing adventures began!
Southern Iceland Wedding Adventure Begins…
Mel and Sam’s 10+ guests were so excited to begin their intimate Iceland destination wedding! Everyone loaded into the bus for the day curious as to where they were going… All they knew was further east! Everyone enjoyed the lovely scenic sites along the way and the tunes that Sam was spinning.
Intimate Iceland Destination Wedding Ceremony:
Upon arrival to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, everyone was all smiles and excited to see where Sam and Mel would say “I do.” The guests gathered together and made the walk to the ceremony spot. It was such a GORGEOUS day! Two of Mel and Sam’s friends actually officiated the ceremony for them (Special note: This was not a legal wedding ceremony in Iceland, only licensed celebrants living in Iceland can perform legal ceremonies). It was a heartfelt personal ceremony their friends created for them which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
Iceland Wedding Planner Tip: If you plan on holding an Iceland wedding ceremony at any of the glacier lagoons and / or within the Vatnajökull National Park, the government requires you to get permission in advance to your event (you MUST do this). Also know that without having a permit (in advance) you cannot legally fly a drone anywhere in this national park area. Please be a respectful tourist in our country.
Wedding Portraits at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon:
After every Iceland wedding ceremony with guests, it’s important to snap a quick group photo before everyone goes their own way exploring. Once our Iceland wedding photo team was finished with that awesomeness, they focused in on Mel and Sam adventuring around the glacier lagoon. They had so much fun together laughing and smiling around the big icebergs!
Iceland Adventure Wedding Photos at Diamond Beach:
It was important to Sam and Mel that they explore the famed Diamond Beach with their Iceland wedding guests. The beach sparkles in the sunshine just like diamonds (hence the name). Having adventurous wedding photos here is a nice addition to the larger glacier lagoon which can be rather touristy. Afterwards, at the request of their Iceland wedding video team, FilmStrong, Mel and Sam struck up a game of football with each other and their guests, to pay homage to how they met!
Iceland Mountain Wedding Photos:
The mountains in Iceland have some of the coolest shapes and textures which in turn makes for amazing Iceland wedding photo backdrop! The group, Iceland wedding photo and video team did a quick stop in front of Lómagnúpur Mountain, so Mel and Sam could run around and be oh-so free!
Iceland Wedding Photos at a Private Waterfall:
Along the way back west to the hotel, there is a sweet private waterfall in front of a historical farm. Mel and Sam were excited to jump out of the bus and discover it for their Iceland wedding photos!
Fact: Did you know the majority of waterfalls in Iceland are on private property? Even the big Southern Waterfalls (Skogafoss, etc) are owned by several farmers but they allow tourists to come as long as they stay within the paths, but if wanting to hold a wedding there, it’s best to ask for permission if you are having a professional Iceland wedding photo and / or video team follow.
Iceland Wedding Secret Canyon Exploration:
Sometimes you have to “plan b” the day due to a location being closed because of paths being damaged or unsafe conditions. This was the case for our next location which should have been Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, but because of some extreme weather and or unsafe erosion conditions. Our Iceland Wedding Planner team had two locations ready on “standby” waiting for Mel and Sam to decide what felt best for them. And the super cool thing was that their “plan b” location actually had 2 within 1! Upon arrival the Iceland adventure wedding group explored the sweet little waterfall and then they all crossed a river on foot and through a narrow canyon to have an even better nature journey!
Black Sand Beach Wedding Photos:
As you likely already know, our Iceland Wedding Planner team does not go to tourist locations (or churches) unless it is specifically by requested by our couple. Reynisfjara black sand beach is one of the most photographed beaches in the world along with it being a heavily populated tourist attraction and dangerous sneaker waves. But it was important to Sam and Mel that they share this magical location with their guests who traveled so far regardless of it being touristy or not. Our Iceland wedding photography team was able to find some little nooks away from the heavy tourist locations to provide a more intimate experience for Mel and Sam.
Iceland Wedding Reception:
A full adventure wedding day in Iceland makes guests a tiny bit tired by the end of it, so it is important to give your guests at least 1-1.5 hours in between the adventure and the reception. Mel and Sam’s guests were invited back for an Iceland wedding reception dinner which would begin around 8pm. The reception itself was simply styled, includes a 2 course meal, and an Iceland wedding cake! There were endless amounts of conversation, laughs, smiles, and toasts to the newlyweds! A perfect end to an intimate Iceland destination wedding!
Iceland Wedding Video:
Sam and Mel hired the folks at StrongFilms to forever document their intimate Iceland destination wedding adventure so today we are happy to share their teaser / trailer with you:
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