Weather in Iceland | Preparing for your Wedding Adventure

Weather in Iceland is truly the most unpredictable you will likely experience in your world travels.  Furthermore, you could easily encounter all seasons in one day plus extreme conditions native to this tiny island in the far North.  For instance, you could endure gale force wind speeds, fog you have no idea where it came from or a sand storm that will push you to your limits.  Now pair that with embarking on an adventure wedding day through the countryside and you might be a little scared or worried about what to expect.  Especially if you have never had the opportunity to run around in colder climates.

Have you ever heard the phrase that there is “no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear?”  Totally our motto when it comes to preparing for the crazy weather Iceland can throw at you!

So your next question is how do you prepare for the weather in Iceland?  Luckily, our Iceland Wedding Planner team can offer up amazing advice on this topic, as we are seasoned in planning and photographing wedding adventures in all types of extreme weather.  We’re SUPER EXCITED to offer you up some insider knowledge that will give you courage to ride out whatever nature and the weather in Iceland brings your way!  So grab a cup of coffee or a glass of bubbles and let’s dive in…

How to Prepare for Extreme Weather in Iceland:

Are you ready to experience for the first time ever… Sand storms, gale force winds, blizzard like conditions, glacier quick sand, or extreme rains?!  Be a bit relieved that glacier quick sand is only found at the glacier areas or in glacier rivers, phew!  And with that, you just need to follow the guidance and direction of our experienced team members to stay safe from being knee deep in it.  Urge you to leave the glacier river driving and crossings to our qualified super jeep professionals.

But the other extreme events can be a truth of your wedding weather in Iceland.  Admittedly, the majority of Icelanders would tell you that if you don’t like the weather wait for 5 minutes… Nevertheless that is not always the case because the weather can swirl between glacier outlets and the mountains and just sit causing rain/snow or wind the entire day.  Seen it happen countless times in our primary base of Vik Iceland.

The reality though of having a wedding in Iceland is that it will likely rain or have strong winds.  Please get comfortable with it and prepare yourself to embrace it!  After all, the weather in Iceland just becomes part of your EPIC adventure wedding story!!  In addition, it is totally common for us to have 10-15 mph all the time and at least a few times a month gale force wind storms which could also partner with sideways rain or sand/dust storm (which sometimes feels like spa treatment, lol).

As we alluded to earlier, it makes a huge difference in how the day goes comfort wise in if you’re prepared for it or not.  I know our couples are 100% ready to go with the flow because they understand the dynamic of adventure weddings.  But maybe you need a refresher or have hired another Iceland wedding planner that isn’t as well versed on preparing you for the extreme weather in Iceland.  Either way, allow us to educate you because we are out in it everyday either for location scouting (see our scouting adventures on Instagram) or weddings / elopements!  Meanwhile, we also highly suggest that you always check the road conditions and weather in Iceland before beginning your travels each day.

Iceland Sand Storms

Oh la la this one might take the cake on being the most challenging in our books!  Over 7,000 square miles of Iceland is covered by sand.  And when we say “sand” we are not talking pretty beach sand, more often it is black sand deserts.  Going through a black sand desert area during high winds can literally sand blast the paint off of your vehicle and blow out your windows!  Why?  It’s not just sand that is being blown around, there are elements of volcanic glass, pumice, and sedimentary rocks making the sand storm more dangerous and violent.

Sand storms happen in Iceland often happen when there has been very dry conditions during the week combined with strong winds (typically gale force or close to it).  But then again, it also can happen with strong winds drying the soil quickly and spinning suffocating clouds into the air.  These can happen year round but are most common in the winter, spring, and fall months or during drought times in summer.

The areas in Iceland this can often occur is on Route 1 (the main road) between the town of Vik and Kirkjubæjarklaustur and throughout the highlands.  Fun Fact, this is one of the countless reasons the Alaskan Lupine were introduced to Iceland, to help prevent against erosion (aka Iceland blowing away).  You may have chuckled at the idea of buying sand / ash insurance but it’s worth it if heading into those areas.

How to Cope in an Icelandic Sand Storm:

Okay, so how do you deal with a sand storm during your Iceland wedding ceremony?  You don’t.  Plan “b” the ceremony location.  There are countless other Iceland wedding locations you can consider and hopefully your Iceland elopement photographer, knows the area well to do so.  Likely, the sand storm will vary in intensities so look on Belgingur (Note: Wind are in meters per second) and Safe Travel to see where the wind subsides.   As it is not only dangerous to your eyes, but totally unpleasant to have sand and little rocks in your mouth, ears, and sand blasting your skin.

That said, there are times when a sand storm can sneak up on you in the highlands of Iceland.  Things you can do to manage through it…

  1. Lowered visibility so drive slow!  If you can’t see others, they can’t see you!
  2. Keep the windows to the super jeep closed and turn off the outside air vents.
  3. Go full on Mad Max post apocalyptic Iceland wedding photos!  Just a few… and it would be good to cover your nose and mouth between shots!  What a freaking story you’ll have to tell afterwards!
  4. You may want to add to your Iceland wedding “go bag” petroleum jelly (put inside of your nose) and a scarf to help you endure it too!
  5. Iceland Wedding Photographer and Video Tip: Shoot with a UV filter on so you don’t scratch your actual lens trying to clean the dust off between shots.

Severe Winds in Iceland

Contractually, our team always reserves the right to “plan b” any Iceland wedding locations which we deem dangerous.  Certainly the main reason being is to keep you safe and enjoying your ceremony thoroughly!  Experiencing extreme wind (or gale force 60+ mph) in Iceland is no joke.  Most would agree this is the most challenging to endure because it can literally blow you over, take your breath away, and easily chill you to the bone.

A level of risk also enters when exploring cliffs.  Our Iceland wedding photographers, never put you in danger getting anywhere near a spot you could be blown off.  Firstly, our general rule is at least 1.5 body lengths away but way more during gale force wind days.  Secondly, our team always takes precautions to ensure everyone’s safety.  That might include securing the Iceland elopement photographer in a harness tethered to the jeep so he/she can capture that stunning angle.

Moreover, any time our Iceland Wedding Planner team has to plan “b” locations for our couples, we always share with you scouting photos and videos to make you feel more comfortable with the changes.  To illustrate, there was a couple last November where we had to “plan b” the entire day because of gale force winds.  Sara and John, trusted us and allowed us to take them into an area where we have only scouted.  They were THRILLED with the results!

Advice to Survive Crazy Winds during your Adventure Wedding:

  • Plan “b” to less intense areas (IE, huge difference between 50mph and 65mph).
  • Always stay several body lengths away from any cliffs you may discover.
  • Layers underneath your wedding gear will help with the chill the wind brings.  Think: Fleece lined leggings and long johns.
  • Have the bride face into the wind during the ceremony if possible.  That way her train or dress blows back instead of forward.  Otherwise if that is not possible because of the windy weather in Iceland, place rocks under the dress to hold in place.
  • Have an Iceland Day of Planner be nearby with your coat for immediately following the ceremony. Plus your “go bag” filled with all the things we suggest (tissues, hiking poles, etc).
  • Take breaks!  No shame in taking coat breaks, holding a hot water bottle, or popping back into the super jeep for a warm up break!
  • Ensure your Iceland wedding bouquet can withstand the crazy winds.  NOTE: Our stylist often wires the weaker flowers to withstand.
  • Hot Picnic Lunch can change your windy cold world.  For real, cannot tell you how happy our couples are after a traditional hot dog BBQ and hot coffee!  Totally a way to beat the weather in Iceland!

When Blizzards Happen in Iceland:

Does Iceland have blizzards?  Yes!  If they happen, they are usually between November-early April.  Throughout the last decade our team has been planning and photographing weddings in Iceland, there have only been a handful or two of blizzards that have happened in the South of Iceland.  Usually Southern Iceland (our primary area) escapes the wrath of blizzard season that the West, North or East experience due to being so close to the coast.

So what do you do when the weather in Iceland gives you a blizzard on your wedding day?

  • Well, firstly FREAKING EMBRACE it and make it an EPIC day!  The weather in Iceland will help craft your unique wedding adventure story.
  • Depending on where and how the blizzard is hitting, you may want to consider having your Iceland wedding ceremony in a natural cave.  Afterwards, run around in it and enjoy making memories!
  • Consider renting or buying a bridal coat.  Bonus points if it has color among all the white!
  • Put a colored shirt on your groom too (versus plain white).
  • Select an elegant hairstyle that is back and/or off your neck or a opt for a braid (Our fave: fishtail braid).
  • Insulated snow boots and wool socks are a MUST to beat the weather in Iceland!
  • Rain gear and gloves for in-between exploring and awesome Iceland wedding photos!
  • Fun Fact: In choosing our team, we can provide a hot water bottle to snuggle against, Hot Hands, a warm lunch, hot drinks, cozy blankets, and a champagne picnic await you!  Maybe even a fire pit!
  • Iceland Wedding Planner Tip: Choose a bouquet with colors other than white.

How to Deal with Rain during your Adventure Wedding:

Rain makes a lot of people cringe, especially the cold kind.  Keep in mind that in choosing a tiny island in the North Atlantic, you’re not going to get tropical rain showers. 😉  So!  Rather than dread it, dance in it!  The best thing about having a wedding or elopement in Iceland is that you ADVENTURE and EXPERIENCE TOGETHER no matter the weather.  In fact, it is said in the Icelandic culture (just like in North America too) that rain on your wedding day is good luck!

Also, the good news, is that the way our Iceland wedding photographers photograph you in the rain you can barely tell in the photos or feel it from the positivity they are gushing!  You’ll just be high on adrenaline of creating incredible magic with your loved one.  Please allow us to educate you on how to prevail through a rainy awesome wedding day…

12 ways to Make a Rainy Wedding be the BEST DAY EVER!

  1. BE POSITIVE!!!  Our team radiates addicting energy you can feed off, we assure you!! 😉  Rock it with us!
  2. Decide on a wedding dress that is made from fabrics that are fast drying and will not cling to you when wet.  More in-depth details below.
  3. Be sure that your hair and makeup styles and products can withstand light to heavy rain.  We explain in further details below why our A-Team of Iceland hair and makeup artists are the BEST!  Braided styles either down or in an updo look stunning throughout a rainy adventure wedding day.  A makeup touch up kit is good to bring along too (our team has one in our “go bag.”).
  4. Layer underneath your dress and suit!  You’ll be thankful for it later if you get cold easily!
  5. Rain Gear is a must along with extra socks and shoes.  Pro Tip: Changing your socks and shoes half way through the day can add to the energy level!
  6. Have your Iceland wedding vows laminated or at the very least written on paper that will not disintegrate in your hands.
  7. Hide Hot Hands in your coats, pockets, and socks / boots!  Carry extras or our team will have some ready for you too.
  8. If there is light to no wind, then having clear umbrellas is fun and can be a sweet photo prop.
  9. Borrow several towels from the hotel in your “go bag” as it can be a game changer to have that dry material on your very wet skin!
  10. Opt in for our hot / warm lunch option we offer and further compliment it with a Iceland luxury picnic setup!  There is something AMAZING about how your cold body feels after a warm lunch experience in nature!
  11. Wedding Planning in Iceland Tip: Verify your bouquet will not bleed when wet.  Cannot tell you how many “vendors” (none of ours by the way) say they did not paint / color / or enhance a bouquet in someway say it will be “okay” through rain and then it bleeds on to our brides dress.  Special Note: This has only happened when brides have purchased bouquets from outside of our team.
  12. SNUGGLE, just do it!

How to Dress: Iceland Wedding Attire Ready for Extreme Weather

Educating yourselves and your guests (if having them) on what to pack for an Iceland wedding adventure is an important part of having a successful trip.  It can be quite intimidating for those who have less travel wisdom.  Our recommendations for guests on how to dress for a wedding in Iceland follow alongside of advice for our couples getting married!

For the Bride(s) / Partner 1:

Finding the perfect dress to elope in for your adventure wedding is a thrilling time in the planning process!  Maybe it’s the very first thing you do after hiring your Iceland Wedding Planner.  However, it’s best to take the weather in Iceland into consideration when choosing an Iceland wedding dress.  For instance, you need to picture yourself in the worst weather possible and how you would feel in it.  Is that possibly a rain or crazy gale force wind and sand storm?  Getting married during blizzard like conditions or sleet?

Let’s us start from the top to the bottom…

Iceland Hair and Makeup Artists

Choosing stylists that understand the dynamic of an adventure style wedding is key to your look lasting all day.  This could mean they use styles, products that are water resistant, and have staying power (hello MAC Cosmetics!) or that they come along with you for the day, etc.  In fact, our “A-team” is well versed in just that and in our teams “go bag” we have a touch up kit ready as needed.

Adventure Wedding or Elopement Dress

  • Ideally it is best to buy an adventure wedding dress that has lightweight and fast drying fabrics like tulle, nylon, wool, and chiffon.  Dare you to even consider a Gortex-like material!  You’d be the ultimate badass adventure bride!
  • Color… Dresses that aren’t white can help to hide dirt and wetness!
  • Durability, ability to move, and be confident!  For real… Can you hike in it?  Run in your wedding dress (not like a marathon)?
  • Having a wedding dress with pockets also allows you to have a secret stashing spot to hide Hot Hands!
  • Layering underneath your Iceland wedding dress is smart.  Having a pair of fleece lined leggings under your dress can go a long way!  The mix of fleece and spandex actually dries fast too which is fantastic for rainy wedding days or crossing rivers by foot.  Also, be on the lookout for Gortex leggings, if you can find them!  Word on the street is Arc’teryx makes a pair of tights made from the material.

Accessories for your Iceland Adventure Wedding Attire:

  • Hot Hands– If you have a tendency to get cold or getting married in Iceland between September-April these can be a life saver.  But if we are your Iceland wedding planner, we’ll have some ready for you!
  • Shawl / Fur (faux) coat.  Checkout some of our bridal coat ideas from years ago too!
  • A big ass winter coat for in-between Iceland wedding photos and exploring.
  • Rain Gear, at the very least pack a raincoat.  If you forget, we always bring an extra =)
  • Embarking on a hiking elopement?  Then hiking boots are a must!  I mean even just running around in the Icelandic landscape, they are a must too.
  • Waterproof rubber or snow boots if you will be crossing rivers or running around in the snow!
  • Heels or ballet flats for the reception dinner.  Want more inspo on Iceland wedding shoes?
  • SealSkinz gloves and socks!  Or at the very least wool socks that will dry fast!
  • Pack an adventure wedding “Go Bag,” just do it!

For the Groom(s) / Partner 2:

Gentlemen!  We see you and care about you being a dapper groom too!  Here are some thoughts to consider from our previous grooms as you select your Iceland wedding suit!  Remember, picture yourself in the worst weather possible and see how your choices hold up before you buy!

  • Material your suit is made out of… Best case is a material that is fast drying and colors that do not change when wet.  To illustrate, several of our grooms this year donned wool blend suits.  Why is this brilliant?  When they get wet they do not cling nor have a significant color change.
  • Personally, we are huge fans of vests too!  It gives alternative look options too if your suit gets wet, especially if you have a reception following the adventure wedding day.
  • Get cold easy?  Layer!  There’s no shame in putting a pair of long johns underneath your suit, just make sure you have room!
  • Strongly suggest if you are wearing a tie, that you bring along a tie clip to aid against the wind!
  • Having 2 pairs of lightweight hiking boots and a pair of dress shoes (woot woot dinnertime!), and extra socks (see above for our favorite type, they make them in men’s too!) is always a good idea.
  • Rain Gear – Uber important!
  • Iceland Groom Tip: Beware of what your hair gel does when it gets wet!  We’ve seen some of the cheaper products get weird and chunky while venturing around in the rain.
  • Follow our advice on packing a “go bag” too!  You’ll happily thank us later!

For the Guests:

Contemplating what to wear to a wedding in Iceland can be tricky!  Although the responsibility begins with the couple… They must to educate their wedding guests on where the ceremony will be held and what they should expect throughout the adventure wedding day (if joining).  In contrast, it’s good to let the Iceland wedding guests also know what you wish for them to wear for both the ceremony, adventure, ad reception dinner.

To illustrate, we strongly encourage ladies to wear more casual dresses, with fleece lined leggings, hiking boots or calf high no heel boots, and a winter and/or rain coat.  For the reception, you can make a glorious outfit change after a hot shower and don the heels if you wish!  Men, the ideal route for you to go is a sport coat,dress shirt, hiking pants, or a suit with hiking boots.  Both parties layer as you need and bring rain gear!  Make an outfit change with the ladies for the reception too!  Our fantastic post on how to pack a “go bag” is good for them to review as well!

Weather in Iceland by Month:

Iceland is in the gulf stream, so temperatures are overall more mild than the Midwest USA and mainstream Europe during all times of the year.  Typically Iceland does not dip below 26°F or go higher than 58°F.  On the other hand though, it can feel colder because of wind and rain and be warmer if the sun is shinning directly on you.  For the most part that is what you can expect for highs and lows.

No matter the time of year in Iceland, you can always experience crazy winds and rain there isn’t a month that is safe.  All that said, we would like to give you a quick highlight reel of the weather in Iceland by Month.  Our team will speak to the weather in Southern Iceland as that is where our territory of private Iceland wedding locations resides.

January in Iceland

  • January is not a favorite for our Iceland Wedding Planner team.  In fact, you can find our team planning and photographing Patagonia elopements.  The days are short in daylight and the weather in Iceland is in our personal opinion is BRUTAL.  We start the month with 4.5 hours and end it with 7 hours and in the south there is more rain than snow.  Honestly most years it seemed like the sun never comes out and if it does, it is usually overcast.  Count your blessings if you get the rare sought after day of sunshine in Southern Iceland in January and no road closures.

February in Iceland

  • We’re back from South America the second week of February and are back to elopements in Iceland!  The weather in Iceland during the month of February is a winter wonderland!  There is way less rain too than January but similar temperatures (Low: 30°F / High: 36-39°F).  Seven hours of daylight begin the month and we end with 10 hours!  When visiting Iceland during wintertime (November-March), it is best to make sure you rent a 4 wheel studded tire vehicle.  Take great car when driving in Iceland.  Ideal month to witness the Northern Lights and see ice caves too!

Weather in Iceland during March

  • Seeking a snowy winter wedding in Iceland? Better come as early as you can in March (or in February) because it seems like the weather becomes more rainy after the 15th of the month in the South.  Next, you’ll be happy to know you have between 10-13.5 hours of daylight to adventure in, lucky you!  Great month to possibly see the Northern Lights as well but does heed similar temps of January and February with same chance of rainfall.  One of our favorite wild ice cave elopements was in March so if you’re a fan, travel to Iceland in March!

April Weather in Iceland

  • April is a bit of a wild card when it comes to rain, snow, sun, or extreme wind.  Therefore, the mountain tops may or may not have snow and you have the same chance of rain as you do in February and March (slightly less than January).  Usually a rogue blizzard or snow storm also graces us one more time in the month of April, like at Shirish and Angela’s waterfall elopement in April.  The average weather in Iceland temperature is 36°F as a low and 45.5°F and you can anticipate 13.5-16.5 hours of daylight to discover Iceland in!

May in Iceland

  • May happens to be the driest month in Iceland.  Many folks refer to it as “window weather” because it looks so beautiful but can have temperatures between 40-50°F but can often be windy.  Woohoo and you’ll have 16.5 to almost 20 hours to delight in savoring the weather in Iceland too!  The snow in the highlands begins to really melt and it feels like spring.  Frankly, it is one of our favorite months to have people get married!  Could be an ideal month to elope as the weather in Iceland often cooperates!

June Weather in Iceland

  • The Icelandic weather in June is the official beginning of summertime.  In the same vein, it is also the entrance of crazy and vivid greens back to our Iceland wedding locations!  The longest day of the year is also part of June, being the 21st summer solstice.  You’ll have an endless supply of daylight from 20-21.5 hours with it never fully getting “dark.”  June temperatures and weather in Iceland offer up 44.1 -50°F, so have FUN if you’re eloping or planning an adventure wedding with guests!

Traveling to Iceland in July

  • July is an ideal month to get married in Iceland.  Curious why?  It’s our warmest month with temps that range from a low of 48.9°F to a high of 58°F and daylight hours between 20.4 at the beginning of the month and 18 at the end.  Hit or miss again with rain and wind, but just comes to terms with it and seize the moment!  Vivid greens are full on along with ALL of the highland roads are open by July 7th (from experience of previous years).  Exciting time to plan an adventurous wedding or have a July elopement in Iceland!

August Weather in Iceland

  • August is our busiest month out of the entire year. for weddings and elopements in Iceland.  Just so happens the weather can be primo too!!!  Although it has more average rainfall compared to June or July, it still yields warm temperatures and this is the first month where night returns!  17.5 hours start the month and by the end of it we’re back down to 14.5 hours.  Summer weddings in Iceland are simply THE BEST, so many freaking options await you!

Visiting Iceland in September

  • Fair to say that September ushers in the fall season.  Moreover, the weather in Iceland begins to change again at this point.  You’ll often find this is our rainiest month, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t sun!  Sometimes in the highlands there is the traces of snow beginning too so it can provide a nice color contrast.  Towards the end of the month rivers swell and the wind rises making for crazy cool conditions in the Icelandic highlands!  The start of the month brings 14.5 hours of daylight and 11.5 at the end and fingers crossed for Northern Lights!  Temps vary between an average of 44.1°F (low) and 52°F (high).

October Weather in Iceland

  • Hands down this is another personal favorite month of ours because of the colors and contrasts!  In addition, Northern Lights sightings are from our experience pretty strong during the month of October so then you just need the weather in Iceland to play nice!  The month of October offers average  temps of 37°F (low) to 45°F (high) but the daylight begins to significantly decrease from ~ 11 hours down to 8 hours.  Depending on how early winter begins to creep in snow and wind can begin to force roads to close.  Before traveling each day make sure you check the Iceland road conditions and weather.

November in Iceland

  • A change occurs in November and it really “feels” like winter.  From our experience, Southern Iceland encounters many road closures because of wind so be very aware as you travel around the countryside.  The weather in Iceland can be very tricky this month as the daylight hours decrease from 8 hours to 5 by months end.  Our team does not typically take on Iceland weddings in November because of the even moreso unpredictability of the weather, lack of daylight to adventure in,  and possibility of gale force wind storms.  Having less rain though on average compared to September and October, you can expect temps to be between 33.1°F and 41°F.

December Weather in Iceland

  • A December wedding in Iceland will have the least amount of daylight than the entire year with a whopping 4-5 hours.  The light is soft all day much like it also is in November too (with the sun very low to the horizon line).  December is also the second rainiest month in southern Iceland, so our team shy’s away from planning weddings in Iceland during this month too.  Come join us in South America instead!  The only bonus of staying is experiencing Christmastime and Northern Lights in Iceland in December.

Choosing an Iceland Elopement Photographer who can Handle Crazy Weather:

When planning an adventure wedding, no matter what the weather in Iceland gives you it’s important to ensure it will be captured thoroughly.  Pretty imperative to choose a seasoned Iceland wedding photographer who can handle extreme weather conditions.  Some tips follow below if you are not going forward with our Iceland wedding planning and photography team (more on our team in the FAQ and Photography section of our site):

  • Ask the right questions.  Literally put them in a situation of crazy wind, rain, or sand storm and ask them how they will communicate posing, protect their gear, and if crazy weather will affect the end result in any way (IE delivery time, etc).
  • What type of professional Gear do they use?  Is it water resistant?  Do they shoot in RAW ?
  • What are “Plan B” locations for extreme weather conditions?

Hopefully this Weather in Iceland blog post has been helpful to empowering you to conquering it and have fun in the extreme weather conditions Iceland can dish out!  If you’re interested in planning an adventure wedding with guests or running away to Iceland to elope, contact us for more information on getting that unforgettable experience started!

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