Ice caves are one of our favorite features within the Icelandic landscape. There is something extremely powerful, mysterious, and absolutely awe-inspiring about them. Maybe it’s because of the sparkly magic that comes with the location or the fact that they change every single day, I don’t know. Our Iceland Wedding Planner team is happy to offer year round NATURAL ice caves (never man-made) for your discovery! Taking it a step further… In fact, today we would love to educate you on how to plan an ice cave wedding!!
How to Plan an Ice Cave Wedding:
Firstly, we urge you to not try to plan an ice cave wedding on your own, even if our team is out of your budget. Hire a professional local Iceland wedding planner. Secondly, do not expect to just show up to one of our 13 glaciers here in Iceland and think you know how to have an ice cave wedding. Glaciers are inherently dangerous as they are always moving, melting, changing, and vary in stability depending on the season and glacier itself. Not only that, but if you’re not local (you or your guide) you do not know how to anticipate changes or react safely if something goes sideways.
Thirdly, today we are going to take you through at a high level topics to consider to help you on how to plan an ice cave wedding. We are taking it from an Icelandic landscape point of view, but our umbrella company and brand, Your Adventure Wedding executes ice cave weddings worldwide. From as far west as Alaska, to South in Patagonia and east as New Zealand!
Why Have an Ice Cave Elopement?
Countless reasons could fuel the desire for you to questions on how to plan an ice cave elopement in Iceland or around the world where glaciers live and breath. Just to name a few could be the following…
1- Be Apart of History
For example, maybe you like the idea of being a part of history. Meaning, stepping foot on ice older than you can even fathom! For real!! Glaciers in Iceland are well over 2,000 years old. Imagine planting your feet in such a historical spot as you commit the rest of your lifetime to your favorite person!
2- Be the First, Last, or Only!
Certainly the fact, you could be the first, last or ONLY couple ever to marry in that cave might rock your world! So wait… How is that possible or even a thing? Well, good question! Ice caves change on a daily basis due to rain, sunshine, and above freezing temperatures, which in turn causes them to melt away rapidly. How incredible to think you could be the only couple ever to marry in that cave before it melts away, it’s 100% possible with embarking on how to plan an ice cave wedding in Iceland with us!
On that same note, this is exactly why our team scouts weekly because areas change often. We promise all of the bragging rights go to you 😉
3- Be Sheltered
Next, maybe your reason for an ice cave wedding could be as straightforward, as you adore the idea of merging the indoors with nature. Along with that, you also understand that the weather in Iceland challenges the most adventurous of us and you want to be sheltered. No shame in that! But do know what to expect while inside because it’s often still a wet experience!
4- Be Inspired
Inspiration comes in all shapes and forms. Likely, in seeing photos of ice cave wedding ceremonies, you might be marveled by the the literal sparkle of them! Enjoy the idea of being surrounded nature constructing a gran cathedral for you? If you’re lucky too your ice cave may come with a gorgeous mountain or glacier river view! Either way, you two and your guests will walk away revived from inside out and pinching yourself that, that just happened!
Types of Ice Caves
Did you know there are actually several types of ice caves found in Iceland? Cannot promise that you’ll be able to pick a specific type, but often couples let us know their preferences and we head out on scouting missions to hopefully find! However, what I will say, is that in knowing how to plan an ice cave wedding, it’s likely you will not know until a few days what specific ice cave will be viable. Likewise why it is critical to have a local Iceland Wedding Planner who can offer up several ice cave options in place of the original if conditions are not favorable.
Come along with us as we share with you the experience of the most common types of ice caves in Iceland. There are 9 different types to explore!
Glacier River Ice Cave in Iceland
Ice caves are created by the shifting of a water source, which could mean melt water (from within or out), a river, a waterfall, etc! One of the most dynamic kinds of ice caves are ones that have a river flowing through it. Over time the river and the sun melt away the inside bringing to light a gorgeous cave to hold your Iceland adventure wedding ceremony inside! February is the best month to focus on how to plan an ice cave wedding ceremony follow by hunting for Northern Lights too!
Eloping in a Tunnel Ice Cave:
Tunnel ice caves are crazy cool because they vary in size and colors. The longest one we’ve experienced is over 90 feet long! Imagine exploring that ice cave tunnel as you think about how to plan your ice cave wedding! Insane!!
Waterfall Ice Cave:
Is there a more epic combination of an ice cave and a waterfall? Some Iceland glacier guides may classify this type of ice cave under the same category as a glacier river ice cave, but we beg to differ. On most of the glaciers in Iceland, there isn’t enough height to have a drop in elevation to warrant the look of a proper waterfall. However, at our private / offbeat side of the glacier it can be pretty common to have happen. Exciting, right?
Sinkhole Ice Cave:
A sinkhole ice cave is created by a moulin which means water powerfully runs over a surface until it has enough pressure to “sink” or “fall in.” As the glacier begins to break and recede back the area merges into most times a massive ice cave! Something is screaming wedding of the century as you begin thinking about how to plan an ice cave wedding, am I right?!
Ice Cave Arches:
Sometimes during the summer months in Iceland, ice caves are unstable so we often look to other interesting features the glacier provides us. For example, this route can be part of a “plan b” we spoke of earlier. A fave feature are ice cave arches. Many times leftover elements of ice caves that have since melted away and the arch is all that is left standing. Fair to say they will still blow your mind!!
Crystal Ice Caves in Iceland:
Maybe the first time you Googled “ice caves” the first type of ice cave you laid your eyes on were the crystal blue ice caves in Iceland? Easy to say that the most photographed type of ice cave worldwide is the “ponded water” type of ice cave. Truly it is the clearest, pure, and creates the illusion of a crystal look many folks seek. However this is not a super common type of ice cave to witness at our offbeat / non-touristy side of the glacier, but it can happen.
On that same note, if this is the type of ice cave you find yourself obsessed with, you will need to visit Iceland during the months of November-Mid March as these types of caves are only accessible then. Important to know as you figure out how to plan an ice cave wedding!
Crevasse Ice Caves:
Did you know crevasses can be ice caves too? We have been literally and figuratively surprised more times than not by this type! Conditions have to be just right to create such features but when it happens it’s really unique to experience! These are most often seen in the summer months at the glaciers in Iceland.
Ice Canyon Caves:
Occasionally, when large ice caves fall apart, we are felt with an ice canyon. Walls break down and craft smaller ice caves you’re able to explore too!
Accumulated Snow Cave:
Winter is a really exciting time to have an ice cave wedding in Iceland. Why? Because with the large amounts of snow at the glaciers and freezing temperatures allows for new and unique caves to be born. To illustrate, crazy snow and ice storms overnight can often create an accumulated snow ice cave making a very fresh backdrop for your ice cave wedding ceremony in Iceland!
Ice Cave Elopement: What to Expect
A question that is often asked, is what to wear to a wedding in Iceland. Now that is a loaded question because couples have all different kinds of weddings in Iceland. Therefore it is important to know the location(s) and the adventure level. For instance, there is a huge difference between having an ice cave wedding in the man-made ice tunnel / chapel that is on Langjökull Glacier versus one of our amazing natural ice caves.
To illustrate, with the first route you take a snow cat / 6 wheel truck to basically take you to the entrance. Where’s the adventure? Then you’re given street crampons (not proper ones for glacier walking or ice climbing and you go in touching walls that were man-made, nothing about it is natural. On the other hand, if you want to see a quick ice cave from Reykjavik, this can be feasible option for you. For our clients though, it is not. Because in the latter route of o-natural ice cave exploring, you could be hiking for 10 minutes to 2 hours one way. Plus almost all of our clients are game to embark on a badass hiking wedding!
What to Wear:
The short answer on what to wear to an ice cave wedding is layers and boots. What could that look like? Our brides should checkout our advice on Iceland wedding dresses. Grooms to be should check out how to be ruggedly dapper and pack a “go bag!” For your female Iceland guests, it could mean a long sleeve wrap dress with layers underneath, snow boots or proper sturdy hiking boots (so crampons can be applied). Whereas for men, we always tease and say, “boots and suits!” Think layers if you get cold easy and then nice on top and more rugged on the bottom. Same rules apply for having sturdy hiking boots for your Iceland wedding day adventures. Lastly, everyone should be having an outside layer that is rain and wind proof.
Ice Cave Wedding Ceremony Ideas
Crafting a personal Iceland wedding ceremony inside of an ice cave can vary depending on the celebrant you wish to use. For instance, some may choose to have a religious, spiritual ceremony or a traditional Norse Asatru ceremony, etc! Most of our couples choose to have a nature based ceremony and even incorporate something from their daily lives.
To illustrate, if you two are geologists, you may want to do a Iceland wedding unity ceremony where you bury stones into the glacier or toss into the glacier river that runs through your ice cave! Others may want to have their first drink together as newlyweds as water directly from the glacier. Options could be endless as you think about how to plan an ice cave wedding ceremony!
How to Pack for an Ice Cave Wedding
When you begin thinking about on how to plan an ice cave wedding, it’s important to know that you need to have professional local help. Alongside of that, here is a short list of likely some items you will need on hand to ensure a successful adventure! Note: This is list is not inclusive, it is merely to provide you a starting point to understand the dynamic.
Gear You Need:
- Permission from the land owner if taking private roads to get to your starting point. Note: Our team are seasoned experts on this topic!
- Professionally licensed and skilled super jeep driver to get you to/from the area.
- Reliable super jeep that is on at least 42” tires, has an inflation and deflation system in the truck (not manual) and has a winch / tow rope. Furthermore, a super jeep that is well maintained (not leaking oil or falling apart).
- Professional glacier guide who is trained in mountaineering safety and knows the area well. Who will also be equipped with all needed gear to get in / out of the cave safely (IE, ice screws, ice axes, ropes, safety features, and capable of building steps, etc).
- Sturdy hiking boots.
- Crampons (glacier walking to ice climbing depending on the area you are exploring).
- Hat – Gloves – Sunglasses – SPF!
- A go with the flow attitude in case plans need to be altered (hello “plan b!”).
- Positive vibes to savor, enjoy and BE IN THE MOMENT regardless of the weather inside or outside of the ice cave.
- Local Iceland elopement photographer. NOTE: It is critical to have one that is capable of shooting with off camera flash to ensure a well lit ice cave wedding ceremony. Otherwise you’ll just end up with silhouettes or images shot at a disgusting ISO (which you will not be able to enlarge very big).
- Iceland Day of Planner– Important to add to aid your guests and assist you (IE, holding coats / go bags, pouring hot chocolate or coffee, champagne toast, setting up chairs, etc)!
- Celebrant to perform the ceremony.
- Iceland wedding video team.
- Bridal Bouquet and Boutonniere? You decide! No pressure. But we will say it is fun to have a pop of color!!
- Change of clothes, shoes, and extra socks because glacier quick sand is REAL. So is the unpredictable weather in Iceland!
- Adventure wedding “Go Bag.”
- Laminated or waterproof / smudge proof Iceland wedding vow books ready.
- Hot Hands or hot water bottle to warm your hands, chest or any other body part!
- A responsible tourist bathroom plan. Note: Our team has a classy bathroom that can be added to the adventure day. Why? Because nobody wants their 90-something grandma or mother having to pop-a-squat in 60 mph winds! Important consideration as you figure out how to plan an ice cave wedding!
- Lunch plan (and ideally it’s with you) so you do not go hungry in case the weather turns or super jeep gets stuck and you hired a company who doesn’t “plan b” very well!
Information on Ice Cave Wedding Locations:
Finding yourself a bit overwhelmed at how to plan an ice cave wedding? Or dream of a wild elopement in an ice cave?! Our Iceland Wedding Planner team has planned and photographed countless ice cave wedding ceremonies so it’s fair to say we are seasoned experts! Feel free to contact us for more information on how to plan an ice cave wedding adventure!
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