Being a tiny volcanic island in the middle of the North Atlantic, Iceland is home to hundreds of black sand beaches. They can be found island wide and some even come with gorgeous natural features like interesting rock formations and caves! Further, if you seek a unique location for your ceremony, having a black sand beach Iceland wedding could be ideal for you! You’re in luck too.. Because today we are going to provide a guide on how to have a wedding on a black sand beach in Iceland!!
Why You Should Get Married on a Black Sand Beach
Truly a sense of magic comes alongside of exploring a black sand beach. Likely because they are a unique sight to bear witness to! Although our beaches in Iceland are not the type to sunbathe on or take your shoes off and run around in barefoot. Nevertheless, they feel alive! Why is that?
To illustrate, Iceland has over 100 volcanoes and is one of the most volcanic landscapes in the entire world. Minerals and rich lava fragments break down and create the black sand beaches. Within those textures of basalt rocks and fine grained black sand, you never know what type will be on the black beach. For example, the strength of the currents dictate what the ocean churns up that day on the beach. Often, we’ve gone to the same beach in the same week and its gone from flat basalt rocks to finely grained sand. Yet another reason why you should get married on a black sand beach, it changes frequently!
Not to mention, all of the very different backdrops beside the beaches can easily entice any adventure loving soul! Maybe you’ll explore a black beach with a sea arch, basalt sea stacks, sand dunes, lava rocks, a waterfall, a shipwreck, etc! Endless choices await you as you plan your black sand beach Iceland wedding!
Everything to know for your Black Sand Beach Iceland Wedding
Having planned and photographed 100’s of adventure weddings and elopements that have included black sand beaches, our team is extremely knowledgeable on all the ins/outs! After all, we are the original trailblazing crew when it comes to experience driven adventurous weddings in Iceland discovering unique private locations! Our wedding planning and photography adventures began here in 2010!
Come along with us as we share with you everything you need to know about how to plan your black sand beach Iceland wedding day!
How to Start Planning a Beach Wedding
Woohoo! Without a doubt, you’re thrilled to get started planning your black sand beach Iceland wedding ceremony, so where do you begin? Here are a few high level simple steps to get you started…
12 Steps to Planning a Beach Wedding in Iceland
- Step 1:
- Choose your favorite country with black sand beaches! Hope it’s Iceland 😉
- Step 2:
- Hire a local Iceland Wedding Planner.
- Step 3:
- Allow the planner to show you photos and videos of amazing black sand beach Iceland wedding locations!
- Step 4:
- Take the time to discuss the location choices with your soon to be partner. Where do you see yourself? It’s good to have a top 3.
- Step 5:
- Acquire feedback from your Iceland wedding planner on the pros / cons of the locations. Ask questions!
- Step 6:
- Know your “plan b” options in case the weather in Iceland calls for a sand or gale force wind storm.
- Step 7:
- Get in advance Permission! Make sure your local wedding planner gets permission to hold your ceremony on the black sand beach. This could be from the national park, local town, agencies, private property landowners, farmers, etc. Basically whoever is in charge to ensure you can legally hold your wedding ceremony there. And that your professional photographer can photograph! Note: There can be a permit or a fee associated with this.
- Step 8:
- Finalize your guest count (typically for group weddings this is final 30-90 days before).
- Step 9:
- Decide on ceremony seating or decor and book it!
- Step 10:
- Book a sound system so your guests can hear your wedding vows over the waves, wind, or black beach waterfall!
- Step 11:
- Step 12:
- Live it! Savor it! And be your badass in the moment selves!
Tips to Plan the Perfect Black Sand Beach Wedding
Everybody loves a good insider tip, right? Especially when you’re wedding planning! Furthermore, also if you’ve not been a location before or it’s been a while. Here are 3 tips on planning the perfect black sand beach wedding:
Iceland Wedding Planner Tip #1:
Firstly, a lot can change from month to month here in Iceland with the onslaught of earthquakes, landslides, harsh winters, landowners, environmental agency or national park restrictions. Having an experienced local Iceland Wedding Planner can aid you in all aspects of your black sand beach Iceland wedding planning!
Iceland Wedding Planner Tip #2:
You need to know, understand, and respect the difference between public versus private property before you settle in on a ceremony location. Some beaches in Iceland are public or owned by the government / National Park. However, many others are within private property limits or owned by towns.
NOTE: All require in advance permission (regardless of size) AND often a permit if you are intending to show up with 4+ guests and with any sort of seating or decor. Meanwhile, if you seek a fully private black beach wedding ceremony location, our team is the only planning team that can truly guarantee it! There is nothing more disappointing than having 25+ on-looking tourists posting your wedding to Instagram, right?! Be #touristfree!
Iceland Wedding Planner Tip #3:
Consider adding on a professional speaker / sound system with a day of planner, so you guests can hear your black beach Iceland wedding ceremony! They didn’t travel all that way to only hear the waves crashing after all!!
Things to Know About Getting Married on a Black Sand Beach
Depending on if you are having a elopement on a black beach in Iceland or planning a wedding with guests, our advice can differ between. Firstly, one of the first questions your guests may ask, is what to wear to an adventure wedding in Iceland? Beyond the list we have blogged, the best shoes to wear to a black sand beach wedding are hiking boots! Stones and sand getting in your shoes can be troublesome so having boots that go above your ankles at least are best for support too!
Secondly, another question we often get asked by adventurous brides, is whether or not the black volcanic sand will blacken an Iceland wedding dress? Short answer is no to most dress fabrics. However, on occasion there has been a silky fabric type which stains even with water that can and some tulle fabrics which keep some of the sand captive. Nothing wrong with a few o’natural souvenirs from Iceland!
Thirdly, transportation is a critical factor in planning a black sand beach wedding. During the time of year your Iceland elopement or wedding is, what type of transportation do you need? Options could include the following: Car, car-pooling, bus, highland bus, 4×4, or via super jeep(s)! Most couples who plan wedding adventures with guests will ensure they provide transport for their guests so they can relax and enjoy the day versus self-driving. Your Iceland Wedding Planner can guide you into knowing the specific type of transport that is best for your black sand beach Iceland wedding ceremony location and your group size.
Fourth, be aware of what the weather the day or two before your black beach Iceland wedding ceremony day by checking out Belgingur. For instance, know how high the wind speeds AND what the tide (hello Iceland tide tables!) will be doing in the area you have chosen. That way, you have time to put your “plan b” into action if you need to. No one want to say their wedding vows in the middle of a sand storm!
The Best Black Sand Beaches for Weddings
One of the most exciting aspects of planning your black sand beach Iceland wedding is choosing the actual ceremony location! Therefore, allow our team to share with you 14 of the best black beach wedding locations in Iceland…
#1- Black Sand Beach Waterfall
You read that right folks, a black sand beach waterfall exists! Close your eyes and picture yourself there exploring… Getting married in Iceland on a private black beach that has a waterfall is likely one of the most unique locations in the world!
#2- Diamond Beach
Over the last decade the ocean outlet to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon named Diamond Beach as become increasingly popular. Unless you arrive outside of the tour bus hours (which are between 8:30-6pm) then we would not suggest you venture here. Additionally, you must contact the national park for permission to have your black sand beach Iceland wedding ceremony here, no exceptions. If you are bringing along a photographer or film team, they are NOT allowed to fly drone in this area, without an in advance permit.
#3- Hvitserkur Beach
Easily Hvitserkur is one of the most romantic places in Iceland I’ve personally ever been! Take the time to hike along the cliffs or black beach to get away from any tourists exploring the area.
#4- Dyrhólaey Sea Arch Black Beach
Although the top of the Dyrhólaey Sea Arch is a public nature preserve, our team has access to the 100% private side of it which is the stunning black rock beach! Picture yourself having an intimate black beach wedding ceremony here…
#5- Iceland Lava Rock Beaches
There is so much history that comes with being married on an Iceland lava rock beach it’s unforgettable! Did you know the lava rocks could be 1,000’s of years old? Be a part of history!
#6- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Next, one of the most touristy locations in Iceland is Reynisfjara, but is still a must see natural gem. Regardless, the area is rich with options such as basalt columns, caves, rock formations, and unique textures. While, all that sounds amazing you need to be weary of this place for several reasons. First, this is the most dangerous beach in Iceland because of the riptide waves. Stay far away from the water, please! Second, in August of 2019, there was a landslide and the area became unstable so the area was CLOSED.
Lastly on this location, the only advice we can lend you at this location is know the tide tables and have your black sand beach Iceland wedding ceremony as early or as late as you can during the summertime (June-August). That way, you’ll avoid the hundreds or tourists that visit this place hourly. In circa 2014, our team held our last wedding at Reynisfjara. Our lovely couple held their wedding in a beach cave.
#7- Djúpalónssandur Black Beach
A beautiful black beach can be found within the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, named Djúpalónssandur. The colors, textures, and tones this place exudes is really impressive! Plus the location is near to Hotel Budir for those of you that are obsessed with Iceland’s little black church!
#8- Vik Black Sand Beach
Within the village of Vik, there is the more offbeat side and view of the basalt stacks, Reynisdrangar. Typically there are less tourists on this side versus Reynisfjara. Getting in advance permission from the town is required to hold a black sand beach Iceland wedding ceremony there.
#9- Sand Dune Beaches in Iceland
Surprisingly dune beaches are pretty commonly found around Iceland. As a matter of fact, it can be quite sweet to see the contrast between the black sand, tall grass, and water!
#10- Icelandic Highland Black Sands
It’s no secret that our team run our adventurous weddings and elopements deep into the Icelandic Highlands. Scouting black sand desert areas throughout have been a super fun mission! Pretty sure my dreams are often made up of these vivid greens, blacks, and crazy shapes!
#11- Shipwreck Black Beach
We’re all about combing the best of both worlds! What about combining a black sand beach with a historical shipwreck? …mind blown? Welcome to your black sand beach Iceland wedding location options!
#12- Westman Islands Black Sand Beach
A ferry ride away from mainland Iceland is another set of islands called the Westman Islands. The island is home to one of the most thrilling and dramatic volcanic eruption stories I think I have EVER heard! Finding a black beach wedding location here is likely going to be more on the rocky side versus sandy, so where stable shoes or hiking boots! Best time to visit is between May-Mid October for your wedding or Iceland wedding anniversary adventure.
#13: Lakeside Beach in Iceland
Not joking when we said Iceland is a volcanic island! Which means that even lakes offer up a gorgeous black sand beach wedding experience! Can you picture yourself walking down this gorgeous lakeside aisle? Or maybe eloping on a lakeside beach is more your style…
#14: Beach by Reykjanesviti
Not far from the KEF International Airport is a lovely rocky beach with super cool rock formations! Sometimes it is referred to as Valahnúkamöl. It can be found ocean-side behind the famous Reykjanesviti lighthouse. This area looks extra dreamy during a rainy Iceland wedding adventure too!
Other Beaches in Iceland to Consider:
Believe it or not, Iceland actually has golden sand beaches to explore too! In fact, West Iceland is loaded with countless golden sand beaches to find your way to. One of our personal favorites is called Skarðsvík Beach in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Plan Your Perfect Black Sand Beach Wedding
In conclusion, our talented Iceland Wedding Planners and Photographers would love to help you custom craft a perfectly private black beach Iceland wedding adventure! We’re confident that with our decade worth of experience specifically here in Iceland, we will prove to be an asset to your Iceland elopement or wedding with guests! Because who really wants to spend weeks getting lost in research? Feel free to contact us to make your experience flawlessly FUN!