People often confuse the dynamics of the Arctic and Antarctic. Above all, there are glaciers present in both. But they are very different yet somehow the same in parts. Planning Arctic weddings versus an elopement or wedding in Antarctica, it’s important to know each offer their own unique challenges. However, all offer incredible unforgettable photo opportunities! Come along with us today as we explore the differences to help you choose…
Arctic Weddings Versus Antarctica
Are you drawn to heading towards the North or South Pole? Allow us to share what you’ll experience within:
Arctic Weddings (Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard):
- Countless glaciers.
- Volcanic features.
- Have the opportunity for Northern Lights typically between September – March.
- Small to medium icebergs (with the chance in Greenland for larger).
- Waterfalls will “wow” you. Specifically in Iceland there are countless amount of waterfalls to explore. Whereas, Greenland and Svalbard they will be limited or river based (small drops).
- All Arctic countries offer black sand beaches.
- There are countless hotel and restaurants to choose from.
- Marine and Wildlife Experiences could be the following by country:
- Iceland: Humpback and Minke Whales; Birds (Puffins, Ravens, Arctic Terns, Golden Plovers, Snipes, Rock Ptarmigans, Owls, Gyrfalcons, Eagles, Fulmar, and Whimbrels); Domestic Farm Animals (Icelandic horses, sheep, and cows); Reindeer (only in East Iceland); and the Arctic Fox.
- Greenland: Polar Bears; Humpback Whales; Musk Oxen; Arctic Foxes; Caribou; Eagles; Hares (giant rabbit); Arctic Wolf (rare); Rock Ptarmigans (and over 60 other types of birds); Seals (Harp, Ringed, and Hooded)l Sled Dogs, and Walruses.
- Svalbard: On land you could expect to see Reindeer and Arctic Foxes. In the sea hopefully you’ll witness Polar Bears; Walruses; Narwhals; Seals (Bearded, Ringed, Harbour, Harp, and Hooded); 12 different species of Whales and over 200 different types of birds in Svalbard (including Puffins!).
- Year Round Hiking can be done. NOTE: Guides are recommended in Svalbard and Greenland.
- In Iceland you can easily rent your own car and do a self-drive tour of the country. However, in Svalbard and Greenland transport is more challenging as towns / settlements are not connected. And best transport is by snowmobile, dog sled, boat or helicopter led by a local.
- All 3 Arctic countries will be less expensive than a wedding of elopement in Antarctica, but still not cheap!
Antarctica Wedding Expeditions:
- An abundance of glaciers and ice sheets.
- Parts of Antarctica (For example, Deception Island) are volcanically active. You’ll often find volcanic rocks such as basalt and palagonite tuff.
- Massive icebergs (For instance, several stories high) that will be unbelievable.
- On the frozen continent you will not find many waterfalls and if any they will be trickles.
- Antarctica has magnificent black beaches!
- Offer you the opportunity to explore a research base.
- Will keep you housed on an expedition vessel or an eco-friendly glamping base camp.
- Wild and Marine life you will experience are as follows:
- Birds (Albatrosses, Petrels, Skuas, Gulls and Terns)
- Seals (Elephant, Fur, Leopard, Crabeater, Weddel, and Ross)
- Penguins (In order of size largest to smallest: Emperor, King, Gentoo, Magellanic, Chinstrap, Adelie, Macaroni, and Rockhopper).
- Whales (Orcas, Sperm, Humpback, Southern Right, Blue, Minke, Sei, and Fins).
- Crazy shaped mountains are everywhere you look! Most are snow capped year round.
- Shipwrecks and Abandoned Places will give you a interesting look back at history.
- Budget planning for an Antarctica wedding can vary as low as $10,000 USD per person to $100,000 USD per person. The range varies because of number of days, where you begin your expedition, class of accommodation, activities you wish to do, and type of transport (vessel versus plane).
Wedding Photos with Icebergs
Good news! All of these countries will allow you to experience icebergs year round. Consequently, for the Arctic weddings, you need to know where in the country to go to experience. This is where having a local adventure wedding planner comes in really handy! Meanwhile, Antarctica as long as there is a icecap or glacier nearby there are likely going to be icebergs floating around. But they may vary in size.
Best Times to Visit
Firstly, for planning Arctic weddings, you can visit the countries year round. Likely there will be flights to accommodate the time frame you wish to go. Your decision on the best time to visit the Arctic will come from what you want to do and experience while you’re for there. For example, Northern Lights, better weather for an outdoor wedding, whale watching, hiking, ice climbing, etc. As a result, we suggest the following best times to visit for our clients:
- Iceland Elopements: Mid February – Early November
- Svalbard Weddings: March – November
- Greenland Weddings: Between April – October (our favorite month for exploring ice fjords is September).
However, with Antarctica, there are more moving parts to consider. The main one being transportation and lodging you wish for (IE, expedition vessel or glamping camp). Furthermore, typically between mid November to February is the time you can safely visit Antarctica.
Iceland Wedding Locations
The most popular wedding location for Arctic weddings is Iceland. Mainly because it is the easiest accessed. To illustrate, from the moment you get off the airplane, everything is easy and independent. In other words, you load up your rental car or truck and begin your adventure around the country. Additionally, in choosing Iceland as a wedding location, you have an endless list options. In short you could consider these types of Iceland wedding locations:
- Black Sand Beaches
- Waterfalls of all sizes, shapes, and texture.
- Sea Cliff wedding ceremony.
- Glacier Lagoons
- Geothermal Area
- Inside of a natural cave!
- Countryside Church
- Under the Northern Lights!
- Lava Field
- Mars lunar like landscapes!
- Inside of an ice cave
- Golden Sand Beach
- Within the Mysterious Icelandic Highlands
- Inside of a Canyon
- Moss Field
- In front of a shipwreck!
- Lava Tunnel
- Black Desert
Weddings and Elopements in Greenland
Elopements in Greenland can expect to feel a little more land locked despite being on the ocean. Which is why it is important to choose a town that you love the look of because it is not super easy to get to others. Although you could look forward to Greenland wedding locations such as these:
- Historical Seaside Church
- On top of glacier!
- Among floating icebergs
- Aboard a sailboat
- At the base of fjords
- Kayaking or SUP to your ceremony location!
- Amidst the colorful houses.
- Beside a river waterfall.
- Under the Northern Lights.
- Within an abandoned town.
- In front of crazy shaped mountains!
Svalbard Wedding Adventures
Firstly, Svalbard is a northern archipelago above Norway. Secondly, it is formally apart of Norway and offers just as interesting landscapes! For example, you could look forward to the following Svalbard wedding locations:
- Getting married on one of Svalbard’s 8 icecaps!
- Elope among Svalbard’s wildlife…
- On top of a mountain!
- Imagine being married on a sailboat in front of a glacier waterfall!
- Within a abandoned town.
- On a black beach.
- Cool shaped mountains!
Antarctica Elopement Expeditions
Beyond Arctic weddings, when you think about getting married in Antarctica, it is not just a “trip” it’s an expedition. Therefore, there is a lot of time and care that goes into the details and logistics of planning such an experience. Luckily, our Your Adventure Wedding team has it locked down! For instance, on your elopement expedition you could have the opportunity to choose from the follow types of Antarctica wedding locations:
- Surrounded by a penguin colony.
- Within the Antarctic Peninsula and Mainland Antarctica.
- At a Antarctica Research Station.
- Historical Church (Russian Orthodox church on King George Island near Bellingshausen Station).
- Overlooking volcanic landscapes.
- At the base of a crazy shaped mountain.
- On your own private island with icebergs floating around!
- Near a shipwreck.
- In front of massive icebergs!
- On top of of a glacier or snow.
- In kayaks overlooking some epic scene.
- On the expedition vessel or zodiac in front of an unforgettable landscape!
- Inside of a natural cave.
Planning a Wedding or Elopement in the Arctic or Antarctic
Hopefully today you have learned the differences in Arctic weddings versus Antarctica weddings. No matter the rabbit hole you venture down, it is important to hire a adventure wedding planner who can share with you insider knowledge to ensure your trip and wedding run flawlessly.
Lastly, if interested in planning an Iceland elopement or wedding adventure, feel free to contact our Iceland Wedding Planner team for more information! Otherwise, if interested in an elopement in Greenland, Svalbard, or Antarctica, feel free to contact our Your Adventure Wedding team.
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