Dream Wedding Destination: Iceland

I’m long overdue in personally documenting one of the most beautiful events I got to be a part of last year. I was approached last year by my friends Joe & Madison to officiate their destination wedding in September, which took place in none other than the country of Iceland. I had known Joe through Instagram and then he moved to Portland to work with me at my old job, and we had slowly developed a friendship.

It was such an honor to be asked by him and Madison to do their premarital counseling and officiate their wedding, which would have been an immediate “yes” from me and incredible honor to do regardless of where they got married. However, traveling to Iceland for the wedding was “icing on the cake” (no pun intended, since it was a wedding and weddings have cake; also no pun intended because icing / Iceland…ok, both puns were definitely intended, who am I kidding?). 

To cut costs for Joe and Madison on the wedding, and since a bunch of us who were involved with the wedding were either creatives or had some kind of social media following, we were able to strike a deal with Iceland Air to comp our tickets if we did some photo and promotional work for them, which was a blessing. Iceland Air took great care of us and was a really good client to work for.

It was a short 5-day trip total, and the first few days were spent on wedding stuff around the city of Reykjavik (the only big city in Iceland) where we stayed in a delightful Airbnb. The first morning we soaked in the nearby Blue Lagoon, and took the first batch of photos of Joe and Madison. Blue Lagoon is this exotic hot-spring type place, and there’s no way to describe it other than magical.  We then drove out for a wedding rehearsal at a gorgeous European church (uniquely painted black with white trim) in the Icelandic countryside overlooking the ocean, and then came back the next day for the wedding ceremony itself. 

I’ve been a part of a lot of weddings, but this one was different—and no, not because it was in Iceland—but because my friend Joe has an incredible story as an orphan and has overcome so much in his life, and he and Madison have this one-of-a-kind story of meeting solely on Instagram and beginning a long distance relationship between Portland and Nashville. There were lots of tears, laughs, and sacred moments. I was so proud of Joe. And Madison made such a beautiful bride.

After the wedding festivities were over, we got to spend a few more days exploring the island (yes, Iceland is an island off of Europe in case you were wondering) and spending time with great company continuing to celebrate Joe & Madison. Iceland is so bizarre because the topography is so diverse as you travel across it. One moment it feels like the coastal plains of Ireland, green and full of farm life—and then the next moment it feels like you’re on Mars, desolate and barren lava rock as far as the eye can see (in fact, large portions of movies such as Interstellar were filmed there for this reason). Other spots felt like the lush and mountainous terrain of New Zealand, while others yet felt like Antarctica or subzero terrain. Though difficult to choose, I’d have to say my favorite spot was Jokulsarlon, a breathtaking “glacial lagoon” that we got to enjoy during sunset. 

The island also has a fantastic supply of the most common form of native wildlife to the region: the iconic Icelandic horses!!! Had a great time chasing these horses around, petting them, and of course taking more photos of them than was probably appropriate.

However, the greatest part of the trip by far was witnessing Joe & Madison’s big day, and a close second was the quality time I got to spend with the other friends who went on this trip—people, like Greg Woodman, Corey Crawford, Jimmy Meeks, Micah Hamilton, and Madison’s family. In fact, I must put a giant disclaimer that the beautiful art direction on many of my photos on this page is accredited to the talented Greg Woodman, who was the wedding photographer and Corey Crawford who was his second shooter (I was the unofficial “third shooter” I guess—but loving every bit of it!). 

If any of you couples are looking for a romantic, other-worldly place to get hitched, I highly recommend considering Iceland. Thank you Joe & Madison for letting me be part of your incredibly beautiful day, and an unforgettable trip.