Iceland ice cave weddings and elopements are probably the trickiest and most expensive to plan. Today we would like to educate you a bit more on why. Also all of the things to take into consideration while planning and packing.
Best Time of Year for Iceland Ice Cave Weddings
The best word to describe Iceland ice cave weddings are unpredictable. Likely because the glaciers in Iceland are alive and ever changing. Even from day to day the cave can change! From melting, to growing, to collapsing, to becoming stable to unstable. Some areas are prone to flooding when it rains too which can wash away any safety dynamics that were set in place.
Therefore, Mother Nature dictates Iceland ice cave weddings formal season. Which usually falls between November to Mid-March. However, that is not always 100% the rule as it can ebb and flow with how the weather and conditions at the glacier have been. For example, in some years, it began in Mid-September and lasted until end of March. Whereas other years it was between end of November to end of February.
Furthermore, it can also depend on which of Iceland’s 13 glaciers you intend on visiting. Because some glacier areas have black sand insolating the walls and caves making the area more stable and accessible year round. Regardless, if venturing down this road of planning Iceland ice cave weddings, make sure you hire a local professional who has insight into this topic.
Where are Ice Caves?
As we alluded to above, there are formally 13 glaciers in Iceland. But there are over 200 outlets of those glaciers. So what does that mean? It means that the glaciers push out to an area that is accessible by hiking, car, super jeep, or snow cat.
Next, here is a short list of the glaciers that primarily have the best chance to house Iceland ice cave weddings:
Man Made Ice Chapel
If you two or your group are not hikers and want to take some of the unpredictability out of the day… Then we suggest considering the man made ice chapel for your Iceland ice cave weddings or elopement. The Into the Glacier team offers this venue and unique experience.
First, the experience begins ~2 hours from the city limits of Reykjavik. Second, you’ll take a 30-75 minute ride (depending on time of year) one way in a modified glacier ready vehicle. Third, then you’ll take a short walk to the ice tunnel entrance to go inside. Forth, there you will experience icy blue and white tunnels. Also a carefully crafted ice chapel that looks and feels like an ice cave. But without the hike, wetness, gear, and danger factors.
If interested in this venue, our Iceland Weddings & Honeymoons team can help you. For instance, in going this route you will want to ensure you are the only group there in the chapel during your ceremony. Otherwise you could be surrounded by many tourists if you were to try to do during one of their “open” tours.
Natural Ice Caves
Maybe having man made Iceland ice cave wedding doesn’t sound as exciting as a natural one. However, there are some considerations you need to know…
It is extremely important to hire a licensed and seasoned glacier driver-guide. One that knows that specific glacier area. And a company that is allowed to operate in that area.
If the ice cave area you were planning to go to suddenly becomes unstable, you need to be understanding to shift the plan. For example, you likely can still be married at a glacier (in front of walls or another feature) or maybe in front of the cave instead of inside (can still be very beautiful).
In both attire and ceremony. Meaning the areas can be very wet and sandy. So having your vows laminated so they do not smear if wet can be beneficial.
Natural ice caves require anywhere between a 15-90 minute hike one way.
The hike can vary depending on conditions. To illustrate, quick sand, glacier flooding, knee high snow, slush, etc.
Depending on the time of year it can vary between loose rocks, sand dunes, etc.
In heading to natural areas you must be equipped with helmets, headlamps, and crampons. The type of crampons will vary depending on the accessibility of the ice cave.
Drive time will vary between 30-90 minutes in good weather conditions to get up to the glacier area. Then add in the hike time to/from. Next, add in ceremony time of ~30 minutes. Also, you’ll need another 30-60 minutes for wedding portraits.
Ice Cave Iceland Wedding Photographer:
When you look to hiring your local photographer, ask if they only shoot natural light of if they bring lighting. For instance, can they shoot off camera flash or do they do on camera, etc? Can make a world of difference to your Iceland wedding photos.
Public vs. Private:
There is a difference between booking a public versus a private tour. In booking a slot on an “open tour” heading up to an ice cave means you’ll be apart of a general group and have set time limits and schedule.
Whereas, if you book a private tour, you are able to work on your own desired schedule. But know, that does not mean you will have the ice cave completely to yourselves. As the most accessible ice caves are the easiest to get in/out of which in turn which is where the tour company’s flock to.
Cost of an Ice Cave Wedding or ICe Cave Elopement
Now on to the million dollar question… How much do Iceland ice cave weddings and elopements cost? Unfortunately, this answer depends on a number of factors such as the following:
- Time of Year
- Area of Iceland
- Number of Guests
- Mode of Transportation
- Weather Conditions (IE, If special gear needs to be brought in to get you there like snow mobiles, etc).
But to give you a range we would suggest the following:
- Ice Cave Elopement (no guests): $1,500 – 3,000 USD
- Iceland Ice Cave Weddings with Guests: $3,000 – 25,000 USD+
What to Pack & How to Dress for an Ice Cave
Meanwhile, you may be curious on how to pack and dress for an ice cave experience. First, some couples may choose not get dolled up in traditional wedding attire and wear hiking clothes. And that’s okay! But here is a short list of recommendations from our Iceland Weddings and Honeymoons Team for yourselves and guests:
- Dress in Layers (thermals, fleece leggings, etc).
- Waterproof Jacket / Pants.
- Parka (if winter).
- Sturdy Hiking Boots that crampons can go on top of.
- Extra socks / shoes incase you get wet. Or SealSkinz socks and gloves!
- Hiking Poles!
- Durable Ring Box.
- Smear-proof Vows and Ceremony text.
- Hot Hands
- Maybe a Bridal Buddy for the hike?
- Plan B and a Good Attitude incase things need to change, it’s Iceland afterall!
Plan Your Ice Cave Experience
In conclusion, after all that are you still on board and ready to plan an Iceland ice cave wedding or elopement? Well planning a winter elopement, you’ll have more ice cave locations and glacier features options available to you. But no matter the time of year, we would love to hear from you and your thoughts! Lastly, feel free to contact us to begin that conversation…
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