How to See the Northern Lights during your Iceland Wedding

Northern lights better known as the Aurora Borealis can be seen in hand full of different countries in the world. Those countries include Iceland (of course),Greenland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Northern Canada and in the US state of Alaska. Basically all of the counties based on the top part of the globe, or the Northern Hemisphere.
In this blog we will give you all of the details as of what causes the exquisite mystical lights and why they are mostly seen in these countries. We will discuss their myths and as a bonus we will also be sharing Iceland’s most famous lullaby and we will even translate the lyrics to the eerie yet breathtakingly beautiful song. The song was originally created for a play in 1911.

What causes the Northern Lights?

What causes the Northern Lights you ask? In short, our sun! The longer winded version causes for a lot of science talk. The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles, electrons and protons, released from the sun’s atmosphere.

Thankfully there is a more understandable version of what causes the Northern Lights. Basically, our sun has solar storms that causes flaming plasma to be blown towards Earth. The Earth is protected by a magnetic iron sphere which blocks these solar storms and causes them to bounce back into space. Our magnetic sphere also known as the magnetic field is shaped like an infinity sign (or a parallel figure eight) which travels through the middle of the globe. Sometimes the magnetic field bounces the solar storms towards the two poles of the Earth, the North and South poles. The polar opposite poles are the weakest points of the magnetic field. It is here where small amounts of the sun’s plasma particles reach the Earth´s atmosphere.

Once the plasma reaches our Earths atmosphere the plasma particles collide with gas particles. These collisions emit light that we perceive as the dancing lights of the north (and the south). Different gas particles are found a various depths within the Earth´s atmosphere, and these gases will emit different colours of light when their particles are excited (interacting with the sun´s plasma). The most popular, and most frequently seen, are green Northern Lights, which are caused by the abundance of oxygen particles in the atmosphere.
Due to contrary beliefs, the Northern Lights do not just happen during the winter and at night. The Northern Lights can be happening at all times of the day; only you cannot see them due to daylight.

Unfortunately, the Northern Lights are almost impossible to predict there for no one can promise you that you will experience them during your stay in Iceland. Which is why we recommend a few days stay while hunting for the Northern Lights as Iceland is know for its constantly changing weather. The Northern light can not be seen while it is raining.

 

Getting married under the Northern Lights

We get a lot of inquires about getting married under neath the Northern Lights.  Unfortunately the chances of you saying “I do” under the Northern Lights are very slim.  Here are the following reasons.

  1. The predictability of the lights can only be estimated a few days before they are due to arrive.  Even then there is not a 100% chance seeing as we can not predict how our magnetic field will react to the solar storms.
  2. You would need to have make sure every one involved (i.e celebrant, Iceland wedding photographer, guests) are ready to be “on call” when the lights do show up.
  3. On the same note as above, seeing as the Northern Lights are only at night any where from 8pm to 5am this can result in up charges from Iceland Wedding vendors and upset guests (because of the unpredictability factor).
  4. Capturing images of the Northern Lights can be quite tricky, depending on the skill set of your Iceland Wedding Photographer.  In order to capture the lights one would require a tripod and / or shinning a quick light on the subject during a longer exposure.  Some photographers even cheat and add the Northern Lights in post processing.  Make sure your Iceland Wedding Photographer is capable of getting the look and style you seek.

If you dream of having the Northern Lights during your Iceland Wedding or Iceland Elopement we would advice you to not plan around the lights.  Rather, stay a few days longer with only your Iceland Wedding Photographer on call.  Who knows.. They might even grace you with their presence during your Iceland Wedding Reception.

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Tips for the Best Chances to See Northern Lights

In order to see the Northern Lights in all their glory there are a few guidelines on should follow.Ca

1. The Northern Light season starts in mid September and can be seen til until early April.

2. We recommend driving away from all light pollution, such as cities, towns, and street lights.

3. Before going on an adventurous hunt for the Northern Lights we recommend checking the weather forecast. In order to see the Northern Lights there needs to be little to no clouds. We usually use the following websites for Iceland. Belgingur.is and Vedur.is

4. Dress accordingly. Icelandic winter nights are quite cold, especially after a long day exploring our beautiful country.

5.We highly recommend bringing a thermos with hot chocolate and a blanket to snuggle under. How romantic right?

As promised, HERE you can listen to Iceland’s famous lullaby. Followed by the translation:
Sleep, my young love.
Outside the rain is weeping.
Mummy is watching over your treasure,
an old bone and a round case.
We should not stay awake through dim nights.

There is much that darkness knows,
my mind is heavy.
Often I saw black sand
burning the green meadow.
In the glacier cracks are rumbling deep as death.

Sleep for a long time, sleep quietly,
it is best to wake up late.
Sorrow will teach you soon,
while the day is quickly decaying,
that men love, lose, cry and mourn.

Translation by Marc Moreau

Would you like to plan your Iceland Wedding or Iceland Elopement with us in hopes to see the Northern Lights? We can not promise you that you will see them but we can promise you a very memorable adventurous experience. Contact US now and we can start planning today!

Iceland Wedding / Church Wedding

Do you want to hold on to tradition and get married in a church followed by landscape wedding photos in the wonders of Iceland? Did you know that Iceland has 378 churches, chapels and prayer houses located all over the country.   The oldest church was built the year 1680!  In 1950 the National Museum of Iceland had it rebuilt to its original state.  Grafarkirkja the oldest turf church is located on the north side of Iceland in a small town called Hofsós.

Although Grafarkirkja is the 1st built church in Iceland it is said that Strandarkirkja, a Lutheran church located on the southern coast was originally founded in the 12th century. The story goes, that Icelandic sailors who were lost at sea vowed to built a church wherever they docked if they would make it safely to shore. Strandarkirkja is located close to Engilsvík (translating to Angel’s Bay). The church that now stands was built in 1888 and restructured in 1968 and again in 1996.

 

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It is believed by locals that the church holds healing powers, making it one of Iceland’s richest and most well kept churches up to date. Locals and tourist a like believe if they make a donation to the church their loved ones will be healed. Who doesn’t want to have an Iceland Wedding or an Iceland Elopement in the famous “Miracle Church”?

 

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The “Black Church” located in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula has in recent years become quite the Iceland Wedding Attraction, but did you know that Iceland has another black church located on a small island named Papey?

On the East Coast, right off the shore of Djúpivogur, is the island Papey.  It was said that in the early settlement era the island was inhabited by Irish/Scottish monks called Papar. Although there is no real evidence of them ever being there.  The island only has 3 buildings. A residential building, a lighthouse and a black church. How romantic would it be to take a private boat ride to the island and have an Iceland Elopement?

Another black church, Saurbæjarkirkja, is located in remote Westfjords. Who knew Iceland had so many black churches?

Do you want to have the best of both worlds and get married in a countryside church and still bring all of your loved ones? Then Hlíðarendakirkja is the church for you. The hillside church can hold up to 180 guests. Hlíðarendakirkja can be found on the South Coast near the town of Hvolsvöllur.

Other iconic Iceland Wedding Churches are Bláa kirkjan (The Blue Church) located on the East coast in a town named Seyðisfjörður. Known for its pastel blue exterior.

Our blog wouldn’t be complete if we did not include the church that has made it to numerous architectural lists, blogs and magazines. You know the one we are talking about! Hallgrímskirkja can be found in the heart of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík!

 

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Do you want to have an Iceland Wedding or Iceland Elopement in one of our 378 churches? HERE you can find inspiration from Rob and Dom’s Iceland Elopement in the lakeside church Úlfljótskirkja not too far from Iceland’s capital Reykjavík.

 

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Intrigued to know more? Contact Us and Iceland Weddings and Honeymoons can start planning your Iceland Wedding with you today!

Driving in Iceland

Are you having an Iceland Wedding or Elopement? Are you going to be renting a vehicle? Do you plan to drive around our beautiful island? A good thing to know before you plan to rent a car is that most of Iceland’s rental cars are manual.  Of course an automatic can also be rented, but usually at a higher price tag.

Our beautiful country has in recent years become quite a popular destination. Who can resist all of our breathtaking waterfalls, lava craters, geysers, glaciers and not to mention our famous hot springs. Our country is not called the land of ice and fire without reason. That being said, to get the very most out of our one of a kind country we highly recommend getting a rental car if you are able, and taking the ring road around the country.  This months blog will inform you on all the things you will need to know about driving in Iceland for your Iceland Wedding or Elopement.

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In Iceland we drive on the right side of the road and pass on the left side.  It is required by law that all passenger wear a seat belts at all time while the vehicle is in operation.  Iceland has zero tolerance regarding drinking and driving and can result  in very high fines.

 

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Iceland is a very sparsely populated country, there for the roads in the countryside were not built to service a large number of vehicles, indeed many roads outside the ring roads and capital area are not paved, roads are classified according to how passable they are. All though the road might be small it is important to know that these roads are our highways and that they usually have the maximum speed limit of 90 km per hour, however you always need to take precautions in case of bad weather or ice. If at anytime you feel the need to stop the vehicle to photograph our beautiful landscapes, please look behind you for any other cars then slowly and safely pull over to the side of the road without damaging any greenery.  It is crucial that precaution be taken while pulling over on a country road in order to prevent an accident.

 

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Another thing to look out for while driving in the countryside are one-way bridges. The vehicle closer to the bride has the right of way. One way bridges are quite common and it is very important that the driver takes the right precautions before driving through. Some of the bigger bridges however tend have shoulders you can pull off to the side if there is oncoming traffic.

 

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It is important to know that driving off-road is both very dangerous and also illegal, resulting in high fines and causes much damage to our nature that can often be seen for decades. You should also be on the look out for animals, commonly sheep, while driving in the countryside of Iceland. If accidentally you happen to hit a sheep or another larger animal it is crucial that you call the police and they can connect you to the farmer to whom the animal belonged. The phone number for the police in Iceland is 112.

Before going out out for an adventure around Iceland it is highly suggested looking at the following websites for weather conditions or the chance of roads being closed . You can also call 902 0600 for weather or 1777 for the roads.

Iceland Weddings and Honeymoons highly suggests for all of their customers to hire a coach for the day of their Iceland Wedding or Elopement so they can take in the whole range of experiences Iceland has to offer. We make sure that you are connected with the best vendors Iceland has to offer.

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Has this months blog intrigued you to take the leap and finally make your Iceland Wedding a reality? Contact Us and we will be more than happy to start planning your adventure today!

Traditional Icelandic Desserts

It is that time of year again, where the sun never sets and we are well into our busiest season. At Iceland Weddings and Honeymoons every season is wedding season, but many couples prefer the endless summer nights to the dark winters.  But not to worry, if you want to get married with everything covered in snow and bless your marriage under the lights of that Aurora, that is okay too. This month’s blog is dedicated to Iceland’s traditional desserts. In this blog you can get an idea of what kind of desserts suit you for your special Iceland wedding/elopement day.

 

 

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The Kransakaka or Kransekake originally originated from Denmark in the 18th century, where it was first baked in Copenhagen. The Kransakaka has been a big part of Iceland´s traditional desserts. The Kransakaka is a sweet, almond(y) piece of heaven, often said to taste like marzipan (which insistently is made of almonds and similar ingredients). The cake is made of many layers, stacked to resemble an inversed cone (think pyramid of rings). It is an old tradition for the bride and groom to be the first to break into the cake. It is said that the number of layers that stick to the top one when they lift it is how many children they will have together. Others leave it to the guests to decide how many children they will have depending on how many layers are eaten or broken off by the end of the party.  If you wish to stick with tradition, your guests are welcome to say a speech only if they break a layer of the cake first.  Another tradition is for each couple at your Iceland Wedding to break a layer together and make a wish. A kransakaka can be accommodate the size of your party, for as few as a couple eloping to a big extravagant wedding. Imagine having your own beautiful kransakaka at your Iceland Wedding! A kransakaka for every need one might say. The kransakaka can also be found in christenings, baptisims and big birthdays.

 

 

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The Icelandic Kleina or as some people call it “The Icelandic Doughnut” is also one of Iceland’s numerous traditional desserts. Along with the Icelandic Ástarpúngar which literally translates to “love balls”. What do the Kleina and the Ástarpungar have in common? Both or them belong to the pastry family and they are both deep fried. The Icelandic Ástarpungar are commonly round in shape and they also include raisins. The Icelandic Kleina can also be found covered in chocolate. Do you really want to indulge your taste buds? Try the Icelandic Kleina topped with Icelandic Smoked Salmon. We promise you will not regret it!

 

Another common traditional Icelandic dessert is the Icelandic pancake. This thin crape like pancake is delicious and can be combined in many different ways. Our personal favorite is drizzled with sugar and wrapped like a tortilla. Another delicious option is to add a jam of your choice, freshly whipped cream and then folded into a triangle. What is your favorite dessert topping? We highly recommend trying the traditional Icelandic pancake with Nutella and freshly whipped cream. You will not be disappointed. If you happen to fall in love with the traditional Icelandic pancake, do not worry a special pan can be bought in one of Iceland’s two shopping malls.

When visiting Iceland, it is almost mandatory to try the Icelandic Ice cream. An ice cream shop can almost be found on every corner. A few of our favorites to look out for are the following: Ísbúð Huppu, Valdís, or if you are in the north Brynjuís located in Akureyri.

 

Seeing as we are a wedding/elopement company it wouldn´t be right if the Hjónabandssæla did not make the list. Hjónabandssæla translates to marriage bliss. This delicious cake is made of buttery oat crust with a mouthwatering rhubarb jam filling. The perfect slice topped with fresh Icelandic whipped cream goes perfectly with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

 

We hope our blog has given you an insight on Iceland´s traditional dessert. Do you want to have any of these delicious Icelandic traditional desserts at your Iceland wedding or elopement Contact us and we can connect you to our amazing vendors.

The holidays in Iceland

This month our subject is Christmastime. What better time to talk about the holidays then in December? The biggest holiday month of the year. If you find yourself traveling to Iceland this time of year, this blog post is perfect for you. Icelanders celebrate Christmas in a very big and magical way. In fact Icelanders celebrate Christmas for a whole 13 days. Starting from December 23rd and ends January 6th.

Have you heard of Iceland’s 13 Yule Lads? They are the sons of Leppalúði and Grýla who are evil trolls. So evil in fact that they eat bad children in their stew. It is said that Grýla and Leppalúði collect the bad children in a sack and carry them back to the mountains to cook them. Every year, 13 days before Christmas the Yule Lads come out from mountains one by one to visit the children of Iceland. The 13 Icelandic yule lads are a bit different from their parents, but are a tad bit sneaky and like to play tricks on people. The 13 Yule Lads are the following:

Stekkjastaur (Sheep-Cote Clod) is the 1st Yule Lad to arrive from the mountains. In the olden times he used to rial up the sheeps and drive all of the farmers crazy. He gets his name from his peg legs.

Giljagaur (Gully Gawk) is the 2nd to arrive. He used to sneak into the cow sheds to steal the milk.

Stúfur (Stubby) is the 3rd to arrive. He used to steal pans and eat the left over crusts left in them

Þvörusleikir (Spoon-Licker) is the 4th to arrive. He is the skinniest Yule Lad. He steals wooden spoons to lick them.

Pottaskefill (Pot-Scraper) is the 5th to arrive. He steals leftovers from pots.

Askasleikir (Bowl-Licker) is the 6th to arrive. He is know for stealing the askur. In the olden times people used to use jars called askur in stead of plates.

Hurðaskellir (Door Slammer) is the 7th to arrive. He is known for slamming every door in the house making sure to wake every one up in the middle of the night.

Skyrgámur (Skyr-Gobbler) is the 8th to arrive. He will finish every single skyr he will find.

Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-Swiper) is the 9th to arrive. He is known for stealing the sausages that are being smoked.

Gluggagægir (Window-Peeper) is the 10th to arrive. Likes to spy through windows looking for things to steal.

Gáttaþefur (Doorway-Sniffer) is the 11th to arrive. Uses his big nose to sniff peoples doorways for food.

Ketkrókur (Meat-Hook) is the 12th to arrive. Known for his hook he used to steal meat.

Kertasníkir (Candle-Sneaker) is the 13th and last Yule Lad to arrive. He is known to steal and eat candles. In the oldern times they were made from animal fat which made them edible. Kertasnírkir is often known as the Yule Lad to leave the best gift.

Seeing as a lot has changed since back in the day the Yule Lads have mostly stopped playing tricks on people and instead like to reward Icelandic children with gifts if they have been well behaved. If the children have been good they will receive a small gift in their shoes. The misbehaved children receive a potato in their shoes.

This wouldn’t be a very good blog post if we left out Grýla, Leppalúði, and the 13 Yule Lad´s cat. The giant cat is said to check if every person received a new piece of clothing for Christmas. If someone has not received a new piece of clothing, the cat is said to eat that person.

Thorlacs Mass or Þorláksmessa is celebrated on the 23rd of December to honor St. Þorlákur Þórhallsson, bishop of Skálholt, who was canonized and recognized as the patron saint of Iceland in 1984. This night is known as the night before Christmas seeing as Icelanders open their gifts and spend time with their family on the 24th. On Þorláksmessa Icelanders will gather on Reykjavík’s main street Laugavegur to finish up their last minute shopping. The street is filled with holiday cheer and most shops are open til midnight. On the street you can find locals singing carols, while nearby almonds are being roasted. Some shops will even have live music. It is an experience every one should have. It is a truly magical night!

December 24th: Christmas starts at 6pm on the dot. While some Icelanders will attend Christmas Mass followed by a festive dinner, while others will gather together and eat at 6. After dinner and dessert Icelanders will then open up their gifts from one another one by one.

December 25th Christmas day is usually spent visiting extended family, or attending dinner parties with close friends.

December 26th is know as the 2nd of Christmas which is also a holiday and a day off. In the past years it has become popular to go to the movies as a family or stay home and play games all day.

New Years Eve is one of the most spectacular nights in Iceland. In Iceland it is legal to buy and light your own fireworks. Most towns have a bonfire and a firework show around 8 o´clock. On the strike of midnight most Icelanders will celebrate the new year with lighting their own fireworks.

January 6th is the last day of the Christmas season. A kind of fare-well to the holiday. Most Icelander will attend a bonfire and a firework show followed by going home and lighting up the rest of their own fireworks. After the 6th of January it becomes illegal again to shoot fire works until next December.

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We hope this blog has been helpful for your coming trip, during the holidays in Iceland.

Kind Regards,
Irene & Team (Mama Planner)