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)

Countryside Church Wedding in Iceland.

© 2018 DGJ Photography, All Rights Reserved

Does your dream Iceland wedding entail a beautiful countryside church?  Does it include stunning landscape? Tradition? History? If so, you are in luck! Iceland has a church in almost every town; even the very remote countryside towns.  This particularly charming church was built in the very early 1900’s and was renovated to include the majestic steeple ten years later.

 

 

This breath taking church has everything you could wish for in a church.  First, a stunning gate provides access to the yard.  The gate adds a little extra elegance to a bride’s entrance.   Secondly, is the church itself.  The exterior is beautifully painted in white with a red roof.  Inside you´ll find vintage pews, paired with wooden floors and an organ.  White walls compliment the ceiling, painted in sky blue with gold star accents. The blue brightens the alter, giving it a seaside feel.  For a dash of tradition and history, the Church’s first bible is kept on display in a glass box.

 

 

This is the perfect place to have a cozy wedding or an intimate elopement.  The chapel is large enough to fit a small group comfortably, but is also perfect just the couple and a celebrant.  Cozy or intimate this chapel can accommodate your dream wedding ceremony, making it the perfect place to say ‘I do’.

 

Not only is the church exquisite, but so is the landscape surrounding the area, which makes for stunning wedding photos.  Capture the memories of you special day with shots of the amazing Icelandic landscape to help you keep your wedding memories alive for a lifetime.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words but experiencing it in person is breathtaking.

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We send our love to DGJ Photography (local Icelandic photographer) for allowing us to use these beautiful images!

On the surrounding land you will find magnificent rock formations, beautifully covered in decades of old moss. You will also find Iceland’s biggest natural lake, and a glorious historic rift valley. Not to mention the marvelous waterfall. In some of the rifts the water is completely clear. For the brave, one could even snorkel in the area, under local supervision of course.

The beauty of the surrounding landscape accents the quaintness of the chapel; making this the perfect location for the couple looking to add a sense of historic traditional to their already amazing Icelandic wedding.

Sound like your perfect adventure wedding destination?

Iceland Wedding and Honeymoons has done numerous weddings all over Iceland. We have numerous options when it comes to what type of Celebrant you would like. Whether you would like a spiritual or non-spiritual ceremony, we can help to find what better suits your needs. Whether it be to hold the ceremony in a church or at a magical location under the ever changing sky.

© 2018 DGJ Photography, All Rights Reserved

Do you want to know more about this location or are you interested in this church or a similar one in Iceland. We would love to help you plan your dream wedding or elopement. Please check out our “Contact” section on our website and we can send you a quote and start helping you plan your perfect destination wedding or elopement.

 

Kind Regards,
Irene & Team (Mama Planner)

Good things to know and how to save while enjoying your Wedding stay in Iceland.

We want to help you make the most out of your Wedding Trip so here are a few ways to save, and to enjoy the most out of the country.

As you have probably already heard Iceland is one of the more expensive European countries, but if you play your cards right it doesn’t have to be.

Locals for instance don’t arrive to the bars on a night out until after midnight. They start by pre-gaming it at home.  Another budget saving tip is to pick up your liquor on your way into the county at the Duty-Free.  Just remember is there is a toll if you take too many bottles.  Here you can see how much your allowance is at the Duty-Free http://www.dutyfree.is/en/Allowance-calculator

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Alcohol is only sold at a special alcohol store or at the bars/restaurants. The alcohol store is open on Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m til 6 p.m. They are always closed on Sundays.   So make sure you stock up!

We also recommend the super user friendly app Reykjavík Appy Hour. The app will show you the cheapest happy hours, when they start and end, and what it entails. Whether it is just beer and wine or if they also have cocktails. Our personal favorites, after all its 5 o’clock some where!   The typical price for a beer $12 dollars but can go down to $5 dollars at “Happy Hour”.  Iceland is known for its many delicious craft beers.

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Iceland’s water is one of the purest waters one can get. You can drink it from the tap!  Why spend money on water in Iceland if you can get it straight from the tap, for free?  This also goes for any stream you might come across on your hiking adventures.  Icelanders have done it for years!

Iceland is a very cultural county and most nights you should be able to find a free event if you do your research.   Ranging from Stand Up, Concerts and Art Exhibits.  If you are lucky, a very affordable play.

It is becoming more and more popular to have 2 for 1 in Iceland.  Usually on the plane or at the airport a coupon book can be purchased.   If you buy a phone card while here, most phone companies have 2 for 1 deals so we recommend looking at their websites. Another popular website at the moment is https://www.2fyrir1.is/ you just need to connect your email and voila!

Iceland is a very European country. We have heated pools and they are quite popular to visit.

A good thing to know before you go to any of our many heated pools.
You are expected to shower in the nude before entering the pool.  Of course there are men’s and woman’s locker rooms.  There are no exceptions to this rule. Icelanders have been doing this for years and no one is really thinking about it.  Some pools will how ever have one shower with a curtain but this is not guaranteed.  The following rule also goes for the Blue Lagoon, or any other hot springs with a locker room.   A lot of high end hotels also have pools or jacuzzies.  They usually provide you with a robe and suggest you bathe before using their facilities.

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Above you can see a very beautiful pool at the ION Adventure Hotel. ION Adventure Hotel

 

Our final advice for now is to know which grocery stores are the cheapest.  We recommend Bónus, which can be recognized by the pink pig, or Krónan which is our  currency, a clever marketing trick in deed.

We hope this blog post has been a point in the right direction when it comes to choosing a place to tie the knot.  Don’t forget to share these tips with your guests if you take the plunge!

Iceland Wedding Advice: Best Cheap Eats in Reykjavik

Staying on a budget during your Iceland wedding trip is important.  We know, understand and respect this simple fact.  So today we would like to share with you budget places to eat during your Iceland wedding week in Reykjavik.  Enjoy.

1.) The Burger Joint

2.) Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (famous hot dog stand)

2.) Reykjavik Chips 

3.) The Sea Baron (Seagreifinn) – Best Lobster Soup

4.) Viking Kebab

5.) Noodle Station

6.) Hlollabatar

7.) Joi Fel Bakery

8.) Lobster Hut (food truck open typically from April-September)

9.) Bike Cave

10.) Ikea Restaurant  (yes the furniture store)

11.) Sandholt Bakery

12.) Subway  //  Saffran  // Taco Bell //  KFC

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2017 © Iceland Weddings & Honeymoons, All Rights Reserved.