This Majestic Iceland Elopement Is Like No Beach Wedding You’ve Seen

Rose and Nate knew they wanted to be together after dating for three years while the two were PhD candidates at Florida State University, but it wasn’t until work separated them that a proposal was in the works.

While Rose was teaching in Florida, Nate accepted a job offer in St. Louis. The couple dated long-distance for three months, until Rose’s teaching engagement ended, and she moved to Missouri to join Nate. “After an incredibly long and stressful move, we took our dog, Teddy, out for a walk,” Rose tells Yahoo Style. “Nate proposed in the middle of it.”

“Those were the three longest months of my life, and I never wanted to be apart again,” Nate said.

The couple decided to skip the big wedding and elope. “We wanted the wedding to be just the two of us,” explains Rose. They chose to wed in Iceland because they were drawn to the country’s stark beauty and majestic landscapes.

After three months of planning, mostly online, the couple decided to have a civil ceremony in Reykjavik, then recite vows they’d written on a black sand beach in Dyrhólaey the following day in August 2014. “We looked online for beaches in Iceland and we really liked Dyrhólaey,” says Rose of the beach known for its large black lava columns and views of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

To help them capture their elopement, the couple hired photographers Pat Furey and Claire Hudson. The four all stayed together at a rented AirBnB in Selfoss, a town about an hour’s drive from Reykjavik. After the couple exchanged rings and vows, the group explored southern Iceland, taking breathtaking photos in sun-dappled fields, on country roads, and by waterfalls. The photos capture a couple looking very much in love among Iceland’s stunning vistas. “Pat and Claire [the couple’s photographer’s] travelled around Iceland to find the best spots for us to take portraits and created a work of art we will cherish forever,” says Rose. A week of living and traveling together made the four fast friends.

For her wedding dress, Rose chose a ballerina-inspired look by Portland-based designed Emily Riggs: A silk tulle skirt in champagne paired with a heavily beaded vintage French lace top, and accented with a light gray ribbon belt embellished with crystals. “Her designs are so feminine and elegant,” Rose adds, “exactly what I wanted for our Icelandic beach wedding.” A silk ballet-length veil and comb headpiece in the shape of a fern completed her wedding-day look.

Before the day ended, the newlyweds and their photographer friends had an intimate dinner at a restaurant at Hotel Ranga, where they saw the famed Northern Lights. The couple spent a week exploring the country and left a few days early for their honeymoon in London when it became clear that Bardarbunga, a volcano, was about to erupt.

When they returned home from their romantic adventure they told their families the exciting news. “We surprised them after,” Rose explains. “Everything went exactly as we hoped. The beauty of elopements lies in their simplicity.”

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