Alison & Matt's Icelandic wedding & Philadelphia library reception

The Feet-ware

The Offbeat Bride: Alison, Editor (and OBT member)

Her offbeat partner: Matt, Marketing Administrator

Location & date of wedding: Wedding at the Glacier Lagoon Jokulsarlon In Iceland, Reception at The Free Library of Philadelphia — 09-09-09 wedding and 09-26-09 reception

What made our wedding offbeat: We got married at a glacier lagoon in Iceland.

In Motion

The Big Picture

Flying our closest family members to Reykjavik then driving them six hours across the country and back in a busy but beautiful four day trip. We were married by a fantastic Asatru priestess, who worships the traditional Norse gods. We drank out of a horn! I wore pink (and in Iceland a giant blue cape).

We then went on our honeymoon in Paris (awesome!) and came back for our reception at the Free Library of Philadelphia where we drew inspiration from the Library.

Flying Centerpiece

Floating Ship Centerpiece

We had library card seating cards, book invitations, bookmark favors, author and book table names. And we got inspiration from the theme of Jules Verne-ian adventure — hot air balloon and floating ship centerpieces, castle in the sky cupcakes.

De-Cookie-tated

Instead of a cake cutting, we had gingerbread versions of ourselves and bit off each other's heads. And since we met in film school, we projected musical scenes from films during cocktail hour.

The Ceremony Begins

Tell us about your ceremony: We didn't totally know what we were going to get with an Asatru ceremony but it was really great.

In the Asatru ceremony, the priestess makes the circle sacred then the bride and groom enter. We make our vows and drink from the horn. And then at the end, everyone is welcomed into the circle and anyone who wants to can speak and drink from the horn. Johanna included the four elements, noting both their creative and destructive powers, and we really wanted nature to be a big part of the ceremony so we appreciated that part greatly.

Folks With Umbrellas

What was your biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was really just the culmination of all the little challenges.

As far as destination planning goes — Once we got to Iceland, Icelanders were as nice and friendly and helpful as the guidebook says. But in the planning process, they're just like very chill over there. Particularly about getting back to you. So finding out all the necessary info, like about getting legally married for instance, was a lot of work. I am not that chill. But persistence, and starting early, were key.

A Moment Away

Our reception was supposed to be on a beautiful terrace overlooking the city, but it got rained out (or rained in rather). There were supposed to be four balloon centerpieces but we ran out of helium after one (that tank lies!). But you just gotta roll with it.

Cupcake Topper of Adorableness

Also, my ideas were bigger than my ability to execute them. I am not actually a crafty person, but the kind of things I wanted also did not exist if I didn't make them myself. And it turned out, at least in my case, that DIY was not actually cheaper — especially since I had to try some things more than once.

Standing A Big Chunk Of Ice

What was the funniest moment of your wedding or reception?: At the reception there was a fun impromptu moment when we were on the steps taking pictures and everyone starting yelling, "Slide! Slide!" and we slid down the banister.

You May Kiss The Bride

Advice for other offbeat brides: Start early and leave yourself the time and room in the budget to mess up and keep trying.

If you are bargain shopping, which we certainly were, leave yourself a whole lot of time to research, call, show up, wait for the sale, haggle, research again. It took me six months to get Icelandair to quote me a price for group airfare that was acceptable to my budget. For other items, I waited for sales and bought several things from wholesalers. Also, try your best to find vendors and helpers who get what you're doing.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • Gingerbread: Ginger Betty's, Quincy
  • Necklace: Milady Jewels, Etsy
  • Cupcakes: Flying Monkey, Philadelphia
  • Boots: Timberland
  • Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss & Burberry
  • Supplies for DIY: I got a lot of stuff at World Market (baskets, firefly lights, ships, etc…) & a lot of supplies from the Fashion District in LA. My dress fabric was from Mood.
  • Catering: Soup To Nuts Cuisine
  • The dress was handmade by a local designer.
  • The rings are from Todd Alan Studios

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!:

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  1. OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I live right next door to the Free Library and my husband and I just got back from Reykjavik on our honeymoon! All of these pictures are absolutely BEAUTIFUL from the ceremony to the reception. And even though you said that you got rained in, the reception in the downstairs level of the FL looks absolutely stunning! It's such a beautiful space 🙂

    1 agrees
  2. Oh. My. God. Amazing.

    How did you keep your heads from exploding from the sheer awesomeness of everything around you?

  3. Wow, the colors are so vibrant that it almost doesn't look real. What a great idea for a location!

  4. God, I love this wedding. Also, I bet since the Icelandic economy is struggling these days, there are some great travel deals to be had!

    Simply gorgeous…congratulations!

  5. Wow. What a beautiful wedding and amazing backdrop! The ceremony sounds very unique and I love that your guests chanted for you to slide down the banister. How fuN 🙂

  6. Congratulations! What a gorgeous wedding! Would you mind sharing where you got your rings from? They're very nice.

  7. WOW! I didn't think my desire to visit Iceland could get any stronger but i think these photos did just that. Those glaciers are mind-blowing. Not to mention those boots and the bride's blue cape are INCREDIBLE!

    I LOVE!

  8. This slideshow should be a marketing ad for Iceland! I had no idea how stunning that continent is…

  9. DrCrime- How funny! I guess we have similar taste in places, yes?

    Lily- Oh, yeah, rings 🙂 They're from Todd Alan Studios: http://www.handwovenbands.com/

    But getting married or not, I totally recommend Iceland. I had never been there before the wedding, but it's a really like no place else. They have glaciers and volcanoes and waterfalls and hot springs and black sand beaches and really green grassland and all kinds of amazing things.

  10. @alison I forgot to mention that we also did books for our reception as well. I think we must definitely be on some similar wavelengths (or maybe separated at birth?!)

  11. WHAT THE WHAT on those centerpieces! Oh my god, I gasped audibly when I got to that picture. Also that view and the boot picture, so pretty and so cute.

  12. Jokulsarlon! We were just there last summer. Such a beautiful, magical place…what a wonderful wedding venue.

  13. Thanks everyone!

    DrCrime – totally possible!! Where are the links??

    eliza – the centerpieces would be *really* great if they came out the way I envisioned in my head, but still came out better than I probably thought they would be with my meager craft skills (plus some great helpers!).

    Jackie – no way! I had never been there till I got married there, but yeah, it's everything I thought it would be and more!

  14. I've been in love with Iceland for a while now. I'm glad to hear it's as wonderful as I've read. Congratulations!

  15. I'm amazed by the beauty of your wedding. Iceland is just gorgeous. And I love seeing more Asatru wedding ceremonies. I'll be having one here near Philadelphia, so it won't be quite as picturesque but I like the idea of witnessing oaths in front of your family or chosen community.

    Also, hot air balloon centerpieces are the cutest thing ever.

  16. I have been endlessly searching for information on the internet on renting out the free library for a wedding reception. Any help you can offer would be so great!

  17. DrCrime- Awesome! I love your centerpieces! For some reason the mug just puts it over the top for me.

    rainy- "Inspired insanity" — ha, what a great term, I absolutely adore it 🙂

    Sara – Asatru! Right on! As I mentioned, I didn't know a lot about the religion honestly, I had looked into it but there's only so much info out there, but the ceremony was beyond beautiful, more than I hoped for. I know yours will be amazing too!!

    Jaime- Yeah, The Free Library is not good with the info about renting it out. Contact Sabrina Rossi at RossiS [at] freelibrary.org. Also, check out the Philadelphia Vendor thread on the indiebride forums, there's several Library brides. It's a great venue!

    And thanks again to everyone for their kind words. It's so much fun revisiting the wedding.

    1 agrees
  18. So my crazyinsaneobsessive desire to get married in Iceland isn't so nuts after all!! What a beautiful wedding you had! I am in LOVE with Iceland and have been there once before. It's just so incredible. Big up on you for following your heart getting out their with your loved ones. You're photos really are beautiful and I can only imagine that the ceremony was even more so.

  19. we are trying to organise our wedding for iceland too but finding the celebrant is painstaking! We want a civil ceremony like this, where did you find your celebrant? your photos are gorgeous!

  20. Hi.

    I love you wedding. We´re planning on getting married in Reykjavik next summer and are having some trouble finding a photographer. Did you have a local photographer you can recommend?

    Camilla

  21. To Alison,
    what was the name of the designer who did your dress? Very Princess Bride, somehow…

    1 agrees
  22. Very late to the game with the answers–

    a) Our celebrant wasn't civil, she's Asatru (it was a religious ceremony). But I believe any elected official or something like that can officiate civil marriages in Iceland. If you just talk to the Syslumindurinn (sp?) they can hook you up.

    b) We brought our photographer with us. There's a lot of really amazing top notch photographers in Iceland who do magazine shoots there. But they were really expensive so it was cheaper for us to bring a talented friend and pay for his travel (but he took pics for free, because he's the most awesome)

    c) The awesome lady who designed my dress is a local LA designer — http://www.rachelleappelle.com/. Her other stuff is way different, but she's just super talented. But last time I talked to her she was pretty busy with her full time job, I don't know if she's doing custom work anymore.

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