Our Wedding Abroad; How to stop panicking, and prep properly for those ‘I Do’s’

So, who’s been dreaming of their perfect wedding since they could walk?

Throwing a white bed sheet over your head in a mock-veil, stealing your mothers’ white heels and lipstick, flashing that gummy Haribo ring you’ve jammed on your left hand and pronouncing the hallway your ‘aisle’ as you totter and trip towards your imaginary ‘Prince Charming’? Sound familiar? Yeah… um, not me.

I was never that much of a ‘girls girl’ and didn’t have a clue about the ‘biggest day of my life‘. I tried to get into it; logging on Pinterest and thumbing my way through bouquet after bridal shoe after center piece, after finally succumbing to the realisation that it just wasn’t quite ‘me’.

But actually that was okay… better than okay – because I was going to plan a wedding that was happy to not follow the rule book to the letter, organise a day where I could blend in the traditional when I wanted and throw in a dose of ‘quirky‘, enjoy an event that didn’t cost the earth (and then some), and simply find a way to make our vows totally unforgettable and totally ‘us’.

An Icelandic Wedding?

A wedding in Iceland started as a kind of wild idea that I never imagined would materialise into actuality. It just began as something we played around with; a sort of ‘hey, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?’, and then it would get wafted aside. Except that niggling dream kept creeping it’s way back, and it started to look sort of plausible… really? Could we do this?  There’s no way we could afford a wedding planner, it just felt like i’d be hemorrhaging money, but could we do this ourselves? Would we dare? 

So that’s where it started snowballing, and I’m now less than 30 days until we say our vows in the Icelandic town of Vik. It’s both terribly excited and wonderfully frightening at the same time, but here’s to hoping it’s going to be extraordinarily fabulous and a day we will both remember forever. (Soppy arse!)

So how the hell do you keep your cool…
and what have I learnt… so far?


Remember there’s two of you!

This sounds sort of obvious, but in real life it’s sometimes quite easy to ‘just go along with things’ and you get six months into a project, and you realise that in actual fact the big plan that you’re all working towards came about because you thought that’s what the other person wanted, and they had similar thoughts, and really you’d both rather do something completely opposite? Argh!

You are only planning to do this the once, and of course you both want the other to be super excited and totally happy with how the day goes, so sit down and have that conversation first. Find out what your priorities are, what’s important and less so, what cannot be left out and what you wouldn’t really miss. Remember to be honest and totally up front – you both have a say. Then if you can’t agree, start compromising.

Research, research and research some more!

Because we are both pretty thrifty people and we weren’t overly keen on a massive to-do, we plumped for doing everything on our own.

Call us crazy! 99% of people would probably shrink back in horror at the sheer thought of storming ahead without a qualified professional by your side. I understand though, no-one is born a ‘wedding planner’ and at first it’s a little overwhelming to know where to start, especially in regards to all the legal bits and bobs! Because really, at the end of the day, even if there’s no cake, the photographer goes awry and you forgot to pack your shoes, if you’re legally married that really all that should matter. So, how do you do it!?

I suppose, it’s all about using your noggin’ and a having bit of confidence. I don’t speak Icelandic and Google wasn’t churning up much, so I emailed around the local Icelandic hotels to see if they could help me – worth a shot right?

It worked! The nearby hotel to the church was able to respond with a direct email address for the local pastor. I then phoned the Icelandic embassy in London and asked for advice on where to go to ask about paperwork and they directed me to an office in South Iceland. I then double checked this information with the pastor and things started rolling… Wow, all of this is starting to look pretty do-able!

Currently, we are in a position where we are pretty confident that we have all the paperwork in order, so fingers crossed all should go smoothly on the day! (Touching allll the wood!)

Track and check.

If it’s a teeny tiny pot, or a full-on budget with bells on, you will still need to keep track of what you’re spending and where.

Write everything down. My other half is uber organised (like, scarily so!), and will track everything in an spreadsheet so we know exactly what’s happening, what we still need to buy, and where the budget is being attributed. Hammer in some rough estimates first (rounding up slightly with everything at first) and then check things off as you go and amend with the actual cost. Hopefully you’ll have a nice surprise to know that you’d under spent on a few things which means you can afford to splurge on something else!

We had a mini-nightmare with the recent Brexit vote which not only messed up the entire country (What the hell UK?!) but also affected our wedding budget. When we’d first planned everything we’d calculated it all at the current exchange rate, but with the pound suddenly plummeting we had to do some last minute budget busting.

Um… It’s still real life. 

Okay, you want it to feel like it’s something out of a fairy tale, and it probably still will be, but it’s still real life so don’t forget practicalities!

With our wedding in Iceland, it’s going to be ruled slightly by the weather and the terrain, it’s Iceland, come on!

As much as I might fall in love with a pair of stilettos, my ankles and toes will detest me after a few hours on sand/rock/grass/moss in the rain/snow/sleet/wind. And as much as I might want a gorgeous sleek up-do with no hair out of place, it just ‘aint gonna happen.I wanted Iceland though, so i’m going to have to adapt to Iceland.

So yes, thermal underwear, a wearable and comfortable gown, au-natural hair and sensible heels – but it all still looks amazing! Compromise!

And with real life comes stress… 

It’s not going to be stress free. Even a tiny wedding like ours won’t be a breeze.

It will probably we the first time you’re doing this, and hopefully your last (!), so it won’t be without a hiccup or two. Cue mini heart attacks in the middle of the night when you panic you’ve overlooked something major, or crazy ‘wed-mares’ about walking down the aisle in your jeans because you dreamt the airline shipped your dress on the wrong plane and now it’s in Vancouver (God, this still could happen!). 

A wedding is going to involve other people too (yes, there might be guests!), and as much as we want them to be there, it can be a little tedious trying to organise them as well, and make sure they all know what you are doing. But breathe, roll with it and embrace the fact that blood pressure is going to be a little higher over the next few months… but it’ll be worth it.  

…And at the end of the day, if you’re married, that’s what it’s all about. 

Whatever you want from your wedding, whatever your dreams and however the reality pans out, if you’ve got a bit of paper with your names next to each other that’s what counts – so don’t forget it!


Sounds like your kind of thing?

Do it! Or don’t do it! Your heart’s got to be in whatever you choose to do. This wouldn’t get even close to working out if we weren’t 100% confident and uber organised with just a touch of daring and a flash of crazy.

It’s been a little stressful, of course, but hopefully we are less than a month away from one big, amazing wedding-holiday with family and friends in my most favourite country of all!

Hell, it might work out, it might not – but the important thing is that we’re going to find out together. 

Wish me luck! 

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Writer of This F.P. Planet travel blog. Proud dachshund mother. A Real weakness for craft beer and cheese boards...

6 thoughts on “Our Wedding Abroad; How to stop panicking, and prep properly for those ‘I Do’s’

      1. Hi ! Oh this wedding planning is very complicated because I’m a Belgian living in the uk, he is British and we are getting married in Iceland. For him it’s quite straightforward but for me I need a document and I don’t know how to get it and the embassy has not been helpful at all ! We have our plane tickets at the moment but that’s basically it 😦


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