Elopements always have an unspoken appeal of the unknown, but this one more than ever. This couple actually had no idea where their ceremony would take place until their photographers arrived on the scene, gave them the scoop on a place they could hike to in their wedding attire, and guided them through snow, sea, horse pastures, and cliffs. To call it an Icelandic adventure seems an understatement, but what an incredible way to start a new life together.
We can’t say enough about the talented duo behind the lenses of this gorgeous wedding in rural Snæfellsnes. Cole and Jakob of Nordica Photography do really incredible storytelling in their photography and we couldn’t be more excited to share the story of this wedding from their perspective. It’s just so cool that their clients trust them enough to choose their wedding location at the last possible moment. Here’s the skinny in their words.
Words + Photography: Cole and Jakob of Nordica Photography
Tell us how this elopement came about and how you became involved.
Like most couples who hire us, Celine and Ben found our work online. They saw a feature of ours from another Iceland elopement on Rock N Roll Bride, inquired, and the rest is history!
Give us a little background on the couple if you know :)
It’s very common for us to know nothing about couples until around their wedding day. We realize this approach isn’t for everyone, but for us, this limited knowledge suites our style well. So the day before the wedding we had a beer in the lobby of the hotel, and we clicked straightaway. They are a very internationals couple - Ben is from New Zealand and Celine from Germany - and we shared many of the same interests (starting with those delicious beers).
Why did the couple choose Iceland?
They chose Iceland for the adventurous, wild locations it would provide. It appeared the ruggedness of Iceland appealed to them, and of all the rugged locations you can find in Iceland, they chose Snæfellsnes which we fully supported. There is something magical about Snæfellsnes that you simply need to experience in order to fully understand.
Where did they actually tie the knot? Why did they choose this location?
We’re interpreting this question as the actual ceremony location, and this part of the story was awesome from our view. They hadn’t really chosen a specific spot right up to the morning of the wedding. So we started the day by just wandering around an area near Hellnar until we saw a surreal looking rock arch. To access the arch, you needed to hike down a very sketchy cliff, which they were fine with so we rolled with it. The arch had fabulous symmetry and for a ceremony backdrop, we all agreed it would look beautiful. So we picked that location and hoped the officiant would be open mind and hardy - she was - and that as that.
For their wedding day images, did they already have the locations selected or were you involved in the location selection process?
It’s quite common for couples to completely trust our judgement with the location selection and that’s what happened here. They hired “Nordica” for our vision, you might say, so gave us complete control over everything with regards to locations. So we explored the peninsula and pushed things are far as we could - teetering outside their comfort zone on many occasions - and the result was the rugged looking story they’d hoped for.
What made each venue/backdrop ideal for what the couple wanted to capture on film on such a special day?
We shoot digitally, not film, but nonetheless Snæfellsnes is a peninsula that is not massive in area, but remarkably diverse. They wanted rugged, wild landscapes and while you definitely can get that all around Iceland, we felt Snæfellsnes offered the most diversity within a reasonable amount of driving.
Is there anything special you incorporated from the surrounding area into the day?
Just the nature itself. We tried to achieve as many different looks into the locations as we could to diversify the story, and Snæfellsnes is absolutely magical for being able to do that.
Did you eat/drink anything in the area that was especially memorable?
The fish soup at Hotel Hellnar is amazing and we finished the day with a few beers. For the adventurous people out there travelling to Iceland, we recommend a brew from Stedji made from smoke whale testicles. It sounds revolting but works.
Any fun stories or moments that stand out from the day?
The ceremony selection is a standout. Celine and Ben thought it was insane to hike down that cliff - even though it was safe - and they really went for it. A few gentle horse nibbles on their attire, snow in the shoes, walked through the sea with the tide out, hiking cliffs with the sun beating down on us, and fending off attacking birds from above. It was an adventurous day and achieved what they were after of a story-filled adventure from Iceland.
For those of us in the wedding industry, we are absolutely dying over this approach to an elopement. The adventurous spirit it takes to envision something as rugged and unplanned as this is just so stinkin’ cool to us. It’s strange how when you visit a place that’s so visually impressive it feels like it’s completely impossible to capture it in photos. And yet, the team at Nordica accomplished just that. Call us impressed. Call us inspired. This one’s going down in the memory banks.
Photographers: Cole and Jakob of Nordica Photography | Dining: Hotel Hellnar
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT
Cole and Jakob
Jakob and Cole met and connected at business school over spreadsheets and strong beer, but not photography. The friends both graduated and Cole moved back to Vancouver, Canada. They built a case for what to do with their lives, boiling it down to: Seeing the world, telling stories, and making people happy. And so, Nordica Photography was born. The pair settled into Scandinavian life, Jakob in Stockholm and Cole a couple of hours north of there in Gävle, enjoying time with their families when not on the go. In 2016, Nordica started a cooperation with Fujifilm and were announced one of few official Fujifilm X-Photographers in Scandinavia. An honour for Jakob and Cole to be working with one of the biggest and most well-known photography brands in the world. - Website