What comes to mind when you hear the word tradition? Boring? Uncreative? Obligatory? It doesn’t have to be any of that. When planning a wedding, […]
And the point of it all is I love you.
This couple. This backdrop. These photographs. Epic.
Please allow me to introduce you to one of my favourite Nu Bride couples Danielle and Steven and also to some extraordinary Iceland wedding photographers who are debuting on Nu Bride today, Styrmir and Heiddis Photography. What an absolute pleasure it is to share this wedding with you today.
Danielle and Steven both of African-American heritage wanted an intimate wedding and chose to marry in the beautiful backdrop of stunning Iceland in summer 2017 with 17 of their nearest and dearest from America.
Both big fans of travel and after a proposal in Reykjavik a year before, a destination wedding was the perfect choice for Danielle and Steven. They married in Black Budir Church and celebrated at Hotel Budir in Budir, Iceland to celebrate their stylish union
Enjoy the stunning storytelling from Danielle and beautiful imagery from the incredible Styrmir and Heiddis
How did you meet?
Steven and I met my freshman year and his sophomore year of college at Shippensburg University in 2009. I would see him hanging around my dorm hallway so often, I swore he was freshman too! I truly don’t remember how it happened, but he started showing up to my room (unannounced) to hang out with my roommate and I. A year later, with some liquid courage to express our feelings, we began dating. We have been together ever since.
Steven proposed to me in Iceland when we vacationed there February 2016. We got up early and traveled two hours outside of Reykjavik to the Black Sand Beach in Vik.
The sun was out, it was an absolutely beautiful day. We walked up a hill to admire the beach from afar. The waves were crashing against the rocks and the beach below. Our friends Mike and Carrie must have sensed that the engagement was coming because they had all of sudden disappeared to give us privacy. It was then that Steven turned to me nervously and said, “I got you something!” He pulled the ring out and I freaked out. It was such a very “us” engagement. Goofy, joyous, and ridiculously exciting.
Traveling is one of our greatest passions, so it only made sense after several months of searching for a venue, that we made the choice to have a destination wedding. Iceland had brought so much joy to us on our first trip, so we couldn’t think of better place to get married. We also wanted to show our closest friends and family this magical place in hopes they too would fall as in love with it as we did. And you know what; they did. Quite a few of our family members have come up to us since the wedding and said they’re going to be making subsequent trips to the land of fire and ice. (Nu Bride: I can see why!)
We chose Styrmir and Heiddis Photography as our photographers and I would definitely recommend their services. They were so personable and funny. Captured our crazy day so beautifully. They took us to some extremely great places close to the hotel and I believe our pictures reflect the beauty of Iceland.
We planned our wedding all by ourselves and boy was it hard, but rewarding. I did a lot of research on what I wanted and looked to Icelandic cultural norms for insight into what would look and feel best for a wedding there. I should say that I am lucky that weddings in Iceland seem to be gaining popularity so it wasn’t too hard finding inspiration.
My dress was a Mori Lee bridal gown with a low back and a VERY LONG train. I am a very nontraditional girl so my first thought was a colourful dress or a pant suit. Through research, I changed my mind and decided to go with something a tad more traditional because wedding photos should stand the testament of time. I love trends but I didn’t want my future children saying “What are you wearing?!” I actually bought my dress on the first trip! It was the second dress I tried on and I knew that the dress was “the one” when I said I didn’t want to take off. Throughout the research process, I told myself I never wanted a train and when they laid the train out it was love at first sight.
Steven says – The suit was a Brooks Brothers Madison 1818 two button in navy blue. It was something I always wanted and I knew it would be the perfect suit for an epic, loving, Icelandic wedding. I wore with a cream coloured Brooks Brothers button down and a moss-green tie.
I can now laugh at it, but we left our bag with my make-up, rings, and all my accessories at our airbnb in Reykjavik. Half way through the trip to Budir, I noticed no one walked out of the house with it. I called Steven and he had to turn back around. As I got ready, I had to tell the vendors “I’m waiting on the important brown bag.” The “big brown bag” became the word of the day!
Steven and I opted to write our own vows and I’m so very happy we did. I joke that Steven’s vows were more like a speech while mine were more off the cuff. But that speaks to our personalities.
The officiant was a priest named Paul. He was from Iceland and a very jolly guy. He was super easy-going and at the end said a prayer in Icelandic which really added a little something extra at the end of an already beautiful and special occasion.
We kept wedding traditions simple. The idea of having a destination wedding was more or less doing something traditional or special to us, considering our extreme love of travelling. Between the two of us, I think we’ve been almost 20 countries.
I really put all my faith and trust into Agnes and she did not let me down! Agnes, at Hotel Budir was AMAZING. She decorated our reception beautifully and I loved my bouquet. (It was so very hard to leave the arrangement in Iceland)
I had packed a few items to take with me to decorate, but when I walked into the reception room and saw her gorgeous arrangement, I didn’t bother using anything else. I thought it would be super special to get everyone’s names made as a simple seating arrangement.
All the beautiful speeches from our family and friends was by far one of our favourite moments of the day. It was so very surprising to hear all the things they had to say about our relationship. It meant so much to me that the Williams already saw me as a part of the family. (Nu Bride: touching)
We were so caught up in the joy and excitement of the day we actually did our first dance at the end of the night! It was a great close to such a remarkable day. We chose the song Point of it All by Anthony Hamilton. (Excellent choice!) This song meant so much to me because Steven dedicated it to me the first year of dating and simply said to me, “And the point of it all is I love you.”
Challenges and Triumphs
After several venue tours in our hometown and feeling so very overwhelmed, it was great to choose Iceland as our destination and see everything come together. All of our vendors were so responsive and helpful throughout this process and we could not thank them enough.
One Top Tip for other couples
Make sure that your wedding day reflects you and your significant other no matter what! You get this one day!
If you want to do a destination-do it. Also know that no matter how crazy the day may start out, BREATHE.
Through our ups and downs, all my worries faded away when I walked down the aisle and stood across from Steven.
Remember also that a wedding is one day and no matter how important it seems to have this and have that, it is not worth going in to debt over. Try your hardest to stick to a budget that you can afford and don’t exceed it.
We had a destination wedding which can be expensive but we also had a small wedding which trimmed a lot of those extra expenses. We saved and got help from our parents and in the end, we did not have to go into debt over this thing and that is part of the great takeaways. All too often people are still paying for their wedding days long after the day has ended and that actually detracts from the experience. Weddings are exciting but don’t let the excitement of a wedding blow your long-term financial goals because after a wedding comes a home and maybe some extra people. ☺
OK so that was like 5 tips – but they were great, so I’ll let it slide!
Danielle and Steven what a beautiful UNION thank you for sharing your special day with us and such fantastic learnings. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Huge congratulations to you both
Photographer: Styrmir and Heiddis
Venue: Hotel Budir
Makeup: Maid of Honor
Bridesmaid Outfits: Express; Dress beautiful- Etsy
Groomsmen Suits: Various Suits
Cake: Sandholt Bakery
Flowers and Décor: Agnes Lind Heidarsdottir
Food: Hotel Budir