Weddings already booked for 2019

The number of weddings that queer travel agency Pink Iceland organize doubled last year and this year is already looking very busy. Tours involving wedding ceremonies are now the agency‘s main aspect and it already has weddings booked for 2019.

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“Most of the couples who we help getting married are from North Amercia or between 50-60 percent, 20-30 percent are from Europe and the rest mainly from Asia and Australia. We’ve also assisted couples from Africa and South America,” says Hannes, here pictured with Inga Auðbjörg, a celebrant from Siðmennt, and his dog Strumpur (Smurf), who Hannes sometimes brings along, if couples ask him to.

“The figure more than doubled between 2014 and 2015 and now we already have twice as many weddings booked for this year as we had in January last year,” says Hannes Páll Pálsson, organizer at Pink Iceland. Pink Iceland was founded in 2011 as a travel agency that specializes in planning trips and events for queer people visiting Iceland. It started small, as a side job of the two founders but has grown fast and last year the company doubled in size.

Hannes says that with the small wedding ceremonies, a lot of Pink Iceland‘s input revolves around paperwork. “We check the papers beforehand and make sure that the couples bring all the necessary documents and that they‘re valid. It can be quite stressful to get married in another country and finding your way through the jungle of paperwork but we now have so much experience that we even know that if someone is from Oregon, they need a different document to those living in California; we have built a database with this sort of information.”

Then of course, the couple need an officiant, or a celebrant as they‘re often called, to perform the ceremony. It can be a priest but often it‘s a Nordic chieftain from The Old Nordic Pagan Association or a Magistrate. But Hannes says that in most cases, the couple go with a celebrant from Siðmennt, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association.

No discrimination

Obviously, the location plays a big role as majority of the weddings take place outdoors. Hannes says that the most popular area is within 2-3 hours‘ drive from Reykjavík, to keep the cost down.

“The National Park at Þingvellir is very popular because it‘s just difficult to find a spot there that isn‘t beautiful. Waterfalls are always popular because they make such great backdrop for photo shoots. Other favourite landmarks are Reynisfjara and Dyrhólaey and the whole of Snæfellsnes which is spectacular all over and West Iceland is becoming increasingly popular with places such as Barnafossar and Hraunfossar waterfalls.

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Maura and Jess, from the USA, got married in the Old Norse way. Musicians Sóley and Sindri Seabear played music at their wedding. Photo/Lalli Sig

What Icelanders don‘t really appreciate are the open spaces in this country. I was working with a couple once who picked a rather ordinary spot, in my opinion, but they were in awe of the wide open space around them, being used to always having houses or trees somewhere around them!”

Surprisingly, not only queer couples seek out Pink Iceland‘s service. Quite a few straight couples have gotten married in Iceland with their help and Hannes estimates that around forty percent of last year‘s weddings were for heterosexual couples.

“We are a one hundred percent queer company, the owners and most of the staff is queer and all our marketing material is aimed at queer people. We‘re doing this job because we enjoy it and we would never try to hide who we are and what we stand for in order to become more mainstream and make more money. But of course, everybody is welcome to use our services, we would never discriminate against anyone because of their sexual orientation,” Hannes says with a twinkle in his eye.

Pink Iceland sometimes gets requests from straight people, half apologising for not being queer. “So I jokingly tell them it‘s OK, that I personally have nothing against straight people, some of my closest friends are straight, my parents are straight and I‘m very used to working with people like them,” Hannes continues and laughs, adding it‘s quite amusing being in the position of saying this now, after 20 years of being at the receiving end of such remarks.

Bitter sweet stories

Very often, the couples come to Iceland on their own, without friends and family, so the ceremonies are small and intimate. “But sometimes the wedding party consists of around 20-30 people or even up to 50 people. I‘m currently planning a wedding for 100 people, scheduled for 2018,” says Hannes and adds that Pink Iceland already has bookings for weddings in 2019.

“Iceland has become such a popular destination so it‘s better to book well in advance. If somebody were to call me now wanting to throw a wedding of 50-60 people in South of Iceland in July or August, I would tell them straight away it‘s near impossible.”

A lot of the weddings are secret weddings; sometimes the couple just wants an intimate ceremony and not the pressure of a big wedding but a lot of the queer weddings take place without the knowledge of the family of either or both parties. “We‘re very invested in what we do and we get to know the couples well and we care for them, so such stories are terribly sad to hear.”

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Teri-Ann and Amanda were married by a Pagan high chieftain at Reykjanes in January. Photo/Kristín María

Hannes recalls a man who has a big family – and at the time even lived with his parents – all of whom he loves very much but none of them knew he was gay. So he told his family he was only going on holiday for a few days while in reality, he was going to Iceland to marry the man he loves and never coming back. The couple had been in a secret relationship for seven years and moved to another country right after the wedding. “We keep in touch and it‘s wonderful to see how happy they are, but sadly this was the only way for them to be together.”

The weather not an issue

Extreme weather is one of Iceland‘s characteristics but as it turns out, it rarely interrupts the weddings or Pink Iceland‘s trips in general. “We‘ve gotten used to seeing things from the visitors’ point of view, which is to be excited about the weather, whatever the weather. We sometimes get disappointed when we‘ve planned a trip or a wedding and the weather is horrible, but our guests just find it exciting to have a storm or snowfall, the forces of nature participating. This is why people choose Iceland and they know they can expect all kinds of weather, especially in winter. We actually encourage people to get married in winter time because it‘s easier to manage the expectations then, you expect hail in November but not in June.”

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Ricardo and Hans, from the USA, came to Iceland looking for adventures. They were married by Steinunn Anna, a celebrant from Siðmennt. Photo/Styrmir and Heiðdís.

In any case, the weather never gets to ruin the day as Hannes and the team at Pink Iceland make adjustments if needed so that the wedding day will always be magical. “Last spring we had a couple flying in from the States on the 3rd of May and the wedding was planned up on top of Dyrhólaey the day after. However, there was an extreme storm on its way so I made lots of phone calls on the morning of their arrival, talked to the caterer, the hotel, the make-up and hair people and so on. Their plane landed around 6am and I had a meeting with them at 9am where I told them there were good news and bad news: “The bad news is, we can‘t go through with the wedding tomorrow because there‘s a storm coming. The good news is that we can go through with the wedding today instead.” – Everybody was just willing to move the ceremony forward so that they could have the wedding they wanted and they managed to get married that evening on top of Dyrhólaey, in beautiful weather with spectacular scenery.”

First and foremost, though, Pink Iceland is a travel agency and Hannes says they don‘t hesitate to insist that the whole wedding party book their trip through Pink Iceland.

“We have an Honesty Policy which is prominent on our website where we explain how we operate and that we rely on commission so when people ask us to plan their wedding, we ask in return that they encourage their guests to use our services. So if we‘re planning a wedding with 60 guests, and half of those decide to travel around Iceland in pairs, we often end up organizing 15 self-drive holidays in relations to that single wedding.

So yes, we are busy but we enjoy what we‘re doing and we don‘t offer wedding packages because we want each wedding to be unique and tailor-made for each couple. It‘s all about them and their love, nothing else.”

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Chewie and Ann, from the United States, got married at the country hotel Kjarnholt, in Biskupstungur, and had a reception for their 40 guests in a barn. Photo/Stephen Govel

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Núðluskálin
          - noodle bar

          Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

          All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
          We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
          Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

          Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

          Seatours
          - adventure cruise

          Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
          and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

          The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

          600x400-seatours-tasting

          This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

          600x400-seatours

          The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

          Birds, possible to spot:
          -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
          -eider ducks
          -shags
          -kittiwakes
          -fulmars
          -white-tailed eagle

          The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
          Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

          Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

          Contact Us


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          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.