Whilst an Arctic wedding might not be the first thing that springs to mind, it is one for the alternative couple and offers spectacular scenery. After all, it’s a definite way to enjoy your white wedding!
An Arctic wedding might be the opposite of what some brides and grooms think of. In fact, beaches and sunnier climates come much more easily to mind.
However, here at The Wedding Secret we thought we would don the fur coats, fill the thermos, and take a look at unusual places to get married in the far, far north.
Why would I want to get married in a cold place?!
Countries within the Arctic Circle offer prolific and relatively cheap access to snow sports including skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiles. Imagine walks and hikes in stunning national parks, then going back warm cabins and crackling fires.
Furthermore, you have unique access to the spectacular Aurora Borealis: the Northern Lights. You could certainly save a lot of money on fireworks and enjoy natures version instead!
A wedding in this climate enables you to step outside the crowd. Plan a secluded getaway with your nearest and dearest and wear a thick ivory coat.
If you’re an Ice Queen at heart and want a Disney aesthetic with long white gloves, an Arctic wedding offers the perfect weather. Moreover, a life-size ice sculpture would be spectacular – and less likely to melt than in the UK!
Where can I marry?
Novel wedding venues is what the Arctic does best. Popular venues include ice hotels, ice palaces and even igloos! Of course, there’s plenty of normal wedding venues to get married in too. If you do plan on choosing an Arctic wedding venue, make sure you do your research.
We’re going to concentrate on the European Arctic Circle, though other Arctic Circle areas such as North Canada, Greenland and Russia are just as fabulous!
The northern most region of Finland is Lapland. As well as being the home of Father Christmas, this is the coldest and most remote area to marry in!
Finland is full of pine forests, lakes and beautiful, relatively flat, countryside. For stunning surroundings and access to ski resorts, try the resort of Levi (which is within the Arctic Circle).
The wildlife of the area draws in bird-watchers, and also those interested in ice fishing and elk. However, remember that in the Arctic Circle they experience polar nights. That is, not complete darkness but rather closer to dusk even at midday.
Although Finnish and Swedish are the country’s two official languages, English is compulsory in schools from age nine. Therefore, it should be easy to ask for what you need for your Arctic wedding even in the rural areas of the country.
Marriage between foreigners within Finland is completely legal. The majority of churches and clergymen in Finland are Christian Lutheran, and require you to present proof of baptism before you can get married.
If you want a civil ceremony and you are both non-Finnish, then you need to reside within the local area that you are getting married in for seven days minimum before you can apply for a license.
The sparsely populated northern areas of Sweden contain national parks, nature reserves, and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Swedish Lappland takes up nearly a quarter of the whole country and has been a separate area from Finland’s Lapland since 1809.
If you are looking for an Arctic wedding, then travel far up north to the secluded Kiruna. This, the most populated town in the area, would be a great base from which to organise your wedding celebrations. The town is known for its ice hotel, dog sledding and space research.
The mountains and birch trees make this country perfect for a truly romantic Arctic wedding.
Weddings in churches are perfectly legal, along with same-sex marriages (for both church and civil ceremonies). If you want a non-religious civil ceremony in Sweden, getting married in a town or city hall would be great for you. The Stockholm City Hall, for example, makes getting married easy, even if you are foreign to the country.
You must submit a form to the Swedish Tax Agency to conduct hindersprövning (impediments). Unfortunately, this form is only available in Swedish. Subsequently, you need to visit the Agency in person.
The volcanically-active island of Iceland is a beautiful country, although technically not within the Arctic Circle. With the Gulf Stream warming it, this is probably the warmest country you can choose for your Arctic wedding.
Contrary to its name, the surface of the country is more rock than snow. However, the Arctic fox is still a happy resident!
A quick search for photographs of Iceland will show you beaches of black sand (try Reynisfjara), spellbinding lagoons and breathtaking fjords. It is no wonder why you may choose to visit this country for your wedding, honeymoon or simply a weekend break!
The capital, Reykjavík, is amongst the cleanest and safest in the world, so come here for a green wedding. The Elliðaá river is a great spot for salmon fishing, and the mighty Esja mountains overlook the city.
Meanwhile, slightly further north is the Langjökull glacier. A chapel dug out inside that hosts weddings all-year round. Similarly, there are countless waterfalls that have chapels nearby.
Although otherwise relatively simple, you need to give three weeks’ notice (Hjónavígsluskýrsla) before legally marrying in Iceland. Furthermore, Iceland is not a good place to elope to, as you need at least two witnesses who you know personally in order to get married.
So, as long as you are planning a small ceremony with some close friends and family, it should be fairly straightforward.
However, unlike in England, there are no laws about getting married outside. So, however you plan your ceremony, you can do all of it in the beautiful great outdoors.
It is possible and legal to get married in most of these countries – by civil ceremony or religious wedding. Importantly, these marriages will be recognised by the UK government. But, the process of proving a valid and foreign marriage license can often be complicated.
Overall, it may be worth having a simple registry ceremony in the UK (or your country of residence), and then travelling out to these locations for a full and beautiful blessed ceremony. This won’t require you to undergo the complicated residency rules, and will reduce potential language barriers!
Of course, if this is all feels like fantasy, you can browse our list of UK wedding venues here.
The Arctic is a fantastic destination to hold a wedding that is a little different. But even if it doesn’t suit you for your wedding celebrations, it certainly makes a good honeymoon destination!