When a couple decides to elope, there is no right or wrong way to do it. For Cassidy and Hannah, their love for adventure was something they wished to translate through their elopement. Photographer, Allie Dearie, traveled with them to the misty caves and black sand beach in Iceland for a pre-elopement adventure session.
“I connected with Cassidy and Hannah in an Iceland travel tips Facebook group. They were already planning to elope in Iceland but also wanted to do an adventure session in wedding attire during their trip. I was so excited to help scout locations, hike behind waterfalls and through streams, run on black sand beaches, and capture all of these amazing once-in-a-lifetime moments with them!” [Allie]
Photography by Allie Dearie
An Adventure and a Rainbow in Rainy Iceland’s Seljalandsfoss Cave
Cassidy and Hannah live in Connecticut, and they share a love for traveling. They decided to travel to Iceland with Allie stopping at Seljalandsfoss and Vik Reynisfjara, for their pre-elopement session. They also tell us how they were up for anything during the shoot, and how they trusted Allie’s creative direction, “we let her know some things we were interested in seeing, and then we let her take the lead.”
“We are adventurers at heart. Traveling, exploring, experiencing are the things that keep our hearts beating. For that reason, we didn’t want a classic wedding, but one that embodies those three things.” [Cassidy]
According to Allie, Cassidy’s goal was to see a rainbow at Sejalandsfoos to fulfill Hannah’s dream of seeing one. Allie tells us that she was worried at first because it was cloudy the day of the shoot, and she was afraid they wouldn’t see a rainbow.
“But as they walked up to the overlook together, the sun peeked out from behind a cloud, and a stunning rainbow appeared across the falls right above their heads. It was a truly magical moment. We then walked behind the falls to a nearby hidden waterfall within a cave! They weren’t afraid to get muddy, and their hiking boots were the perfect accessory for wading in a freezing glacier-fed stream.” [Allie]
The famous Black Sand Beach in Iceland, Vik. Reynisfjara
As the adventure continued to the black sand beach of Iceland, one of the most iconic locations in Iceland. We can easily see why these two decided to explore there. Allie remembers how stunning the rock formations were out of the water, and how the basalt columns lined the black and sandy shore.
“My favorite moment of the day was when I turned around to swap lenses. As I turned back, I saw Cass and Hannah facing towards the ocean, arms wrapped around one another, taking in the moment and just breathing everything in together. It was the kind of perfect moment where they knew that eloping, starting their married life with an epic adventure, was exactly the right choice.” [Allie]
A Prepared Elopement Adventure Photographer
Sometimes photographers wing it when it comes to intimate photo sessions, while others plan meticulously. In Allie’s case, she gets her creative energy from being somewhere new and the idea of exploring something different.
However, Allie does mention how she researches locations in advance to make sure all the important details are covered before the actual day of the session. Details such as permits, regulations, backup options, trail closures, and schedule changes should all be top of mind for a traveling photographer.
“For a faraway location like Iceland, I do a lot of “scouting” online by reading travel blogs and checking out maps, including some good old-fashioned Instagram creeping! I also like to check out the locations we’ve selected the day before the session, when possible. That way, on the big day, we can start adventuring and creating beautiful photos.” [Allie]
Advice For Photographers and Couples
When Cassidy and Hannah decided to do their intimate adventure session in Iceland before their actual elopement, they struggled to find a photographer who would commit to the adventure with them. Despite their struggles, Allie jumped at the opportunity and created gorgeous portraits for them to cherish.
Allie tells us how important it is to get to know the couple before the actual photo session to create a seamless experience.
“Cass and Hannah and I had a long car ride from Reykjavik down to our first stop on the South Coast, and within 2 hours, including a pit stop for Icelandic snacks, it felt like we had been friends for years. I love getting to learn about how my couples met, how they love spending time together, hearing about their previous travels, and how they got engaged. So by the time they got in front of my camera, they were already comfortable with me. It was then easy and authentic to bring out those intimate, genuine emotions.” [Allie]
For couples, deciding who should take your pictures for such an intimate moment can be a difficult task. Allie comments on how important it is to build a relationship with your photographer from day one.
“Find a photographer who cares about your love story! Meet them ahead of time, whether that’s a phone, skype call, or getting together over a coffee or beer. You want someone there with you who feels like a friend because the memories from that day will last forever.” [Allie]
Hiking along Iceland’s muddy trails and running through its black sand
This pre-elopement session looks like a dream. It shows us all how amazing it is to start your marriage with something new and exciting. Allie tells us that Hannah and Cassidy were the best during the shoot. They both share the same passion Allie has for traveling, and this played a huge role in developing a beautiful friendship.
“Seriously, they were so excited to be taking this adventure together. They couldn’t wait to get a photo of their hiking boots with their dresses! They are also so genuinely in love. Cass kept making sure Hannah wasn’t too cold and helped carry her train. Hannah made Cass laugh even when she was nervous about being in photos to start with. All of my clients are wonderful, but these two were total rockstars!”
An Important Reminder For Couples and Photographers Who Take Elopement Pictures at Beautiful Places Like Iceland
When planning an intimate adventure shoot, many of us forget the impact that we can leave behind. Allie reminds us of all the importance of respecting nature.
“When traveling in Iceland, the principles of “Leave No Trace (LNT)” are especially important. The incredible natural beauty there is being threatened by an increase of tourists who don’t understand LNT. People can damage fragile vegetation by going off-trail, taking rocks or picking wildflowers, or littering. I am a Proud Member of Nature First: The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography, and I always make sure to educate my couples about respecting the wild and beautiful places we visit. Together, we can make sure that these locations are protected and preserved for the future!” [Allie]