This is the story of how Dina and Rob eloped to Iceland and got married, with an Icelandic poet as a celebrant and a Schnauzer as their witness.
Rob and Dina are the kind of people who like to do things differently. You may remember them from a previous post where they handmade their own wedding rings!
Rob is adventurous. In 1996, he sold his car and his belongings and learned to skydive. He likes to find strange activities that most people don’t do, and do them – like the Demolition Derby at the Robertson Show and the Cessnock Postie Bike Grand Prix. He likes building and making, designing and engineering, deconstructing and creating. In his job, he gets to build robots that build machines. Yes, really!
Like Rob, Dina has always been one to do things her way. She has been a body modification enthusiast since she was 15 years old, when she fell in love with piercings and tattoos. In 2013, she established her own business, a children’s speech therapy practice, so she can set the rules instead of follow them.
Dina and Rob have been to 19 countries together, including backpacking through South America, Japan and Europe and embracing #vanlife around Iceland and New Zealand.
So, why did they choose to elope instead of having a big wedding?
Dina: “It suited us better. We didn’t want a big event. Neither of us wanted to be the centre of attention.
I liked the idea of being married, but had no interest in the act of getting married. Nor was I interested in what other people assumed a wedding should look like.
We already had plans to go to Reykjavik, Iceland on another one of our adventures and then thought, why not just do it there? It started as a bit of a joke until we realised how possible and simple it was to get married in Iceland!
We liked that Iceland was the 9th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2010. And at the time, Australia hadn’t legalised it yet.
We loved how straightforward it was to sort out the legal stuff. A few forms and emails later, we were ready for our trip!
After touching down in Reykjavik, we met our celebrant, Tryggvi and his scruffy grey Schnauzer, Skeggir at a local pub. Tryggvi was a member of the Ethical Humanist Association (one of the 4 groups who can perform weddings in Iceland). He was a theatre director and playwright and had written a kids’ book.
He asked, “On a scale from ‘serious’ to ‘stand-up comedy’, how do you want the ceremony to be?”
We picked 80% stand up.”
Rob: “We did it our way – a way we wouldn’t have been able to if we’d had a traditional wedding. It was beautiful and simple.
Iceland is known to have quite hostile weather – lots of wind and cold even in summer. But that August day the skies were blue and the weather was absolutely perfect.”
Dina: “While it was a bit weird standing around a lake in a national park in a suit and wedding dress, it was truly just about us. It was serious and solemn in a way, but fun in another. Having Skeggir in the background chasing ducks (as our non legally binding witness) took the pressure off and made it more relaxing!”
Tryggvi’s speech consisted of Icelandic poems and a mash up of quirky facts that Rob and Dina had each written in secret:
“We complement each other.
Rob fixes things.
Dina organises things.
Rob stays calm.
Dina knows which way North is…”
He read out a poem by Jón Sigurðsson, a beloved Icelandic poet.
The sun lends a golden hue to the bay
And see how it sets the glacier ablaze
The path is bright for the two of us
For I have finally arrived to my true home.”
For the reception, Rob and Dina went to a nearby campsite in Thingvellir National Park and cooked some pasta and pesto on a camp stove. Dessert was chocolate mousse from the little shop nearby.
The honeymoon was 8 nights of driving around the country in a four-wheel drive. They slept under the stars in a roof tent on top of the car. They visited numerous waterfalls and little towns in the middle of nowhere. They explored black sand beaches, drove 4 hours off-road to see a volcanic crater, visited a geyser and swam in hot springs and beautiful blue water.
Dina: “The trip was a perfect, calm, unique and stunning way to spend the first few days of married life together.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to our close family and friends. They were very understanding that we wanted to do things our way. We really appreciate how they respected and supported our weird choices!”
Rob: “At other people’s weddings I’m often asked if I had any regrets doing it the way we did. And the answer is no! I’m really proud of how we did ours. It suited us perfectly.”
Thinking of eloping?
Maybe you’ve never wanted a conventional wedding and have been searching for an alternative that feels truly like you. Well, we’re here to help! Click here to learn how you can elope instead of having a big traditional wedding!