Tips for Planning Your Winter Elopement at the Black Church in Budir on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Wild. Remote. Beautiful. This is the peninsula summed up in the wintertime. You’ll find coastal cliffs, wide expanses of snow and iconic rocky mountains along Snæfellsnes. There’s even a gigantic snow capped glacier that covers a volcano. As the stories go, this area is said to have a unique energy around it! Regardless, the landscape will take your breath away.
Stay at Hotel Budir
The thing that makes the Snæfellsnes Peninsula spectacular for Iceland adventure elopements, is that it’s very remote with the exception of a little haven of shelter and luxury. Hotel Budir gives you all the amenities and serves as your home base while exploring the rest of the rugged peninsula.
This quaint hotel is a one-stop shop for your elopement. Cozy nordic inspired guest rooms give you a place to get ready. The famous Black Church sits right in the backyard. After a day of exploring and taking amazing photos, you can come back together at the end of the night to hot chocolate and a romantic locally sourced dinner. You might even catch a glimpse of the North Lights.
The hotel is located about 2.5 hours from Reykjavik. In the winter, I suggest my couples give themselves 3.5 hours to get there. Depending on the weather conditions, it can take longer to make your way out onto Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Wind speeds can get really high out there so make sure to use tools like Road.is to check the roads often. If the weather is nice, give yourself the time to go slow and take in the dramatic landscape on your drive out!
Hotel Budir’s tagline is remote luxury and that couldn’t be more accurate. You’ll feel like you’re driving to the middle of nowhere…because you are. Every time I’ve been with couples eloping at Budir, they’ve had the same reaction driving down the long snow covered road to the hotel. That reaction is simply “wow”.
This location boasts 360º views of the Atlantic ocean, coastline and mountains in either direction. You can be inspired by these views both inside and outside of the hotel. There’s even a spiral staircase to the top that you can use to get an even better vantage point.
In Budir, you’re centrally located to many other locations for your adventure elopement. You can get to black sand beaches, coastal cliffs, lighthouses and Kirkjufell within an hour. Having a home base is great for a safe day of adventuring in the Icelandic winter.
At night, there is little light pollution in this area of the country. Hotel Budir is surrounded by nature and sleepy little fishing towns so if you’re trying to see the Northern Lights, you’ve got a good shot here!
The staff at Budir is incredible. They’re so welcoming and friendly and they make sure you have the very best stay. They’re there to get to know you, monitor the weather and coordinate with the pastor if needed.
One of my couples had to come a day later due to a snow storm and they were extremely flexible and helpful in getting us back on track.
If you’re lucky, the owner will have their pup there and you can share a cuddly hot chocolate with her.
Overall, the hotel has a vibe that lands somewhere between cozy and quirky. There are nooks and crannies to explore as well as a gallery wall of old photos from Iceland that I could spend hours looking at. Think deep colors, leather and wool blankets.
Another cool thing about the hotel is it’s small enough to feel intimate, but big enough for you to feel like you’re somewhere luxurious. I’ve met some really awesome people from around the world just by sitting by the fire in the lounge at night.
Beautifully curated rooms wait for you to get ready. This gives you the space to have your hair and makeup done if you’d like. Take advantage of the privacy and enjoy the quiet morning. Windows will open to the crisp winter air and mountain views. The rooms make for lovely getting ready photos as well.
For my eloping couples, I suggest getting the Master Suite if it’s available. This gives you both space to get ready. With a separate bedroom, you can also stay hidden from one another if you’re wanting to do a true first look.
Staying at the hotel also makes it convenient for your photographer to be there with you to document all your moments without having to worry about making it back to the hotel if weather gets rough.
The Culinary Experience
In the morning, before getting ready for your elopement, you can share breakfast and a coffee with real Icelandic cream. Pause for a moment together and take in the views before your big day begins.
After a day of adventuring, you can sit down to dinner together at one of the best restaurants in Iceland. Your meal will be sourced directly from local farmers and fishermen. You’ll get a taste of West Iceland with amazing service and toast to your marriage with a celebratory night cap in one of the hotel’s charming corners.
Elope at the Black Church in Budir
Sitting just behind the hotel is the famous Black Church of Budir. For my couples looking to do a true ceremony, this is perfect in every way.
The Black Church will give you all the vibes of an intimate wedding with the added bonus of knowing you’re in an iconic Icelandic location. For my adventure elopement couples, this moment allows them to have something special with just the two of them. You’re sheltered for a calm moment before heading out into the wild landscape for photos.
A note – there are almost always people outside of the church taking landscape photos. Most are respectful of you trying to have a private moment taking photos outside the church. Inside however, it will be totally closed to the public at all times.
My couples eloping at the Black Church at Budir want the ceremony experience. This means they hire the local pastor! The gentleman I’ve worked with is Pastor Arnaldur Mani. Hotel Budir will be able to help you coordinate with him and get everything set up. It’s a pretty easy process. All of my past couples have gotten legally married in the United States and said their vows in Iceland at the church. This makes it a little easier on you, logistically, but you can legally get married here! It just takes a few more steps. The pastor will work with you to make sure the ceremony is exactly what you want from readings and songs to a candle lighting. He will even sing to you in Icelandic which is super rad. There are a lot of intentional details that he includes in his process as well as flying the Icelandic flag outside the church while you get hitched.
As with the hotel, you have incredible views all around the church. You can spend 15 minutes taking photos outside and they’ll all be great. Whether it’s the expansive sky towards the ocean or the wall of snowy mountains in the other direction, everywhere you look is amazing.
Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
After the Black Church in the morning, you’ve got all day to explore the peninsula. If you want to see some of my favorite locations in West Iceland take a look at my Guide to Winter Elopements in Iceland.
You can hit a lot of locations during your adventure session the day before while you head out to the peninsula.
When you’re done with your ceremony, you can get to several epic locations within about an hour from Hotel Budir. These approximate times assume good weather. Always check the conditions and give yourself extra time to see all the sites.
With these locations being so close to Budir, you can safely enjoy sunrise to sunset without having to be on the roads too much in the dark if you’re eloping in the winter.
- Kirkjufell / Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall / Grundafjörður Village (35 minutes north of Hotel Budir)
- Arnarstapi (20 minutes west of Hotel Budir)
- Djúpalónssandur / Black Sand Beach (35 minutes west of Hotel Budir)
- The Lóndrangar Basalt Cliffs (20 minutes west of Hotel Budir)
- The Svörtuloft Lighthouse (1 hour west of Hotel Budir)
Here’s a great guide from Extreme Island on spots to visit on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Any of these would make for a dream adventure elopement.
Example timeline for an adventure elopement at the Black Church at Budir on the the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Most of my elopement couples choose to do at least a two-day adventure elopement. This gives you a day of travel and exploring the peninsula to get to Hotel Budir and a day for your elopement!
Day 1: Adventure Couple’s Session / Reykjavik to Hotel Budir
Wednesday, March 11 / Sunrise 8:05a, Sunset 7:23p
- Reykjavik (9:00a)
- Grab breakfast at Braud & Co. Bakery
- Meet florist + pick up flowers
- Leave Reykjavik by 10:00a
- Reykjavik to Borgarnes (1.25 hours)
- Stop in Borgarnes
- Groceries at Bonus / Get Fuel / Eat Hot Dogs!
- Borgarnes to Hotel Budir (1.5 hours)
Along the way, we’ll stop at a list of locations and have a super rad time exploring for your adventurous couple’s session! Anywhere you pull over is sweet!
- Check-in to Hotel Budir after 2:00p
After check-in you can get settled and take a breather. The lounge is open for snacks and the best hot chocolate you’ll ever taste. Once you’ve had a moment to pause and take in the surroundings, we can head back out and explore some more west of Budir for sunset. If it’s wintertime, we’ll aim to be back at the hotel safely before nightfall.
Day 2: Elopement / Hotel Budir, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell
Thursday, March 12: Sunrise 8:02a, Sunset 7:26p
- HMUA in hotel room (8:00a)
- First look (11:15a)
- Pictures in and around the hotel (11:30p-12:30p)
- Ceremony at the Black Church (1:00p)
- Exploring + pictures on the peninsula (1:30p-7:00p)
- Travel from Hotel Budir to Kirkjufell, stopping along the way!
- Celebrate with dinner back at the hotel (8:30p)
What does a wintery adventure elopement in Budir, Iceland look like? Check out Emily + AJ’s wedding day.
Are you ready to plan the elopement of your dreams? Want to book a photographer that can help guide you every step of the way with experience in Iceland elopements? Contact me to get the conversation started. I can’t wait to talk to you!