Willow McLean and Mike Burns had only known each other for a few months the first time they went to Iceland. Navigating not just the ethereal Nordic terrain, but the road to getting to know each other, the couple was flabbergasted by the beautiful things they discovered.
“It was just the most amazing place either of us had ever been to,” says Willow. Upon getting engaged, their hearts and heads returned to that trip. Eventually they decided that’s where they wanted to say I do—in the presence of just their two best friends and an adventurous crew of Applehead photographers—and they’d host a more traditional wedding at home a few weeks later.
“I was never someone who thought a lot about getting married, and neither did Mike. We wanted to do something more original, something that was special for the two of us,” says Willow. “And there wasn’t a place that was any more special to us than Iceland.”
They re-traced their steps, sharing their favourite vistas with their friends and reliving the moments that made them fall for each other in the first place. One of them: climbing a volcano on the Westman Islands at midnight, which is where Mike picked flowers, Willow changed in a pop-up tent and they said their vows in the freezing cold twilight. “It was a quick ceremony but it was something we wouldn’t have wanted to do in front of a bunch of other people,” says Willow. “It allowed us to have a more personal ceremony, just ourselves. The privacy allowed for more authenticity.”
The fun didn’t start or stop there. The newlyweds and their besties toured around, camped and hiked—stopping for epic photos and tent-changes along the way—squeezing every last drop out of their celebration. “Yes we did this private ceremony,” says Willow, “but we managed to stretch out our wedding fun for a full week instead of just one day.”
It allowed us to have a more personal ceremony, just ourselves. The privacy allowed for more authenticity.