Hello, friends! Daria here.
Today I'd like to talk to you about outfits. This is something I get asked about a lot, and I mean A LOT. So I figured it was high time to put together a nice little guide for those who are in need of tips and advice on this matter.
I'll ramble about how to choose proper clothing for your photo session (we'll look at both elopements and casual shoots), what the common do's and don'ts are, what looks good visually and fits the local Icelandic weather, and above all how to make sure that you are 100% comfortable. With examples of course!
I will be honest with you, I am all for free self expression and "wear-what-you-want" philosophy - it is your special day after all. BUT, there is no denying, some fabrics and colors will work better than others, and certain types of clothes will be restraining and not as comfortable, so before making the decision to go for your favorite neon orange dress with a 5 meter trail and stilettos, hear me out - you might just find something to your liking that will adhere to your photographer's wishes as well.
Let's keep this simple, and divide our possible outfits in two categories : classic and casual.
Classic is more appropriate for an elopement or a celebration of some kind - an anniversary or vows renewal, while casual will work best for an adventure session. Engagements / proposals can go both ways. Nothing is written in stone though - in the end it's up to you, and your personal preferences.
Examples of casual outfits
And a mix of both (long coats FTW!)
COLOR & Patterns
Color is everything. It can either make or break the photo - and, again if I'm completely honest, make my editing work a breeze or hell. Perhaps, you've dabbled in arts at some point in your life, and you've heard of complimentary or monochromatic colors. It's a whole science, I kid you not, and picking the right combination will transform your image into something truly beautiful and soothing to look at - or create a sense of imbalance and disharmony. And no, I'm not photoshopping it later!
In general, soft neutral colors will be your safest bet. Think white, ivory, light grey, light beige, dark grey, black. And to make it more exciting, you can add a little splash of color too : dark green / olive, dark red, rust / dark copper, or calm / dark blue.
It also depends on what kind of landscape you'll be shooting against - a perfect question to ask your photographer! I love planning outfits and am always happy to help and advise.
One more important thing to note when color is concerned - try not to completely match it. I know, it might look cute and all sorts of adorable, but in reality you'll seem like one big blob in the distance. Think of it this way : it's you against each other against the landscape. Some contrast and separation are always welcome.
And finally, patterns. Avoid the bright large and messy ones - they will steal all the attention; same goes for colorful prints. With two exceptions! Plaid - this one can work wonders on skirts, shirts, scarves and shawls. Just don't overdo it, one plaid item for the both of you is plenty. And lopapeysa - a traditional Icelandic sweater with a pattern around the shoulders (sometimes sleeves as well) will add a bit of Scandi flair to your image.
Examples of colors for elopements
Examples of colors for casual outfits
Fabrics. Let it flow!
It's no secret that Iceland is windy, pretty much all the time. And you know what looks great in the wind? Garments that flow!
We LOVE movement, in any shape or form - it brings so much dynamics to the photos, making them seem truly alive. And having a piece of clothes that's going to dance in the wind, without any effort on your side, is a perfect way to add some movement to your images.
Ladies, this will be mostly for you. Think dresses, skirts, scarves and shawls! Light fabrics, like chiffon, a soft and flexible tulle, silk, even thin cotton will do the trick - just make sure you have enough of the fabric to flow.
We also love linen. But darn, does it wrinkle, especially when sitting and driving for hours to your location! If you don't mind, go for it. But if your OCD drives you nuts when seeing things imperfect, I would recommend avoiding it.
What about veils and trails, you say? This can be a double edged sword - while they do flow, they also tend to get stuck on things - trust me, the pain of untangling your fragile veil out of the sharp and textured mossy lava is real. The best solution is to keep it somewhat short - and if it touches the ground, ask your beloved to hold it for you while you're walking : it's cute, romantic and will save you the trouble.
Last but not least, I'd like to mention capes. Yes, you heard me right - capes can be absolute magic. They flow, they shield you from the wind and the rain, and they make you feel like a superhero! We definitely approve.
When the casual outfits are concerned, same logic applies. Skirts, dresses, scarves, shawls, capes. And coats / cardigans! These flow really nicely too.
Flowy stuff for elopements
Flowy stuff for casual outfits
This is going to be a very personal preference. Elopement jewelry as a rule is more intentional, while for casual shoot you'll probably wear your everyday stuff. Rings, earrings, headpieces, bracelets, necklaces, piercings, watches - whatever your heart desires, all is welcome. Just make sure to not overdo it - you don't want to look like a Christmas tree. Wearing something that bears a personal significance and is meaningful to you - a gift from your other half, or your (grand)parents for example - can be a great addition to your outfit.
I mentioned scarves already, we love those. Remember, we're looking for movement! Plus, a scarf can keep you warm against the cold Icelandic winds. It's a win-win!
Same goes for hats, they are cool and can create a bit of a classy (or hipster) flair when needed.
Umbrellas can be a nice touch too - think classic black, or romantic transparent. However, since the winds subside here fairly seldom, you may not be able to use the umbrella in the end.
We keep one in our car, just in case - and you of course are more than welcome to rock it, if the opportunity presents itself.
Bags, purses and mobile phones on the other hand could be a hindrance and a distraction. Make sure you empty your pockets before the shoot, otherwise you'll end up with a bulge or two (and no, I'm not photoshopping it later!).
As with everything else, I encourage you to follow your taste (which I'm sure is excellent), exercise reason and think practically. Match the style and the colors, and double check for comfort.
shiny things and such
This is a huge one. I know, you want to look dainty and elegant on your wedding day, and the thought of pairing rough hiking boots with your delicate elopement dress seems appalling. But remember, you are venturing into the wild. Unless your ceremony location is super touristic, ridden with asphalt trails and within 2 minutes walk from the parking lot (which I'd assume, you wouldn't want for your elopement anyway), you should be prepared to cross uneven rocky terrain, maybe jump over a stream or two, or climb a hill.
We structure our elopements and adventure sessions according to our couples' wishes, so we won't drag you on a crazy hike if you don't want that. But even so, the more remote and interesting spots require some walking - so please, no high heels. No stilettoes. No fancy shoes that you are scared of ruining, or are uncomfortable after 10 minutes of wearing. Just trust me on this.
If you're absolutely dying to wear your fav pair of Jimmy Choo's (or whatever is fashionable nowadays), take them with you, change just before the ceremony, wear them during, and take them off after.
Our favorite? Dr. Martens! These go with anything and everything - classy, casual, delicate or rough. Granted, they may not be the most comfortable shoes out there, especially if bought new, but if you've been wearing them for some time, they should fit like a glove.
Otherwise, find those chunky hiking boots and rock them with your exquisite dress, like the elopement queen you are! It's a fashion statement, I'm telling you.
shoes shoes shoes
Other things to keep in mind
Comfort above all.
Yes, I know, I keep mentioning it in every paragraph, but my goal here is to hammer it into your brain. Make sure you are comfortable! The main idea behind any adventure, be it an elopement or a couple shoot, is for you to be able to enjoy it. You're there to discover beautiful places, celebrate your love, and focus on your partner and on the surroundings, instead of worrying constantly about how this or that looks, or torturing yourself with garments that are too tight, or too scratchy.
If you buy new clothes for your session, wear it at least several times before we meet. Walk, run, sit, lie down, roll on the floor, hug, lift each other up, sleep in it - if it's comfy, you're good to go.
Dress for the season.
Iceland is special, and regular seasonal considerations don't quite apply here. It can be chilly even in summer (around 16 C / 60 F). It will be cold af in winter. It's windy almost all the time, and northern winds can chill you to the bone, regardless the season. It's colder in the mountains / near the glaciers.
This can be especially crucial if you are not used to lower temperatures, so please don't go for a sleeveless dress and hope for the best.
Ideally, you'll want layers, lots of them. Tights or leggings under the dress, thermal underwear, a sweater under the jacket / coat, a cardigan or a bolero, a shawl or a long scarf - all these things will help you stay warm, and enjoy your day. Not sure what to expect weather-wise? Ask your photographers! We know the weather inside and out around here, and will be more than happy to help.
Bring extra stuff with you.
A second pair of socks, a warmer jacket, an additional pair of shoes etc may come very much in handy - especially if you're planning to adventure for the whole day. It's better to be prepared and not use it, than sit in the car soaking wet for hours on end.
And finally.. our list of don'ts
Tight mermaid type dresses are not a good idea - let those legs run free!
Sports / athletics / gym wear belongs at your workout sessions.
Sandals, sneakers and cotton shoes won't keep your feet warm, dry or safe.
Choosing your outfits should be fun, not a chore! It's also another beautiful part of eloping as opposed to a traditional wedding - you don't have to stick to a white tulle dress with a veil, and a tuxedo. And as any other essential part of your special day, your garments should reflect you and your personal preferences. Also, don't be shy to ask your photographer - we know a thing or two, and are always here to help.
Feeling stuck / out of ideas? Or just need a little bit of inspiration? Check our ever-growing Pinterest board on elopement and adventure session outfits.
Feel free to join the discussion in the comments below.
Share this story