Is Your Iceland Wedding Damaging The Environment?

Iceland is a country of insane natural beauty. You only need to Google search adventure travel in Europe and Iceland will come up on almost every top 10 list. And whilst this boom in tourism is making travel to and around Iceland much more accessible, it’s having a lot of negative impacts on the natural environment in Iceland.

Anyone who spends a lot of time in the great outdoors has probably heard of the “Leave No Trace” ethic. These principles are a set of guidelines that help keep you safe outdoors and reduce your impact on the areas that you’re exploring, preserving them for others to enjoy in the future.

It’s understandable that you want to capture incredible photos of your Iceland adventure, but it’s important to think about how your actions could affect the fragile natural environment. So what are the LNT principles and how can you apply them to your adventure wedding in Iceland?

Adventure elopement in Iceland by Wild Connections Photography
Image by Wild Connections Photography

Be Prepared

Research the area you plan to visit and the route you plan to take and check out the weather forecast. If you want to hike over glaciers or visit ice caves book a guide, since glaciers are constantly moving and what is safe one week may not be the next. Pack for all conditions and don’t forget safety equipment too. And have a plan B in case you can’t reach your intended destination. The weather in Iceland can be extremely harsh, and it’s not unusual for it to be clear skies one minute and a blizzard 10 minutes later.

Stick To Marked Trails & Campsites

Keeping on marked trails and only camping in designated areas will help reduce soil erosion. If you’re worried about the campsites being crowded, research when the quieter months are. This applies to driving too – off-road driving is illegal in Iceland as it damages the fragile landscape.

Be Waste Conscious

Take all of your waste with you – including toilet paper and food waste. Did you know that a banana skin takes 2 years to decompose?

Leave It As You Found It

Don’t alter the natural environment in any way and leave natural objects as you find them. Resist the urge to carve your initials in rocks, or lie in the fragile moss or pick it up for pictures.

Campfire Awareness

Campfires can be very romantic but they can also be very damaging to the environment. Only make campfires where they are permitted and make sure that you have put them out completely before you leave. In Iceland some of the landscapes are very dry and the wind can be so strong that fires can spread quickly.

Respect Wildlife

You might not see a large amount of wild animals in Iceland, but you’ll see beautiful Icelandic horses and sheep in many locations. Resist the temptation to feed them, as foods that are not part of their usual diet can upset their digestive systems. If you want to take some pictures with some Icelandic horses, find a farm and ask the owners for permission. Don’t just climb into their fields.

Be Considerate Of Others

Be respectful of other people. They might not be getting married, but they have still journeyed out to a location to experience it just like you. Give them the courtesy of being able to take their pictures and they are more likely to give you space to take yours.

(Find out here about how to leave no trace when camping and hiking.)

Editor of We Are The Wanderers Cat Ekkelboom-White at Lake Prags in the Dolomites in Winter

Author: Cat Ekkelboom-White

Cat is the founder of We Are The Wanderers as well as a photographer for Wild Connections Photography and mentor at the Adventure Wedding Academy.