Adieu, Sweet Dress

Finding the perfect wedding dress was no easy task in the midst of an international move.  And, when a seamstress accidentally ruins your dress by mixing up the measurements (how on earth you mix up the bust and waist measurements, I’ll never understand) a month before you are moving to Germany, things get even more complicated.  Luckily, on a trip to Dallas, I spotted a dress on display in the center of the bridal shop where we were looking for bridesmaid dresses.  It wasn’t the style that I had imaged but the dress kept calling me and Juli convinced me to try it on just to see.  I fell in love!  The problem was that I would be moving to Germany in less than a month so there was no time for fittings.

I decided to take my chances and look for a dress in Germany.  I tried every bridal shop in three cities.  I gave up.  Juli and I devised a plan to get the Dallas dress to Germany.  The dress arrived and after some heated conversations with a seamstress involving much use of my Google Translate app, we were off to Mexico for our wedding in the perfect dress!

So, after all of that, what do you do with a wedding dress after the wedding?  It would be a shame to put it in a box only to end up in an attic never to be seen again.

In November of 2010, I was regretting not doing a “Trash The Dress” photo shoot at the beach as we had intended (we didn’t want to take the time away from our friends and family since we live so far from everyone).  I would love to take credit for this incredible idea but I can’t. While looking for places in Europe to potentially “Trash The Dress,” I came across this blog post called When You Bring a Wedding Dress to Iceland and I was in awe.  It wasn’t really a Trash The Dress shoot, more like a couple of girls borrowed a wedding dress and went to Iceland, but the pictures were majestic.  It was in total contrast to our bright and sunny wedding.  We had wanted to go to Iceland anyway and if we were going, why not take the dress?

I mean look how awesome Iceland is!!

After a little research I found the PERFECT photographer!  The pictures in his on-line portfolio were exactly the style I was looking for.  After several emails back and forth, I was so excited to learn he was available and affordable and to top it off, he was nice and wonderful to work with.  In his emails he mentioned several times how much fun the shoot would be and I loved that.  That was exactly what we wanted.

We met Bragi Thor, our photographer, at a cafe the evening we arrived in Iceland.  We talked about the plan for the day of the shoot and what we all expected and hoped for.  We were all on the same page and Ryan and I had a great feeling about it.

The morning of the shoot looked like this:

It was cold and I was nervous about looking like I was freezing in all of the pictures.

Then, Ryan realized he forgot the shirt studs for his tux.  After a few seconds of panic he put his warm clothes back on and literally ran to three different shops to find shirt studs while I got ready.  He came back a sweaty mess and had only 15 minutes before Bragi was to meet us at our hotel.  He made it (almost on time) and still managed to look like James Bond.  The moment we left the hotel, it began to rain.  I was so nervous about how this was going.  Then Bragi made a turn into an industrial sort of area and I was wondering if he decided to go through with his idea to stop at the gas station…

When the man in the truck next to us showed up, I thought things were looking up.  How perfect!  After the gas station, we made another unexpected stop.

Off in the distance, we could see huge wooden racks with what looked like dried corn husks.  I’m an American girl, corn husks seemed normal though they don’t actually grow corn Iceland.  It was in fact, far more disgusting and nothing like corn husks.  This is where Icelandic fishermen dry their fish.  It smelled like you would imagine thousands of partially dried out fish would smell and Ryan thought I would be too grossed out but I figured this would make for some very unique pictures… and it did!

Bragi was right again! We had so much fun here!

Ryan didn’t think I was sufficiently horrified by the dead fish so he tried to help with that. What an awful place… again, this was the contrast I wanted but I never would have thought of this!  After dancing around the dead fish and a sword fight atop a huge pile of lava stone, we were off to Kleifarvatn lake.

This amazing cliff was our first stop.  The view around the entire area was breathtaking. The word “epic” cannot be overused in Iceland!  We climbed up the side of the cliff and danced around.  It seemed magical and we almost forgot how cold it was.  Next we took a walk on the beach… just like Mexico, right?  No so much.  The beach next to the lake was icy and the black lava rock was slick and beautiful against the contrast of the snow.  We just looked around in awe of the massive mountains.

Bragi had some great ideas for other places around the lake and Ryan and I had some of our own.  The collaboration worked out beautifully.

At the lake, we danced in the rain and snow.  I waded into the frigid water.  We hung out in a cave for a bit.  Bragi got some amazing shots!  Many amazing shots actually.  We are having a hard time deciding which pictures we want in full resolution.

Last but not least, we went to he Krýsuvík geothermal area.  Steam emanated from the earth and mud boiled around us.  The colors of the mud, the stone and snow here combined with the steam to make it look like something from Lord of The Rings.  Bragi took hundreds of pictures here and these are just a few for fun.

So, in the end, the dress was officially trashed and we had the time of our lives! I love the shot below because this is how I felt all day.  After this last shot, we changed into warmer clothes and drove to the Blue Lagoon to warm up in the naturally blue geothermal water for a couple of hours.  It was a perfect end to a perfect day (even if a bit rocky to start).

Just before we left for Iceland, I had second thoughts.  I didn’t know if spending a day doing a photo shoot was really the best use of our time but it turned out to be more than worth it.  We got to see some areas that most tourists do not and we came away with some amazing photographs and unbelievable memories.

P.S. the photos here are just a few of the fun shots in low resolution from the photographer’s proofs.  We have over 1,000 pictures to go through to narrow it down to the 30 we want.  We have narrowed it down to 80 and now it’s getting tough!

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