SECRET ICELAND PROPOSAL AT SÓLHEIMASANDUR PLANE WRECK- ICELAND ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | Zakas Photography
Secret Iceland Proposal at Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck- Iceland Elopement Photographer | Zakas Photography
Seriously guys, my job is THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. I get to do things like this: Adventure around Iceland with an adorable couple, be their tour guide for the day, and organize a secret proposal at the famous Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck along the South Coast of Iceland.
For Steph and Brian, it worked out like a charm. About a month ago I was in Iceland for some shoots, as I do about once a month, to shoot some fine art and couple's sessions. The weather was absolutely insane during that trip. I tend to stay for around 10 days per visit which gives me enough time to shoot some sessions and also have some solo adventure days, but this time was mostly me sitting in my Airbnb, that didn't have hot water or a shower (yeah, seriously. It was wild. We can talk about that later), because there were some massive storms (actually, a blizzard that shut the island down for 3 days in a row). However, I did get to take these two out for a day adventure and change their future trajectory from here on out! There was a heavy snow storm that had happened a few days leading up to this trip, so I was a bit nervous taking them too far out. Brian knew that he wanted to propose to her on a black sand beach, preferably the famous Reynisfjara which is about 2.5hrs from Reykjavík and usually a super easy drive. We told Steph that I was just going to be their private photographer tour guide for the day (which is my usual M.O. for surprise proposals). I tell them awesome Iceland facts on the drive to our destinations and me having a camera doesn't throw anyone off of the plan, because I say I am going to be taking photos of them as part of my experience for the tour. I picked up Steph and Brian early in the morning at their hotel in Hlemmur Square, the weather was nice and had stopped snowing, we got some coffee (as you MUST do in Iceland before any day trip), then we were on our way.
I was a bit concerned about the roads, since I had checked the status of them before I left to pick them up (as you should ALWAYS do when in Iceland during late Fall to late Spring) and nothing was closed, but a big portion of the Ring Road was categorized as 'snow covered' and 'slippery'. I had a feeling I MIGHT have to fly by the seat of my pants once we ventured outside of Reykjavík and started to head South, since I couldn't just ask him 'hey the spot where you want to propose in might not work because these roads are crazy, where do you want to go?'.
We got up to the mountain right before you head down it into Hveragerði, which happens to be one of my favorite little portions of the drive, but the snow drift was CRAYYYZAYYYYY. It was bad. I couldn't see the road at all, it was a complete white-out, the roads were icy, and people were driving like maniacs. (Hey friends, if you visit Iceland when it is cold and snowy, please drive safely. You can die. We can die. Let's all be safe, ok?). I slowly made my way down the mountain as safe as possible. The roads got a little bit better, though still snow covered, but we made it to a few of the 'must see' spots for first time travelers on their first time down the South Coast. We stopped at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, marveled at the frozen falls, then headed further south.
Once we left Skógafoss the roads started to get pretty dangerous. The wind usually picks up as the terrain gets a bit more flat and is closer to the sea, so it was blowing cars all over the roads and the roads were pretty slick. The sky started to become overcast, too, which was cooling the temperature even more. I remembered that Brian had told me he was obsessed with airplanes, even had a full sleeve tattoo dedicated to the aircrafts, so I knew what a good Plan B would be. There was no way I was going to go all the way to Reynisfjara, our safety is always top priority and even though I am a really great driver, I was starting to get uncomfortable with the road conditions. So I thought "you know what, I will just take us out to the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck", which I usually steer clear of because I am not one for a lot of tourists. I generally try to take my couples to lesser-popular spots. However, with the weather the way it was, and for how cold it was outside, I knew it wouldn't be as popular as it usually is. We pulled up to the parking area, got out, walked for the lengthy hike in the snow, and made it to the plane. They were both SO excited to see it and I was excited it wasn't busy.
Once we got to the plane, I secretly scoped out the spot I wanted them to stand in and gently guided them to where I wanted them. I asked them to stand together so I could get some shots of them together at the plane. Previously, me and Brian had worked out a secret code for when I was set up, letting him know he could propose at any time. I spoke the magic words, then waited for it to happen. He got down on one knee and the rest is history. She said yes, he put on her amazing ring (that looks like a vine!), and they were so excited! Brian finally felt like he wasn't going to throw up anymore, which is great, because the walk takes about an hour and I could tell he was a nervous wreck (pun intended). She said she had no idea what was coming, which means I did my job. Afterwards, we took some more photos, walked back to the car, then I drove them to this super delicious Icelandic cafe where we all got all-you-can-eat-soup (I ate four bowls. No shame.), and then we made it back to Reykjavík as the sun completely set. I would say it was a perfect day all around, for all 3 of us.