Five years after first meeting Mayumi at a cozy Italian café in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, Eric popped the question during a picturesque waterfront picnic beneath blooming cherry blossom trees. The two Seattleites decided they wanted a destination wedding far from the rain of coastal Washington, and they set their hearts on Iceland, a place that holds special meaning for them. Falling in love with their venue was effortless, as they chose the elegant yet understated Hotel Budir, a remote, windswept country inn situated in a lava field on the westernmost tip of Iceland’s Snaefellsnes Peninsula. “We loved the old-world charm and character of the hotel,” said Mayumi, who let the natural surroundings dictate the décor, which included native wildflowers and volcanic rocks gathered from the nearby lava beds.
With sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean’s turquoise waters on one side and the majestic Snæfellsjökull glacier-capped volcano on the other, Hotel Budir offers a wildly romantic setting that’s second to none, and the landscape looked especially spectacular for Mayumi and Eric’s June wedding, which took place during the midnight sun. “We were a bit nervous about what the weather would hold,” Mayumi confessed, “but the entire weekend we had incredible weather—sunny and warm with vivid blue skies and the amazingly bizarre 24-hour daylight cycle.”
Luckily, Iceland’s finest wedding photographer, Bragi Thor, was present to capture every moment, and we think you’ll agree that his staggeringly beautiful photographs more than do justice to both the grand, otherworldly beauty of the striking scenery and the quieter beauty of the love between Mayumi and Eric.
Q + A with Mayumi
What’s your love story? How did you meet, fall in love, and get engaged?
I met Eric at an Italian café in the old Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. He was living in the neighborhood at the time, and he was there reading a book. A mutual friend of ours who worked at the café introduced us. It didn’t take us long to fall head over heels for each other, and we began a relationship that went on for the next five years. I kept wondering when Eric was going to propose, thinking that maybe he was waiting for the weather to finally clear up for the perfect engagement day. Finally, in the spring of 2011, he proposed to me during a picnic in the park under the cherry blossom trees along the Seattle waterfront.
Can you tell us a little bit about the details of your wedding?
Eric and I were married on June 2, 2012, at the beautifully remote Hotel Budir, which is located on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland. We were a bit nervous about what the weather would hold, but the entire weekend we had incredible weather—sunny and warm with vivid blue skies and the amazingly bizarre 24-hour daylight cycle. Our wedding was a weekend event at the hotel with our guests, who were unfamiliar with Iceland and had traveled into the country from the United States and Europe.
Our ceremony took place at the hotel in a floor-to-ceiling windowed room looking out over the ocean and the surrounding mountains of the peninsula. We had taken over the hotel, so everything happened on the premises, including the dinner reception and the dancing.
We did not hire a coordinator, but the staff members at Budir were extremely helpful and accommodating; they handled everything with the utmost professionalism. We loved the old-world charm and character of the hotel, so not much was needed in the way of décor. I wasn’t very particular about the type of flowers; I just wanted the arrangements to look natural and to seamlessly reflect the hotel and the surrounding environment. Agnes, the local florist, did a wonderful job gathering and selecting flowers and decorative rocks from the lava fields in the area.
We chose to print our programs, place cards, menus, and seating charts ourselves. We opted for simple navy calligraphy on off-white cardstock tied with twine or navy ribbons. Our save-the-dates and invitation cards reflected the same details; we had our save-the-date cards printed by Constellation and Co. in Seattle, and our invitations were printed by Moontree Letterpress in New York.
What kind of advice would you offer to future brides?
If you choose not to hire a coordinator on the day of the wedding, leave the coordinating responsibilities to your husband. Eric took care of everything and left me to have the day with my girls.
Photography: Bragi Thor / Ceremony and reception venue: Hotel Budir / Flowers: Agnes of Hotel Budir / Catering and cake: Hotel Budir / Bride’s dress: Alvina Valenta from La Belle Elaine’s / Bride’s shoes: Prada / Groom’s attire: Band of Outsiders / Groom’s shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo / Save-the-dates: Constellation & Co. / Invitations: Moontree Letterpress