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A white wedding at a black Icelandic church

One of my favorite scenes in Iceland is the church painted black in Budir. It is a small wood frame building that was originally black on the outside because they used the same tar pitch to protect the building that they used on ships. Now it is among the few in the country that are kept black and it looks cool. It sits on a rough ancient volcanic river and the countryside is rugged. The background is mountains, a glacier or ocean, truly a beautiful setting. The only other thing in town is a nearby hotel.

I’ve been here several times and today was the first time there were people walking in. It didn’t take long to realize a wedding was going to happen here. What a tremendous place to get married and how lucky for us to be here when it happened. People were filing into the church and it started to feel like it was a clown car, I couldn’t see inside but it seemed like there were more people than could fit in the small chapel.

Soon the officiant came out wearing a black robe and strange collar and it looked like he was waiting for the bride, the groom had already gone inside. I then saw the bride and what appeared to be her father and family walking up the hill from the hotel. What a great scene. I put myself in place to get them walking into the church after going through the small entrance.

I would have loved to follow them into the church and make photos in there but it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. I went off on the grounds hoping it would be a short ceremony. As I was walking I came across a dapper older gentleman walking on the trails. I stopped to talk with him and I’m glad I did. He was a psychology professor from Reykjavik who was playing tourist with some friends and visiting the area where he grandparents grew up. He told me of life in Iceland, how he lived in New York for a while and has written several books on psychology. What an interesting man, plus he make a great photo.

Unfortunately we had to leave before the wedding ceremony was over but I have some great memories of a great day at the black church.

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