The locations for Rebecca’s photo shoots are as unique as the couples who choose to stand in front of the camera. Today we meet at Icehotel, waiting for a wedding that will be celebrated here a bit later. It’s nearly -20 degrees and snow has settled like a blanket over the landscape. It squeaks beneath our feet as we make our way towards the winter hotel and there is a feeling of expectation in the air. I ask about nerves.
— Well, to be given the responsibility and trust to participate in such an important day, to capture memories that will live on for generations, is so beautiful and almost embarrassingly honourable. Couples from the entire world choose to celebrate their love with us, and there’s something special about seeing your home and everything we take for granted through their eyes, she says as she opens the doors to the iconic, arched entrance and enters this year’s hotel.
Also readIcehotel — a frozen icon
— But it’s also a challenge. You have to be ready to capture special moments, taking into account moods, tensions and nervousness. At the same time you have to make sure the dress falls just right and make sure you don’t stumble on the way up Kebnekaise. It’s a huge responsibility to shoulder.
Weddings at Icehotel
Curious to know more about weddings at Icehotel? Here you find Icehotel’s wedding package and here you can read about weddings at Icehotel.
Say “I do” on a mountain top or in -5
When Rebecca mentions Kebnekaise it could be interpreted as a metaphor for the challenge. But it’s actually literal, too. Rebecca has more than once accompanied wedding couples and their officiants on a flight to Sweden’s highest peak to document their big day.
— For sure, I’ve taken photos in all sorts of places with all kinds of people. From really wealthy people who want to avoid all the fuss and families with young children who just want a small wedding, to those who fly in their entire family from India, jumping on a dog sled after the service to go adventuring. What they all have in common is wanting to get away from the ‘normal, traditional wedding’ and instead experience something together.
"Couples from all over the world choose to celebrate their love with us, and there's something special about seeing our home and everything we take for granted through their eyes."
Rebecca explains that the phenomenon elopement, when the couple go travelling on their own and get married in secret, has exploded in recent years. The pandemic means many have seen the benefits of going away in a smaller group, getting married and experiencing things together at the same time. Sometimes they might have traditions and customs to consider, so they ‘escape’ to get married, and to have an experience that’s exclusively theirs. It’s a new kind of tourism that she’s keen to pick up on.
— To be able to adapt the day to the very things you like, not having to take others into account. Get to experience things themselves, and actually have time to talk to each other on their wedding day. Believe it or not, but usually the couples barely have time to speak to each other, just because there is so much else going on. That’s why an elopement can be a perfect alternative. Swedish Lapland is an obvious choice, I think, for something like that. Whether you’re someone who climbs mountains, or someone like me who prefers to drink champagne on an outdoor terrace,” she laughs and changes a setting on the camera.
7 unique places to get married
Would you like to elope, too? Then perhaps our list of unique wedding locations might be helpful?
Dreams of the future
When I look around this year’s ceremony hall at all the magnificent and playful balloons in snow and ice, it’s almost hard to imagine what could top this. But out of curiosity, I ask what Rebecca’s dream wedding looks like.
— My goal is for all weddings to be unique. I would think it was awful that we would have a “template” of what a wedding should look like up here when we have extremely different surroundings depending on the season, weather and places. My vision is to tailor weddings, sew together all suppliers and offer completely unique, fantastic weddings that are 100% personal. It is my dream to create such a company.
I follow up by asking how her wedding photos differ from the competition in the south.
— It can not even be compared! First and foremost, southern Sweden has trees. Also, I am much more used to work in bright light because shade is something we do not get much of because we have dwarf birches. We also have barren mountains, great views and an infinite amount of nature to capture. While colleagues in the south usually get to take pictures of the portraits in a park as it can be a long way to go outside the city.
Advice from Rebecca
Weddings in Swedish Lapland
— The concept of winter weddings is very different, in many ways. Everything must be done a bit faster, to make sure people’s noses don’t change colour in the cold, ha ha. Also, I like taking photos of details in snow and ice, things like wedding dress lace against clear, almost blue ice, or the wedding bands with a backdrop of sparkling snow. All in all, I’d say weddings up here are a lot more relaxed.
Rebecca finishes by saying that perhaps there’s something about her way of taking photos, where feelings are in focus and nothing is staged, that people appreciate. It’s a contrast to her competitors’ styles where the trend is more towards dark and sombre.
After observing her for the rest of the day spent with the bride and groom, I think it’s also due to the combination of a heartfelt and cheerful laughter making everyone relax, and the ability to keep her eyes in constant motion to see what moments will be most precious at home for years to come. Anyone can take a photo, but what Rebecca is doing is something else. Combined with our northern nature it’s a combination that few venues can beat, no matter how long their waiting lists.
Profession: Full-time wedding photographer since 2019. One of two wedding photographers at Icehotel.
Nominations: Europe’s best wedding photographer, in Way Up North Awards.
Can be seen in: The Wedding Photographers on Swedish channel SVT1, starting in May.