Built in far-flung locales around the world, these cathedrals of snow and ice are at once otherworldly and utterly majestic — in other words, entirely befitting the wedding of a Snow Queen.
But winter-loving brides needn't wait until next season to live out their frosty destination wedding fantasies. The world's first ice hotel, located north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, keeps its intricately-carved interiors at chilled temps year-round thanks to solar-powered technology, and an all-season version of the SnowCastle in Lapland, Finland, will be ready for 2019 wedding dates.
Picture this: Frozen interior dreamscape plus wedding portraits under the midnight sun... what a magical photo shoot that would be!
Located just north of the Arctic Circle in the town of Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, the original IceHotel has rolled out a snow-dusted carpet for brides and grooms seeking a winter wonderland wedding for nearly three decades — the first IceHotel was constructed in 1989 and has been rebuilt every year since.
Incredibly, couples don't have to wait until winter rolls around again to exchange their vows. A portion of the IceHotel (appropriately called IceHotel 365) now stays open year-round and features 20 hand-carved Art Suites and Deluxe Suites, a Ceremony Hall, an IceBar and more, all cooled to a frosty 23F/-5C thanks to solar panels on the structure's rooftop and with a little help from the Midnight Sun — the sun doesn't set here for 50 days and nights between May and July!
Each winter, tradition carries on and a seasonal Ceremony Hall is built on premise, as are an additional 35 Ice Rooms and Art Suites. The IceHotel also has 72 so-called warm rooms that are perfect for guests who'd prefer more of a modern and cozy Nordic cabin vibe.
Read more about weddings at the IceHotel here.
Hôtel de Glace, Canada
If a wintery wedding in the very ice hotel that's said to have inspired Elsa's Ice Palace in Disney's Frozen ranks high on your list of dream destination wedding venues, look no further than Hôtel de Glace in Canada's Québec province.
Located adjacent to Hôtel Valcartier on the grounds of the four-season playground that is Village Vacances Valcartier, just north of Québec City and the region's international airport, Hôtel de Glace features 45 themed Ice Rooms and Suites, an Ice Bar and Lounge and an Ice Chapel, all of which are built anew every year with fresh design inspiration. "The Ice Chapel is never the same from one year to the other. Getting married here is like getting married in an ephemeral piece of art," says Elisabeth B., wedding coordinator for the Hôtel de Glace.
Construction starts as soon as the temps permanently drop below freezing and in the course of a season, which runs from early January into March, the Hôtel de Glace hosts an average of 25 to 30 weddings. "As we welcome guests from all around the world, we are coordinating weddings all days — not only on Saturdays — and the ceremony time is also pretty flexible," Elisabeth B. notes. "We've had couples who choose to get married very early in the morning and others who preferred to have a late candle-lit ceremony."
Read more about weddings and wedding packages at Hôtel de Glace here.
SnowCastle Kemi, Finland
Big changes are coming to SnowCastle Kemi, a winter-loving princess' fairy tale venue in Lapland, Finland's northernmost region. Built of ice and snow seasonally since 1996, work is underway to construct a year-round SnowCastle, which will be unveiled later this year and will available for weddings in all seasons in 2019 and beyond.
Inside walls nearly 13 feet high and five feet thick, the SnowCastle is home to a mix of cold-temperature rooms and suites, a reception-worthy SnowRestaurant with tables of ice and seats covered in reindeer hide and sheepskin (pictured above) and a SnowChapel where intimate ceremonies can be performed by the resident Snow Queen, a chaplain from the local parish or a magistrate from the City Administrative Court of Kemi.
In 2017 SnowCastle Kemi moved to its new, permanent home and also unveiled the Seaside Glass Villas beyond the castle's walls. Overlooking the Gulf of Bothnia, the northernmost waterway of the Baltic Sea, these all-season villas feature floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows and a glass roof, too, offering stunning views of sea and sky — including the Northern Lights between August and April.
Read more about weddings and venues at SnowCastle Kemi here.
Set amid some undeniably spectacular landscapes, Iglu-Dorf's igloo villages are a feat of engineering, creativity and sheer manpower — an estimated 3,000 hours of work goes into building the seven villages each season, which include five locations across the Swiss Alps, one location facing the Zugspitze Glacier in Germany and one location in the Pyrenees mountains in Andorra. In each village, a vaulted tunnel system connects the igloo rooms and suites with the central hub of social activity, the village's restaurant and bar areas.
As all locations justifiably check the box for "dreamy winter wedding in an igloo surrounded by snow-capped peaks," it's best to note some of the differences. Romantic Igloo Suites, offered at Davos-Klosters, Gstaad (pictured above) and Zermatt locations, are the most wedding worthy, as they have a private jacuzzi and bathroom ensuite. Hot Igloos — essentially an igloo-shaped dome tent — are only available at Engelberg igloo village, if you're inclined to provide your guests with a warm lodging option during your wintery destination wedding weekend. Igloo village buyouts are also an option, depending on budget and number of guests attending.
Read more about weddings and activities at Iglu-Dorf locations here.
Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway
Located some 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the Kirkenes Snowhotel is a magical destination for an arctic wedding celebration. A husky dogsled team awaits your arrival at the Kirkenes airport, ready to transport you from the tarmac to the hotel. Kick off the weekend with a toast in the Snowhotel Ice Bar (pictured above) and dinner around the fire at Gabba Restaurant, one of three dining options on property.
Don't forget to set a Northern Lights wake-up call before tucking into bed at the Snowhotel or one of the Gamme Cabins, cozy abodes inspired by traditional hunting and fishing huts. The king crab safari, husky safari and snowmobile safari are all popular daytime excursions, as is the chance to visit to the Snowhotel Winter Park, where guests can meet and greet the resident reindeer and huskies.
About those nuptials: Kirkenes Snowhotel can help to arrange space for an intimate, ceremonial exchange of vows and private wedding celebration — and a photographer, too — but the team doesn't have the capacity to provide a legal wedding officiant. Just make sure to get the official marriage license filed at home in advance, so you can enjoy every moment in this arctic wonderland!
Read more about activities at Kirkenes Snowhotel here.