These Brides Threw a Glitter-Filled Celebration with Drag Queens - Love Stories TV

These Brides Threw a Glitter-Filled Celebration with Drag Queens

By Katie Kortebein

There are some wedding videos that are just so emotional, so over-the-top or so absolutely stunning, we feel they deserve a bigger accolade on our site, like the title of Love Story of the Week! This is what it looks like when the brides are also wedding planners! Birna and Eva are the owners of Pink Iceland, a travel and wedding planning company specializing in LGBTQI+ weddings. They planned over 600 weddings before throwing their own glam, glittery, pink celebration, complete with a drag queen officiant, a surprise choreographed dance and a performance by one of the brides.

Watch the video by Kaco Films and then scroll on for an inside look at Birna and Eva’s planning process, tips and vendors!

1. How did you two meet?

We met each other around 13 years ago. The first time we saw each other, we locked eyes over the dance floor. We had mutual friends and got to know each other as such. A lot of different things brought us closer together, we started DJ-ing together in Reykjavik under the name DJ Glimmer. Glimmer means glitter in Icelandic which if you know us you wouldn’t be surprised that it was one of the themes for our wedding. We landed on DJ Glimmer as we are always covered in it ourselves and our signature was to dust happy dancers on the dance floor with glitter.

2. How did the proposal happen?

The proposal happened after 11 years together. We love to travel and New York is one of our favorite cities. After casually discussing it on one of our walks Eva María’s head started spinning, she knew she wanted to propose and spent the following weeks wondering about the right opportunity. It happened as we were sitting across from each other at a diner on Thanksgiving having pancakes & coffee. There was something in the air, the whole thing felt like a set of a holiday movie, the out of towners, the quirky locals, the upbeat waitstaff, just a good vibe all around. We sat there talking about anything and everything and how lucky we were with each other. Eva María asks me what I would like the next step in our life to be and, before I manage to answer, she asks how I would feel about marrying her. Needless to say, I was happiest I’ve ever been, couldn’t utter any words except for yes as the tears of happiness started flowing. We must have sat there just happy crying without words for 20 minutes, the elderly couple at the next table leaned over at one point to ask if everything was ok and were very happy to hear about the engagement.

Julie Rowland

3. What are each of your favorite things about your relationship?

How we support each other and lift each other up, we move faster forward together than we would separately. We make each other laugh constantly and are able to communicate through gestures and simple words. Nothing is too complicated when we take on challenges together. We are very different characters and our individuality is what attracts us to each other. And, after 13 years, we are still crushing on each other.

4. What was the first thing you did as an engaged couple?

We had a celebratory dinner with the Pink Iceland team in NYC. After Eva María proposed, they were flying in from Iceland to spend a weekend together in the city and we had made a reservation for dinner and rooftop cocktails to celebrate. It was great to get to share it with them. Then, when we returned to Iceland, our families surprised us with a family celebration at my parents. They had us believing we were coming for a cozy dinner but, when we walked in, all of our siblings & parents were there to celebrate us.

Julie Rowland

5. What was your budget?

Well, we had 2 wedding celebrations. One in Italy with our closest friends and family and another one in Iceland with a bigger group. The Italian celebration was a week-long vacation where we traveled from Iceland to Rome, then Napoli and the Amalfi Coast, where the ceremony and reception took place. The budget was focused on the experience and travel rather than on the wedding day. I guess we spent most on food, drinks and fully enjoying each other’s company. What we invested in this vacation is the gift that keeps on giving as the group now is so close, guests who didn’t know each other before are now friends. You can’t put a price on that. The Icelandic celebration was more of a party but equally loving and memorable. The budget was focused on entertainment, food and drinks…but also glitter, drag and fabulousness.

6. What were your top three priorities when planning your wedding?

The top priority all the way through to create an unforgettable experience for our guests. After working as wedding planners since 2011 and with over 600 weddings under our belt, we knew that we wanted to do something that was authentic to who we are and what we really appreciate. We wanted to celebrate the things we enjoy with our favorite humans: travel, exploration, music, good food and dancing. These were our three focuses: Filling the house with love, glitter and glamour; great music; delicious food & wine. We’d say we nailed each and every priority.

Julie Rowland

7. What did you each think the first time you saw each other on your wedding day?

We had so much fun getting ready together, for both celebrations—in the villa in Positano and in our apartment in Reykjavik. Eva María’s sisters-in-law were in charge of hair & makeup for us but, more importantly, our dearest Hannes (our friend, co-owner of Pink Iceland and the one who performed the ceremony) and his husband Villi got into their full drag in our living room. So it was a party! When we got a chance to stand up for a bit to refill our prosecco, there was always something new to see with each other’s look, but also the other queens.

8. What personalized details did you add when writing your own vows?

We did write our own vows, telling each other that we thought the other was by far the best ever and how lucky we were to have each other. We’d continue dancing to each other’s beat and making each other laugh. There was talk of Baileys, drama, pancakes, imagination, roller coasters, light bulbs & divas. And, if you know the lyrics to Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park, Birna included a quote to the song:

“Even if I leave the cake out in the rain, it will be ok cause I know you will always help me find the recipe again.”

Kudos to whoever gets it! Hannes also used our own words in the ceremony. He had sent us a list of questions and used our answers to replace the more traditional ‘do you promise to have and to hold etc…’ His questions were more along the lines of:

“Birna, do you promise to keep Eva María on her toes with your fear of heights and general lack of balance? Do you promise to support Eva María as she is your superwoman and she’s the best?”

“Eva María, do you promise to keep dancing with Birna? And do you promise to always have a home with Birna, cause at home is best and Birna is the best?”

Julie Rowland

9. Y’all both look fabulous! Who were the designers of your wedding day outfits and can you each talk about your dress shopping experience?

We worked with an amazing designer, Lovísa Tómasdóttir, who made Eva María’s dress and all the alterations needed for Birna’s dress. The entire process was a lot of fun—we felt giddy, excited and we looked forward to visiting Lovísa’s studio every time we went in for a fitting. She made it very stress-free for us. We wore the same dresses in Italy and in Iceland, we just popped our looks up a bit in the latter one with some more makeup, glitter and accessories. We knew we wanted to wear white and sequins are very near and dear to our hearts, so we put the focus towards those materials. When we spend time in NYC, one of our favorite activities is to spend time in the Garment District so we thought, since we had a trip booked to Chicago before the wedding we’d find the perfect fabric there, which we did. We’re quite colorful in our day-to-day wear so we wanted accessories that represented that. We didn’t have to search too far as we have very talented friends, one who designed both Birna’s necklace & Eva María’s crown, Hlín Reykdal, and Eva María’s feather earring, Ranna Design. Pink Iceland’s in-house florist, the brilliant Thordís, created our bouquets and they were perfect for us. The triangle shape is special to us as members of the global LGBTQI+ family. In fact, we chose it as the logo for Pink Iceland, our LGBTQI+ wedding and travel planning company. The pink color and the pink triangle play an important role in LGBT history. The pink triangle was one of the Nazi concentration camp badges during the Second World War and it was used to identify male prisoners who were sent there because of their homosexuality. Originally intended as a badge of shame, the pink triangle has been reclaimed as an international symbol of gay pride and the gay rights movement. Used upright, downward, or side to side it reminds us how important it is to stand united and be proud of who we are. Our bouquets both have the triangle shape and the color pink in them.

10. On that note, can you talk about the dress code you gave your guests?

The theme of the wedding was GLITTER! – DRAG! – ROYAL! And to this day we’re still in awe that everyone represented in that theme. We expressed that we wanted people to be absolutely fabulous but that it was just as important that they’d feel comfortable. We encouraged them to be their fabulous selves. They could mix the themes together, e.g one of our friends came in drag as Margaret Queen of Denmark, so drag and royal. Birna’s grandfather came bearing British Royal Memorabilia in his pockets. As we got closer in time to the wedding we began to hear more and more buzz about what people were planning, who was going to be in drag, who had secured the most sparkling dress and we felt exhilarated by it, that people were really preparing and going all out. Our company Pink Iceland throws huge parties every year and we always have a glitter station and a makeup artist and we thought, of course, we needed that for our wedding guests as well so, after dinner, guests could line up for that extra sparkle.

Julie Rowland

11. Obsessed with the décor at your wedding! I’m getting disco-eclectic vibes—did y’all have a theme? If so, how did you land on that and what do you think were the key décor components to translating that theme to reality?

We tried to bring the GLITTER! – DRAG! – ROYAL! to life at the venue and the biggest part of that was how well the guests went all out in the theme, without their colors and sparkle it would have been very different. For the ceremony itself, we had the curtains on the stage drawn, a wooden triangle arch decorated with greenery & candles, we wanted that to be a little less glittery and in your face, more solemn. After the ceremony, we cleared the room and headed to the balcony (the venue is an old cinema) for a dinner break and, during that, we revealed the stage, which had fringe for days—fringe backdrop & fringe chandeliers. We had created a pink LED triangle and hung the pink neon sign right in the middle. The sign on the stage says “ást” which means love in Icelandic and we walked down the aisle to Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love.” We love love!

12. It looks like you had a drag queen officiant and a drag show during the reception (umm, how fun was that?!), can you talk a little bit about why you chose to include drag queens so heavily in your wedding?

Our friend Hannes, aka Sigyn Fish, performed our ceremony and she took the time to go over why before the ceremony started, so we’d love to include his prologue:

The story of Drag is too long for us to go over here tonight but we that are present here tonight have gays, lesbians, drag queens and trans people to thank. It takes courage to be who you are, to love who you love and to express your true gender.

Those who came before us sacrificed a lot for us to be able to come together here tonight, dazzled with glitter & sequence safely in the company of our friends and family celebrating the love of two women who tonight join in holy matrimony.

Love wins and love guides the way. There is plenty of it to go around tonight and in the words of Donna Summer, I feel love!

In the LGBTQ community, we also speak a lot about our chosen family and the reason for you are here, is because you are Birna and Eva Maria’s chosen family.

Julie Rowland

13. It looks like there was a choreographed group dance during your reception—was this a surprise or no?

It was the surprise of a lifetime, our friends had been meeting up in secret for weeks with a dance coach and practicing. They danced to Todrick’s song “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels” and they were incredible. In our Italian wedding, this song was sort of our “first dance” so our guests got obsessed with it as much as we were. We thought we knew exactly what was going to happen throughout the evening. The drag queens had just finished their performance and the band, who was supposed to start right after them, was just standing there, didn’t play anything. One of the dancers then came up to us with a coy look on her face, asking us to step back in the rooms and then they lined up. They dropped for us!

14. Did one of you perform at the reception? If so, can you talk about that?

Not too many people know this but Eva María is an amazing singer and, in her younger years, she was the lead singer in a band and used to tour Iceland. The lead singer of the band playing our wedding is one of Birna’s childhood friends and when the opportunity presented itself for Eva María to perform she didn’t have to think too long.

Julie Rowland

15. Did you include any Icelandic wedding traditions in your wedding that you would like to talk about?

No, not really, it was very unconventional through and through. We decided to get ready together, not separately, walk each other down the aisle. There was confetti hidden in the bouquets of the flower people. The speeches were in the middle of the ceremony, there was a dog on stage, we sang the national anthem with different lyrics dedicated to us—that was probably the most Icelandic thing we incorporated into the festivities.

16. Why would you suggest hiring a videographer?

Exhibit A would have to be our wedding video, it speaks for itself. Being able to immerse yourself in the experience of your wedding day, again and again, is truly priceless, we can’t count how many times we’ve watched the videos. The videographers we worked with are artists and storytellers and we felt they captured first our romantic Italian celebration and then our Drag-Royal-Glitter wedding perfectly. It’s also a precious thing being able to share the experience, feeling & atmosphere with our guests, both who attended and made the experience what it was but also those who were unable to attend. On the wedding day, you are so full of feelings and adrenaline that you are bound to forget some moments and of course you can’t be all places at once so in the video we also got to experience parts of the wedding for the first time, bringing us a whole new set of memories. We did get longer clips for both celebrations as well with more moments and detail.

Julie Rowland

17. What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

Walking down the aisle looking over at our guests. This is usually one of the highlights people talk about but, in our case, it was not only amazing to see all of them but, in some cases, we were playing who is who in our heads because there were many of our friends we haven’t seen in drag before.
The surprise performance, we were so genuinely surprised by it and it was so fabulous and fierce. We felt very emotional knowing that they had spent so much time and energy doing this for us.
The dancing! The hugging and the whole enjoying life to the fullest in that exact moment.

18. What’s your top tip to all soonlyweds out there planning their weddings?

You do you girl. That’s the best and biggest advice we can give people and we gave ourselves. We have always been all about the glitter, the glam and the queens so why in the world not make that the theme of our wedding? Forget all about “what you’re supposed to do for your wedding”, forget about the rules.. make your own rules. Follow your heart and don’t be controlled by trends or other people’s expectations.

Julie Rowland

19. Who were your favorite wedding vendors and why?

Pink Iceland, our company, plans weddings in Iceland all year round and we’ve been doing so for nine years. Over these nine years, we’ve had the pleasure to get to know a lot of great vendors and work with them in the trenches, running around backstage, waking up super early and staying late—all to make sure the couple getting married had the best experience possible. So we can’t say we think of them as vendors after years of growing up together in the wedding planning business but to finally get a chance to work with many of them as the wedding couple was fantastic. We felt so great, comfortable and confident in their presence and that added so much to our experience, we were able to enjoy ourselves instead of stressing one bit.

For the Icelandic edition, our amazing vendors, or partners as we prefer to call them:

Kaco Films created the wedding videos of our dreams, Martin is so easy to be around, he’s quick as a cat and somehow moves with the energy and event.

Julie Rowland is one of our main photographers—her photos are amazing and Julie is so fun and talented.

Þórdís Zophia, our florist, who created our bouquets and decorations at Gamla Bíó. She has a unique way of making your vision come alive and she did such a wonderful job.

The wonderful staff at our venue, Gamla Bíó.

Our wedding band, Bjartar Sveiflur, really tore the house down. They are a cover band and put a lot of emphasis on stage presence and songs that make a dance floor go crazy.

Dj Sunna Ben, our DJ, did an amazing job keeping the energy up on the dance floor until closing.

Valkyrjur, the drag queen performance, was something we had seen in a show a while back and we loved them so much. Very glamorous high energy performance, which got the party started after dinner.

20. Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding or some details I didn’t ask about?

We love the fact that one of the singers in the band was wearing a t-shirt that read: FOKK PATRIARCHY. Guests were encouraged to bring their glasses from the pre cocktails into the ceremony and Miss Whoop Whoop was driving a flight attendants trolley up and down the aisle offering refills. The three of us, us and the drag queen who married us, own and run Pink Iceland, Iceland’s premier wedding planner so, before getting married, we had A LOT of experience planning weddings in Iceland.

Julie Rowland

To watch more wedding videos by Kaco Films, click below.