Gone are the days where a nice white dress and good buffet would do the trick. These days, couples are looking for ever more original – dare we say crazy? – ways to tie the knot. Whether it’s incorporating your favourite hobby into your wedding or having your ceremony in an unusual location, these are some of the most adventurous ways you can say ‘I do’.
Say goodbye to mood lighting and floral displays and let the seabed be your perfect wedding setting by getting married underwater. Equipped with dive gear, the lucky couple can exchange vows via dive plates or with the help of an audio system. You’ll find places offering underwater weddings in idyllic settings such as Bora Bora, Mauritius, Bali and Hawaii.
Not for those who are afraid of heights, getting married in a hot air balloon means you will be able to enjoy a truly breathtaking background as your loved one says ‘I do’. And if you don’t want your friends and family to miss out on the action, you can usually ask the company to tether balloons together so they don’t have to miss a thing on your big day.
Celebrate your special day with thousands of other people by tying the knot at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. This legendary festival takes place in August each year and has become a symbol of alternative living, embracing values such as self-expression, community and sustainability. The wedding can be officiated on site and you will benefit from the 70,000-person-strong crowd to help you celebrate the event afterwards.
Take to the skies and explore the great outdoors by getting married in a helicopter in places as remote as the Canadian Rocky Mountains or New Zealand’s back country. Couples are taken on a tour of the mountain range before landing on the mountain of their choice for a wedding ceremony surrounded by nature.
Another option which will only appeal if you’re happy to get a little space between you and the ground, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel in Dubai allows guests the possibility of exchanging their vows on the helipad. The third tallest hotel in the world, the building’s helipad is located some 320 meters in the air and offers dramatic views of the city and the sea. Not quite as tall but just as stunning is the Sirocco open air restaurant in the State Tower in Bangkok.
Not for the faint hearted, a skydiving wedding allows you to literally take the big leap with your beloved. If most people opt to hold the ceremony on the ground before boarding the airplane, a few die-hard skydivers have recruited a priest to officiate the wedding from the sky.
Get closer to the earth’s core by saying your vows from inside a volcanic crater in Iceland. This giant magma chamber lies some 120 meters below the earth’s surface and was created by the now dormant Þríhnúkagigur Volcano and is accessed by an impressive glass elevator. After the official ceremony, you and your guests can enjoy your own private dinner within the natural chamber.
For skiing fans, the idea of combining their love of the slopes and their love of each other might just sound like the perfect compromise. Certain wedding companies in the Alps have specialised in offering happy couples the chance to say ‘I do’ while coming down the piste and to add a little après-ski atmosphere to their wedding party.
Give new meaning to the word ‘exclusive’ by getting hitched on a sand bank in the middle of the sea. Musha Cay is a private island resort in the Bahamas that can be rented for a mere $57,000 per night for the privilege of hosting you and 24 guests on its own sandbank – but only when the tide is low!
Release your wild side by getting married surrounded by lions, tigers and other exotic animals by opting to get married in a nature reserve or safari park. If you don’t fancy traveling all the way to Africa or Asia, the San Diego Zoo in California also offers couples the chance to get married in company of its many wild residents. You can be sure that your wedding pictures will stand out from the crowd!
It’s traditional in many South American countries to receive the blessing of a Mayan shaman when getting married. This centuries’ old ritual involves a cleansing of the aura ahead of the wedding day and a celebration of the four elements (fire, earth, water, air) during the ceremony. Guatemala, Mexico and Peru are just some of the places where you can experience this ancient tradition.