While some couples wed in quiet little ceremonies in a courthouse or a backyard, some couples choose to go a bit bigger. For those ambitious affianced pairs, their wedding becomes a chance to go big, go wild, go extreme, and possibly just go bizarre.
There’s no end to the strange destinations and ceremonies that the betrothed have planned for themselves and forced their loved ones to endure in many cases. Of strange wedding destinations, we’d say the sky is the limit, but our number one entry proves even that barrier can be breached.
This list brings together ten of the most surprising, strangest, and most extreme destination weddings in history. Depending on your taste, these entries may either horrify or entice you; if you start planning anything, choose wisely.
Related: 10 Terribly Dysfunctional Royal Weddings
10 Hanging From a Crane
The Dinner in the Sky company has created a worldwide network of locations that offer a truly unique dining experience. Once diners are seated at their tables and prepared to eat, Dinner in the Sky then hoists its diners, along with the chairs, tables, food, and waitstaff, high into the air using a massive crane. The concept has been successful enough to warrant spin-offs: Concert in the Sky, Movie in the Sky, Santa in the Sky, and- you guessed it— Marriage in the Sky.
As Marriage in the Sky puts it, “Marriage in the Sky offers couples the opportunity to get married just as they would in church with a priest, witnesses, family members and friends, an organ, but in the clouds, among the angels and at 50 meters [165 feet] above the ground.” Are you not afraid of heights? Or instead, are you deathly afraid of solid ground? Then the sky may be your ideal wedding destination.
Nothing says romance like endless expanses of ice; deadly glacial collisions; and unfathomably deep, impenetrably dark, fatally cold waters. That is precisely why Antarctica—the one continent with no permanent human settlement and officially ranked the largest desert in the world has become a popular destination wedding spot.
Companies like Your Adventure Wedding offer a variety of packages for couples looking to experience the serenity (i.e., desolation) and majesty (i.e., 360-degree view of the desolation) of the Antarctic environment. You can even row a raft out into the middle of the frigid ocean, just the two of you, in just your tuxedo and dress, to say your vows in unparalleled peace. Disclaimer: the peace will abruptly end if either of you falls in, as hypothermia will take your life in less than half an hour, assuming an enterprising orca doesn’t drag you under first.
8 On a Rollercoaster
Let’s face it: Any couple willing to barf before, after, and possibly even during their vows is guaranteed to be open and tolerant of each other. If a wife can wipe her husband’s vomit from her dress and still say, “I do,” we’re willing to bet that they’re meant to be. That’s precisely the promise of weddings on functioning rollercoasters, which have happened surprisingly often.
Take Ashley and Thom Marchetti, who chose to wed on Six Flags New England’s Superman rollercoaster. In full tux and gown, the couple took the frontmost seats on the ride, with their officiant just behind them. As planned, the ceremony climaxed with the couple saying (in reality, screaming) their “I do’s” just as the coaster reached the very top of its 200-plus-foot peak. As Thom told TODAY, “We screamed “I do!” right as our stomachs dropped.”
7 The Führerbunker
There’s good strange, and then there’s bad strange. You can assume when Adolph Hitler is the topic at hand, even in the context of his wedding, that we’re venturing deep into bad strange territory. Yes, the mustached menace couldn’t even marry his true love without prompting contempt and revulsion. And, aside from every other issue with the nuptials, perhaps its strangest aspect was its location.
In the early morning of April 29, 1945, Hitler married his longtime love, Eva Braun, about 30 feet underground in an air raid shelter known as the Führerbunker. As Allied troops began to seize the city of Berlin above, Hitler finally, in his last two days on Earth, began to accept his defeat. Deep within the reinforced concrete walls of the bunker, in the dim and flickering light, Hitler and Braun held a hasty wedding. Between the claustrophobia, chronic dampness, and constant sounds of battle overhead (not to mention the certainty of impending execution for all inside), the Führerbunker may be the single worst wedding destination ever.
6 The TJ Maxx Shoe Aisle
Lisa Satayut is obsessed with department store TJ Maxx, so much so that she calls herself a “Maxxinista.” That’s why she chose to marry fiancé Drew Ellis in a TJ Maxx. Specifically, one of its shoe aisles.
Somehow, the ceremony was tasteful and beautiful. The store aisle was widened to accommodate a heart-shaped arch festooned with roses, a red carpet, and an ample scattering of rose petals. The pair dressed smartly and walked the aisle to traditional string music. Though one of the strangest destination weddings, it ended up one of the most understated and classy.
5 Under the Sea
It’s true: you can arrange an entire wedding ceremony beneath the sea, with full scuba gear atop your suit and gown.
There are dozens of companies that offer underwater marriages in gorgeous marine settings off of the Bahamas, Thailand, Bali, Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef, and more. They can be held while swimming or standing, but most couples find it easiest to kneel together on the seafloor. The most obvious tradeoff for such a unique and magical experience is the inability to speak or hear underwater, so ceremonies are usually conducted through a series of pre-written cue cards. And the first kiss as spouses? Well, I guess they have to wait until they are on dry land to do that.
4 Dracula’s Castle
A true fairytale wedding is possible, as long as the fairytale you’re thinking of involves vampires.
Bran Castle, widely known as Dracula’s Castle, is the perfect wedding venue for couples looking to conduct their nuptials in a historic, imposing castle. Though Dracula was, of course, not real, and though his real-life inspiration Vlad the Impaler, may not have even lived in Bran Castle, the site has nonetheless developed an association with all things vampiric over the centuries. Regardless of its historical authenticity, both the castle’s interior and exterior look the eerie part and then some.
3 Dolphin Reef, to a Dolphin
Sharon Tendler’s wedding is one of the strangest. She married on a dock at Israel’s Dolphin Reef, which in and of itself is a gorgeous destination. What made the wedding strange was that, while Tendler stood on the dock, the groom spent the entire ceremony in the water beside her. He had to, after all, because he was a dolphin.
Sharon defended her choice in grooms, stating, “It’s not a perverted thing. I do love this dolphin. He’s the love of my life… It’s not a bad thing. It’s just something that we did because I love him, but not in the way that you love a man. It’s just a pure love that I have for this animal.”
2 Mount Everest
It’s important to note that there have been several weddings at Mount Everest, and they fall into two very different categories: weddings at base camp and weddings at the summit. While several adventurous pairs have joined in matrimony at one of Everest’s base camps- which are already no small feat to access—one couple went a step further. Actually, thousands of steps further, as they wed at the very peak of Mount Everest.
Nepalese couple Moni Mulepati and Pem Dorjee exchanged vows at Everest’s peak, more than 29,000 feet in the air. Due to the cold and lack of oxygen, the entire ceremony lasted less than ten minutes. The two quickly removed their oxygen masks, donned plastic garlands, performed their parts, and hastily began their descent down the mountain.
As strange as it sounds, there have already been multiple engagements and even marriages held in outer space. Even stranger, there are at least a few dozen more astral marriages planned for the near future. The only requirements are that participants be actual, professional astronauts or shell out a few hundred thousand dollars.
There are a number of different space weddings that have taken place. There was the wedding of Ekaterina Dmitriev to Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. Dmitriev said “I do” to a cardboard cutout of Malenchenko while he videoed conferenced in from the International Space Station.
Or, for a more traditional (I guess) approach, there are the dozens of space weddings booked for the next few years with private aerospace companies like First Advantage and Space Perspective. The ceremonies will set these couples back anywhere from $125,000 to $2.3 million, but at least they are statistically guaranteed to throw up in the process.