Craziest Ways to Tie the Knot

By Emily H. Bratcher, ContributorJan. 20, 2012
By Emily H. Bratcher, ContributorJan. 20, 2012, at 10:17 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

Craziest Ways to Tie the Knot

Maybe you could care less about going to the "Chapel of Love" that The Dixie Cups sang about. And maybe you're not the type to say "Get Me to the Church on Time" like Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady. But it's not because you're against weddings—quite the contrary; it's just that for your big day, you want something a little more unconventional. You definitely plan on enjoying Pachelbel's Canon, but you plan on hearing it upside down, swinging by your ankles on bungee cords, or stark naked on a peaceful beach.

Believe it or not, you can say your "I do's" while bungee jumping or in the nude, as well as in a host of other interesting ways. We picked seven of our favorite unorthodox weddings. And if you choose one of these eclectic scenarios, we can bet that your wedding will be one your guests talk about for years to come.

Brides won't have to drop a few grand (or more) on a flouncy dress if they get hitched at Cypress Cove. At this sunny resort, clothing is optional for the bride and groom, as well as the guests. This nudist resort and spa in Kissimmee, Fla., (a 30-minute drive south from Orlando) hosts an average of 10 naked weddings a year. But if you ever get invited to such a wedding, bear in mind that stripping down is optional. After the ceremony, the new husband and wife—along with their wedding guests—can chow down and party it up at the resort's Cheeks Bar and Grill, and, yes, you can remain in the buff for all of the festivities.

Lots of people choose the great outdoors as a setting for swapping vows. But few brides and grooms have done so 164 feet in the air. And we don't mean on the rooftop of a 13-story building—we mean actually poised in mid-air. Marriage in the Sky, a company that has capitalized on the idea of bringing the wedding chapel "a little closer to the angels," hoists brides, grooms, and 20 of their closest friends into the air with a crane. All wedding attendees are harnessed into their seats while on the ground. They are then slowly lifted until they reach their ceremony altitude of 164 feet. Once in the air, the ceremony progresses as usual. However, some newlyweds have been known to "take the leap" by bungee-jumping off the suspended platform at the end of the wedding.

This is definitely a "cool" setting for a wedding, but "freezing cold" might be an even better way to describe it. At Québec City's Hôtel de Glace, you can get hitched in the winter in a chapel made completely out of ice. Your next question might be "why?" After all, May is generally considered the best month to wed—not too hot, but definitely not too cold. But when it comes to the "awe" factor, the Ice Chapel easily beats out a flowery springtime ceremony. (You also won't have to contend with allergies.) Wedding white is the dominant color, and lovely ice sculptures adorn this unique venue. Plus, the hotel's beverage of choice—Pinnacle ice cider—is the perfect drink to toast to your new life together. But if you get the shivers even reading about this icy altar, keep this in mind: You can always honeymoon someplace balmy.

Even with their clunky feet, long trunks, and floppy ears, elephants maintain a certain grace and elegance (not to mention cuteness). Maybe that's why some couples choose to get married atop them. At the Elephant Safari Park in Taro, Ubud, brides and grooms declare their eternal love for each other while riding colorfully dressed Sumatran elephants. The ceremony also features flower girls, umbrella boys, and traditional Rindik musicians playing Balinese bamboo instruments. Plus, after you dismount from your steed, you're already in Bali: No need to honeymoon anywhere else.

If researching this article has taught us anything, it's that people have vastly different ideas on what constitutes the perfect wedding venue. For some, it's a beautiful church or a wind-swept beach. For others, it's the same setting that serves them chalupas day in and day out, or the place that gives them discounts on designer wares. Yes, Taco Bell and T.J. Maxx have both hosted couples saying their "I do's." It might not be your cup of tea, but you've got to admit that having your wedding at Taco Bell is a great way to cut your catering costs. As for T.J. Maxx … yeah, we still can't wrap our heads around that.

It takes a special sort to get married with "Jaws" in the audience. But at the Long Island Aquarium in New York, there are couples who choose to exchange vows in the 120,000-gallon Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit. Don't be mistaken: The nearly newlyweds will be right there in the tank with the sharks. The happy (and questionably insane) couple and their officiator don scuba gear and climb into a metal cage before dropping into the shark tank. It takes the phrase "till death do us part" to a whole new level, doesn't it? The aquarium maintains that the ceremony is completely safe, and after the shark bait—ahem, the newly wedded couple—emerges from the tank, they can enjoy a shark-free reception in one of the aquarium's event venues.

Combine your love for cars, the open road, your significant other, and your ideal wedding, and you might picture yourself on the back of a converted fire engine. Lucky for you, one such vehicle exists. The Reverend Darrell Best of Shelbyville. Ill., has transformed a 1942 American La France fire engine into a wedding chapel. The white vehicle contains a pipe organ, stained glass windows, two wooden pews, and an altar. But here's the catch: Inside, it can only fit the happy couple, the maid of honor, the best man, and, of course, the reverend. Mom and dad won't fit, but for some couples that feel the need for speed, the sacrifice is worthwhile. Plus, you can always invite more guests to watch from the ground.

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