10 wacky weddings

Quirky ways to tie the knot across North America and the Caribbean



In sickness and in health, on land or in the sea

Anyone can have a scuba diving wedding, but an underwater honeymoon? Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, an hour’s drive from Miami, Fla., is a two-bedroom hotel 6.3 m (21 ft.) beneath the surface of a sheltered lagoon. Guests arrive after a five-minute dive to the belly of the station. Don’t worry about your dress getting wet, though; everything is brought down in a waterproof case, including the world’s only underwater wedding cake. A notary public performs the ceremony and, after the “mer-chef” cooks dinner, the place is all yours. Well, yours and the fishes. (jul.com)

Princess Brides

At Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., brides can truly be princesses for the day. An onsite boutique offers dresses and jewelry modelled after eight Disney princesses. For example, Ariel’s is a mermaid gown and Belle’s is a ball gown. You can also rent out Cinderella’s crystal coach, complete with coachmen and trumpeters. With Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the background, the only amenity Disney can’t guarantee is that your prince will stay charming and you’ll live happily ever after.

No Cold Feet Here

Is it getting hot in here? If pre-wedding jitters don’t heat you up, having one of the world’s most active volcanoes beneath you will. On Hawaii’s Big Island, feisty couples can get married in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park overlooking the Kilauea Iki Crater, complete with flowing lava. Don’t forget to stop at the SigZane shop in Hilo for matching Hawaiian shirts, dresses and leis.

Aye do, Matey!

Say “I do” or walk the plank in the Cayman Islands. Marry your bonnie lass on one of two replica pirate ships through Pirates of the Cayman Islands. Your swashbuckling adventure begins with a soothing view of the coast before all hell breaks loose with swordfights and blazing cannons. You might even be able to pay off your honeymoon with the money you loot from passing ships. For something more ceremonial, the two ships—the Jolly Roger and The Anne Bonny—are available for private charter. But c’mon, what isn’t romantic about peg legs, eye patches and scurvy? Either way, the backdrop is inspiring, and the rum punch is flowing.

BYO Rabbi

There’s no need to bring something old to your Barbadian wedding when you can get married in the oldest synagogue in the Americas. The Nidhe Israel Synagogue in Bridgetown, Barbados, was inaugurated in 1654 and rebuilt in 1833 after a hurricane. Local benefactors have meticulously restored the synagogue, its Mikveh (ritual bath), a school (now a museum) and the oldest Jewish cemetery in the western hemisphere with markers in multiple languages dating back to 1658. You’ll have to bring your own rabbi for the wedding, though; Barbados’ tiny congregation doesn’t have one year-round.  (246-436-6869)

Something Blue on the Greens

A bride wearing blue is a sign of fidelity and purity—and it will match the lizard witnesses. Grand Cayman is one of the few places in the world where it’s possible to have a wedding photo with the endangered Grand Cayman blue iguana. While the cute critters won’t dress up as bridesmaids, you’ll see several bathing in the afternoon sun on Blue Tip, The Ritz-Carlton’s Greg Norman golf course. Afterward, the happy couple can get whisked to a reception on Seven Mile Beach.

Gettin’ Hitched

165 Illustration by Paul Howalt

On horseback or in the middle of historic Route 66, a bun in the oven is not necessary for a shotgun wedding in Oatman, Ariz. Parson Tom Woodard performs cowboy weddings with the help of two sheriffs and a deputy. They also “hide” the groom as part of the wedding. This is not a private affair as tourists gather to look on in amazement and one of the sheriffs might even try to marry off the bride to an unsuspecting bystander. While the ceremony itself is traditional, don’t be surprised if shots ring out before and after the wedding.

’Til Death Do Us Part

167 Illustration by Paul Howalt

Want to drive your future mother-in-law crazy? Consider a Day of the Dead-style wedding in Mexico. Many gringos getting hitched at Mexican resorts choose this theme year-round. It’s festive, yet creepy (think brightly coloured skulls and bride-and-groom skeletons), and is meant to remind us that life is short and joy is fleeting. If that’s too ghoulish, another option is a Mayan ceremony on the beach officiated by a shaman. After a purification ritual, you can toss flower petals in the ocean as an offering to Mother Earth.

True Blood

This is not the kind of wedding you want to bring your mummy to. At Hedonism Resort in Negril Beach, Jamaica, couples can have a vampire wedding complete with complimentary fangs. Flowers, drinks (a blood orange Champagne cocktail for post- vows), keepsakes and a decorated room are all themed on the undead. The resort also offers leather-and-lace and pirate weddings.

What happens in Vegas…

Getting hitched in Las Vegas, Nev., is always an option given that many chapels offer wedding packages with themes ranging from Camelot and James Bond to Intergalactic. One couple took it a step further and got remarried to each other after 22 years with their three children in tow. Opting for the “Hound Dog Special” at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, they were accompanied by an Elvis impersonator decked out in a spangled jumpsuit. While family and friends watched via live webcam from back home, he serenaded them with a love song.

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