Weddings, we all know what to expect. The weeping mother of the bride; nervous speeches; big dresses; bigger hats; awkward seating plans; adults dancing with children; someone’s brother copping off with someone’s friend; ‘You may now kiss the bride’. Months of planning a ceremony which boils down to three words: Lack. Of. Imagination. The whole thing just screams unoriginality. Where’s the personality? Where’s the pizzazz? Where’s the Incredible Hulk groomsman?
Let’s take our hats off to the couples who say tradition should be saved for post-coital cigarettes. To celebrate everything alternative about holy matrimony, here is a top ten of the most alternative weddings:
10. Who wouldn’t want to be told by their friends that they look like a famous Hollywood couple from the silver screen? Bogart and Bacall, Leigh and Olivier, Taylor and Burton… For Tracey and Vivian Williams that couple turned out to be Shrek and Princess Fiona, the ogres – the ones famous for making candles from their own earwax and bathing in mud. The Welsh couple went to see the animated love story on their first date and in order to commemorate this they decided to dress as the very same ogres on their big day. They covered themselves in green body paint and sported the trademark ears whilst Tracey carried a sunflower bouquet. The best man was Monsieur Hood and the father of the bride was Lord Farquaad.
9. If The Matrix and 2001: A Space Odyssey left you terrified of artificial intelligence and cowering behind the sofa at the slightest blip from your Nokia 6410, spare a thought for the guests at Miguel Hanson and Diana Wesley’s wedding. They wanted a friend to perform their wedding ceremony but they lacked acquaintances of the cloth. No problem. Miguel, a web developer and IT consultant, just patched one together from a box of scraps. He then used it to blast his way through a small army of terrorist henchmen and return to his billionaire lifestyle where he defeated his evil advisor and became one of the greatest innovators in renewable energy. Actually that’s the plot of the first Iron Man film, but Miguel did write a computer programme called ‘Rev.Bit’. The programme conducted the service from a television screen, giving an introduction in an electronic voice and then delivering the vows. It even cracked a few jokes.
8. In Northamptonshire, Ann Clark performs weddings starting from £150. For this amazing price she provides the venue, the catering and will even write the vows. Sound too good to be true? OK, so the venue is just a pagoda in her garden and the catering does just consist of milk and water. And after she pronounces a couple as man and wife, the groom is likely to run off and hump one of the guests’ legs. Yes, Ann is an ‘animal registrar’ who provides weddings for pets. Ann’s ceremonies are not legally binding. Is the £150 starting to sound a little steep? Tell that to the client who forked out twenty grand on a pet wedding that included a six foot chocolate fountain and a harpist to serenade a pug in a veil!
7. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, or bought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for your NES in 1989, and have spent the last 24 years trying to get past the electrified pink seaweed, you may not have noticed that there has been a universal economic depression. This has mainly resulted in cutbacks, even on things like wedding budgets. People are now having to slash spending on their special day, losing all the extra material stuff. But you know what? You don’t need the big venue, the horse-drawn carriage, the groom or the fancy bunting. All you really need is yourself and… no, that’s it, just yourself. In March last year, Nadine Schweigert married herself in a symbolic New Age ceremony. The purpose of the service is to help the person realise that they don’t need a partner to help them feel complete. Nadine presented herself with a ring and made the vow, ‘I, Nadine, promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self’.
6. As you know, a superhero’s secret identity is his most valuable line of defence. Big corporations such as DC and Warner Bros. have led you to believe that Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne and that he lives in his mansion in Gotham city with his butler, Alfred Pennyworth. This is what they want you to believe. The true identity of Batman is none other than Neil Vaughan of Cullompton, in Devon! If you want proof, you only need look at the legal documents from Batman and Wonder Woman’s wedding. Neil and his wife, Sharon called in all their best mates to play a part in the proceedings. The Powerpuff Girls were bridesmaids, Robin was the best man and even the Joker made an appearance as a groomsman. Admittedly, it does look like an ordinary British couple hired their wedding suits from Trotters’ Independent Traders, but that’s what they want you to think.
5. In our modern western world, we live a life of convenience. A machine to wash our dishes, a machine to answer our calls and if we are peckish on a train station platform, there is also a machine to provide us with the torment of almost getting the KitKat we’ve paid for. So what if you are suddenly confronted with the urge for marriage? Maybe late at night, in a busy shopping centre. Where do you turn? Worry not, for Concept Shed has invented the convenience machine for you. AutoWed is a wedding vending machine. You just put in the coins, choose from the narrow options of straight/gay/lesbian/best friends for ever and fumble your plastic rings out of the dispenser tray. AutoWed even provides you with a receipt by which you can remember your special day.
4. As eras go, the Victorian era was OK; it had its ups and downs. On the plus side, Britannia ruled the waves. On the negative side, Britain had taken over half the world and child labour and Dickensian workhouses really put a downer on things. However, if you throw a few cogs, a large canteen of tea and H.G.Wells into the mix, you end up with the wholly more palatable genre of Steampunk. Stacy Horn and Eric Reardon had this recipe in mind for their wedding. All the guests went along with the theme, donning their goggles, corsets and flat caps for the occasion. The groom sported a custom-made jacket in brown, with light blue embroidery, and a top hat. They tied the knot in a restaurant decorated with copper piping, bunting and timepieces.
3. In certain gun-happy parts of America, the perfect venue to say ‘till death do us part’ is the Gun Store on Tropicana in Las Vegas. ‘The Shotgun Wedding’ says goodbye to all that emotional tender-loving nonsense and hello to gunfire. Forget the ‘Wedding March’, the earsplitting noise of gunfire is what every bride needs to keep time as she gracefully approaches her husband-to-be. Maid of honour – maid of shmonour! A zombie poster hanging over the bride is far more attention grabbing. This is the only ceremony where the bride is asked if she ‘takes this man’ whilst staring down the barrel of a semi-automatic firearm. To kick off the reception? None other than a fired shot that would demand the attention of a rowdy crowd in an 18th century saloon. Then everyone can go wild, shooting rounds at targets. Let’s all thank the store’s marketing director Emily Miller, who just walked into her boss’s office one day and said, ‘Let’s do weddings!’
2. Imagine the scene: a beautiful morning, smiling friends and family gathered around, young and old, to celebrate the joining of two people they all care for. Do you know what the whole thing is lacking? Pant-pissing danger. That’s right folks. Sharks. Sharks with laser beams. Well OK, not with laser beams, but still with razor sharp teeth and nothing separating you but a flimsy metal cage. In July 2010, April Pignataro and Michael Curry were lowered into a 120,000-gallon tank at Atlantis Marine World in New York. The diving enthusiasts communicated with a minister outside the tank through radio headgear. The bride wore a white wetsuit whilst the groom wore a black one. The tank contained sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, moray eels and a massive Queensland grouper.
1. Who needs the traditional ‘Wedding March’ when you can have a seemingly endless continuum of irritating and repetitive electronical buzzing sounds to send you down the aisle? That’s right, it’s a Super-Mario themed wedding! One of the guests of Bobbi Van Zante and Elijah Slagter of Iowa, had the foresight to upload the wedding video to YouTube, and it’s amazing. Mario takes Princess Peach to be his lawfully wedded wife, in a field against a scenery-style cut-out castle, whilst the guests watch from a marquee dripping with yellow coins. The registrar displays the patience of a saint as Mario happily bounds from foot to foot whilst his various plumber chums parade through the marquee to join him. The best part though is the display beforehand when all the characters rush onto the field and have a fight to free the Princess from a massive cage. Like some surreal episode of ‘It’s a Knockout’, Donkey Kong throws Koopa Troopas at Bowser whilst numerous tradesmen and fungi run about without restraint. A-mazing.
Beth Slater studied Journalism and Creative Writing at UEL and then Comic Book Art at UAL. After abandoning her life as an East-End barmaid, she is currently developing her portfolio and website. She spends weekends wearing Lycra at comic conventions. Her heroes are Jim Lee, David Attenborough and Dead-Eye Duck. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org