So, You Want to Get Married at the Airport?
In 2014, Bill Murray crashed a bachelor party in Charleston, South Carolina, and gave the groom some unsolicited advice on how travel is the true test of love: "If you have someone that you think is The One, don’t just sort of think in your ordinary mind, 'Okay, let's make a date. Let's plan this and make a party and get married.' Take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world, and go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if when you come back to JFK, when you land in JFK, and you're still in love with that person, get married at the airport."
The legendary funnyman may have been half-joking, but there are indeed plenty of couples who have wanted to merge their love of travel and each other into one aviation-themed "I do." Over the past few months, TPG has shared romantic tales of adventure-seeking lovebirds — like the couple who got engaged and tied the knot on the same flight, a frequent flyer who used his Delta Diamond Medallion status to get married at 35,000 feet and hold a reception at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), and a pair of travel photographers who got engaged where they first fell in love: the Starbucks at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). If you want to follow in their high-flying footsteps, here are eight places where you can plan your own airport wedding.
1. Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN)
If you’ve always dreamed of getting married in the “Venice of the North,” there are two ways you can make that happen at ARN: If you want to go the bare-bones route, you can arrange to be married at the Church of Sweden’s airport chapel — but this is your wedding day! Which means that it only (hopefully) happens once, so no frills are no good. For a truly memorable experience, you’ll want to book the VIP treatment, where you can exchange your vows in one of the airport’s VIP lounges or in the control tower nearly 250 feet over the runway as hundreds of passengers land and take off all around you — as you can imagine, there’s not a lot of room up there, so be prepared for only two witnesses to your big day.
“On a clear day, the view reaches as far as to Stockholm in the south and to Uppsala in the north,” VIP coordinator Emelie Lindvall told TPG. “The availability differs from one day to another, so in order to be sure to have the wedding on the wanted date/time, we suggest couples get in touch as soon as possible. Most requests are sent a couple of months in advance.”
2. St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
On December 9, 2015, Nicci Roach and Patrick D. Walker became the first couple to make use of previously unused wing of STL when they transformed part of Concourse B into an ideal wedding venue. Why the airport? “We both love to travel,” Roach told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Why not?" added Walker. “It’s unique. Plus, it’s symbolic of life as a journey.” Equally romantic: the fact that it was at this very place that Walker first told Roach he loved her.
Travel-hungry couples can follow in Roach and Walker’s footsteps by planning their own STL ceremony, which offers up to 26,000 square feet of event space (for when you simply can’t get your guest list below 1,000). Unlike some other airport venues, it’s also a cinch for your guests: Concourse B is located pre-security so there’s no need for anyone to be patted down and access to free or inexpensive parking is also part of the deal.
“The Airport is a truly unique venue,” events coordinator Barbara Carter told TPG. “The expansive space features panoramic views of the runways, the tower and the sights that can only be found here.” Carter also suggests that interested parties reach out six months to a year ahead of time.
3. Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
For those who prefer to leave the planning to the experts, and are seeking a more intimate affair, Frankfurt Airport (FRA) offers couples an all-inclusive airport wedding package for 1,500 euros (~$1,800). A wedding planner will arrange all the details for a reception for up to 15 people at one of the airport’s five-star hotels, including one night’s stay in a suite for the happy couple, a wedding photographer, cake, bouquet and a slew of other Big Day necessities. Your planner can also arrange your ceremony, which can be basic, personalized, religious or non-denominational. Plus, since you're already at the airport, you don't have far to go to take off for your honeymoon. Now, that's what we call an all-in-one affair.
4. Runway Visitor Park (MAN)
You may no longer be able to hop a ride on the Concorde, but you can celebrate your nuptials underneath one. Just outside England’s Manchester Airport (MAN), Runway Visitor Park is home to five majestic aircraft, including the legendary Concorde G-BOAC. During normal hours, it’s a wonderful place to grab a bite to eat and watch MAN’s runway, but book the venue for a wedding and you can have the place — and its Concorde — all to yourself. And yes, you and your guests will be able to climb aboard.
5. 1940 Air Terminal Museum (HOU)
Within the confines of HOU are the remnants of the Houston Municipal Airport, a gorgeous Art Deco building that has been transformed into the 1940 Air Terminal Museum where, you guessed it, you can get hitched. Because the facility is separate from the current airport, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of security — and you’ll be surrounded by more than 75 years of aviation history through the property’s many exhibitions. The Museum Atrium, which can accommodate up to 200 guests for a seated dinner, is the main space. “All of our exhibits remain open for your guests and you can opt to have docents on staff that can give guided tours,” the museum’s event coordinator, Melanie Knapp, told TPG. The back door of the atrium opens up to the airport runway, where you can request to have several vintage planes brought in to be part of your ceremony. “We can have them on display for your guests where they could go out, take pictures and even get inside them,” said Knapp. “You can even use one of the planes as a ‘taxi’ for your grand entrance or exit. Don't worry, it wouldn't actually fly, but we would drive you in or out and it’s a really cool addition that guests love to watch.”
For larger parties, there’s the 1929 Airmail Hangar, which can fit up to 400 guests for a seated dinner. While it’s technically an indoor space, there’s no heating or air conditioning, so the event team treats it as an outdoor venue. “All of the eight giant doors open up and have a lovely view of the Hobby Airport runway, which allows your guests to watch airplanes land and take off,” Knapp said. “This is the space where we hold all of our planes. You can either move them all out on the runway and clear the whole space or, depending on the size of your event, you could even leave a plane in there (at no additional charge). There are also decommissioned flight simulators in there which are a fun thing for your guests to be able to take a look at and take pictures in."
6. New Orleans Lakefront Airport (NEW)
Yet another Art Deco gem, Messina’s at the Terminal at New Orleans Lakefront Airport (NEW) first opened its doors in the 1930s, and quickly became one of the city's most iconic pieces of architecture. Its beauty extended to the building's interior, where artwork by famed artists including Xavier Gonzalez and Enrique R. Alferez hang proudly for all visitors passing through the airport to see. All of that wonderful history has been preserved by Messina’s, with hundreds of happy couples choosing the venue for their NOLA nuptials. Because of its popularity, Messina's director of sales and marketing, Maggie Zschiedrich, recommends that couples get in touch about nine to 12 months before their chosen wedding date, as space tends to fill up fast.
7. Casper–Natrona County International Airport (CPR)
About 10 miles from Casper, Wyoming, CPR — a hub for regional airlines — makes its space available for private rentals, including an observation deck featuring panoramic views of the airfield and room for up to 250 guests. Not bad! Fun fact: If you’ve seen the movie Bridesmaids, you surely remember the scene where Kristen Wiig’s character has an onboard outburst that forces their Las Vegas-bound plane to land... in Casper, Wyoming.
Have you ever been to an airport or aviation-themed wedding? Tell us about it, below.
Featured image by ASphotowed/Getty Images.