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If you can’t finesse him, buy him?

Think all the old duffers who chase 21-year-old skirts are bad? Well, a 70-year old Bangladeshi widow recently bought herself a 22-year-old husband. Sundari Begum gave the family of Bakkar Fakir cash and gifts in return for his hand in marriage.

The groom’s family accepted Begum as the bride after she had given them 30,000 Bangladeshi taka (about 16,300 baht or US$430) and some other valuable gifts, the newspaper said.

Begum, the mother of seven adult children, told reporters that she fell in love with Fakir four years ago and was prepared to pay any price to win his hand.

Maybe I’ve been pursuing this whole marriage thing all wrong. Think The Beard’s mom would prefer cash or a check?

Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew

I’m thinking about marriage rather than weddings today. Of course, the two are highly intertwined and both are rocked by large and small-scale controversy. Did you hear about the Massachusetts man suing his son’s bride and her family because she is “too ugly?”

Dr. Pandey of Belchertown (hee!) said in his lawsuit that after they had flown to India to meet the bride, his wife, son, and daughter were “shocked” to discover the Indian woman was “ugly with dark complexion and protruded bad teeth and couldn’t speak English to carry on conversation.”

While that isn’t exactly a nice attitude for people to have toward marriage, it does take all kinds. For example, if you’re not keen on a traditional western wedding, you could try Nikah urfi, handfasting, a digital wedding, or a modern-day Fleet wedding (seen below).

Do it in secret on Fleet Street

When it comes to marriage, there are also some interesting options that go beyond your one-on-one love marriages and your arranged marriages. There is covenant marriage, sororate marriage, levirate marriage, morganatic marriage, common-law marriage, circle marriage, open marriage, and serial marriage. Whew!

Personally, I’m still partial to the ever-popular monogamous marriage, but I’m not about to deny two or more consenting adults (humans, that is–dolphin and snake lovers can step aside) their chances at happiness. According to Truth-Or-Fiction.com, the odds they’ll stick together are better than I thought.

Perfect for a wedding…under the sea!

Can someone patch that hole?

Let me start off by saying that I love most Allure Couture gowns. They have some real stunners in tulle and crystal and silk. But that doesn’t mean I have to stifle my giggles when looking at this little number. The aptly named Valentine (for I believe the top looks a bit like the peek-a-boo lingerie men mistakenly buy for women around V-Day) features a hand beaded bust with a silk midriff and tulle skirt. And, hey, I like the skirt. I like everything up to and around the diamond shaped hole in between the model’s boobs.

The little mermaid is calling, Allure Couture. She wants her wedding gown back.

A laugh for those who find themselves Tied In Knots

Even though weddings bond two people together, they nonetheless have the capacity to tear others apart. The tension that begins as an out-of-stock tuxedo, an impossible-to-book officiant, or a too-good-to-be-true reception site that turns out to be just that (read: any wedding catastrophe) can become the rage and anxiety that alienates relatives and destroys friendships. When that same tension results in laughter and “what are you gonna do” shrugs rather than unbridled frustration, however, you get fabulously bittersweet weddings that people remember for years to come.

I’ll admit that sometimes it’s sometimes hard for those involved to find the humor in wacky nuptial circumstances until years after the event has passed. When good weddings go bad, it can seem like the end of the world to the brides who had such high hopes and dedicated their lives to planning the perfect ceremony and reception. But matrimonial mishaps and mayhem sure do make for great reading for those of us not actively engaged in the wedding planning process.

Laugh and cry with Tied In Knots

Case in point: Tied in Knots : Funny Stories from the Wedding Day compiled by Lisa Taggart and Samantha Schoech. I sat down with it this weekend and practically devoured it.

Maybe I’m just a sadistic voyeur, but I loved the 20 stories–written by 20 witty and wonderfully honest women–of future brides and grooms who take DIY too far (Throw together an impromptu dinner for 26? Sure!), manage to locate the only *good* tuxedo on a small Hawaiian island, find themselves dealing with a real life sea witch, and undertake an almost futile search for the ultimate rabbi. There are stories of sisters who embark upon fantastic quests to stop upcoming weddings (I mean, what else does one do when one’s sibling is poised to marry a *gasp* Republican?) and mothers-of-the-bride who overcome C-cup sized odds and the trials and tribulations of women who find themselves always the bride and never the bridesmaid.

I really, really, really loved this book. And not only because it cemented my resolve to have a very small, very intimate, very simple wedding someday. It’s hilarious! There is just so much that can go wrong – both in regard to the wedding and in the heads of the bride and groom. Why not enjoy it?

Marriage news from around the world

“Till death do us part” still means something in Canada, according to a recent Canadian Social Trends survey. About 90 percent of married Canadians have only been married only once and are still married.

“Ten per cent of respondents in the study had married twice, and less than one per cent had gotten hitched more than twice.”

The average time respondents had been married was 23.5 years. GO CANUCKS!

Since Spain legalized gay marriage almost one year ago to the day, it seems only a handful of folks (about 1,300) have taken the plunge. This month, one of the previously happy Spanish couples made unhappy history when the first same-sex divorce was initiated. Happier history will happen later in the summer when the first militaryman-on-militaryman marriage will take place in Spain. Two men, both named Alberto and both privates in Spain’s Air Force, will tie the knot but have no plans to don their dress uniforms for the ceremony.

If you are a Cambodian citizen and your lovergirl/boy is from Taiwan, you better get hitched quick. According to the Taipei Times, “the [Chinese] Ministry of Foreign Affairs will stop authenticating marriage certificates between Taiwanese and Cambodian citizens next month because the Cambodian government considers Taiwanese to be citizens of the People’s Republic of China.” After July 7, the government will no longer provide marriage authentication services for Taiwanese-Cambodian couples. Bummer.

Think gay and interracial marriages are a hot issues? Well, last week, an Indian woman married a snake! Thirty year old Bimbala Das claims she married her cobra husband not only for love, but also because she saw her snake husband in a dream she had twelve years ago. Two thousand people came to watch Das, dressed in a white silk sari, marry a replica of the serpent. The snake itself skipped the ceremony and stayed curled up in his ant hill home.

Bimbala said: “Though snakes cannot speak nor understand, we communicate in a peculiar way. Whenever I put milk near the ant hill where the Cobra lives, it (the snake) always comes out to drink.”

Huh. A saucer of lactose-free milk will draw my cats out of hiding but you don’t see me marrying them.

Green wedding tips

Going green has never been so beautiful

Going green isn’t easy–especially when you’re planning a wedding. Organic meals? You still have to worry about trucking. Locally grown blooms? Limited, depending on your locale. Eco-friendly and human conscious jewelry? Pricey! There a lot of roadblocks eco-aware couples can come up against when trying to plan an environmentally friendly wedding.

My advice to brides and grooms who want to go green is to focus on the positives. Weddings, by their very nature, are somewhat wasteful. Concentrate on what you can do rather than what you can’t do. Pat yourselves on the back for your choice to use recycled paper invites (like those offered at Conservatree) and soy based inks. Don’t beat yourself up because the dress you really, really loved is made out of something other than organically-grown hemp.

Want to do more? Check out the tips below and then read Eco-Chic Weddings : Simple Tips to Plan a Wedding with Style and Integrity.

Donate your leftovers. No, really. Food rescue organizations like America’s Second Harvest will come and pick up all those uneaten chicken breasts and crab puffs, and then drop them off at the nearest soup kitchen.

Reuse, reuse, reuse. The live flowers that decorate your ceremony site can be used to decorate your reception site, if you have a friend willing to transport them. Better yet, buy real silk flowers (silk is a renewable resource) and incorporate them into your home decor after the wedding. Or donate them to a local nursing home or assisted living center!

Instead of giving out favors–because, hey, you can’t please all of the people all of the time–give a charitable donation in each of your guests names. Or support eco artisans in your community by choosing favors that are locally manufactured using ecologically sound methods. Organic honey, anyone?

Register for practical green gifts like compact fluorescent light bulbs and soy candles. Register with a company like Green Living, which features eco-friendly products of all shapes and sizes!

Create a web site featuring all your guests will need to know about your ceremony, reception, and all that jazz. Try using tree-free paper when sending your info to old Aunt Ida who refuses to make the switch from typewriter to computer. Just don’t mention the elephant dung!

Finally, when the honeymoon is over, donate your dress. There is, of course, the oft mentioned I Do Foundation. But also look into The Bridal Garden and the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation.

Bottlenose’s bride a widow

A marriage that ended too soon

The wacky British millionaire who made headlines after she married a dolphin in 2005 is now a widow. In December, Sharon Tendler, 41, tied the knot with a male Tursiops truncatus known as Cindy, 35, after a fifteen year long friendship. Sadly, Cindy passed away on June 18

…and like all creatures of the deep was given a burial at sea.

“Cindy swam slowly and he had problems eating. Sometimes he didn’t eat at all. He vomited and did not look good,” Maya Zilber, manager at the Eilat reef’s training center told ‘Ynetnews’.

Reef workers put Cindy’s body in a boat and sailed into the sea where they parted from it.

I, for one, hope that Tendler recovers and one day will be strong enough to search for another aquatic husband (because, hey, that’s entertainment!). Should she find a new true love, she may want to consider this cake topper from Island Wedding Shop:

Together they are faster than lightning!

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