In 2006, a Russian cosmonaut married a U.S. citizen while on a space mission. Yuri Malenchenko, a Russian, was a tall brunette in a classic wedding gown. When the bride entered the hall, a David Bowie song played over a video conference monitor. She bowed to her new husband, who appeared on the other side of the screen. The couple married in Yaroslavl, Russia, two months later. During the ceremony, Malenchenko blew her kiss and he put on his wedding ring himself.
To make the wedding ceremony as realistic as possible, NASA broadcast the entire ceremony via a video link to Earth. The cosmonaut’s wife, Ekaterina Dmitriev, a U.S. citizen of Russian descent, walked down the aisle while posing with a life-size cardboard cutout of him. A best man played the wedding march. The couple were married by video link, which was then relayed to the Earth via a satellite.
The company Rocketplane Kistler, a Japanese company that provides suborbital flights, has partnered with a Tokyo-based space wedding planner, First Advantage. The space plane will cost 240 million yen, or about $2 million, and can seat up to eight people. It will fly at an altitude of 100 kilometers or 62.1 miles, and couples can have an unlimited number of guests in addition to the wedding couple. The company also promises to provide a photo album for the couple.
The space wedding had its ups and downs. Russian Air Force Commander Colonel General Vladimir Mikhailov, argued that active military officers could not marry a foreign national unless they first obtained permission and then married on the ground. Malenchenko, however, was undeterred, and his wife was issued a marriage license in July. Despite the initial hesitations of Russian officials, the marriage took place on July 17, despite numerous attempts by the agency to prevent the ceremony. But Russian officials gave the marriage the green light after Malenchenko’s marriage license was issued. Although many cosmonauts have been forbidden from marrying foreigners, Russian officials said they would include the rule in future preflight contracts.
After the wedding day, a video conference was set up to broadcast the event to all the family and friends in Houston. Because the transmission was a private family conference, the wedding could not be postponed. In addition to the wedding itself, the space shuttle Columbia disaster, which killed seven astronauts, emphasized how dangerous the profession of astronauts was. Nevertheless, the two astronauts got married in space. A space wedding would not only honor them both on their special days, but it would also inspire the world.
While a traditional earthly wedding requires building permits, space-themed weddings are becoming increasingly popular. One such venue is the Mars chapel, which is under construction. Earth-bound architects will design the chapel for the mission, but the mission’s secret is being kept until the ceremony is complete. The final structure will be as glitzy as its destination, and will not require building permits. If you’re interested in a space-themed wedding, make sure to contact Chapel of the Flowers to learn more about the services they provide.