A space wedding is a far cry from a traditional church wedding. Despite the extreme circumstances, cosmonaut Sergei Malenchenko and his wife, Galina Khoroskova, got married in space. This was not the first space wedding, but it was the first in history. The couple, who met on a spacewalk, tied the knot on July 17, 2005. The Russian Aerospace Agency had tried to delay the wedding, citing Soviet-era rules that required military officers to obtain permission from the government before marrying a foreigner. Despite the objections, Russian officials said they had ruled that the marriage was permitted. But even if they approved the wedding, they said other cosmonauts wouldn’t be able to marry foreigners. The officials said they would include the rules in future preflight contracts.
The ceremony itself takes place in the far future, on a platformed rose-diamond ship. The couple’s guests are Space Wedding People and the ceremony is conducted in a way that makes the couple feel like they are in a faraway galaxy. They are married by a famous space engineer and are accompanied by astronaut Winston E. Scott, who played a saxophone and offered a few words of advice.
A space wedding is now on the horizon, thanks to a Japanese company called First Advantage. Couples will spend several minutes in zero gravity and exchange vows before being shot 100 kilometers into space. The ceremony can be performed in front of three witnesses and the couple will probably see the outline of Earth, but the ceremony won’t be very far into space to completely float. A Japanese firm has already begun accepting reservations for space weddings. For the ceremony itself, the couple will need to pay 240 million yen.
The wedding was televised through a video link. Their astronaut colleague Ed Lu served as best man. The two played wedding music from his keyboard. The ceremony itself wasn’t planned to take place in space, but the mission was delayed and they decided to go ahead with the ceremony regardless. While the official space authorities in Moscow disapproved the wedding, Malenchenko and Lu went ahead with it. In the end, their space wedding was a success and helped celebrate the marriage with the world.
A space wedding may be far from romantic, but it did happen. In 2003, a Russian cosmonaut married a U.S. citizen via video link from the International Space Station. The two were married to the tune of David Bowie’s “Absolute Beginners” and Ekaterina Dmitrieva walked down the aisle to an ethereal song. The groom, meanwhile, was waiting for his bride at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston.
While space weddings aren’t yet legally possible, they are becoming a popular dream for some. The world’s first space hotel is scheduled to open in 2027. A space wedding may be just the thing for some newlyweds to celebrate their union in a unique and spectacular way. If space travel is available in the U.S., why not take the plunge and get married in space? After all, there are few better places to have a wedding than space.