Weddings on the Fly

If you're on a whirlwind romantic vacation and have gone a little gaga on the wine and roses, you might be inspired to tie the knot on a whim.

In that case, better make a stopover in Sweden.

Couples who want a wedding on the fly can get hitched at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.

"The coordinators take care of everything: the tickets, the passports, the luggage, the catering if they want it, the champagne," said Christian Ebeling, a coordinator with the airport's VIP service, which handles the quickie weddings. "It's only two hours time to do all this."

Those who want to squeeze a wedding in at the airport before they jet off on a trip must have valid plane tickets for a same-day departure -- and be willing to pay a base cost of $200.

The airport offers 30-minute civil and church ceremonies, performed in the VIP lounge or by the airport priest in the on-site chapel, Ebeling said.

VIP Service Manager Rickard Cox said couples can also choose to have a reception afterwards in the VIP rooms with about 15 guests. The airport hosts about two weddings a week, he said.

"They're quite nice; they're quite cozy," Ebeling said of the rooms in the VIP lounge. "Couples who get married here, they're quite pleased with it."

Catering, wedding cakes, flowers, photographers and live music can all be arranged through contractors, depending on how elaborate people want to get and how much they're willing to spend. The $200 base fee will get couples the rooms and one or two coordinators to take care of wedding and travel departure details. The extras cost a bit more.

"I think they don't expect this much, but most of the reaction is that it was more than they expected," Ebeling said. "I think they're happy. They don't have to do anything. We do everything. They just have to sit back and relax."

A number of the couples who decide to take the plunge at the Stockholm airport do it because they don't want to drop a bundle of cash on a big wedding, according to Ebeling.

"Many may have been married before and they don't want to do anything big again because they've been there already," he said. "Some are quite young, and (don't have) much money to do a real big wedding."

Still others want to marry in secret -- or at least have a private wedding without much fanfare -- and what better way than to fit it in during a layover?

Ebeling and Cox said even though the airport doesn't make a point of advertising its wedding service, people have learned of the phenomenon through the press and by word-of-mouth.

"We've gotten some publicity," said Ebeling. "I think the reaction is going to be quite strong and we're going to have more customers. It's good money for us."