Love is in the air at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport

Throughout the year, Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport is a pretty lovey-dovey place.

marriage ceremony at Stockholm Arlanda

Last Thursday morning, I stopped by the airport chapel just as chaplain Anders Berglund was finishing up a short marriage ceremony for Melitza and Frank Kortman (below).  After chit-chat and champagne, the couple set off for their honeymoon in Bali and Berglund explained that this was the second of three weddings he’d be presiding over that day and just a few of the more than 200 weddings that take place at the airport chapel each year.

Wedding at Stockholm Airport

More than 200 Swedish marriages begin with ceremonies at the airport’s VIP lounge as well.

Wedding at Stockholm Airport VIP Lounge

The folks at Guinness World Records may not be keeping tabs, but I’m pretty sure more wedding ceremonies take place at Stockholm’s Arlanda than at any other airport.

That’s all very romantic. But on Monday, Arlanda is going to be the starting point for what is certainly a world first in weddings.

On Monday morning, December 6, 2010, one of the business class cabins on SAS fligh SK903 from Stockholm to New York will be transformed into a wedding chapel in preparation for the world’s first in-flight, same-sex weddings.

One gay couple and one lesbian couple – winners of a spirited, record-breaking, on-line contest that took place over the last few months – will be married when the plane takes off and while it is still in Swedish airspace. Once the legal business is completed, there will be an in-flight reception, complete with wedding dinner, wedding cake, first dances  and other traditional, and no doubt some non-traditional, wedding celebrations.

I’ll be attending the in-flight weddings as a media guest and will share more details once the flight arrives in New York.

In the meantime, you can read more about the contest and winning couples on the SAS website, where there’s also information about the flowers, the wedding bands and the wedding outfits.

Museum Monday: 75 years at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

There are more than 700 aviation and space-related museums in this country. Each Monday we try to profile one of them.  Eventually we’ll visit them all.

This week, we’re stopping at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which has an exhibit of photos, videos and historic memorabilia celebrating its 75th anniversary.

History exhibit at Phoenix Sky Harbor

According to airport history notes, the city of Phoenix purchased Sky Harbor Airport on July 16, 1935 for $100,000. That November, a dedication event took place that included speeches, an aerial circus performance and a dinner dance.

The original terminal building, hangar and tower were located on the north side of today’s airport property and at one time a chapel with a bell stood at the entrance of the airport.

Sky Harbor wedding chapel

Arizona didn’t require a three-day waiting period for couples wanting to get married, so the airport hoped to generate business by having an on-site wedding chapel for couples wanting to tie the knot as soon as possible.

Interested in learning more about the history of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport?

75 Years of Nonstop Service will be on exhibit until March 13, 2011 in the pre-security area of Terminal 3.  You can also go online, to Sky Harbor’s History section to watch video clips and read excerpts from research done for the airport’s 50th anniversary.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport pilot log

Tie the knot at the airport

It’s June and wedding season is officially underway. Look around and you’ll start noticing folks getting hitched in churches, formal gardens, backyards, courthouses and hotel function rooms.

And once in a while, in airports.

In my “At the Airport” column posted today, are some tips on how to get married at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, over martinis at Los Angeles International Airport and elsewhere.


Airport weddings

It wedding season and time for those news stories about people getting married on roller coasters, underwater and in other unusual places such as… airports?

Of course! For my next column on, I’ve been gathering stories about couples that have tied the knot at airports.

The column should be posted soon, but in the meantime take a peek at the wedding packages offered by Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

It turns out that the airport that has a casino and its own branch of the Rijksmuseum also has a wedding planner on staff!