By Jess Goulart
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain,” once said Vivian Greene, wife of novelist Graham Greene.
There are thousands of famous quotes which reference how we deal with rain; loving it, hating it, wishing it away, wanting it to fall. Some even hypothesize the ways in which the weather corresponds to our moods.
Regardless of theories and lore, there is one day in your life when you will probably prefer it not to rain: your wedding day. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to prevent those thunderclouds from rolling in just as you’re rolling out your vows, right?
Money might not be able to buy you love. However, once you find love and lock it down, money can buy you perfect weather for your big day.
The swanky UK-based travel company Oliver’s Travels guarantees customers blue skies on their wedding days. For a cool 100,000 pounds (that’s around $160,000, Americans), they offer a “cloud-bursting” service. When a storm threatens, they will literally fly up into the upper atmosphere with a team of specially trained meteorologists and release silver iodide crystals that cause the clouds to disperse.
The company openly admits that the cost of the service is “a fair old whack of cash,” but points out that “you can’t put a price on perfection.”
If you’re shocked by the price tag, remember couples often spend much more on other wedding extravagances. One wedding planner told Brides magazine she’s seen everything from multiple wedding dresses, to fireworks, to teepees. One father of the bride even minted $50 silver coins with the couple’s names and wedding date as party favors for the guests.
But for anyone who is not a Rockefeller or royalty, we suggest looking at rain on your wedding optimistically.
In some cultures, the bride and groom hope for a rainy wedding. Hindus, for example, believe rain on the wedding day is good luck because a “wet knot is harder to unravel,” while Italians have the saying “Sposa Bagnata, Sposa Fortunata,” which means “Wet Bride, Lucky Bride.”
Even for people who don’t believe rain to be lucky, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest chronic stress has a negative impact on human health, so stressing for months over wedding plans takes its toll. When the big day arrives, it’s best to just go with the flow, whether wet or dry.
In 2012 one Filipino couple did exactly that when a monsoon hit smack dab in the middle of their wedding.
Instead of re-scheduling, Hernelie Ruazol and Ram Campo went forth and got married in a church in Singalong, Manila. A video of the event shows Ruazol absolutely beaming as she walked up the aisle in knee-deep muddy water. Other photos and videos of their wedding day show the couple kissing in their wedding attire while buckets of rain pour down onto them. The content went viral, and the day after the ceremony the newlyweds posted a Facebook status saying, “we only wished to have a simple wedding, but we had an extraordinary one!!!!”
To be fair, trying to control the weather isn’t solely reserved for weddings. Rain dance rituals are common amongst Native American tribes, and in 2012, India spent $3 million on ritual methods as an attempt to bring precipitation to their drought-ridden country.
Still, if you find spending two years’ salary on sunshine or marrying in a torrential downpour odd, keep in mind there are plenty of other wedding rituals that seem crazy to outsiders.
Scotland has a tradition of “blackening the bride,” which equates to family and friends pouring disgusting matter like curdled milk, dead fish, spoiled food, and tar on top of her.
In Korea, groomsmen beat the bare feet of the groom with fish or a cane to guarantee he can perform on his wedding night. How the two are related, we’re not really sure.
Individual wedding celebrations can get even stranger.
A bride and groom paid for a “suspension wedding” in 2007 where they attached clamps to their backs and hung in the air throughout the ceremony.
In 2009, Erin Finnegan and Noah Fulmor became the first ever couple to tie the knot in zero gravity. The couple and their guests flew in a plane that achieved zero-g for 30 seconds at a time for a total of 15 times, during which the ceremony was performed.
The money spent on these weddings wasn’t made public, but we imagine that second one cost a pretty penny.
And last, but certainly not least, owners of the Siamese Thai cats Phet and Ploy spent over $16,000 on a wedding not for themselves, but for their beloved felines. There was even a dowry of $23,202 exchanged.
Now see, paying for perfect wedding day weather isn’t so crazy after all.