1. Headline
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Image: Tim Hannifin proposing to Emily Ogura
“My advice to anyone who has this happen is to try not to cry so hard that you can’t see anything!” said Emily Ogura, who was overcome by emotion when Tim Hannifin proposed to her in a flash mob involving hundreds of people.
By Laura T. Coffey
TODAY contributor
updated 11/9/2012 10:06:03 AM ET 2012-11-09T15:06:03

If his recent actions are any gauge, Marcial Alzugaray is fearless in the ways of love. Some might even call him intrepid. So is it really that surprising that Alzugaray staged an elaborate wedding proposal, complete with a 75-member marching band, on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid?

His fiancée would say yes. Brynn Joyce happily accepted Alzugaray’s shocker proposal before hundreds of onlookers aboard the aircraft carrier — and she also confessed to being stunned by her boyfriend’s approach.

“If anything I thought we would be out together, the two of us, at dinner,” Joyce said afterward.

During that highly choreographed proposal in September, Joyce found herself in the same position as a growing number of women across the land. In flash mobs in public parks and on stages at huge public gatherings, amid comedic antics at football games and musical antics on teeming aircraft carriers, more and more ladies are finding themselves making the decision of a lifetime with hundreds of eyes locked on them.

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“There is no script for this,” said Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and scientific adviser to the dating websites Match.com and Chemistry.com. “On one level, you’d probably feel extremely impressed by a proposal like this and would never forget it. On another level, if it were me, I’d really be embarrassed. How do you manage?”

The answer for most women, said One Degree Events founder Egan Orion, is to react with graciousness and joy. Orion, 41, is a producer and creative director who has helped orchestrate flash-mob wedding proposals in New York and Seattle. (Yes, there are people who do that.) While acknowledging that flash-mob proposals aren’t for everybody, he said they’re more natural than proposals that happen during private strolls along beaches or romantic dinners for two.

“Sure, you can have an intimate proposal between two people — but that’s not the way a couple or a family live their lives together,” Orion said. “They live their lives connected to hundreds of other people. This kind of a proposal takes it to a more natural place where you get to share this moment with people who care about you and hundreds of other people as well.”

Story: Lip-dub proposal’s bride-to-be: ‘I was speechless’

Sobs of joy
In Alzugaray’s case, he knew he wanted his big moment with Joyce to be unforgettable. The Queens, N.Y., resident was so determined for the proposal to be special that he hired event planner Sarah Pease and professional photographer James Ambler, the owner of Paparazzi Proposals, to help him orchestrate the aircraft-carrier extravaganza. It cost big bucks — the price starts at about $2,000 just to hire Pease and her team of planners — but Alzugaray said it was worth it.

“She’s just a great person,” he said of his fiancée. “She’s got a great heart. She’s my best friend.”

Video: Paparazzi proposal captures memories (on this page)

It turns out there are plenty of mushy guys out there who are so smitten with their girlfriends that they want the whole world to know how they feel far in advance of the wedding day. Earlier this year, Seattle-area resident Tim Hannifin, 27, masterminded a mind-blowing flash-mob proposal earlier this year with the help of Orion of One Degree Events. Hannifin’s fiancée, 27-year-old Emily Ogura, said the wildly public surprise proposal was just perfect for her — but even so, she was so overcome by emotion and shock that she almost collapsed.

Image: Tim Hannifin, Emily Ogura and friends at their eighth-grade dance
Courtesy Emily Ogura
Tim Hannifin and Emily Ogura have been friends since middle school, as evidenced by this eighth-grade dance photo. Hannifin is in the back row on the far left, and Ogura is the girl in the back row. The couple are still close with friends pictured here; several likely will be in their wedding party.

“My advice to anyone who has this happen is to try not to cry so hard that you can’t see anything!” Ogura said. “Just try to remember as much of it as you can because it happens so quickly. Fortunately we have video documentation of it, right? I’ve watched it hundreds of times!”

Story: Engaged! ‘Star Trek’ fan proposes in front of sci-fi show’s cast

The funny thing about Ogura and Hannifin is that they’re both flash mobbers themselves. They’ve had a blast helping Orion pull off a dance tribute to Michael Jackson and other massive public events. Ogura was caught off guard on the day of her proposal because she thought she and Hannifin were simply participants in a grand, “Glee”-themed flash-mob extravaganza in downtown Seattle. Rumors had spread that a “special guest star” would make an appearance in the middle of the flash mob; Ogura speculated that the guest must be tied to the cast of the hit television show “Glee.”

When the moment arrived for the big reveal, the surprise guest was none other than Hannifin, wielding a microphone in front of more than 1,000 flash mobbers and onlookers. He began his heartfelt proposal with the words, “Buongiorno, principessa” (“Good morning, princess” in Italian). Within seconds, Ogura was racked with uncontrollable sobs.

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“The original plan was for the proposal to happen and then we’d go off to the side, but Emily was in no mood to move, so we wound up hugging and kissing in the middle with everybody dancing around us,” Hannifin recalled. “It worked out even better than planned.”

Click here to see a video of Hannifin proposing to Ogura

Tailgating for love
While some public proposals — like Alzugaray’s and Hannifin’s — resemble Hollywood blockbusters with high-dollar production value, others are more like low-budget indie films that still merit rave reviews. Tom Brown, 38, of Renton, Wash., has dabbled in stand-up comedy, and he has no problem being a bit theatrical in front of people to get laughs. He also knew how much his girlfriend, Brandy Tierney, 32, would get a kick out of something unexpected and memorable.

So, last fall, he hatched a plan. A friend of Brown’s told him she could line up some teenage flash-mob dancers from the dance school where she works and from a church youth group. Brown readily accepted her offer.

Longtime TODAY fan gets proposal on the plaza

Image: Tom Brown proposing to Brandy Tierney
BlueLineTailgate.com / YouTube
“I didn’t have a clue what was going on until he got on his knee in front of me,” Brandy Tierney said of Tom Brown's surprise flash-mob proposal at a Seahawks football game.

It occurred to Brown that the perfect setting for a surprise proposal would be while tailgating at a Seahawks football game, since he and Tierney are professional tailgaters. (Yes, there are people who do that.)

The big moment arrived last November during a standard Seattle downpour. The teenage girls got supportive cheers from tailgaters when they started dancing to “I’m a Believer” in the rain, and then the guffaws began when Brown jumped into the action. Tierney was visibly shocked to see Brown dancing in formation with the girls — and even more surprised when Brown shimmied up to her and bent down on one knee, right in the middle of a rain puddle.

“I didn’t have a clue what was going on until he got on his knee in front of me,” Tierney said. “Looking back on it, he wouldn’t have done it any other way, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way or in any other place. It really fits with him and it fits with us ... even though I was wearing that hideous green rain poncho.”

Click here to watch a video of Brown proposing to Tierney

Image: David Pogue proposing to Nicki Dugan
Courtesy David Pogue
David Pogue's proposal to Nicki Dugan wasn't meant to be a hugely public affair, but before long it became a viral sensation on the Internet.

‘A shame not to share it’
Sometimes a wedding proposal doesn’t start out as a hugely public affair — and then, before long, hundreds of thousands of strangers have witnessed the intimate moment on the Internet. That’s what happened to New York Times technology writer David Pogue and his fiancée, Nicki Dugan, who works in high-tech public relations for The OutCast Agency.

While attending a family reunion in August, Pogue, 49, and Dugan, 44, got engaged in front of their children and all the other people who matter most to them in the world. To pull off the surprise proposal, Pogue directed, edited and produced a seven-minute fake movie trailer complete with Broadway actors portraying a humorous and thinly veiled version of their love story. The trailer culminates in a climactic moment when the real-life Pogue proposes to the real-life Dugan. Pogue hid a video camera in a ficus plant to capture Dugan’s reaction.

Click here to watch a video of Pogue proposing to Dugan

“It was never meant to be public,” said Pogue, who also works as the host of “NOVA ScienceNow” and other science shows on PBS. “It was just going to be shown in a small rec room in Vermont. ... Later I thought that maybe I could put it up on a private website where a few people would see it.”

The cleverly crafted movie trailer delighted their close friends so much that Dugan encouraged Pogue to distribute it more widely.

“When I saw the amount of production value that went into this, it seemed like a shame not to share it,” said Dugan, noting that the movie-trailer proposal was perfect for them. “I’m sure there are plenty of marriage proposals where the guy’s not quite sure what she’s going to say ... but David was pretty confident I’d say yes.”

Which brings up a point: What are other women out there to do if they find themselves on the receiving end of highly public proposals and want to say no?

“My feeling about that is: Just say yes!” flash-mob organizer Orion said with a mischievous laugh. “Later you can say, ‘I didn’t mean it! I was on the spot!’”

Need a Coffey break? Friend TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey on Facebook, follow her on Twitter  or read more of her stories at LauraTCoffey.com.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: Team of pros make fairy tale proposals come true

Photos: Legos, Muppets and more awww-inspiring proposals

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  1. I can't Lego of you

    Every so often, Walter Thompson would sneak Lego figurines into the background of the food photos he took for his girlfriend Nealey, a food blogger. The plastic interlopers became such a special inside joke that she'd look out for them every month. So naturally Walter wanted Legos, or rather a Lego figurine holding a ring, to help him propose.

    “I spent a couple hundred bucks on Lego items and pieces. It took a couple of weeks to get it all together, buying them online,” Walter told TODAY.com. He decided to create a stop-motion film to tell the story of their relationship.

    It took Walter five days to turn 26 still images into a three-minute movie, keeping his special project hidden by working on it outside the house. Whenever he was locked in his room he would tell Nealey he was working on an epic poem for their anniversary. (Walter Thompson) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Stop-motion in the name of love

    When the time came to show the film, Nealey thought he was just setting up her anniversary present — the poem.

    “She knew when she saw the Lego people,” Walter said, “that this was something other than an anniversary gift!”

    When the words “Will you marry me?” appeared on-screen, Walter fell to one knee and presented her with a ring box, inside which stood a Lego bride and groom, holding the ring.

    “She had so many questions (about the movie) that it took her a good 10 to 15 minutes to say yes!” said Walter.

    Walter and Nealey will incorporate the Lego people into their wedding. They’ll be seen in the background — and maybe at the very top of their wedding cake.

    (Walter Thompson) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Pow! Bam! Proposal!

    David Salomon considered a wide range of ways to propose to his girlfriend Jennifer (including a song and dance with friends at a restaurant), but none of his ideas seemed quite unique enough. So he remembered something he learned about her when they were first dating.

    “I had introduced her to a comic book while we were studying," he said. "It was her first one. She ended up reading the entire thing, and I knew from that moment that she was the girl for me.”

    He enlisted some artist and designer friends to help him create a very special comic telling the story of their relationship. The cover was inspired by one of her favorite books, “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.” (David Salomon) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. In the next issue...

    David gave the book to Jen at a party surrounded by friends.

    “I was extremely nervous for the proposal! I spent the whole party worrying about what might go wrong: Maybe she'd not want to read the book on the spot, or maybe she'd flip through the book and catch the ending before reading the rest,” David told TODAY.com.

    Jen was overwhelmed from the start. On the last page was his proposal with Jen’s blank talk bubble waiting for her answer. After lots of tears, she wrote in "yes."

    What does the future hold for our hero and heroine?

    “The comic book we created is very thick and full of blank pages," said David. They'll use those pages as the guest book at their wedding, and to chronicle "The Further Adventures of David and Jennifer." (David Salomon) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Harry Potter and the elaborate engagement

    Dennis Ventrello always knew he wanted to propose to his girlfriend Danielle in a unique way.

    But a YouTube flash mob wasn't for him. "I'd be horrible at something like that,” Dennis told TODAY.com.

    So the art director focused on Danielle's favorite bespectacled Brit, Harry Potter. And when Danielle asked for a paperback copy of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” Dennis had his idea. He remembered seeing someone hollow out a book to store valuables.

    “Since I've never had enough cash on hand to necessitate hollowing out books, I had never tried it,” he said. “What I did have, though, was a ring sitting in a drawer just waiting for a good idea.” (Dennis Ventrello) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. An unbreakable marriage vow

    “Was I nervous about cutting up the book? No. Was I nervous about proposing with it after the fact? Yes,” said Dennis.

    When Danielle discovered the surprise hidden inside her book, she was shocked.

    “It was not at all expected and obviously exciting,” she told TODAY.com. “My second reaction was remorse for the cut-up book, but Dennis had thought ahead and purchased an additional one to give me as well."

    (Leslie Barbaro) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A proposal from a crazy AI

    Gary Hudston and his girlfriend Stephanie are both very shy, but that didn’t keep Gary from making his marriage proposal a grand gesture.

    “I needed to find something big that I could reveal to her in private but that she would also be excited to show off afterwards,” Gary told TODAY.com.

    He found inspiration in the puzzle-solving video game "Portal 2."

    Gary was a huge fan of the first "Portal," but it's a single-player experience. The sequel allowed the couple to share it together.

    Gary aimed for the stars, and set out to actually propose in the game. Through a stroke of luck, he contacted Ellen McLain, who voices the game's character GLaDOS, and found a way to record some custom lines at the end of her dialogue. All he had to do was tell McLain and Erik Wolpaw, the games' writer, what to say. (Douglas Hoogland) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. This wedding cake is not a lie!

    He had 24 hours to come up with the dialogue. With the help of designers Doug Hoogland and Rachel van der Meer, they built a special level of the game.

    “I was terrified that something would break or that the game would crash," said Gary.

    It was Stephanie’s 21st birthday and understandably, she was a bit confused when Gary insisted she sit at her computer and play "Portal 2" that night. As the game went on, though, she started to realize he was up to something.

    “Once the door opened into the final room and GLaDOS started to pop the question, we were both crying," Gary told TODAY.com. "Stephanie was just about able to nod!”

    (Dasha Caffrey) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. The Great Puppet Proposal

    A lifelong fan of Jim Henson’s Muppets, Sid Ceaser tapped FAO Swartz’s Muppet Whatnots, a service that allows people to create their own customized puppets, to propose to Sara, his girlfriend of 10 years.

    “I always knew that I wanted to do something special for her in a way that was something authentic and ‘Sid’,” he told TODAY.com. “There was no turning back! This was what I had to do.”

    Sid recruited two good friends to help him film and edit a fake movie trailer telling the story of their relationship through the puppets. Sid filled a theater with employees; family and friends snuck in once the lights were turned down.

    “I wasn't nervous at all because I knew it was a room full of friends and family who supported and loved us,” Sid said. (Sid Ceaser/Sid Ceaser Photography) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. "Somebody's getting married!"

    Quickly, Sara became aware something was going on, joining Sid in laughing and crying as the puppets acted out their story. At the end, Sara turned around to see friends and family looking on as she said yes.

    “Our own wedding was a smallish affair, although the puppets were present, off to the side dressed in their own wedding outfits,” said Sid. They took the puppets with them on their honeymoon too, and made a wedding and honeymoon film.

    “I'm so happy that something I created for the love of my life was shared in a way that touched so many people around the world," said Sid. " What a perfect bonus!” (Grant Morris/The Nashua Telegraph) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Indiana Jones and the ring of engagement

    When Homer Liwag’s girlfriend Aimée wanted to do something special on November 11, 2011, Homer decided it was time to propose. Only one problem — he had no ring!

    “Being that Aimée is an avid Indiana Jones fan, I decided to surprise her with a ring box. When she opened the box, inside wasn't an engagement ring — just a bag of sand! I told her that Indiana Jones must have swooped in and stolen the ‘treasure’ and left her with a bag of sand,” Homer told TODAY.com.

    Fans will remember that bag of sand from “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” where Indy pulls a similar trick. This bought time for Homer, an artist and designer, to come up with a ring he customized himself. He sketched a coiled whip for a band. The gem was a yellow diamond, resembling the color of the idol Indy steals in the movie. He created a container out of a 1920s steel soap bar box, using sculpting clay to create the "ancient ruins" inside. (Homer Liwag) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Choose wisely...

    Homer didn’t just present the box to Aimée. He mixed it with four others: Modeling the experience after Indy choosing the Holy Grail in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” In the movie, the knight guarding the Grail tells Indy, “You must choose, but choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life the false Grail will take it from you.” Luckily Aimée’s choice wasn’t so dire.

    “I used a magician's trick to make her ‘select’ the correct box. I asked her if she ‘chose wisely.' Then I opened her selected box, revealing ‘The Whip.’ I then looked at her and said, ‘I chose wisely’.” (Homer Liwag) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Funny Foozles

    Joseph Sypeck made his girlfriend of five years work hard for her proposal. Jen loves puzzle games, so Joe decided to pop the question inside one of her games.

    “I wanted something really unique and memorable because we have six pets so it’s hard for us to get away,” Joe told TODAY.com. “I honestly never believed it would have been possible, though, because I've never heard of anyone doing something like this.”

    He posted on a developers' forum looking for ideas on how to propose inside such a game, and received an overwhelming response. One in particular stuck out – Foozle, a puzzle game available for the iPhone and iPad.

    “We have five cats and a little Chihuahua and the characters in Foozle reminded me of them and I knew Jen would fall in love with it... and she did!” (Foozle) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A puzzling proposal

    With the help of game creator William Thurston, they created a special version of Foozle that would post a proposal message after a certain level.

    “I have to say I was a little nervous because the proposal was set to pop up after level 7. And man, I struggled to get past it,” Joe told TODAY.com. “I was laughing, thinking how funny it would be if she couldn't.”

    Jen luckily wasn’t suspicious when he suggested the new game since he often gave her games to try out. It was much harder trying to record her reaction without her realizing, according to Joe. Jen was shocked and speechless for a little, but this proposal ended with a happy "yes."

    (Joseph Sypeck) Back to slideshow navigation
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Explainer: 12 of the world’s wackiest weddings

  • Image: Newlyweds Batman and Wonder Woman, also known as Neil Vaughan and Sharon Wetherell
    Adam Gerrard  /  SWNS

    Your wedding day is supposed to be your day — one of the most pivotal days in your lives.


    If that’s really true, then why not join the throngs of couples who are choosing to live out wild, fanciful or downright silly dreams in conjunction with their nuptials? Doing so could have a practical benefit: It could save you big bucks. In these recessionary times, many have been shunning lavish weddings and opting for unique ones instead.

    Here are 12 recent examples of utterly wacky — and utterly memorable — weddings. Click “next” at the left to start your (strange) trip down the aisle.

  • Holy matrimony, Batman!

    Image: Newlyweds Batman and Wonder Woman, also known as Neil Vaughan and Sharon Wetherell
    Adam Gerrard  /  SWNS

    For those of you out there who always sensed that Batman and Wonder Woman would make a great couple: It’s happened!

    On July 31, Sharon Wetherell and Neil Vaughan of Devon, England, tied the knot while all dressed up as their favorite superheroes. As “Wonder Woman” theme music blared, Wetherell, 40, made a grand entrance at the ceremony wearing blue hot pants, a red corset, flashy boots and a tiara and veil that cost her about $160. The groom’s face-obscuring Batman costume set him back about $290.

    The couple’s friends and family also got gussied up as superheroes. Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Robin, Poison Ivy, Lara Croft, the Joker, Bananaman and the Incredibles were all in attendance.

    “Our wedding was absolutely amazing and it cost us less than some couples would spend on just the dress,” Mrs. Vaughan said in the British newspaper The Daily Mail. “We were not allowed to see each other’s costumes before the big day, but when I did see Neil he looked fantastic as Batman. ... It was such a great day.”

  • No cold feet at T.J. Maxx wedding

    Image: Lisa Satayut and Drew Ellis at their T.J. Maxx wedding
    Bill Pugliano  /  AP for TJ Maxx

    Who doesn’t get excited about the prospect of bagging a bargain? Bride Lisa Satayut decided to combine that feeling with her excitement over bagging her beau.

    Explaining that T.J. Maxx is her “happy place,” Satayut married Drew Ellis in July in the size 8 shoe aisle of a T.J. Maxx store in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

    The bride — a self-proclaimed “'Maxxinista” — wore a strapless white chiffon gown, with long black gloves and bright green gladiator-style sandals. A widened aisle, vine-covered arch and white chairs with red bows highlighted the traditional ceremony that included string music, display-dodging cameramen — and curious shoppers who stopped bargain hunting long enough to watch.

    Related video: With this bargain, I thee wed at T.J. Maxx

  • Happy ogre after

    Image: Vivian and Tracey Williams with dressed up wedding guests
    Wales News Service

    Tracey and Vivian Williams, a happy couple from Wales, tied the knot in May by dressing up as two of their favorite movie characters: the green ogres Shrek and Princess Fiona. Tracey Williams, 33, told the British newspaper The Daily Mail that the themed wedding idea suited her and her new husband perfectly.

    “Our friends always used to say we looked like the characters when we went on nights out,” she said. “Even though Shrek and Fiona are both green ogres, we didn’t take it offensively because we like them so much.”

    The couple actually saw a “Shrek” movie on their first date and have been loyal fans ever since. To get ready for the big day, the pair covered themselves in green body paint and affixed fake green ears to the tops of their heads. Tracey donned a bright red wig to complete the Princess Fiona look, and Vivian sported checked trousers.

    The Williams’ wedding guests got in on the fun, with the best man dressing up as Monsieur Hood, the bride’s father going as Lord Farquaad, the bride’s mother playing the Fairy Godmother and the maid of honor playing Snow White.

    Related story: Pair dress as Shrek, Fiona for wedding

  • Kiss the bride – if you can find her

    Image: Marvin Hunter and Kim Silver in a tree stand
    Mike Moynihan
    An Iowa couple whose passion for bowhunting encouraged Cupid's arrow to strike wore camouflage to blend in with the wooded backdrop at their treetop wedding.

    Kim Silver, 42, dressed in a silk gown made by camouflage specialists Mossy Oak, and her 61-year-old groom, Marvin Hunter, was dressed in camo shirt and pants at the June nuptials.

    They said their vows atop a tree stand hunting platform. The bride and groom occasionally punctuated the ceremony by firing arrows at targets. Hunter said the couple had always joked about getting married on a tree stand. Silver said the pair hunt together so much that the camo wedding "just seemed like the right thing to do."

  • A viral dance sensation

    Image: Wedding party dancing down the aisle

    Most couples wait until the reception before breaking out into the Funky Chicken on their wedding day, but Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson figured, why wait to unleash their unbridled joy?

    The 28-year-olds floored their wedding guests by having their whole bridal party — including seven bridesmaids, five groomsmen and four ushers — boogie down the aisle in a choreographed dance more at home in a Broadway musical than in a somber church.

    Groomsmen split into sides as Heinz did a somersault in front of the wowed crowd — and the gown-clad Peterson quickly followed, shaking her hips to Chris Brown’s “Forever” while pumping her bridal bouquet into the air during the June 20, 2009, ceremony in St. Paul, Minn.

    The wedding party rehearsed the dance for just 90 minutes.

    Of course, some things are too good to keep to yourself. And when Kevin posted the wedding dance routine on YouTube, it quickly became a viral hit, with hundreds of thousands of people sharing in the couple’s novel way of showing their matrimonial joy.

    Related video: Wedding party boogies down the aisle

  • 110 bridesmaids set world record

    Image: Jill Stapleton with 110 bridesmaids

    Some people think five or six bridesmaids are a lot. But how about 110? Jill Stapleton, an Ohio gymnastics teacher, set a world record in June when she invited all of her young students to be her bridesmaids at her wedding.

    “We were actually going to go away for our wedding but this wedding day is more important to a lot of these little girls and boys back here that have made my dreams come true,” Stapleton said. “This is our dream wedding.”

    Stapleton married Chad Greenhill, a Marshall University cheerleader. The previous record was 90 bridesmaids.

  • An aisle of light bulbs, grills

    Image: Carolyn Weatherly and Audwin Mosby
    Courtesy Audwin Joaquin Mosby
    The bride wore white. The guests wore orange smocks.

    A Southern California couple wed in June in front of more than 100 guests at a Home Depot store where they work.

    The wedding party for 56-year-old Carolyn Weatherly and Audwin Mosby, who’s 55, marched down an aisle of light bulbs, grills and paint to the outdoor garden section.

    A wedding arbor and stage had been built from the store’s lumber and supplies.

    The bride said the store in Lake Forest is like a second home and her colleagues are like family.

    "I feel awesome," Mosby told the Orange County Register. "This is the best thing that has happened to me in a long, long time."

  • Sweet, sugary love

    Image: Jared and Jerri Guinther eating doughnuts at wedding
    Sara Terese Heise

    Voodoo Doughnut, a wildly popular indulgence with two locations in Portland, Ore., has an entire menu dedicated to wedding services. That menu includes a variety of matrimonial options, such as this “Legal Voodoo Wedding” package for $200: “Legal wedding ceremony, coffee & doughnuts for 24 people, 700-square-foot chapel, free parking & doughnut centerpiece.”

    The doughnut shops have married off more than 300 couples, sending hearts racing with both romance and sugar intake. Pictured here are Jared and Jerri Guinther enjoying their sweet nuptials.

  • Jaws of love

    Image: April Pignataro and Michael Curry in shark tank
    Talk about taking the plunge. April Pignataro and Michael Curry opted to be lowered in a steel cage into a shark tank to exchange their wedding vows in June.

    The bride wore a white wetsuit; the groom wore a black one. The experienced divers spoke their vows into radio headgear transmitted to a minister outside the tank while about 75 guests watched from behind glass. The 120,000-gallon tank at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, N.Y., includes sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, moray eels and a massive Queensland grouper.

    Both Pignataro and Curry said the concept of a shark tank wedding thrilled them. “We both love the ocean, we love the water ... and yes, the idea of an underwater wedding, not to mention one surrounded by sharks at an aquarium, is different and unique, but that is also exactly who we are,” Pignataro told NBCNewYork.

  • 'I do' in Aisle 2

    Image: Jack Frankel and Fina Nikolos at wedding
    Mike Stocker  /  SunSentinel.com
    One couple decided to tie the knot where they first met: Whole Foods Market.

    Jack Frankel, 75, and 67-year-old Fina Nikolos met in May 2009 at the supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla. It had been raining when Frankel noticed a beautiful woman pass him. Nikolos offered to walk him to his car with an umbrella. He later thanked her by taking her out to lunch.

    In January 2010, the two returned to the place where their love began for a small wedding ceremony in the store's cafe. About 40 people attended the ceremony as store employees and customers watched and smiled. The couple held each other close during the ceremony, shedding a few tears. They also exchanged emotional vows. Nikolos was too overcome to finish hers aloud.

    According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, this was the first time customers wed in a Whole Foods Market in Florida, though employees have gotten married there.

    Frankel told reporters that the most irresistible thing about his bride is her eyes. “She looks at me with those Spanish eyes and I melt,” he said.

  • I now pronounce you bride and ghoul

    Image: Jack Holsinger and Connie Spitznagel
    Alicia Castelli  /  The Chronicle-Telegram

    Why don’t more bridal magazines suggest this as the perfect theme for an October wedding?

    In October 2009, Jack Holsinger, 61, and Connie Spitznagel, 44, dressed as pale-faced vampires for their Halloween-themed ceremony at a haunted house near Cleveland, Ohio. Holsinger arrived in a coffin inside a hearse, and the coffin was carried to the altar by six pallbearers. Minister Greg Kopp was dressed as Jason in the "Friday the 13th" movies. After the vows were exchanged, he ordered Holsinger not to kiss his new bride but instead to bite her on the neck.

    The couple vowed to love each other and haunt and howl at the moon together. Like typical mortal couples, the groom said he just wanted his bride to be happy.

    “This is her first wedding,” Holsinger said. “She had a common-law marriage the first time around, so she never really got a wedding. It’s what she wanted and it’s about her. It’s her time. Whatever she wanted.”

  • Will you Mario me?


    Proving that love is a game that two can play — a video game, that is — Bobbi VanZante and Elijah Slagter of Pella, Iowa, decided on a unique theme for their wedding: Super Mario Brothers. Slaget, the groom, will dress as Mario, of course, and VanZante will be costumed as the lovely Princess Peach.

    The father of the bride will be dressed up as Bowser, even though he’s the villain of the Mario universe. “It’s kind of part of the game,” VanZante explained to NBC’s Megan Reuther. “Bowser and all his buddies steal Princess Peach.” So who better to give the bride away to her groom?

    VanZante’s mother, Lori Mullen, was good-natured about the Mario madness, which included such details as making turtle shells out of bicycle helmets. “It fits both of them,” she said. “It’ll be a fun day and good remembrance.”

    Reached for comment inside a Nintendo gaming system, the real Mario commented: “It’s a-me, Mario!”


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