Wednesday, June 24, 2009

!-! !-! Couple floats into zero gravity nuptials


The bride wore white and earrings resembling tiny planets, the groom a tuxedo and cuff links shaped like spacecraft, and the wedding party attended in blue jump suits.

New York City couple Erin Finnegan and Noah Fulmor floated into matrimony on Saturday thousands of feet (meters) above the Gulf of Mexico in what organizers said was the world's first weightless wedding held in zero gravity conditions.

The couple exchanged wedding vows and rings -- with some difficulty -- and fumbled their kiss flying weightless inside the padded fuselage of a specially modified Boeing 727-200 aircraft, G-Force One, operated by Zero Gravity Corp, or ZERO-G, a company offering weightless flight experiences.

"It was weirder than I expected. ... I've been to a lot of boring weddings, so I wanted to do something different," said Finnegan, who wore a "space fashion" white pantsuit whose trouser bottoms fluffed out during the weightless moments.

Wires kept her hairdo from unraveling.

To recreate the weightless experience without going into space, the plane executed parabolic flight maneuvers, climbing sharply and descending several times during the one-hour flight.

Inside the 90-foot-long (27-meter) padded "floating zone," the ceremony was accomplished with a lot of bumping and fumbling, as bride and groom, guests and witnesses alike tried to coordinate their movements in a microgravity environment.

Officiating at the ceremony was Richard Garriott, a second- generation U.S. space traveler, and ZERO-G co-founder, who is also a registered notary.

Fulmor, whose tuxedo tails were specially stiffened so they would not float out of control, admitted he had trouble lining up his lips for the all-important wedding kiss.

"The physics of the first kiss were off. I could feel where I was going, I knew where I needed to be, but it was hard to reconcile the differences," he told reporters.

"Noah knocked into my nose and I thought it would bleed," Finnegan said.

The couple didn't drop the ring -- but there was momentary confusion when someone else's wedding band floated off a finger and into the wedding group, before it was rescued.

"I've waited my whole life for this ... what I remember most was the feeling of weightlessness, both physically and emotionally," Fulmor said.

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