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MORE PLACES TO WED THAN YOU CAN SHAKE A RING AT.

Byline: Carol Bidwell Daily News Staff Writer

Forget the church. Forget Mom sobbing into her hanky. Forget the caterer, the photographer, the guest list that rivals the telephone directory, all of those months-in-advance plans.

Sure, you want to get married, but you don't want the wedding to take over your life. You want to keep costs down and throw in a bit of spontaneity, maybe even a bit of adventure.

A wedding that kicks off a honeymoon - in the honeymoon spot or on the way to it - might be just what you're looking for.

Several cruise lines - Carnival, American Hawaiian, Royal Caribbean, Dolphin and Majesty among them - will conduct shipboard weddings, but not at sea.

Because a marriage solemnized in international waters would be invalid in the United States and many other countries, on-board weddings must take place while the ship is tied up in port, despite what you may have seen in the movies, said Barbara Weiner, spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association.

"You can't get married at sea by the captain. That's an old wives' tale," she said. "But you can get married on a ship in port. You have to make prior arrangements with the cruise line, get a license from the port where you'll be getting married and bring your own minister aboard."

But, once you're married, virtually all cruise lines will arrange on-board receptions or small parties for the newlyweds, friends and family members in port before the ship sails, Weiner said. For information on on-board weddings and receptions, call individual cruise lines.

Both California's Disneyland and Florida's Walt Disney World will arrange wedding ceremonies at several spots in the amusement parks, complete with flowers, wedding cakes and photographs with Mickey Mouse.

Disney's Fairy Tale Wedding Department plays fairy godmother to more than 1,000 couples every year at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Last July, Disney's Wedding Pavilion opened on a private island surrounded by the park's Seven Seas Lagoon, a glass-enclosed pavilion that offers a backdrop of Cinderella's Castle. Or, wedding planners will arrange a ceremony on the beach, with just a sprinkling of pixie dust.

Disneyland began offering in-the-park weddings last September, said spokesman Bob Devel. Couples can choose to get married in New Orleans Square, in a private car on the train that chugs around the park, in a boat on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride or just about anywhere else, he said.

"Lots of couples like to get married by the wishing well at Sleeping Beauty's Castle" Devel said. "One couple got married in Southern dress aboard the Mark Twain steamboat. You can even get married in a submarine, but nobody's done that yet."

He said the park decided to offer on-grounds weddings after being inundated by requests from Japanese tourists.

"The Japanese get married, and then on their honeymoon, they get married again," Devel said. "They rent a wedding dress and have flowers and everything, generally with one or two friends. We started to do it on a pilot basis with a tour operator from Japan, and it went so well, we decided to open it up to everyone."

Now, brides can request all the Disneyland trimmings, including a ride in Cinderella's coach, fanfare trumpeters in medieval attire, a string ensemble and even Goofy, the Seven Dwarfs and other Disney characters as witnesses. Receptions can be arranged at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland, Town Square Plaza on Main Street USA or Aladdin and Jasmine's Wedding Oasis in Adventureland.

To arrange a Disneyland wedding, call (714) 956-6527. For information on a wedding at Disney World, call (407) 824-4321.

For nearly 50 years, the word "wedding" has been closely associated with Las Vegas. About 100,000 weddings take place there annually in several dozen tiny wedding chapels.

But now a wedding in Las Vegas can truly be an uplifting experience: The Stratosphere resort and casino, which opens its new tower in April, will have three wedding chapels near the top of the 900-foot-tall observation tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

Bride and groom will be whisked from ground level to the chapel in 40 seconds by double-decker, high-speed elevators and can be married while gazing down on Glitter Gulch, the Strip and the Nevada desert. Wedding packages will cost $450 to $1,075.

To officially open the chapels, Stratosphere officials are planning weddings on the resort's roller coaster, 100 stories above the Strip.

"We're trying to get together the world's largest group of people ever to get married on a roller coaster," said Stratosphere spokeswoman Cindy Rubin Elliott. To arrange a Stratosphere wedding, either on the roller coaster or in one of the new chapels, call (800) 789-9436.

A roller coaster wedding's a little wild for your taste? You might consider getting hitched at one of the couples-only resorts in Jamaica, which is fast becoming the No. 1 favorite spot for honeymooners. Sandals in Montego Bay prides itself on arranging romantic settings for wedding ceremonies, said spokeswoman Pamela Jaccarino.

Last year, a young man brought his fiancee to the resort for what she thought was a vacation but what he knew was going to be a honeymoon.

"He planned the whole wedding unbeknownst to his future bride," Jaccarino said. "He bought her dress and arranged everything and had some of their friends fly in. Supposedly, they were invited to have lunch with the resort's general manager. When they arrived, he got down on bended knee in front of everybody and proposed again. She started to cry and got very emotional - but she said yes.

"We took her in the wedding coordinator's office, and there, laid out for her, was her wedding dress. They were married in the garden, and it was beautiful."

In 1994, an older couple touched everyone's hearts. "Two 75-year-olds who'd never been married before exchanged vows in the Jacuzzi," Jaccarino said. "They were married by an 85-year-old minister. They've come back to the resort three times since then."

Still undecided on where and how to tie the knot? Here are a few more unusual suggestions:

At Giraffe Manor at the Mount Kenya Safari Club, eight miles from Nairobi, couples can be married among the friendly Rothschild giraffes, be blessed by the chief of the Chukka tribe and be serenaded by an African children's choir. Information: (800) 642-2861.

The Radisson Bahia Mar Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will arrange for bride and groom to exchange vows in scuba gear on the ocean floor a quarter-mile offshore. Guests view the nuptials from a glass-bottomed boat equipped with audio. Information: (800) 333-3333.

Braco Village Resort in Rio Bueno, Jamaica, will arrange for a jungle wedding that ends with the newlyweds boarding a bamboo raft for a sail down the Martha Brae River. Information: (800) 654-1337.

CAPTION(S):

PHOTO

Photo (1) Despite popular belief, a couple cannot get married at sea by a ship's captain. But they can get married on a ship in port, provided they bring their own minister aboard. (2) Jamaica, with couples-only resorts such as Sandals in Montego Bay, is fast becoming the No. 1 favorite spot for honeymooners.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 8, 1996
Words:1189
Previous Article:DAILY NEWS BRIDAL SHOW WEDS BRIDES-TO-BE, SUPPLIERS.
Next Article:HONEYMOONERS STILL SEEKING SLICE OF PARADISE.


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