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Zero Gravity Wedding (for Newsday)

September 15, 2009

My first clip from Newsday.   “Brooklyn couple first to marry in zero gravity.” September 13, 2009.  Explore L.I. Weddings section. 450 words.

It can be said that Erin Finnegan and Noah Fulmor got a little carried away with their wedding.

On June 20, the Williamsburg couple went to Titusville, Fla., to board a modified 727-200 plane, which allows its passengers to experience reduced gravity in flight, and said, “I do,” making them the first couple to get married weightless.

What’s it like to be weightless on your wedding day? “The closest we’ve been able to describe the experience is that it is like floating in a dream, except you aren’t dreaming,” says Noah through e-mail. “You feel superhuman! It’s kind of like the feeling of being in love.”

The couple took only 12 people with them, so they are having receptions in New York and Michigan. One of the venues they are considering is the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

Erin, 30, and Noah, 31, have been fascinated by space travel since they were children. Erin attended space camp in Jackson, Mich., and Noah volunteered at his local planetarium in Denver. They met in 2000 at a science-fiction event and began dating in 2002. When they decided to wed, both agreed that space travel should be part of the ceremony.

“We wanted to get married in space or on Mars,” says Noah. “But that just was not possible.”

Simulating it was. The couple contacted Zero Gravity Corp., a Vienna, Va., entertainment company specializing in weightless travel.

On their wedding day, the couple and their party boarded the plane, which flew through a series of parabolas, a flight pattern of roller-coaster-like curves between 24,000 and 36,000 feet. Over the course of the two-hour flight, the plane did 15 of these maneuvers. At the top of each, the couple and wedding party went through the ceremony in segments as they bobbed weightlessly through the chamber.

Laughing bridesmaids and other attendants helped hold the floating couple in place to get good photographs and video.

Richard Garriott, son of an astronaut, Owen Garriott, officiated.

The total cost for the ceremony was $60,000.

Erin’s wedding gown by Japanese designer Eri Matsui, had a fitted top of cascading ruffles, and pants covered with a layered skirt that billowed out when she became weightless. The tails of Noah’s tuxedo were made extra long, so they would billow out also.

Erin’s hair, which was done by Lambs Eat Ivy Salon in Orlando, was straightened, wrapped and pinned up with sculpting wire.

The rings, attached by filaments, were made from meteorite fragments by jewelry designer Chris Ploof, so that, unlike the couple, they wouldn’t float away during the ceremony.

“Everybody was laughing and having a great time,” says Erin. “And I thought this is the most fun wedding ever.”

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