Melbourne couple Elaine Tiong and Luke Serdar have proved not even a global pandemic can stop true love after walking down the aisle at 40,000 feet during Virgin Australia’s first ever mid-air wedding.
The newlyweds were originally meant to elope in Italy last year but hopes of a European wedding were dashed by COVID-19, forcing the couple to come up with an alternative.
Plan B was to elope on board a Virgin Australia flight on Valentine’s Day but the pandemic struck again when Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews plunged the state into a five-day lockdown.
The third option proved to be a winner when Virgin gave Mr Serdar the green light to marry his soulmate in front of 150 strangers on board VA841 from Melbourne to Sydney on Thursday.
Mr Serdar said it was unique to tie the knot in the sky and become Virgin Australia’s maiden groom.
“I’ve been looking forward to my wedding all my life, as much as Elaine has, and this was a dream come true,” he told NCA NewsWire on the tarmac.
“It’s kind of cheesy, but it’s cool at the same time.”
Added the newly-minted Mrs Serdar: “This was a one in a billion opportunity … it’s just so special. When I was drawing up my dream wedding this was obviously so different to that but now we’ve experienced it, we’re so glad it worked out this way.”
The couple said the inspiration to marry on a flight came from the fact they are avid globetrotters who have been grounded for more than 12 months.
“We love travelling, so this is very relevant to us being able to get married while in the spirit of travelling,” Mrs Serdar said.
“We feel very privileged because we know lots of couples who had their weddings cancelled due to COVID, so we feel very lucky Virgin Australia allowed us to do this.”
Virgin Australia pilot and captain of VA841, Simon Schembri, said the wedding was unlike anything he had seen in the skies.
“I’ve had funny things happen mid-flight but never had a wedding,” captain Schembri said. “To be a witness to this was so unique and it shows Virgin’s flair that they were willing to let this couple do this.”
The 150 passengers on board had no idea before the flight that a wedding was happening until they boarded. Singer and actor Tottie Goldsmith was the celebrant and married the couple over the aircraft’s PA system.