Over the past 10 years we have had countless journalists and TV crews from around the world come to us, in search of an answer to why so many couples come “all the way to Ærø” to get married. Why would a little island with 6.000 inhabitants, nestled in the south Funen archipelago become the chosen destination for thousands of wedding couples from every corner of the planet? Well I say, why not!?! Ærø is the perfect place for an intimate wedding!
But who are the couples? On our Danish Island Weddings map of the world, we have pins in 168 different countries showing where our couples have come from. The biggest numbers are possibly Germans, Americans, Brazilians and British – but there is a wide spread. Many come because Ærø is a very authentic and romantic place, and because we are here to make their day extra special. Others come because - surprisingly - they find they cannot reasonably marry anywhere else. Most countries make it extraordinarily difficult for their citizens to marry foreigners, or for foreigners living in their country to marry there - and then, a simple search on google leads them to us!
Perhaps the best way to answer the question is by looking at who got married with us this week – and, also look at the inbox to see who hopes to get married here soon.
There was a lovely Irish couple and their 2 little toddlers who simply wanted to elope and avoid the stress of a big family wedding whilst still having a memorable time. Yesterday a Portuguese/Spanish couple – they had struggled for a year to marry in Spain but simply ran out of time trying to meet the requirements. They are emigrating to Qatar and simply had to be married to live there together. And a similar story from the British/Indonesian couple who got married just before them. In the few days before there was a Latvian/Israeli couple living already in Copenhagen but who wanted somewhere special for their wedding. On the same day there was a – wait for it – Venezuelan living in Slovakia who married a Slovakian living in London; to complicate issues she had been advised not to fly for medical reasons and the Venezuelans (like many other countries) will only issue certain documents if you report in person. To complete the week we had a number of couples who all just got tired of trying to meet the unrealistic requirements in their countries of residence; a couple from the US military based in Germany; a Canadian/British pair struggling with UK bureaucracy; an Albanian girl in Italy marrying her British fiancé having struggled with Italian bureaucracy; and finally a German/Russian couple who just liked the look of Ærø and our family-run business!
And the inbox today? More of the enquiries are from further afield this week; off the top of the box – no cheating - are two Australians on tour, who want to include Ærø on their trip; a Singaporean couple who liked the look of our Instagram account; a Vietnamese/Austrian couple who have been defeated by Austrian bureaucracy, and a German/American couple planning a larger beach wedding here this summer. And then two Indian blue card holders from Germany, a couple of young Americans on tour in Europe and a Brazilian/Polish couple in Ireland escaping family issues.
A typical week? Fairly. It is unusual not to have a same-sex couple, who make up 15% of our couples, and being winter there were no outdoor weddings of course!
It is hard for most Danes and “same nationality” couples to grasp how difficult it is for international couples to marry. Most EU countries do not seem to have updated their marriage laws since the days when everyone was expected to marry the girl or boy next door. So, it is in great parts thanks to the sensible Danish marriage laws that Ærø has developed into one of the top wedding destinations in Northern Europe!