Branson to Officiate Over First Space Wedding; Will Princess Beatrice be the Bride?

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson could preside over the first marriage in space aboard his SpaceShipTwo vehicle next year, The Daily Mail reports.

Although the pair is unidentified, the article notes that British Princess Beatrice, the 19-year-old daughter of Sarah Ferguson, wants to be the first royal married in space. Beatrice, fifth in line to the British throne, is involved with Dave Clark, who works in Virgin Galactic’s marketing department.

The couple can probably get a discount on the $200,000 per person flight, although Beatrice would have no trouble paying for it. The Mail reports that the club-hopping royal was recently looking at a £4.25 million ($8.5 million) four-bedroom, four-bathroom house in the tony London neighborhood of Belgravia.

Whoever the bride and groom are, they presumably would be married during the roughly five minutes of weightlessness they would enjoy during the suborbital flight, which will fly to an altitude of around 68 miles.

Presiding over weddings has become somewhat of a sideline for the brash, publicity savvy Branson. Last year, he became a minister for a day through an online church to officiate over the wedding of Virgin America marketing director Dimitrios Papadognonas and Coco Jones during a Virgin America Airlines flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas. The British billionaire also helped officiate over Google founder Larry Page’s wedding, which was held on Branson’s private Caribbean island.

It’s an interesting approach to nuptials. Weddings are usually about putting the couple up on a pedestal. One never upstages the bride and groom – especially the bride. Having a world famous, publicity-seeking billionaire presiding over the ceremony would tend to do precisely that. Unless, of course, you’re British royalty and outrank him.

On the other hand, who’s going to tell Richard Branson that you don’t want him to preside over the first wedding ever held in outer space aboard his own space plane? Probably no one. I suppose you would treat it as an honor and roll with it.