Couple Says “I Do”…Delta Style

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Photo credit: Sherri Barber

It’s not every day that we get to host a mid-air wedding.  But on January 31, we got to do just that.  Two of our passengers, Ken and Tracy Nilsen, got married in the air on a flight between Cincinnati and Washington D.C.  Avid travelers, the Cincinnati-based couple wanted their wedding to reflect their wanderlust and spirit of adventure, and a mid-air wedding fit the bill.

“We’ve done a lot of traveling,” Tracy explained, “It’s a big, important aspect of our relationship. We tossed around a lot of travel-related wedding ideas, like a destination wedding, or having our reception in a hanger. But the only thing that seemed right was for us to actually get married on a plane.”  “A mid-air wedding just seemed like us,” added Ken.

Ken is a loyal Delta frequent flyer, for whom travel is an “obsession.”  When he and Tracy started getting serious, Ken was reminded of a quote he’d heard once.

“If you want to know if you’re right for each other, go somewhere that’s hard to get in and out of. If you can survive that travel experience, then you should marry her in the airport on your way back.”

Ken took the quote’s advice and booked their first trip as a couple to Cape Town, South Africa.  The journey took them 30 hours, including a five hour layover in Amsterdam.  “We found that the flight experiences were just as much fun for us as the destination,” Ken remembers.  “That’s when we knew that we were right for each other.”

Since then, Ken and Tracy have done a lot of traveling, both domestically and internationally, including a trip to Paris, where Ken asked Tracy to marry him.  “The Paris trip had a bit of a Delta theme,” Ken elaborates. “I wanted to book a flight that would qualify me for Diamond Medallion status.  All that I needed was a trip to Reno, but I wanted to go somewhere special, given what I had planned.”  In addition to earning Diamond Medallion status, the Paris trip provided a perfect backdrop for Ken’s proposal to Tracy at a Parisian cafe with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the background.  “I was getting nervous that the only reason for the trip was Ken’s Diamond status,” Tracy laughs, “but it ended with another kind of diamond!”

Once the couple decided to get married on a plane, everything fell into place.  They booked a Delta flight from Cincinnati to Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington D.C. for themselves and a 13 friends and family members, including a friend who would officiate, as well as a photographer and a DJ.  After getting married in the air, the wedding party would enjoy an afternoon at the DCA Sky Club before heading back to Cincinnati.

With only 15 people in their wedding party, there would be up to 54 unknowing passengers on the flight, which was a Delta Connection flight operated by GoJet Airlines. “We had our wedding programs printed on barf bags, so that the other passengers would know what they were getting into,” says Tracy. “We also distributed little airplane cards offering everyone in the plane a complimentary drink on us.”

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Photo credit:  Sherri Barber

The wedding went off without a hitch, with the officiant performing the quick ceremony just after the seatbelt sign went off.  The moment that the officiant proclaimed Ken and Tracy man and wife, a flight attendant called the flight deck, and the pilots provided Ken and Tracy with the coordinates for exactly where they were when they were married.  Since you can’t have a wedding without music, the DJ set the tone by playing “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra and “Roam” by the B-52s on his laptop.  Delta had stocked the plane with champagne, which was served as soon as the ceremony ended.

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Photo credit:  Sherri Barber

GoJet flight attendant Sian Montgomery was thrilled to be a part of Ken and Tracy’s big day. “It was a beautiful event to witness, and it was wonderful to help make our passengers’ dreams come true.  It was a magical day, and I was blessed to be part of it.  Another great flight attendant moment to stow away in my memory box”

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The happy couple and the GoJet team.  (Photo credit:  Sherri Barber)

When the couple arrived at DCA, they discovered that Delta had pulled out all the stops.  An archway and white carpet strewn with rose petals awaited them in the gate area, along with rows of cheering passengers and Delta employees.

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Photo credit:  Ken & Tracy Nilson

There was no mistaking the newlyweds as they made their way to the Sky Club!

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Photo credit:  Ken & Tracy Nilsen

When they arrived at the Sky Club, they discovered that Delta had arranged a beautiful lunch, including a gorgeous cake with a  keepsake aircraft model.

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After an afternoon at the Sky Club, Ken and Tracy returned to Cincinnati via another Delta Connection flight operated by GoJet.  But with as much as these two travel, we have a feeling that we’ll be seeing them again soon.  Here’s to a lifetime of new adventures!

Click here to read about Ken and Tracy’s big day on the Delta News Hub

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