Aeroskobing is a picture-book European village. Small, colourful homes nestled closely together, cobbled streets that lead you to the crisp blue waters and golden sands of beaches, and a collection of quaint little boutique shops and eateries, all of which make the town an idyll for a serene Danish sojourn. But the bulk of the island town’s visitors don’t come simply to enjoy the scenery; they are looking to get hitched!
Thousands of couples flock to the Danish isle to tie the knot every year, so much so that the number of weddings taking place in Aeroskobing has, for the past three years, outnumbered the population of the town. And while the perennially billowing breeze and fairytale aesthetic of the town provide a perfect backdrop for lovers to notarise their nuptials, that’s not the only reason Aero is so attractive to these couples.
Over the years, Aero has become a haven for couples that flout the heteronorm. Same-sex couples, mixed-nationality couples, and couples with potential document verification issues welcome Aero’s efficiency and lack of marital red tape. While official Town Hall wedding applications can take up to six months to process, this can be expedited by going through one of the many private agencies on the island, often making them happen within two days (given that the minimum residency period before a wedding can take place is 24 hours).
As such, couples from across the world, especially from Germany which is close by and known for more onerous marriage laws, come in droves to the small Danish town. Only 50 couples that got married on the isle in 2015 were Danish.
Saved by the Wedding Bells
Aeroskobing, in 2008, was faced with a struggling economy. It was guided out of this slump, in no small part, thanks to the booming wedding business which saw around 5,000 weddings take place in 2018 (up from around 200 in 2008.) This influx of people has provided a great stimulus to the small-business centric economy of the town. Chain stores are nowhere to be seen in Aero (quite frankly, they would dampen its fairytale appeal) and in their stead lie many boutique stores where one can purchase handmade candles, liqueurs, and other souvenirs to take home.
The town has embraced its reputation for streamlining the logistics of love, with the registrars at the Aero Kommune Municipal Hall often performing over 40 ceremonies a day. A team of five registrars now work at the hall to churn out the marriages at a Las Vegas-esque pace.
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Apart from the Town Hall marriages (which can be conducted for 500 Krone, or around Rs 5,500), private agencies organise all-frills-attached ceremonies that have seen couples married on helicopters, on the beach, on a farm, and every other location under the Aero sun.