Gay wedding bells, and reindeer, in Sweden's Ice Hotel
Thomas Landreth and Brett Kessler did not expect to find themselves being married by a Lutheran minister in a chamber made entirely of ice, and dressed in thermal snow suits (temperatures indoors reach a balmy 23 degree fahrenheit). Then again, they are in the Arctic Circle, at the very tip of north Sweden, location of the world's premier ice hotel. As guests of SAS, the Scandinavian airline, which made history earlier this week by marrying two LGBT couples in air, shortly after take-off on a Stockholm-New York flight, the two men, who live in Chapel Hill, NC., had already spent the day snow-mobiling through the winter landscape and eating reindeer stew, a local specialty.
Although their marriage does not carry legal recognition (they would need to be residents to qualify), the service was conducted as any other traditional wedding. Local minister, Liselott Wikholm, said she had performed many weddings in the hotel, including at least one lesbian couple, but thought this was the first male couple she had married. "We are here to celebrate love," she told the congregation, before delivering a reading from St. Paul on love and inviting the couple to exchange rings. "It felt, in some senses very binding," said Brett afterwards. "We wish everyone we knew could have been here." And with that, he and Thomas were ushered into a sled, and driven off to their icy bridal suite by two reindeer lucky enough to have escaped lunch.
The newlyweds have the pick of suites for their wedding night (the hotel officially opens tomorrow), and have chosen Legacy of the River by designers Ben Rousseau and Ian Douglas-Jones because of it's Tron overtones. "I heard Daft Punk scored the soundtrack [to the movie] and was sold," said Kessler. The suite, with it's ice-capped neon lights, includes a bedstead made of ice, and covered in reindeer pelts.
Pictures: Top, Rev. Liselott Wikholm married Thomas Landreth and Brett Kessler; the couple head to their bridal suite, Between Worlds, which they picked over rooms such as A Sphere. A bar tender pours Absolut cocktails for the wedding party.