In the Baltic Sea lies a small narrow island called Ærø. Winds sweep the landscapes with determination but the surrounding seas are protected by large bodies of land and are relatively calm. This Danish island consists of three tiny towns that have changed little over the decades. In the middle of these is the town of Ærøskøbing, where traditional colourful houses are well preserved, the inns have a vintage charm, cobblestone streets glisten with dew. Picturesque and quaint, the town would nevertheless fly under the radar of travellers if not for one specific service: the island of just 6,200 inhabitants plays host to up to 4,000 weddings a year. Couples come here from neighbouring Germany, from around Europe and around the world, for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are related to bureaucracy; the necessary paperwork in Germany and other countries for international couples would take months or years. Some of the reasons involve the progressive Danish laws; same-sex couples can marry here even if they can’t in their home countries. And others come for convenience or secrecy, in case their parents might object, or their families demand a large wedding neither can afford. Here the process is quick and streamlined for any nationality, requiring just an overnight stay and performed at the town offices in front of two retired witnesses who have already seen hundreds of happy couples tie the knot. Afterwards the newly-weds wander the streets and seaside in a happy daze, photographer in tow. The three restaurants in town feed couples just before their wedding or just after; often they outnumber the locals. The situation and conditions combine to make this tiny remote island one of the most romantic destinations on earth.
Northern promises : A remote Danish island serves as an intriguing destination for international weddings.