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Wed, Oct 10, 2007

If This Were Anyone Else, It Would All Be Very Strange

Sir Richard Branson To Conduct Wedding On SFO-LAS Flight... And Then...

Wednesday looks to be a busy day for Sir Richard Branson, founder and head of Virgin Group.

The flamboyant billionaire plans to perform a wedding ceremony at 35,000 feet, onboard the inaugural Virgin America flight from San Francisco International to Las Vegas, NV... which, in addition to its title as the gambling capital of the US, is also home to a high number of 'quickie' weddings (many of them ill-considered, true... but that's not keeping with the spirit of this, so we digress -- Ed.)

Branson will join his marketing director and his marketing director's fiance in holy -- and marketing-friendly -- matrimony, according to Virgin corporate communications director Abby Lunardini.

"He is ordained as a minister in the Universal Life Church, based in Modesto," Lunardini explained to NBC-11, before helpfully adding, "You apply for that online."

"We thought Virgin America and Las Vegas would be a perfect match," Lunardini continued. "Since many people travel to Vegas to get a quickie marriage, we thought it would be a fun thing to do, to have a wedding on the flight."

After the wedding, Branson and the rest of the Virgin gang -- including Virgin America CEO Fred Reid -- will host a party at the Wynn resort, according to Lunardini... replete with a celebrity poker game and dancing girls, natch.

While an in-flight wedding isn't something you'd expect from, say, United or American Airlines (Southwest, on the other hand... as long as both bride-and-groom were tastefully dressed...) it does fit the admittedly zany style Virgin America has used to set itself apart from other low-cost carriers.

As you may recall, this is the airline that asked its passengers to name its planes; Branson also received some ink for tossing a glass of water at Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, during an interview to promote Virgin's naming of one of its A320s "Air Colbert."

So, one could argue in-flight nuptuals is actually rather tame, for this group anyway... but that isn't all Branson apparently has planned.

In a release to ANN, Virgin sent out notice of another planned activity marking the launch of Virgin America's Vegas service... Sir Richard also plans to repel 407 feet off the Palms Casino Resort's Fantasy Tower, in a ceremony hosted by magicians Penn and Teller.

Branson is scheduled to take the giant leap -- as it were -- at 1800 PDT, according to Virgin.

Like we said, if we were talking about anyone else...

FMI: www.virginamerica.com

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