Officiating at weddings

A couple kiss in a safari jeep with a Just Married sign on the back of it
Image from Virgin Limited Edition
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 9 May 2018

When you picture a wedding, who do you picture officiating the ceremony? Believe it or not, but every now and then, it’s me.

When we launched Virgin America, I was ordained as a minister in order to declare a happy couple husband and wife for the world’s first wedding at 35,000 feet. It was a great success, and since then I have been fortunate to officiate at many weddings.

Richard Branson smiling at a newly married couple dressed as a vicar
Image from Ben Eye

Lots of these have taken place on Necker Island, where Joan and I got married, as well as Holly and Freddie. I love standing in front of a husband and wife-to-be on Turtle Beach, or the Sandspit, or Bali Hi, and uttering the words, ‘You may now kiss the bride.’ As I wrote in Finding My Virginity, they aren’t exactly traditional ceremonies, but they’re always memorable! I’m always in favour of side hustles and entrepreneurial ventures – perhaps this could be one of my more surprising career moves.

One of the wonderful couples I officiated for got in touch recently, when they were celebrating their one year anniversary. As you can see, the wedding was on the beach on Necker Island. And yes, when I officiate at weddings, it is one of the rare occasions that I do put a suit on – even on the beach!

I was reminded of a rather more traditional ceremony recently too, when I was sent this delightful photo from the wedding of my dear Aunt Clare and Uncle Gerard. Yes, the page boy is yours truly…