WTF Fun Fact 12811 – Pope Francis Conducts Mid-Air Wedding

Imagine being on the same flight as Pope Francis (we’d feel pretty safe, all considered). Then imagine striking up a conversation with him and having him offer to officiate a second wedding for you!

Pope Francis’ mid-air wedding offer

In 2018, Paola Podest Ruiz, age 41, and groom Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, age 39 were working as flight attendants on a flight from Santiago to Iquique, Chile. The couple had already been legally married in a civil ceremony in early 2010, but they had planned to follow it up with a church ceremony.

However, on February 27, an enormous earthquake hit the country – it measured 8.8 on the Richter scale and caused a massive tsunami that further damaged coastal areas. 525 people lost their lives, and it was clearly no time for a wedding. But the couple always regretted not being married in the church.

Of course, Pope Francis, being a big fan of a Catholic wedding blessing offered to help the couple out by conducting a ceremony right then and there, on the plane, in the sky!

As far as anyone knows, it’s the first time a pope has conducted a mid-flight wedding.

The couple’s reaction

Despite being legally married for years, the couple jumped at the opportunity.

Mr. Elorriaga told Sky News (cited below): “We told him that we are husband and wife. That we are married. That we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing. All of a sudden he asked us if we were married by the church too. We are not married by the church because the 2010 earthquake happened on the day we got married.”

The pontiff then asked the most important question:

“He took our hands and he asked if there was love in our marriage and if we want to keep on being together for life. He asked if wanted to stay together until the end. We said ‘Yes’. We laughed for a while. It was very moving. He blessed us. He married us. It was a huge emotion, we are very, very happy.”

The Vatican confirms the story

You might be tempted to think the story is at least partially made up, but Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed the mid-air wedding.

“Something totally extraordinary happened today, which was that the hostesses and the stewards going to get their photos taken and one said: ‘We are a couple, we met on a plane.’ And as they walked back they said that the Pope married them in a religious ceremony, which obviously has never happened on a papal plane before. They were super happy. The first time the Pope heard about it was this morning, it wasn’t part of the plan.”

We just wonder…does the drink cart court as an open bar ceremony?

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Pope marries flight attendants in mid-air wedding” — Sky News

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WTF Fun Fact 12710 – Elvis Is Leaving Vegas

Chapels can no longer use Elvis’s image and likeness for Las Vegas weddings, according to cease-and-desist letters obtained by CNN.

Authentic Brands Group (ABG) asked Vegas Weddings and Viva Las Vegas Weddings to stop conducting The King-themed weddings because they are infringing on intellectual property rights owned by Elvis’s estate and creating “the false impression that Elvis Presley Enterprises has approved, endorsed, or sponsored the Infringing Chapel. The Infringing Chapel is clearly trading off the Elvis Presley intellectual property rights, image, name, and likeness without the consent of Elvis Presley Enterprises.”

Authentic Brands Group purchased the intellectual property associated with Elvis in 2013. 

They released a statement saying:

“As the guardians of the Elvis Presley estate, it is our responsibility to safeguard his legacy. This includes ensuring that all products, services, and advertisements utilizing Elvis’ name, image, or likeness are officially licensed by Elvis Presley Enterprises. The estate has strong relationships with official Elvis tribute artists, fan clubs, and festivals, as well as a robust global network of licensed merchandise partners. There is no intention to shut down chapels that offer Elvis packages in Las Vegas. We are seeking to partner with each of these small businesses to ensure that their use of Elvis’ name, image, and likeness are officially licensed and authorized by the estate, so they can continue their operations.”

In case you need the tl;dr version, it’s not so much that Elvis is leaving Vegas but that the owners of his name, image, and likeness would like a cut of the profits from Elvis-themed weddings.

The wedding industry in Las Vegas has argued that they help keep The King’s legacy alive. ABG has backtracked a bit on their initial statement:

“We are working with the chapels to ensure that the usage of Elvis’ name, image, and likeness are in keeping with his legacy. Elvis is embedded into the fabric of Las Vegas, and we embrace and celebrate Elvis fandom. From tribute artists and impersonators to chapels and fan clubs, each and every one of these groups help to keep Elvis relevant for new generations of fans.”

It remains to be seen how it’ll all work out, but if you had an Elvis-themed wedding planned in Vegas, you’ll want to double-check your plans! – WTF fun facts

Source: “Las Vegas wedding chapels receive Elvis cease-and-desist letters” — CNN

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WTF Fun Fact 12708 – Parents Sue For Grandchildren

In a story that raised eyebrows around the world, a couple in India is telling their son and daughter-in-law that waiting six years for a grandchild is just too long (or at least long enough).

Sanjeev Ranjan Prasad and Sadhana Prasad paid for an education in the U.S. so their son could become a pilot, bought him a luxury car, and financed his lavish wedding and overseas honeymoon. And now they are looking for payback in the form of a grandchild to dote on.

The couple’s lawyer, Arvind Srivastava, seems to understand: “I feel very sorry for them because I am also an Indian and I can understand their pain,” he said. “This is an Indian parent thing.”

There are probably plenty of prospective grandparents around the world who can sympathize with the disappointment, but it’s the lawsuit (and the accompanying feeling of entitlement) that is…let’s say…puzzling.

They seem to feel that the money was an investment in their own child so they could get something back – in the form of a grandchild. They’ve expressed sadness, embarrassment, and now a bit of litigious rage that the couple seems to have no interest in having a baby after six years. And they seem to think that they are now owed $650,000 for the disappointment and humiliation they have endured.

The deal is that the young couple can now take a year to produce the heir or pay up, and a northern Indian court is overseeing the case (which, according to most legal scholars, will go nowhere).

But regardless of whether or not the case just goes away, it’s raising a debate about what kids owe their parents, legally and spiritually.

According to the NYT: “In the Hindu faith, as in other traditions, children have a duty to repay a moral debt to their parents by taking care of them in their old age. Having grandchildren is also seen as necessary to carry forward a family’s lineage and help one’s parents achieve enlightenment.”

Here’s an interview with the parents involved:

 WTF fun facts

Source: “No Grandchild? Six Years After Son’s Wedding, These Parents Are Suing” — The New York Times

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