Nearly 300 Couples Plan to Get Married During Solar Eclipse in Arkansas: 'Once in a Lifetime Experience'

The weddings will be free of charge, with a wedding officiant provided along with decorations, flowers and a wedding cake



Hundreds of couples from across the U.S. are jumping at the chance to tie the knot under the solar eclipse.

The event called the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" festival will offer “astro-loving” couples the chance to get a free wedding near the time of the solar eclipse on Apr. 8 in Russellville, Arkansas, according to a website for the event.

A wedding officiant will be provided for free, along with decorations, flowers, a wedding cake and a sparkling fruit drink bottle to celebrate. The couples simply need to show up with a marriage license and bring their own attire. The wedding ceremony will conclude a few minutes before the solar eclipse reaches “totality,” according to the website.

"It's a once in a lifetime experience with the eclipse and a lot of couples have unique reasons for wanting to be married during that time," event organizer Rodney Williams told KATV.

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He told the outlet that the event has” grown way above my original expectations," with nearly 300 couples from across 22 states signing up for the mass wedding.

Carlotta Cox and Matthew Holloway of Knoxville, Tennessee, told KATV that they are traveling over 500 miles just to be a part of the ceremony because it would be a one-of-a-kind story to tell.

<p><br/>Tetra Images/ Getty Images</p> Stock wedding photo

Tetra Images/ Getty Images

Stock wedding photo

"Being in the path of totality during a solar eclipse is just something," Cox said.  "There's not an experience like it…”

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"When totality hits, the cicadas come out, and then all the other animals, night animals, they’re starting to come out for a few minutes and then the temperature drops," Cox continued. "I don’t know how to explain the feeling that it gives you.”

He noted that the fact that it didn’t cost a dime didn’t hurt either, saying, "For us, it was really that it was a free wedding.”

Families and friends can also attend the event to witness the wedding, though they need to purchase an admission ticket. The festival will also provide couples and their families and friends with entertainment before and after the solar eclipse.

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Various activities provided at the event include double escape rooms, hot air balloon rides, a rock-climbing challenge and other activities on site, according to KATV. 30 live bands are also set to perform during the event.

Williams said he was delighted to help facilitate the couples’ nuptials and give them a day they wouldn’t forget.

"I think the emotions from seeing the eclipse take place are just going to be a synergistic effect that heightens everything and brings tears to the eyes,” he shared. “Seeing the smiling faces and hopefully seeing stars and just being a part of that is going to make me happy." 

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