Kate Middleton Inspires Balloon Wedding Dress
When a bride walks down the aisle, she should feel like she's floating on air -- so maybe a wedding dress made out of balloons isn't such a crazy idea.
One woman who likes the idea of balloons as clothing -- or at least wearable art -- is Thelma Levett, 55, a balloon artist in Leicestershire, England.
Now Levett's career is blowing up big, thanks to a wedding dress she recently made that was inspired by the one Kate Middleton wore at her wedding earlier this year.
"It's not a replication," she told HuffPost Weird News. "The Daily Mail said that and now I'm getting all sorts of comments. I never claimed it was Kate Middleton's dress -- that wouldn't translate to balloons -- but it is in the spirit."
Levett has spent the past 16 years expanding the notions of what a balloon can do. And it's finally paying off. Last November, she was declared "International Balloon Twister of the Year" by Ralph Dewey, a balloon artist from Deer Park, Texas, who annually gives out honors to folks like Levett who are furthering the craft.
"It's a very prestigious honor," she said.
Levett's latest dress has more than 5,000 balloons and took more than four days to blow up. But not every balloon was inflated.
"I did a bodice with inflated balloons, but my daughter, who modeled the dress, didn't like the way it added inches to her waist, so I weaved uninflated balloons together," she said. "It took a couple of months."
She designed the dress in such a way that there won't be an annoying squeaking noise when the bride walks down the aisle -- something that could put a pall on any wedding day.
"That won't happen," she emphasized. "Not unless the undergarments are balloons as well."
Levett says her one-of-a-kind wedding dresses usually have a short shelf life, so it's unlikely that any balloon-loving bride will be able to pass her dress along to her daughter.
"The air lasts about three days, less if it's helium, and more if it's filled with nitrogen," she said.
Levett would like to make other wedding dresses -- which she says cost at least $812 each -- but there is one potential customer who won't be buying: Her 22-year-old daughter, Vicky, who is the model for this balloon dress and who is getting married in February.
"She's had to put up with this for 16 years and, while she appreciates it more than she used to, I think she wants to wear something more elegant."
Wacky Weddings and Proposals
Robert Darling, 56, lives in Bradley Beach, N.J., but goes to New York three times a week and holds up signs like these in hopes of finding his future wife. He's been doing this for 10 years and has one date to show for it -- and she just wanted him to marry her friend for a green card.
98-Year-Old Wears 1938 Dress, Again
Agnes Anderson, 98, walked the aisle in her 1938 wedding dress for a second time. The West Michigan woman put on the vintage gown -- which she wore during her wedding 73 years ago -- for a fashion show featuring classic bridal gowns at a church in Muskegon.
Dressed to the Nines: Sept. 9, 2009, sure was a popular day to get married across China and Malaysia. The number 999 is considered lucky in Asia, so hundreds of couples tied the knot on the special date, as shown here at the Thean Hou temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As luck would have it, all couples appear to be dressed to the nines for their big day.
Couple Renews Vows For 99th Time
Lauren and David Blair renewed their vows in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Oct. 2, 2011. It was the 100th time they tied the knot and in the process, they set a Guinness World Record for "Most Marriage Vow Renewals by the Same Couple."
Dancing Carrott Proposal
In this photo taken on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, a total of 49 people dressed in giant carrot costumes dance on a square before Pang Kun, one of the 49 carrots, proposes to his girlfriend in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. According to Chinese news reports and photos posted online Pang has spent three weeks and 100,000 yuan ($15,000) for his wedding proposal to his girlfriend, assisted by his 48 friends, on China's Valentine's Day which fell on Aug. 6.
Roller Coaster Of Love
On Feb. 12, 1999, 13 couples boarded the Ghostrider Coaster at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., for the ride of their lives. They happily said "I do" while zipping through the air, experiencing their first run of the ups and downs that come with being married. Wonder if they got to cut in line for the ride?
Runners Marry At Boston Marathon
Marriage Marathon: Marriage isn't a race, it's a marathon, and no one understands that better than Aaron Russell and Pattiann McAdams of New York. The sporty duo were married while running the Boston Marathon on April 16, 2007, and took a breather from the race to say "I do" on Heartbreak Hill in Newton, Mass. To be comfortable for the race, the groom sported a tuxedo shirt, while the bride opted for an all-white running ensemble.
Atlanta Thrashers season-ticket holders David and Cindy Pritchard are married on the ice during the first intermission of the game between the Thrashers and the Boston Bruins at Philips Arena on Dec. 30.
Red Roses, Red Cars
Love Blossoms: Talk about love in bloom. On Aug. 15, 2010, groom Xiao Wang and his bride Xiao Liu were married in Chongqing, China, surrounded by 99,999 red roses. Wang spent an entire year's salary on the flowers, which had to be transported to the wedding ceremony by a fleet of 30 cars, all adorned with the blossoms. In China, the number 999 is considered good luck, so here's to hoping their union continues to grow.
Larry Allen Austin
A judge sentenced Larry Allen Austin an Oklahoma man to four years in federal prison on a firearm charge, then minutes later performed a marriage ceremony to wed the new inmate and his longtime girlfriend. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman)
Kelvin Kwong, right, and Ashley Tse kiss during a Valentine's Day engagement party at a McDonald's fast-food restaurant in Hong Kong on Feb. 14. Thrown as a surprise by the groom, the function was the first of its kind for McDonald's, which hopes that its "Wedding Party" will appeal to loved-up couples looking for a bride with their Big Mac. For around $1,300, potential customers can expect food and music for up to 50 guests.
Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: When lovebirds Damon and Heather Landry were in need of a best man for their wedding, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch took the wheel in a flash. The duo wed at the Las Vegas Motor Speed Way on Feb. 27, 2009, and Busch was there to hand off the rings and wish them well. According to ESPN, Busch pulled double duty that day, partaking in the wedding and logging his first victory of the season right afterward.
On July 17, 2011, diving instructor Alberto Dal Lago, 41, and real estate agent Karla Ysunza, 43, attempted the world's largest underwater wedding off the coast of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. The two needed 260 other divers to participate in order to break the record set in June 12, 2010, by Francesca Colombi and Giampiero Giannoccaro of the coast of Elba Island, Italy, but only got 205 total.
Wedding In German Ice Chapel
Icy Reception: German couple Klaus Grunenberg and Anita Bolik got one icy reception at their wedding -- and they loved every second of it. The couple married on Jan. 4, 2009, in a chapel made entirely of ice in the ski resort town of Kitzbuehl, Austria. Grunenberg built the chapel specifically for the affair over the course of four days and vowed to let other couples use it for their own weddings until it melted that spring.
One couple has boldly gone where no other has gone before by tying the knot in Britain's first Klingon wedding ceremony at a Star Trek convention to celebrate the much-loved TV series in London in October 2012.
Hot Air Balloon Wedding
Full of Hot Air: This bride and groom were full of hot air on their big day in Berlin. Christof Galuschka, right, and Evelyn Neew locked lips on July 22, 1998, aboard a hot-air balloon that was set to take off during their vows. Unfortunately, just two days before the wedding, authorization for their sky-high nuptials was yanked, bursting the bubble on what would've been Germany's first-ever hot-air balloon wedding. The couple went ahead with the prop, knowing their ceremony wouldn't be valid, and vowed to make their union official later.
A couple in a hot-air balloon wave to spectators during a sky wedding ceremony at the Daming Palace Ruins Park in Xian of Shaanxi Province, China. Fifteen couples rode in hot-air balloons to celebrate their wedding ceremony. (China Photos / Getty Images)
Married On 11/11/11
Liz Magro and Scott Pittman are getting hitched on November 11, 2011 -- or 11/11/11 -- in part because 11 is their favorite number. The couple plan to sit everyone at a table marked "11," and will have the DJ play at least one song in 11/4 time. They plan to honeymoon in Sicily, where Mongro's Dad has 11 acres of land.
Diving instructor Alberto Dal Lago, 41, and real estate agent Karla Ysunza, 43, are attempting the world's largest underwater wedding on July 17 off the coast of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. The two will have 260 other divers to participate in order to break the record set in June 12, 2010, by Francesca Colombi and Giampiero Giannoccaro of the coast of Elba Island, Italy.
Oh, Honey: This love was simply meant to "bee." On July 16, 2010, beekeepers Li Wenhua, left, and Yan Hongxia were married in Ning'an, China, while covered in a swarm of 10,000 bees. The honies have worked with insects for more than 20 years, so the nuptials were a perfect fit. To create a buzz for their ceremony, the bride and groom each held a queen bee, which lured the rest of the swarm onto their clothing.
Balloon Wedding Dress
Vicky Levett wearing the Kate Middleton wedding dress that her mother Thelma Levett made out of balloons. Thelma Levett lives in a balloon world. She has spent the last 15 years making everyday objects out of balloons. She has just mad a Kate Middleton wedding dress out of 5000 balloons.
Couple Marry In Industrial Freezing Box
Chill Out: Czech polar explorer Vaclav Sura, right, took his cool hobby to new levels by marrying his bride, Martina Kolouchova in an industrial freezing box in Jirny, near Prague, on July 21, 2007. The temperature during their ceremony was a crisp minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit, but nothing Sura couldn't handle since he'd conquered an expedition to the North Pole two years prior to tying the knot.
Bridal Couple On Bus
Bridal Bus: For this Chinese couple, their wedding was a public affair. They wed aboard the top level of a double-decker bus in Hangzhou, China, on April 23, 2005. The public bus route took the pair around the West Lake region of the city, a pretty, scenic place for a wedding.
Wedding At Manila Jail
Old Ball and Chain: On Dec. 8, 2008, 14 inmates at a jail in Manila, Philippines, took a time out from being locked up to marry their old ball and chain. The group ceremony was sealed with a kiss, and it looks like the grooms sprang for fancy attire rather than their standard prison gear for the special occasion.
Valentine's Day Aquarium Wedding
Aquarist James Oliver, left, slips a ring onto Kathryn O'Connor while a giant green turtle swims by during an underwater blessing on Valentine's Day in the Ocean Reef Display in the London Aquarium on Feb. 14. Celebrant Daniel Winchester conducted the ceremony from the other side of the glass using placards to communicate with the couple. The couple, neither of whom believe in a formal wedding, dressed in wedding finery and breathing apparatus and received their blessing surrounded by giant green sea turtles, cownose rays and shoals of colorful fish.
Leap Of Faith
On Feb. 14, 2009, a couple in Thailand took a leap of faith into wedded bliss -- literally. Here, Kunanan Jantri proudly holds his new bride and their marriage certificate while having their wedding ceremony in midair. In an eastern province of Thailand, it's become tradition for couples to rappel off cliffs on Valentine's Day.
One Wedding And A Funeral Home
Mozelle Wales, 72, married Gene Kincheloe, 66, on Feb. 14, 2009, at a funeral home in Twin Falls, Idaho. The couple met at a grief-support group there a year earlier after they both lost their longtime spouses and decided to begin anew together.
Cake Shaped Like The Bride
This bride looks good enough to eat. Chidi Ogbuta, right, and her husband, Innocent, cut into an amazing cake -- a life-size version of Chidi in her wedding dress. The 5-foot dessert was served at a celebration after the couple renewed their wedding vows. It contained 200 eggs and 7.5 liters of amaretto, and weighed 400 pounds.
Shark Underwater Wedding
Diver Down: This couple is really taking the plunge. April Pignataro and Michael Curry married on June 6, 2010, at the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in Riverhead, N.Y. The bride wore a white scuba suit, and her attendants included a couple of moray eels, sand tiger sharks and a huge Queensland grouper. A crowd of 75 aquarium guests cheered from behind glass.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house during the underwater wedding of Bob Woodberry and Emily Johnson in the Florida Keys on Aug. 22, 1998. The lovebirds dove into holy matrimony in the depths of Key Largo, right next to a bronze 'Christ of the Deep' statue. Amen to that.
In The Market For Love
It's a woman's two favorite things in life: commitment and shoes. Lisa Satayut and Drew Ellis wed at the T.J. Maxx store in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Aug. 3, 2010. The couple tied the knot in the shoe isle -- Satayut's self-professed "happy place" at her favorite discount retailer.
Getting Married At Halftime
What better way to tackle marriage head-on than to get hitched during a football game? On Oct. 22, 1995, a mass wedding was held for 200 couples during halftime of a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. Billed as the largest wedding in NFL history, the couples wore anything and everything to their big day -- from traditional formal wedding attire to more casual garments such as cut-off jean shorts and sombreros.