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Photo: Stocksy/Ania Boniecka

Ready your tissues (and your passports), because the story behind this whimsical island and its unlikely role in the “I dos” of thousands is likely to bring you to tears (and to plane tickets).

According to Travel+Leisurethe picturesque, hygge-forward Danish island of Ærø has long been a well-kept secret, even among those who live in Denmark. The population is just 1,000, and many of those inhabitants live in the island’s central city of Ærøskøbing, a preserved medieval town that looks as though its been ripped straight from a storybook. 

In 2017 alone, 4,000 weddings took place on the small island. (That’s more than 10 weddings per day, every day!)

Something surprising has been happening in on Ærø as of late, however. In 2017 alone, 4,000 weddings took place on the small island. (That’s more than 10 weddings per day, every day!) The setting is Instagram-perfect, to be sure, but that’s not the main reason for this far-flung corner of the world’s popularity among those looking to say “I do.” Instead, many flock here to exchange vows because it’s relatively simple, from a paperwork standpoint, to get married on the island, especially for those looking to make same-sex unions official. 

“Denmark is likely to remain the simplest place to get married in Europe, if not the world,” John Moloney of Danish Island Weddings, a wedding agency based in Ærøskøbing, told T+L. “We get maybe 20 percent of weddings that are same-sex, and some of them have had a horrible time, especially if they’re in a country which is bigoted—often they’ve thought they could never get married.”

Adding to the sweetness of this setup is the fact that the locals tend to play roles in these now-ubiquitous ceremonies. “Everyone’s involved in the weddings here,” a local farmer told T+L. “I even drive some of the couples in my old Mercedes.” #Swoon.

One local shop sells affordable wedding bands for another quickly-growing demographic of lovebirds flocking to the island: those who want to elope, ASAP. So, should you feel daunted by the prospect of planning a more traditional wedding somewhere closer to home, you might consider a trip with your beloved here. Because if you don’t leave the vacation as husband and wife, you may just find yourself to be in the minority. 

One couple that most definitely will not be eloping? Harry and Meghan. Find out which healthy ingredient they might include in their wedding cake. Plus, there’s another unexpected wellness-world darling making the wedding-circuit rounds: weed

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