CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - In the realm of happy endings, it's tough to top a fairy tale wedding that ends with a kiss and a total solar eclipse.
So it is understandable that couples nationwide are lining up to get married Monday, all timing the ceremonies to end when the moon covers the sun for just over two and a half minutes.
This national wedding blitz will start about 10 a.m. in Oregon, where the eclipse will first be seen, and end at about 2:50 p.m. in South Carolina. At least a dozen eclipse weddings are happening in South Carolina, including a group wedding in Belton, two hours south of Charlotte.
The latter is being billed as a "Solar Eclipse of the Heart" and features six couples standing in an open field: Five marrying for the first time and one renewing vows. The organizer, Bell Jar Barn, is supplying everything from the photographer to the special glasses needed to view the eclipse. And, of course, Moon Pies at the reception.
The cost: $300.
Among the couples are David and Susan Summer of Anderson, who are renewing their vows. They got married just 18 months ago, but 61-year-old David Summer says it was a "rush job" in a grocery store deli. A notary republic officiated for $50 and there was no honeymoon.
"We were in a hurry to get married, and Ingles deli was the only place the notary would do it," he said, sounding apologetic. "We came straight home and I carried her up the stairs."
Summer intends to make it up to his wife Monday. If all goes as expected, they'll be pronounced man and wife again just before the eclipse. "I'll see my beautiful bride in her dress. Then, comes another sight: The world going dark in the middle of the day."
Susan, 52, will wear a knee-length, white lace dress and the same 5-inch heels she broke her foot in not too long ago. There could be a slight limp in her walk, she says.
She believes the eclipse is naturally romantic.
"When the sky goes all black, there's a silver band around the sun. It looks like a wedding band to me," she said.
Connie Turner, owner of Bell Jar Farm, came up with the idea of hosting a "celestial event" and it got a lot of media attention, including coverage by The Weather Channel. Six news crews plan to be there to cover the wedding, she said.
"We have a 22-acre farm and we're at ground zero for the best view," said Turner, a wedding planner by trade.