TIME wedding

A 79-Year-Old Norwegian Man Swam Across Fjord to His Own Wedding

man swim open water
Getty Images

"He's like a seal"

Trygve Bernhardsen, 79, was very excited to marry Ellen Hertzberg, 69. And he wanted to prove it. So he decided to swim slightly over 2,600 feet of fjord – clad in a bow tie – to marry his bride.

Hertzberg, who said Bernhardsen is an avid swimmer, told the local paper that she didn’t have much of a say as to whether or not Bernhardsen would make his swim. “He didn’t want to marry me unless he was allowed to swim to his bride,”she said. “And I thought that was great.”

Bernhardsen was accompanied by his two grandchildren on the swim, which was fortunate, because he said the 57-degree water started to get to him by the end. “It was terribly cold, I could feel the cold towards the end of the swim. My legs were completely stiff.”

But Hertzberg, who met Bernhardsen 15 years ago when he tied his yacht near her home (hashtag Norwegian courtship), never had any doubts about her man’s abilities.

“I was never afraid. He’s like a seal,” she said. “This swim was nothing for him. I have found the best man in the world.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Social Media

Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Confirms News of Wedding in Facebook Post

The Brazilian-born billionaire tied the knot in June

Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co-founder of Facebook, confirmed that he got married last month in a post on the social-media website Sunday.

Saverin posted a photo of himself with his bride, Elaine Andriejanssen, with a message in English and Portuguese. “I am incredibly happy and thankful to have married the love of my life,” the post said. “I look forward to building a family together and to contributing our time and resources to make the world a better place.”

Andriejanssen is of Indonesian-Chinese descent and works in the finance industry, Singapore’s Straits Times reported. She met Brazilian-born Saverin when he was at Harvard University in Massachusetts and she was a student at nearby Tufts University.

Saverin, portrayed by actor Andrew Garfield in the 2010 Facebook biopic The Social Network, moved to Singapore in 2009 and gave up his acquired U.S. citizenship two years later. The 33-year-old is said to be worth more than $5 billion.

TIME Weddings

Funeral Homes Could Be the Hot New Wedding Venue

Cemetery Weddings
Darron Cummings—AP Danessa Molinder walks toward the Crystal Tower for photos before her wedding at the Community Life Center, which sits on cemetery land near a funeral home in Indianapolis.

The funeral industry is declining as costs increase

Funeral homes are looking to expand their businesses as the industry has become, er, sickly in recent years.

They’re helping people tie the knot, as opposed to simply honoring the dead.

The Associated Press reports that funeral home owners are seeing their profits shrink as people go for less costly funeral services these days. This week, Connecticut became the nation’s most expensive place to die because of hefty new fees for settling estates.

“As a business, we need to find ways to keep growing,” Bruce Buchanan, who owns a funeral home, told the AP.

“People aren’t as religious as they once were … and their attitudes toward death are changing,” he added. “Funeral homes were seen for one reason: to have a funeral. Now they’re being used for all kinds of things.”

The typical funeral costs $8,000 to $10,000, according to Forbes. Meanwhile, the funeral industry in the U.S. is reportedly worth around $20 billion. The average wedding costs around $30,000, and the industry is worth an estimated $55 million.

MONEY everyday money

5 Things to Know Before Hiring a Wedding Planner

Father of the Bride
Buena Vista Pictures —Everett Collection In "Father of the Bride," Martin Short (second from right) played an unusually enthusiastic wedding planner

Be prepared to save a lot of time (though not a lot of money).

Whether or not to hire a wedding planner is really a decision about how many decisions you feel like deciding.

For some brides, the ability to leave the stress of the nitty-gritty details to a professional is worth setting aside 10% of their wedding budget—the amount Wisconsin-based industry veteran Nancy Flottmeyer recommends to cover a planner’s fees. Then again, some brides thrive on the planning process, and the (sometimes) thousands of dollars they’d pay a planner could be spent on the honeymoon (or, better yet, paying down credit card debt or establishing an emergency fund–you’re a grown-up now, you know).

One common misapprehension: don’t expect that hiring a planner will pay for itself via discounts and bargains that the planner will be able to snag. The value of a paid planner is that he or she has enough relationships in the industry to make sure you’re matched with the best vendors in your price range.

“We just know how to get the most out of your money,” says Flottmeyer, a Professional Wedding Planner™ and founder of Weddings by Nancy. “If a wedding planner promises they can get the best discounts, that’s just a price shopper.”

If you decide hiring someone is right for you, here are a few things you should know.

The main goal: a good relationship

The hands down, holy grail, No. 1 thing to consider when choosing a wedding planner is the relationship between the bride and the consultant. “The planner and bride have to connect on a personal level,” Flottmeyer says. If the relationship is strong, the planner can speak up during consultations with vendors to help the bride get the options that best suit her style. “I can tell if a business is rubbing the bride the wrong way,” Flottmeyer says. “I can say, ‘No, she hates it, let’s move on.'”

The best way to determine if your personalities mesh is to shop around for planners. Initial consultations let you get a feel for each other and determine whether or not you will be on the same page during the planning process.

Know what to ask during your consultation

Consultations also give you the opportunity to ask how much time the planner will be able to devote to your wedding (some have full-time jobs and plan on weekends, while others might take multiple weddings on the same day), get to know the planner’s past projects, and ask about their education.

“It’s very important to ask if they belong to any associations,” Flottmeyer advises. “You can’t survive in the industry on your own. You have to network.”

There are no formal education guidelines for wedding planning, but professional organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants offer training classes that lead to industry certifications. Going with a planner that has stayed up to date on industry trends and specifics can help you feel confident that the money you’re shelling out for his or her fee is worth it.

Decide what kind of planner you are going to invest in

Planners offer different levels of service, so it’s important to make sure you know how much help you think you’ll need. Consulting and “day-of” services are cheaper but significantly less comprehensive than a full-service planner who will attend vendor meetings with you, help design your overall concept, and be there to make sure everyone sticks to a timetable. Consultants can help get you on the right track and offer advice, while day-of planners will only be there to help the ceremony you already planned run smoothly. Knowing what services are covered when you hire someone is extremely important and exactly why you need to read the fine print of your agreement (more on that later).

Many venues also offer planning services, but they might only deal with venue-related issues like rentals and day-of coordination.

It’s an expense—budget for it

Flottmeyer says it’s not uncommon for her to be reviewing a budget with a bride and find one key fee missing—the planner’s.

“A lot of clients put it outside the budget,” she says. Because certain elements are sometimes paid for by third parties (parents, for example), brides don’t always consider them in the overall cost. Though it’s likely the number skews high, TheKnot.com estimates the average cost of a wedding at $31,213 in 2014. Using Flottmeyer’s 10% rule, you’re looking at a $3,000 line item that is completely missing from your budget. Not having a clear understanding of your expenses can lead to overspending, so it’s best to keep the budget comprehensive and focused.

Examine the contract

Some wedding consultants get paid by the businesses they promote, so you want to make sure to read the agreement closely before signing. Asking the consultant directly how they structure their fees, including whether or not they accept compensation from vendors, is a fair question, says Flottmeyer. “Ideally, the answer should be, ‘We recommend the best business for you,'” she says. They should be focused on connecting you with vendors that he or she believes are the best fit for your aesthetic and budget, not on collecting extra fees.

However, many planners have invested a lot of time in cultivating relationships with specific vendors, which can help a bride feel confident in the recommendations she is given. The planner-vendor relationship only becomes problematic when fees are prioritized over the bride’s wishes.

The contract will also outline the cost of services, which can vary greatly depending on the type of planner you’re hiring. Reviewing it with a fine-tooth comb can help you avoid miscommunications or surprises on your wedding day.

Bonus tip for getting more for your money:I always tell brides to treat everyone with respect,” Flottmeyer says. “When you do, the flowers get bigger, the band plays longer, and sometimes vendors might not charge you for little extras. It’s common sense—treat everyone kindly, and consider tipping or extra gifts as a thank you.”

TIME On Our Radar

Double Happiness: The Strange Use of Cigarettes at Chinese Weddings

Found photographs in a Beijing garbage dump unveil a fading wedding rite.

Cigarettes played an unexpected role in Chinese weddings in the 1980s and ’90s: the bride had to light a cigarette for every man attending the wedding banquet as a token of gratitude.

Thomas Sauvin, a French photography collector and editor who has lived in China for more than a decade, had no idea of such custom until he stumbled upon a picture of a couple smoking a hand-made cigarette bong at their wedding.

Sauvin has been collecting photographs taken by ordinary Chinese since 2009, when he discovered a garbage dump on the outskirts of Beijing that housed bulks of discarded 35mm. negatives, ready to be processed to extract silver nitrate. He bought the negatives by the kilo and started an archival project, Beijing Silvermine, which now houses an estimate 500,000 negatives. The photographs, shot between 1985 to the early 2000s, when digital replaced analog, offer a surprisingly intimate glance at Chinese lives against the backdrop of the country’s vast social changes.

The couple’s candid yet ingenuous cigarette-smoking wedding photo fascinated Sauvin so much that he spent months sifting through his entire archive, looking to piece together a fleeting tradition even young Chinese today find surprising.

“What is unusual with this series is that found-photography projects usually tend to unearth a story within one stranger’s personal life, but here, it’s a slowly disappearing custom which is bringing the images together,” Sauvin tells TIME.

Now, the photographs have come together in a pocket-sized photobook, Until Death Do Us Part, delivered in a real package of Double Happiness Cigarettes, a well-known Chinese cigarette brand whose symbol is also commonly used at weddings. The packs, 1,000 of them, were all crowd-sourced from users on Chinese social media, Sauvin says.

Thomas Sauvin - Until Death Do Us Part - LR - 02

The book is published by Jiazazhi, one of the few independent photobook publishers in China. Now in its fourth year, it has accumulated several award-winning titles, including Chinese photographer Zhang Xiao’s Coastline, and Zhang Kechun’s Yellow River.

“Teaming up with Jiazazhi was a no brainer,” Sauvin tells TIME. Foreign publishers can often feel helpless in the face of China’s strict regulations on the publishing industry. “I surely wanted this book to be accessible to each and every one in China,” he says.

The series and images from the larger archive are certainly getting noticed in China. With 800 of the 1,000 copies already sold within the first month, half went to domestic readers. “First, [Chinese] tend to be surprised that I am interested in clumsy snapshots of such a recent past, but things hopefully seem to start making sense when they discover the unexpected series I put together with this archive,” he says.

Sauvin also hopes that by presenting the life of everyday people, more people abroad will see the country in a new light. “The way China is depicted in the West tends to be very extreme, very passionate, haters being obsessed with corruption, destruction and pollution, lovers being obsessed with martial arts, calligraphy and tea,” he explains.

Although the fashion of hand-made cigarette bong is vanishing, Sauvin believes that his collection is a “piece of history, written by everyday people,” and may even help bring the dying custom back to life.

Thomas Sauvin is a French photo editor and collector based in Beijing. His new book, Until Death Do Us Part, published by Jiazazhi, is part of Beijing Silvermine, an on-going collection of Chinese vernacular photography.

Ye Ming is a writer and contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter @yemingphoto and Instagram.

TIME Crime

Sister of South Carolina Shooter Crowdfunds For Cancelled Wedding

Funds will be for "dream honeymoon," but she'll donate 10% to A.M.E. Church

When Dylann Roof allegedly killed nine people at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., last month, he didn’t just destroy families and prompt a national reckoning with the racial legacy of the Confederate flag. He also ruined his sister’s wedding, which was scheduled for four days later.

Dylann Roof’s sister Amber was scheduled to marry her fiancee Michael Tyo on June 21, according to a registry on TheKnot.com. Amber Roof was the one who called authorities after she saw her brother’s face on the surveillance footage from the church, the Washington Post reports, and Roof’s fiance Tyo lives in Shelby, N.C,, near where Roof was captured.

The wedding was cancelled because of the massacre, but Amber and her fiancee had started a GoFundMe page to help them recoup lost wedding expenses and go on a “dream honeymoon.” The website was live as of Thursday morning, but had been deleted by early Thursday afternoon.

The GoFundMe page called “A Fresh Start for Michael and Amber” appeared to have been created by Amber Roof. On it, she wrote:

As many of you know Michael and I had to abruptly cancel our wedding day, due to the tragedy that occurred in Charleston. June 21st was suppose to be the happiest day of our lives. It is the day every girl dreams of, it was the day we dreamed of. We had each other, we have the perfect venue, and we had our vows ready to be read. We were ready! We had planned out every detail for months and months. It was going to be the PERFECT day!

Our wedding day was suppose to be the most important and special day of our lives. It was suppose to start our lives together with our new family. Our day was the exact opposite. Our wedding day was full of sorrow, pain, and shame, tainted by the actions of one man…

We cancelled our wedding to protect our family and mourn the lives of those lost…

She noted that “money cannot replace the wedding we lost and our perfect day, however it will help us to create new memories and a new start with our new family.” Roof wrote that she wants to start her new family on a “positive note.”

Money raised will be used to cover lost wedding costs, to pay bills, and to send us on our dream honeymoon. 10% of all funds raised will be donated to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The page had raised just over $1,500 of the $5,00o requested before it was taken down Thursday afternoon.

TIME Family

Why I Think It’s Selfish to Have an Adult-Only Wedding

The truth is, I just can't afford so many kids-free weddings

Wedding season + kids + babysitter = a tulle-filled circle of hell.

This summer, my husband and I have approximately 10,000 weddings to attend. O.K., that’s an exaggeration, but it definitely feels that way. In and of itself, our plenitude of weddings are a good thing. Drinks! Dinner! Butter cream frosting!

The only problem with all these weddings this summer is that the vast majority of them don’t include an invitation extended to our offspring.

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And while I totally get that most couples don’t want to fork over the cash to pay for some snotty-nosed children to eat a few rolls and bust a move in the chicken dance, adult-only weddings have become my nemesis.

On one hand, I love the idea of an adult-only wedding. The chance to eat a kids-free meal and drink it up with my husband — which actually means like two drinks because I’m the world’s biggest lightweight (thanks kids for those perpetual pregnancies) — is pretty much my idea of heaven right now.

But the truth is, I just can’t afford so many kids-free weddings.

And frankly, after the third one, they kind of lose their appeal a little. Green beans and rubbery chicken, a few painfully drunken toasts, did they cut the cake yet, and are you ready to go yet?

I know every couple thinks their wedding will be different and the event of the century, and I appreciate that — I really do. I’m happy for you all, and I’m sure you put a lot of thought into that cupcake table and the vintage-inspired centerpieces, and the photo booth props, really. But a wedding is a wedding is a wedding.

For couples that have kids, an adult-only wedding is a painful decision-making process that includes weighing the cost of a babysitter with the most special night of your lives, which is just another weekend in ours.

For us, to attend the ceremony and a reception, I’ll easily shell out over 100 bucks on a babysitter, plus the wedding gift. It’s a horrendously expensive date night and I’m sorry (and no offense to you and the love of your life), but that’s really asking a lot of your guests with young children.

I know you think that you might be doing us a favor by giving us a “night out,” but that’s not really the case when $100+ could buy me a whole lot of date night elsewhere.

Part of me doesn’t buy all the justifications couples use for not inviting kids to their wedding. The uber-fancy wedding, granted, I can accept. I wouldn’t want my kids breaking any crystal, either.

But if you’re like the rest of us, hosting a pretty standard wedding and reception and aren’t inviting kids because of the cost, it’s a tough pill for me to swallow. I’d rather bring my kids after dinner, or pop them on my lap to share my buttered roll, so we could all attend your special day without it costing me an arm and a leg to be there.

And is it just me or do kids sometimes make the party?

Who else has such a carefree lack of inhibitions (sober) on the dance floor? Who else can you do the robot with and not feel like an idiot? Everybody dances more when there are kids around and parents don’t have to hurry home to pay the sitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I will be a good little wedding guest this summer and shell out the cash to a sitter when I can, and send a polite card when I can’t, but part of me wishes that if you care enough to want me (or my money) at your wedding, you could make it a little easier on me to be there with my family.

Because I want to be there, I really do, but preferably not while going bankrupt in the process.

This article originally appeared on YourTango

More from YourTango:

TIME LGBT

See Some of the First Same-Sex Marriages in States That Didn’t Previously Recognize Them

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down the ban on same-sex marriages in all 50 states. These images show some of the first gay marriages Friday in states like Texas, Nebraska and Georgia, where same-sex marriages previously weren't recognized

MONEY Weddings

The Ultimate Wedding Gift-Giving Guide

stacked wedding gifts
Paul Taylor—Getty Images

When, whether, and how much to give.

If you’re attending a wedding this summer, there’s probably one question weighing on your mind: What should you give the happy couple?

Figuring out how much to spend, what type of gift to give, and even when to deliver a gift is tricky, particularly if your generosity exceeds your budget.

To help you sort through all those thorny gift-giving conundrums, we asked wedding etiquette experts to weigh in with their best advice.

How much should I give as a wedding gift?

“There is no rule. Give whatever you feel is appropriate for your budget and your relationship with the couple,” says Nancy R. Mitchell, a protocol and etiquette consultant. “There is this misconception that people are supposed to give a gift that equals the cost of their meal at the wedding, but it is tacky to look at a gift that way.”

On average, according to a 2013 survey by American Express, people spend $179 on a close family member’s gift, $119 on a close friend’s, $114 on a relative’s, $79 on a friend’s, and $66 on a coworker’s.

Wedding etiquette expert Lizzie Post adds that if your budget is on the lower end, say under $25, it may be better to give a physical gift rather than cash.

Is it ok to go off the registry?

Yes. “If items listed on the registry aren’t within your price range, or if you want to give the couple something else you know they would enjoy, that’s fine,” says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman.

Just be sure to keep the couple and your relationship in mind. “Think creatively if you can’t spend a lot of money,” Mitchell says. “I know people who have given the gift of their services or skills to the couple. People get so bogged down with a dollar amount, but it’s the thought that counts most.”

If you’re uncomfortable thinking outside the box (or don’t know the couple well enough), but everything left on the registry is too pricey, consider giving a gift card to the store where the registry is listed, Gottsman suggests. Or you could go with Post’s standby: an engraved picture frame. “Really small and simple things can be really valuable when specified to that day and couple,” she says.

Is it rude to give cash when the couple is registered?

I don’t think anyone is going to turn down cash,” says Post. “And at the end of day, if they have cash left over, then they can go get the wedding registry items they didn’t receive.” About half of couples agree with Post, saying that the gift they’d most like to receive is cash, according to another Amex survey released in April.

If you have to travel to get to the wedding, should that impact how much you spend on the present?

“You should never feel bad if travel costs impact your gift budget,” says Mitchell. “If you’re spending money to be there on their day, that is a huge contribution already. It is more important that you give within your means.”

Should you mail the couple the gift or give it to them at the event?

Best practice is to send the gift ahead of time or directly after the wedding, Mitchell says. “Never take the gift to wedding. It becomes too much of a burden on family members to protect the gifts and too easy for gifts to disappear, especially in a public place. Then the family must transport them and cards fall off. It creates a lot more work.”

If you’re part of the wedding party, how much should you give for the gift?

Given that if you’re part of the wedding, you’re already spending quite a deal of money on the event, from clothing to showers, as well as tons of time and effort,” says Gottsman. “Go in with the other bridesmaids and give one nice big gift as a group.” The couple typically does not expect to receive individual gifts, she points out.

If the couple is asking for monetary donations to a honeymoon fund or home downpayment, but you’d rather give a gift, is that ok?

“It is up to you to make that decision,” Gottsman says. “The couple is just making a suggestion. If you would prefer to give a gift or feel uncomfortable contributing to these types of expenses, you don’t have to.” If you find such a request offensive, don’t mention it or feel like you have to explain why you’ve opted for a different gift.

If the couple says ‘no gifts please,’ but you want to give something, should you?

“It is most appropriate to respect the couple’s wishes,” says Post. “If you bring a gift to the wedding, you could make the couple and guests who didn’t bring gifts feel uncomfortable.”

She suggests that if you really want to treat the couple to something, give them your gift after the honeymoon, when you can privately celebrate together, say at a dinner out.

If you’re a plus-one, are you supposed to bring a gift?

“You allow the person who was invited to take care of that,” says Gottsman. “You can ask the invited person if they would like you to go in on the gift, if you feel very close to her or him.”

If the couple gave you a gift or check at your wedding that you know you can’t reciprocate, what do you do?

“Gifts are not reciprocal. You do what you can. You just have to hope that the couple understands this and won’t take offense if the gift isn’t what they were expecting,” says Post.

Focus instead on giving a thoughtful gift that will pack a big emotional value, says Gottsman.

Do I have to send gift if I don’t attend the wedding?

“If you receive a wedding invite, you’re usually expected to send a gift, but a gift is never a requirement,” says Mitchell.

Gottsman advises you to use your judgment. “If you value your relationship and will see the couple again, you do want to send them something. What you give, of course, depends on your situation and relationship with the couple. Just be sure to send the gift before the wedding or very soon after, within a month of it passing.”

Read next: How to Be in Your Friend’s Wedding and Not Go Broke

TIME celebrity

Amy Schumer Photobombs a Couple’s Engagement Shoot in Central Park

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Alisha Siegel

"Who else would photobomb an engagement shoot like that?"

Now that’s one for the wedding album.

Engaged couple Joseph Turnage and Brandon Moore were posing for engagement pictures recently in New York’s Central Park with photographer Alisha Siegel when notorious funnywoman (and prankster) Amy Schumer popped up while jogging and joined in on the photo-shoot fun.

Siegel was in the middle of snapping photos of the soon-to-be-married duo near the reservoir on 86th Street on the east side of the park when she heard someone yell, “Oh my god! Are you taking engagement photos? Let me get in one!” Siegel recalls of the run-in.

“I thought it was a little weird, but I said yes anyways,” Siegel tells PEOPLE. “She took off her sunglasses, we snapped a quick pic, and right after, she says, ‘You guys know I’m like reeeeeeal famous.’ I take another look it hit me that it was Amy Schumer!”

The Brooklyn-based photographer admits that the encounter was a complete shock, leaving her just a bit starstruck.

“My face went totally blank and I said, ‘Oh my god! Amy! I love you!’ Needless to say I was pretty excited,” says Siegel, 25.

And the couple, who are set to wed in Manhattan in October, were just as stunned.

“I think we were all in shock that it had actually happened. We were just doing our thing and taking pictures. Never in a million years would we think Amy Schumer would want to jump in a photo,” Siegel says, also noting that the Comedy Central star was “beyond friendly” and “hilarious.”

Adds Siegel, “Who else would photobomb an engagement shoot like that? Only Amy.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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