When Zach Horrall, a social media specialist at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Corlan McCollum, a children’s librarian, got engaged two years ago, they wanted to connect their wedding to a larger event. At first, they considered Halloween, but when they realized Indianapolis was in the path of totality for the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse, they changed course.

The two are planning an outdoor wedding, with the ceremony timed to the approximately three minutes and 45 seconds of totality in the Indianapolis region. They hope their 75 guests will pay more attention to the eclipse than to them.

“It takes a little bit of the pressure off, because you’re also bringing people to experience the eclipse,” Mr. Horrall, 27, said. “They’re not just solely focused on you.”

Tying their wedding “to something like this makes it a bigger deal — like, yes, I will use this major celestial event for my wedding,” added Mr. McCollum, 21.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, entirely blocking the face of the sun and darkening the sky. The April 8 eclipse travels a path beginning in Mexico before entering the United States through Texas, going through parts of the Midwest and Northeast, and then exiting through eastern Canada.

While areas outside that path may see a partial eclipse, most people planning eclipse weddings are focused on the path of totality. During this time, stars can be seen, the temperature drops and solar prominences swirl out from behind the dark disc of the moon, creating a dramatic experience, according to Bob Baer, a specialist at the Carbondale School of Physics and Applied Physics at Southern Illinois University and the co-chairman of the Southern Illinois Eclipse 2017-2024 Steering Committee.

Mr. Horrall and Mr. McCollum, who are asking guests to wear either all black or all white in accordance with the eclipse theme, aren’t the only couple planning an eclipse wedding. And it’s not only couples planning private nuptials, either: Several cities in the path are holding mass weddings.

Rodney Williams, who is organizing a three-day eclipse festival in Russellville, Ark., aptly called Total Eclipse of the Heart, got the idea to add a wedding component from the city’s tourism logo, which features a heart.

“With all the other festivals taking place that day, I wanted something that would differentiate us,” said Mr. Williams, who owns a hot-air balloon business in Branson, Mo.

Russellville’s mass wedding, announced last July, has 332 couples registered. While Mr. Williams expects some no-shows — the wedding is free, minus the cost of a festival ticket and marriage license — it’s expected to be one of the largest eclipse mass weddings on April 8.

Planning to wed there are a couple from Memphis — Miriam Maxey, 34, a preschool teacher and yoga instructor, and Nick Demari, 39, a mobile app developer. Ms. Maxey was getting stressed by wedding planning when an ad for Russellville’s mass wedding popped up on her Facebook page.

“I was looking through the notes on my phone from last year and it said, ‘Remind yourself about the April 8 eclipse,’ but I had no idea I’d be getting married then,” said Ms. Maxey, who added that she and Mr. Demari are astronomy fans. “I wholeheartedly believe the energy is going to be big — like this magnetic, high-vibe energy.”

The small town of Tiffin, Ohio (population 17,765), will be the location for Seneca County’s Elope at the Eclipse event, a free mass wedding.

Bryce Riggs, the executive director of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Destination Seneca County, said that by the time registration ended on March 29, 150 couples from across the country had signed up.

“I would say it’s 10 percent locals and then the rest is folks traveling in,” Mr. Riggs said. “We have a cumulative travel of 16,600 miles to the county to get married.”

The city of Akron, Ohio, which is in the path of totality, decided to do things a little differently. The Akron Municipal Court is offering a free eclipse wedding, officiated by Akron Municipal Court Judge David Hamilton at Cascade Locks Park, for the winners of its essay contest.

Kylie Thanasiu, 29, a registered nurse and stay-at-home parent, and Timmy Bryan, 29, who works in his family’s plastics business, are one of two winning couples. The pair, from Akron, met at age 16, bought a house five years ago and have a 14-month-old daughter named Rosie. Mr. Bryan proposed two years ago.

Ms. Thanasiu was perusing the courthouse website when she saw the contest and decided to enter.

“Part of why I chose it, aside from the amazing eclipse day, was because a lot of my family members will have the day off,” Ms. Thanasiu said. Schools and many businesses in Akron are closing on April 8 for the eclipse.

April 8 falls on a Monday — typically not a desirable wedding day — and yet there are nearly 750 weddings listed on The Knot, a wedding website. Compare that with Monday, April 10, 2023, when there were around 360 weddings listed. But another Monday in recent history also proved to be a popular wedding date, most likely for the very same reason. The last solar eclipse in North America was Aug. 21, 2017, and there were about 990 weddings listed on The Knot then.

Jim Cross, 67, a retired packaging industry consultant in Homosassa, Fla., proposed to Michelle Cross, 55, a retired postal worker, in 2015 and asked her to marry him on Aug. 21, 2017, in Greenville, S.C. While Mrs. Cross was initially perplexed by his specificity, she said yes. As a self-described “cosmologist enthusiast,” Mr. Cross was already anticipating the eclipse, and knew it would be a special day to get married.

“I put the two things I loved together the most, and that was Michelle and the cosmos,” Mr. Cross said. “I wanted to give her a wedding that would be hard to forget.”

Sagarika and Adam Ellenberger of Belle Mead, N.J., also wed on Aug. 21, 2017. They had decided on a destination wedding near Breckenridge, Colo., at Lake Dillon. Originally, they reserved Sapphire Point Overlook for Sunday, Aug. 20, but when Mrs. Ellenberger, 37, a clinical program manager for a biomedical research foundation, read about the eclipse, she realized it was happening the day after their wedding and that Lake Dillon was just outside the path of totality. The couple quickly adjusted the date.

“Everybody agreed afterward that they felt an amazing type of energy flow that occurred right after the ceremony,” said Mr. Ellenberger, 41, a pharmaceutical scientist. “It felt like nighttime during daytime, and I was really exhilarated the entire time.”



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