Luxury travel company Oliver’s Travels is offering its wealthy clients an innovative wedding service – a sky clean up. For a hefty fee of over $150,000, they actually offer to pop clouds and induce rain up to a week before their wedding, in order to ensure clear blue skies on the day of the ceremony.
It might sound ridiculous, but cloud seeding is actually a legit scientific technique. It involves the firing of rockets filled with silver iodide crystals into rain clouds from a light aircraft, or from the ground. The icy silver particles freeze the water droplets in the clouds so that they continue to grow in size and eventually fall out of the cloud as snow, turning into rain just before hitting the ground.
Cloud-seeding isn’t exactly new; it was developed in Russia in the 1940s, to prevent unexpected rainfall from disturbing Soviet rallies. Since then, the technique caught on quite well and has been used extensively all over the world to prevent fog in airports, boost snowfall at ski resorts, and stop hail-damage in cities. In China, cloud-seeding is used before public holidays to induce rain, disperse pollution and ensure clear skies. The technique was even used at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011.
Oliver’s Travels has now extended the technology to the mainstream wedding planning industry. “We pride ourselves on our quirky approach, and are thrilled to be able to offer such an unusual, unique service to our customers, to ensure their wedding is the talk of the town,” said co-founder Oliver Bell. The company is primarily into organising destination weddings at castles and stately homes in England, Italy and France, and beach weddings in the Caribbean.
Photo: Oliver’s Travels
“We’re proud and just a little bit excited to be able to offer an exclusive ‘cloud-bursting’ service to our customers, 100% guaranteeing fair weather and clear skies for when you tie the knot!” the company’s website declared. “Upon requesting the service, a crack team of pilots and meteorologists will begin meticulously planning the operation, which takes about three weeks and utilises particles of silver iodide to condense the water vapour from clouds into rain. Costs start at £100,000, but then this is some superhero-style weather modification we’ve got going on here – and what price perfection?”
Photo: Oliver’s Travels
As brilliant as cloud-seeding is, it does have a few limitations – it only works on small or medium-sized clouds, and there are a few environmental concerns as well. Nevertheless, the company is currently offering the service in France, and plans to expand to the UK if it proves successful.