A pastafarian couple in New Zealand has become the first to "tie the noodly knot" in a legally recognized ceremony officiated by an ordained "ministeroni" from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The marriage of Toby Ricketts and Marianna Young (pictured) was conducted Saturday on a charter vessel decorated as a pirate ship at the scenic South Island town of Akaroa. The celebrations included pirate dress-ups and the exchange of a customized "terms of engagement" instead of vows.
"I wouldn't have got married any other way. A conventional marriage just didn't appeal," Young told Radio New Zealand.
"It's a formal recognition that we are a church and that's just great," pastafarian - as adherents call themselves - Karen Martyn, who officiated the wedding, told news agency AFP ahead of the ceremony.
The organization, while acknowledging that many of its practices such as embracing pasta-based puns, revering pirates and celebrating "talk like a pirate day" may have an element of humor, denies being a purely satirical church and is campaigning for acceptance as a legitimate religion.
Martyn said many more Pastafarian weddings were planned for New Zealand in future, including same-sex unions which the country legalized in 2013.
"We will marry any consenting legal adults who meet the legal requirement," she added.
Making it official
New Zealand granted permission to the church to perform legal marriages last year. At that time, the country's Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery, told German news agency DPA it was his role to apply the relevant legislation - not to judge the validity of the church's beliefs.
"That is one of the things that we celebrate in New Zealand is the great diversity of people who live here and the openness we have to different viewpoints."
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been having a harder time of it in Germany, where a court has banned the church from hanging up official signs at the entrance to a Brandenburg town alongside those advertising church services for the town's Catholic and Protestant churches. The church's Brother Spaghettus, alias Rüdiger Weida, vowed to appeal the decision.
The FSM gained worldwide attention in 2005 when Bobby Henderson wrote an open letter to the Kansas school board in protest of the teaching of intelligent design in schools, arguing that believing that a pasta god made the universe was no less valid.
Among other things, the church campaigns for followers to be allowed to wear colanders on their heads for driver license photos.
se/jlw (AFP, dpa)