HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

15 Weddings in hot air balloons after Buddhist ceremony

15 Weddings in hot air balloons after Buddhist ceremony

Nikolaus and Indira from Chiang Mai to wed during record attempt

Nikolaus Prachensky has lived in Thailand for over twenty years. First in Bangkok; where he owned a 100 year old house.18 years ago, his job took him to Paris, but he left all his belongings in the house, which he considered his home. Friends in Bangkok persuaded him to rent out the house to a ‘lovely Thai lady’. For about two years, Indhira Sattayaphan rented Nikolaus’ house, living amongst photographs and personal effects, curious about this ‘man she had never met’. Likewise, when Nikolaus returned, he couldn’t wait to find out who the ‘lovely Thai lady’ who was living in his home actually was! They met and fell in love.

Indhira Sattayaphan (Sherry) and Nikolaus Prachensky getting married and representing Chiang Mai at the ‘Viva in the Air’.

After living in Bangkok together for a couple of years and taking holidays in Chiang Mai they both decided to quit the rat race and move here. They nearly lost everything when their new organic farm failed, however, in 1997, they started Siamese Traders. Having worked in the hotel industry they found their niche in organic food, teas and even Thai sea salt. The company grew and so did their love. They constantly thought about getting married, and always wanted a “different” wedding day, something to tell the children and grandchildren about!
When they heard about the ‘Viva in the Air’ hot air balloon weddings record attempt, they decided that it would definitely be “different”! 15 balloons and 15 couples were to wed on Valentine’s Day 2008. They put their names forward for consideration, (as did 40 other Chiang Mai based couples), and, at the end of last year, they were told that they’d been chosen! Although the Valentine’s Day date of the event had to be changed to March 8 due to the mourning period of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, nothing was going to stop this happy couple from participating. Indira’s Mum is coming from England, where she now lives. Unfortunately, Nikolaus’ father is not well enough to travel, so they will have another wedding in Austria in April. Like all brides, Indira is keeping her outfit for the day a very tight secret!
‘iva in the Air’is part of the Chiang Mai International Heritage Festival, which will take place at Lanna Polytechnic College grounds, (just off the Superhighway), on the three evenings of March 7, 8 and 9. The festival is from 4 m until 10 m, and includes stands and displays from more than twenty-two countries including Italy, Germany, the Philippines, Tahiti and Vietnam. There will be a songthaew shuttle service from Kad Suan Kaew each evening from 4 m until 9 m. Drivers: head north along the Superhighway from the Amari Rincome, go under the first underpass (MaeRim) and the grounds are immediately on the left.