I’m only surprised it’s taken this long for someone to come up with the “Marriage Vending Machine”…!
It’s part cathedral, part parking meter and part Cadillac. And it’s the latest invention out of Great Britain.
It’s called the AutoWed Wedding Machine – a kind of vending machine for wedding ceremonies.
It’s the brain child of Sam Lanyon, a 30-year-old electronics engineer who heads Concept Shed, an organization that Lanyon calls a cross between “a product design company and mad inventors.”
“We mix design, engineering and creativity to build wacky things, sometimes from our own ideas and sometimes with ideas from clients,” explains Lanyon in a phone interview with the Star.
AutoWed was a crazy idea that Lanyon had last year. He drew a rough draft in his sketch book, thinking wouldn’t it be funny to have a wedding vending machine that you could stand before to take your vows.
“That kind of wacky stuff goes through my head, often to my partner’s despair,” he said, explaining how he came up with the idea. “I should be remembering the shopping, but instead I’m inventing crazy things. It’s not a worthy trait.”
He and his team have been working on AutoWed for months, after selling the idea to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Detroit. That prototype is now finished and is sitting in Lanyon’s studio in Falmouth, England. It will soon be shipped to the U.S. to take its place in the Mechanical Museum.
The way the vending machine works is simple: You put in a $1 and it begins to play a special wedding march, then it asks you what kind of wedding ceremony you want: gay, straight, lesbian or best friend forever.
Once you have selected the type of wedding, then AutoWed takes over, conducting the ceremony in a robot-like voice straight out of Star Wars.
If you agree to marry, you press the number 1 on a computer keyboard built into the vending machine. If you don’t agree, you press 2 for “escape.” After you exchange vows, it dispenses two plastic rings.
Once the rings have been exchanged, a voice congratulates you and instructs you to kiss.
With the ceremony over, the vending machine dispenses a receipt with your names on it and asks you to hold on to it. – If the marriage fails, you can get a 10 per cent discount – with AutoDivorce.
The AutoDivorce vending machine is still on the drawing board, Lanyon confesses, but he thinks it would be a good companion piece for the AutoWed.
Since the story hit the Internet last week, Lanyon has been inundated with requests for information and possible purchases of AutoWed.
He is also quick to say the ceremony is not legally binding. It was designed as a novelty.
He’s surprised by the number of requests he’s received to buy the wacky wedding machine, including the United States, Brazil, the Philippines, Russia, Portugal, Italy, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan.
He has even had an email from a couple who wanted to renew their vows using AutoWed. But until more are manufactured they’ll have to wait.
Because of the enthusiastic response, Lanyon plans to make a scaled-down version of AutoWed that would be good for bars, hotels and pubs. “Hopefully there will be one in a bar near you soon,” he jokes.
Other wacky inventions by Lanyon and Concept Shed include mood monitors for the office and an animatronics version of Frankenstein’s monster.
I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be official, but would you get “married” by vending machine?