At six o'clock in the morning on 20 May 1993, a special group went through the security check at Helsinki Airport: she was wearing a full-length gown and he was in a dark suit. They were accompanied by a female priest.
Anu Kosonen was about to tie the knot at the airport.
'After the security check, we were taken to a side room where the priest married us with two witnesses present', Anu explains.
The idea came from her mother, who had read about the possibility in a paper and mentioned it to Anu.
'I loved the idea right away! We decided to be married at the airport and then just hop on an aeroplane for a honeymoon week in Cyprus', she reminisces.
'It wasn't difficult to organise. I was told what to do by phone, and all the preparations were nice and easy. We booked the priest ourselves and let the airport know, and they took care of everything else.'
An early departure and wedding
Anu remembers that she hardly slept the night before.
'I had my hair done in the evening and then, of course, couldn't squash it, so no sleep for me', Anu laughs. 'The next morning we were ready to pick up the priest very early, around five'.
'It was wonderful to be able to take off for Cyprus right after the ceremony'.
Our witnesses were a Finnair steward and a good friend of mine, Marjut Hirvonen, who worked at Helsinki Airport's Aurinkomatkat office at the time.
'The side room was a nice place: it felt very peaceful and the priest read us a beautiful speech'.
After the ceremony Anu swiftly changed into her travelling outfit.
'Marjut took our ceremony clothes and dropped them at our home while we headed to our gate'.
From the ceremony to the honeymoon
Before stepping on the aeroplane, Anu had a moment to call her mother-in-law, who was slightly confused by Anu presenting herself as Mrs Kosonen.
'She didn't know anything about our plans, and it took a moment for her to realise that we had just gotten married in secret'.
After boarding, the pilot congratulated the couple through the loudspeaker system. The other passengers applauded and wished the couple joy too.
The happy surprises continued: the flight attendant handed the newlyweds two big bottles of champagne that their friends had pre-ordered for the flight as a gift.
'If you have ever dreamed of starting your honeymoon right after being announced husband and wife, then just go for it. It's a great way of tying the knot!
For Anu, it was all surprisingly simple to organise.
'I love the feeling of being on your way to somewhere and the atmosphere at the airport. It felt very grand and international, and it was wonderful to be able to take off for Cyprus right after', Anu Kosonen says happily today, 22 years later.
The memories are still vivid in her mind. The couple didn't get any wedding photos, but haven't really missed them either.
'In Cyprus we took a couple pictures of each other – even some with both of us – and they work great as wedding photos', Anu laughs.