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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Outcry over Titanic wedding
Kimberley Miller and David Leibowitz
The couple in their other guise as scuba divers
A couple's plans to marry on the bow of the Titanic has provoked outrage among relatives of people who died when the ship sank.

David Leibowitz and Kimberley Miller's plans have been condemned as an "insult".

Mr Leibowitz and Miss Miller will be re-creating the famous scene from the movie Titanic, featuring Rose and Jack together on the bow of the vessel, but two-and-a-half miles below the surface of the Atlantic.

The couple will not actually touch the bow. They will be in a mini-submarine resting on the deck during the marriage ceremony.

It's an insult ... that this couple should spoil the site by getting married

Brian Ticehurst, British Titanic Society
The scuba-diving couple, who live in New York, are part of a 16-strong group setting sail on Thursday from St Johns, on the Canadian coast, bound for the wreck site.

Their expedition has been organised by a Coventry-based company, which offered people the chance to win an opportunity to dive on the Titanic.

Subsea Explorer was flooded with about 28,000 entries to win the trip of a lifetime.

Bow of Titanic wreck
The couple will descend 2.5 miles to the bow
However, operations director Aiden Feeney said while Mr Leibowitz won a place on 23 June this year, it was more difficult to get Miss Miller aboard.

"When David won his place he rang us to ask how much it would cost to pay for Kimberley to go on the trip," he said.

"When we told him it would be $4,500 he was very disappointed, so I asked him whether he was prepared to get married."

As a result the couple secured Miss Miller a free place on the expedition and the company has thrown in $6,000 towards their honeymoon.

Film scene

Mr Feeney added: "We were already planning to offer a trip next year to re-create the moment from the film when Rose and Jack stood on the bow of the ship.

"This trip follows on from the end of the film and turns the sad ending in to a happy moment."

The couple will have to be on their knees because the submarine is so small and they will be dressed in flame retardant suits.

What's got to be remembered is that every time a couple gets married in church they have to walk through a graveyard to get to the altar

Aiden Feeney, Subsea Explorer
They say, however, they will be dressing in more usual outfits for the champagne party organised for when they return to the surface.

But the trip has been criticised by people in Southampton whose relatives died when the Titanic went down in 1912

Brian Ticehurst, of British Titanic Society, said: "Even today there are over 1,000 people in the Southampton area who have relatives that went on the Titanic.

"It's an insult to each one of those people that this couple should spoil the site by getting married."

'Sensitive' ceremony

Interviewed on American television, Mr Leibowitz and Miss Miller rejected the assertion that their marriage was "typically American" and the "height of bad taste".

Mr Miller said: "This expedition is also the first time that ... relatives of people who were passengers and crew will be making a pilgrimage and they find no fault in what we're doing."

Mir submarine
Mir: The mini-sub used by the expedition
Mr Feeney added: "We will make sure the ceremony is carried out as sensitively as possible.

"What's got to be remembered is that every time a couple gets married in church they have to walk through a graveyard to get to the altar."

He also added other members of the expedition group included relatives of two people who were responsible for sending out the SOS signal from the ship when it struck the iceberg.

"There is also a relative of the ship steward who rowed away in lifeboat 13 as the ship went down, after he had been passed a baby, who is Milvena Dean, the oldest living survivor of the tragedy."

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