Floating along jewel-toned waters with your loved ones may sound like a scene of Winslet-and-DiCaprio caliber, but the reality of a wedding cruise can be just as magical. Affordable, accessible, and easy to plan, a wedding cruise allows you to choose a central port for boarding and to explore more than one destination on your trip. With any destination wedding there are details that must be attended to. Here are a few necessary know-how's if you want to become man and wife amidst whitecaps and salty sea air.
Wedding Cruise Know-How #1: Choose a Cruise
Unlike all-inclusive destination weddings, which are somewhat limited to the Caribbean and Mexico, a cruise wedding throws open the doors of unique destination possibilities. Alaska, Europe, and the Mediterranean are also additional destinations for you to consider as well as the Caribbean and Mexico. Weigh your options, and decide what type of wedding/vacation you want. You will want to allow three months for planning and execution of the details, regardless of destination.
Also, apart from choosing a cruise spot, you need to choose a ceremony site. Do you want to get married before you leave the port, or do you want to get married during the cruise? For more budget-friendly packages, cruise lines will offer a before-cruise port site for you to exchange vows. This option makes the first night aboard the beginning of a week-long reception party. For pricier packages, you can get married aboard the ship in a ballroom with all of the expected wedding trappings on whatever day you like.
Wedding Cruise Know-How #2: Choose a Wedding Package
Just as if you were going to fly across the country for a beach-side destination wedding, be sure to attend to the specifics about getting married on the ocean. First, you must obtain a marriage license (which you would have to do regardless). However, the good news for cruise weddings is that some cruise lines like The Royal Caribbean assign you a wedding planner to handle all of the mundane details. In that event, your planner will gathers the license, fee amounts, and surcharges so that once aboard you will simply have to sign on the dotted line.
Call the cruise line in which you are interested and ask them what their wedding packages include. Cruise weddings are amazingly simple to plan because everything is included in a flat fee. Some packages will even include tux or suit rental along with the traditional wedding staples: fresh flowers, an event planner, your choice of decorations, a tiered cake, reception food (cruise ships have some amazing chefs), beverages, wedding photography, and music. Also, choosing a cruise that is all-inclusive makes it easier for guests to attend, drink, and eat without worrying about dipping into their children's college fund.
Wedding Cruise Know-How #3: Plan Your Wedding Cruise in a Traditional Manner
Just because your wedding may not be traditional, does not mean that you should not communicate with your guests in the usual ways. Because it is a destination wedding, save-the-dates will be essential. As soon as you choose the date, get the details of your wedding in the mail pronto.
Be sure to mention that it will be a cruise wedding and that details will follow. A great idea is to launch a personal wedding website and include that web address on the save-the-date. Update cruise line details as they come available as well as travel agent information, package details, and destination information. This will be a huge help in allowing your guests to plan accordingly.
After you have gotten a gauge on your save-the-date response, send out your paper invitations 8 weeks before you tend to set sail. Planning enough time for all of the details to come together will be the most complicated part- but after all has been planned- a cruise wedding could be the most stress-free way to sail into matrimony.
Looking for places to stay during your travels? Check out our Caribbean destination wedding packages and venues.