Wedding At Sea

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
2x2 grid of images of cruise ships

all images via stock.xchng (1,2,3,4) | photography by linder6580, coopgreg, taureq, OwnMoment

This “destination” wedding (well, really a multi-destination wedding) idea was another one we considered during the pre-engagement period where we could dream and theorize in private. While being “at sea” is usually a bad thing in a relationship–euphemistically speaking–when it means your world is on one ship with just about every whim catered to you, at sea sounds all right to me!

The Road Trips circa 2009 | Photography by Carnival Cruise Lines

The Road Trips circa 2009 | Photography by Carnival Cruise Lines

Mr. RT and I took a cruise vacation a few months before moving in together. Among other things, it was a nice trial run of sharing the same space 24/7 and–thankfully–we didn’t want to murder each other during or after the experience. We actually enjoyed being around each other constantly for a week. Score one for togetherness!

We loved the cruise, the floating resort-style vacation is exactly our cup of tea and we spent loads of time lounging in our room just chilling out and relaxing instead of feeling like we needed to be onthego all the time.

So what about a cruise wedding?!

The Pros:

  • Beautiful locations, just think of all the great photo ops!
  • Once you’re there, you’re there, and many of your needs are provided for.
  • It’s like a wedding and a honeymoon all in one!
There’s really something to be said for the idea of unpacking only once for a week spent travelling your chosen corner of the globe. And if you pick a port you can drive to, there’s virtually no luggage restrictions (this is great for bringing home souvenirs, just pack an extra duffle to carry them all home in so you don’t have to buy one in port–not that I’d know anything about that). The staff is very accommodating and, wow, do they love to spotlight the honeymooning couples for the shipboard activities.

The Cons:

  • In most cases, you can’t truly get married at sea anymore.
  • A cruise wedding can be price, between the wedding package plus your stateroom, and many don’t really provide a full reception, it’s more a cake and champagne affair.
  • Your friends and family are, effectively, on your honeymoon with you.

Ship’s captains lost the right to perform marriages at sea quite some time ago. These days you’ve got a couple of options: have a ceremony in your port of departure before embarkation or arrange (either through the cruise line or a private company) to have your ceremony on one of the port stops during the trip. The latter is a bit of a roll of the dice, though, as weather, mechanical failures or who knows what else could cause that particular port to be skipped or re-routed. For that reason in particular I’d suggest arranging a destination-port wedding with the cruise line as it’ll be easier to get a refund/rebook for the next port than if you use an outside company.

And speaking of bookings, the price of your ceremony package doesn’t always include the price of your stateroom, so you’re looking at at least two lump-sum fees, which may make this a less affordable option than previously thought. Some lines do offer discounts, however, if you’re booking a certain number of rooms (8 seems to be a common minimum), so if your friends and family are “on board” with the idea, you may all be able to benefit from the experience. Of course, if you’re more interested in a private honeymoon, having friends and family with you on the ship–no matter how big it is–might be a little too close for comfort by the end of the week.

So, while a cruise wedding was a fun idea at first, it didn’t make the final cut. But a cruise honeymoon–as cliche as it may be–could definitely be in the cards, right honey?!

(Seriously, we were <this> close to picking the Cruise Ship icon, we love them so much.)

Would you use your vacation time to go away on a cruise-ship wedding adventure as a guest?
And would you risk your wedding date being postponed or cancelled thanks to Mother Nature as a cruise-ship bride?

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