Destination Wedding

Pros & cons of cruise ship weddings

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

What better way to do it than to have your wedding on a cruise where you sail the open seas. Versus running around town to check out dozens of venues, could you imagine looking at dozens of beautiful destinations?

Places like Glacier Bay in Alaska, Budapest, Hungary, or Durnstein, Austria, and St. Petersburg, Russia are among the top cruise ship destinations.

A wedding at sea on the open water as the sun sets simply cannot be beaten. For the couple who loves an adventure and wants to use a cruise to tie the knot, this might be the best consideration. But before you start planning your wedding on a cruise, there are a few pros and cons you need to consider. Planning a cruise wedding does come with its share of logistical challenges that land-based weddings do not have.

Is a cruise ship wedding for you?

What Are The Pros And Cons To Having A Cruise Ship Wedding?

I’ll breakdown what you need to know before you decide to host your wedding on a cruise ship, from which cruise line to pick, what is included in a cruise wedding, to not having enough time at port. The best advice is to make sure you ask the right questions before committing to the idea.

Here Are the Pros To A Cruise Wedding

Cruise Weddings Offer Some of the Most Beautiful Backdrops

While there are plenty of great land-based wedding venues, it’s hard for them to stand up against Boracay White Beach in the Philippines. Not all weddings require tons of flowers, draping, and lighting. An outdoor ceremony at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world will impress anyone. I can promise you that your bank account will thank you for allowing your surroundings to set the mood.

The Benefit Of A Pre-Sail Ceremony

For couples who want to invite friends and family who are not actually going on the cruise, this is a great option. Guests not a part of the cruise can board the ship before the ship sails. This allows the couple to have their wedding ceremony and have an after party before guests have to leave. This works well for couples who don’t want a wedding reception and want to use the cruise as their honeymoon.

A Variety Of Onboard Activities

Enjoy onboard performances

Most cruise ships come with a daily schedule of activities for you and your guests to choose from. This aids in making your wedding trip more of an experience. You can go full throttle on Carnival’s first coaster at sea. Princess Cruises offers Rio’s Carnival onboard and other festivals around the world depending on where you sail from. Carnival even offers a

Serenity Adults Only Retreat

Even if you want to relax after your wedding, most ships have spas, lounges, fitness classes, and other low profile activities. I recommend checking out what each ship offers to better align with your adventure needs.

Cruise Ships Are All-Inclusive

When planning a wedding the #1 thing you’ll consider is how to keep your wedding budget in check. Most ships offer you the essentials that are included in the cost. This includes food, beverages, entertainment, transportation, and hotel services. Some may argue that because a ship doesn’t include alcohol that it is not really all-inclusive. If you are looking for a truly all-inclusive cruise ship, consider:

  1.       Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  2.       Crystal Cruises
  3.       Silversea Cruises
  4.       Seabourn Cruise Line
  5.       Viking Ocean Cruises

Stay Within Your Wedding Budget

By now I’m sure you have heard how out-of-hand wedding budgets can get. The beauty of having your wedding on a cruise ships offers you full visibility of what things costs. Why is this different from land-based weddings? Weddings on land can fluctuate. Your guest count can go up, you might need more flowers, you now want a dance floor wrap. There are many variables that can increase the overall cost of your wedding when at home.

Should you have a cruise wedding, you’ll know the price ahead of time. Unless you add on miscellaneous items while on-board you can expect this to be a flat fee. A few things that are not normally included in your cruise fee are airfare and excursions.

Cruise Lines Are LGBTQ Friendly

You can find a variety of cruise lines like Carnival who offer weddings for same-sex couples. Carnival launched its Bermuda weddings in 2018. Cunard also welcomes LGBTQ couples on their three ships.

Here Are the Cons to A Cruise Ship Wedding

Quick Port Visits

Getting married in port

If you decide to have your wedding ceremony while at a port, understand that the port calls may only be a few hours. The standard port call is somewhere between five and nine hours, However, there are some cruise lines that focus on immersing you into the destination. This allows you to be there overnight or even a couple of days. Either way you need to factor in the length of your trip an the time it takes you to get off the ship, set up, and get ready for your ceremony.

Getting Married Legally At Sea Is Complicated

The process of marrying overseas can be time-consuming. Legalizing a wedding in a foreign port can also be tricky. You want to be sure that your documents will remain valid in your country. In some cases, you might need to do the legal paperwork before or after your cruise wedding.

A few other requirements you might encounter are:

  1.       Blood tests
  2.       Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry
  3.       Documents translated into the language of the country you will be married in

The State Department offers more details to consider when trying to have a legal marriage abroad.

Cruise Ship Weddings Come With A Small Guest Count

If you are the type of couple that is looking for a celebrity wedding with a 3,000 rose hanging installation, you might not be happy with the simplicity of a cruise wedding. Are you looking to invite 300 guests to your wedding? Understand that more people will decline your cruise wedding than if it was on dry land. Cruises are not for everyone and many fear being surrounded by so much water.

For destination weddings, you can expect about 50 percent of your invitations coming back as a NO. Although cruise ships can be an advantage, they still come at a higher price point. Because of this, many guest will decline your invitation.  

Be Mindful Of Cruise Surcharges

Cruise weddings are on the rise and cruise lines have taken notice. Many cruise lines now levy surcharges for certain times of the year. This means you’ll pay more if you want your wedding on Valentine’s Day or in May and June. If you are having your wedding on a new ship, you can expect to pay a surcharge for that too.

Don’t Count On The WiFi

The internet has become a big part of our lives. Americans check their phones 80 times a day, says the New York Post. The problem is that many cruise ships still do not offer WiFi to meet your online needs. This can be frustrating to any couple who wants to share their wedding with family and friends back home.

For the ships that do offer Wifi, it is not free. Pricing still remains high as internet connections at-sea cost millions. Some cruise lines are finding alternatives. Carnival does offer a social media package at $5 a day since it doesn’t require a log of bandwidth. Other cruise lines offer packages by the minute or megabyte. Disney and Royal Caribbean charge 35 cents per MB.

You May Not Be The Only Couple Getting Married

Are you the type of couple who wants a private wedding? If so, a cruise is not going to offer you this. Additionally, understand that you may not be the only couple getting married on your ship. While getting married on land does offer you being the only couple getting married at the venue that day, this may not be the case on a cruise.

beautiful scenery to cruise ship weddings

In Conclusion

Most couples who are repeat cruisers will find getting married on a cruise ship as the best choice to make. Others might be up for the thrill, but need to do more research to make a decision. Whichever end of the spectrum you find yourselves on, understand that being flexible is vital. While it may be hard to remove what you’ve seen at land-based weddings from the process, it’s important to be as educated as possible.

Consider hiring a Cruise Ship Wedding Planner or a travel agent that is familiar with what cruise weddings involve. When it’s all said and done, wedding cruises are a good option. The open seas, the food options, beautiful destinations, and entertainment all make for a beautiful story to be told. With careful planning and an open mind, you can truly have the wedding of your dreams.

Help finance your cruise ship wedding with a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

Bio: Andrew is a proud Army Veteran who likes to call himself an Event Storyteller. As the CEO of Andrew Roby Events, he has 13 years of planning experience working with brands such as The CW, The Knot, CNN, Fox, The International Spy Museum and many others. What gets him really excited is the chance to work with charities such as Ms. Veteran American, The Cinderella Foundation and volunteering with So Others Might Eat.

Andrew says “It’s not just about planning events. It certainly isn’t about me. It’s about making sure my clients get the best help to reach their bottom line.”

 

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No cookie-cutter wedding for you

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

You’ve always been into things luxurious and palatial, so why should your wedding be anything less than an over-the-top affair? Or perhaps you prefer to keep it low key but still want your wedding to be out of the box. This isn’t just any old wedding – and it shouldn’t look like it. Sure, no matter what type of wedding you want, you can take inspiration from movies, magazines, and your besties, but this is your day, and just like you, it should be one-of-a-kind. A cookie-cutter wedding is the last thing you want.

Make your wedding unique

What’s Unique About Both Of You? Brainstorm Time!

Typically, brides dislike cookie-cutter weddings because they have seen the same details, the same cake, and listened to the same songs over and over again. They want their wedding to be different and after a while, all the Pinterest inspiration begins to look the same.

Do you want Fido as part of our wedding?

How can you make your wedding stand out? Well, it starts with both of you! Sit down together and brainstorm what you both love, what makes you unique. Jot down and discuss all your likes, dislikes, and things you don’t like at weddings. Your wedding must absolutely compliment your lifestyle and core values.

Add a Star Wars touch

But how you can incorporate your diverse personalities into your wedding. For example, if you dislike DJ’s or bands than hire a dueling piano instead. Getting married on May 4th? Add a Star Wars touch. Do you love Chick Fil A? Get catering for the end of the night munchies. Do you love puns? Do what one of our brides did and use puns as your table numbers. Have a furry friend? Add them to your wedding party or even have donations to rescue societies. Love fall? Add white pumpkins with succulents flowing out of them.

Don’t forget to discuss color themes and the feel of your wedding. You are two unique people with your own tastes, so let your individuality shine to reflect a custom wedding day experience.

Plan a destination wedding

Make It A Destination Trip

Of course, Europe is never a bad idea, from castles to caves, the options are endless. What is truly important is that your location reflects who you are and what you value in life. Weddings are becoming more of an experience than an exactment of old traditions as many couples are creating brand new ones. “Couples are looking for the unconventional approach, mixing local customs with their own and providing an experience unique to any ceremony they have attended before,” said Jenny Chang, founder of ROCKNEVENTS  (RNE) “Excursions are a cool way to get immersed in the local culture and to help your guests get excited about your destination pick.”

Planning a destination wedding can be more challenging since you are not physically there but you can always hire a great team to make sure all the details are in check.

Wedding in Paris

An Unforgettable Venue

We are allergic to cookie-cutter wedding venues. You should be too. If you are unsure of where to get married, we recommend you hire a wedding planner. They have insight into the venue details that will best fit your style. They also have the inside scoop on which venues provide the most worthwhile experiences.

We at RNE crave venues that will blow the minds of your guests. If you want a majestic garden vibe, we got you covered. If you want fantasy, we will find an incredible vineyard that oozes royalty. So it is important to do some research and consult with wedding designers and producers. Venues play a big role in choosing destination locations as well, so think about what you’re looking for in the architecture and feel of your wedding.

Indian wedding henna ceremony

Breaking Tradition and Creating New Ones

Your wedding day shouldn’t be a set of rituals and must-haves. Don’t be afraid to skip the toasts, miss out on the bouquet toss or skip the bouquet altogether. It’s best that you start with a blank canvas and think about what the most important thing is for the both of you. Is it to have more of an intimate experience? Is it for your guests to have an amazing time? Is it to fuse your two cultures? Couples are looking for inspiration abroad as well:

“They are ditching traditional churches and are opting for medieval Irish castles on cliffs overlooking the open ocean or lavender fields in the French countryside”, says Jenny Chang. “From small chapels in Rome to the most lavish vineyards in Tuscany, the opportunities are endless for breathtaking views, romantic settings, and irresistible cuisines.”

You can add inspiration from other cultural traditions by mixing it with your own to create a brand new one. The options are truly endless. Just remember to focus on what matters most to both of you.

Eclectic Design Elements

Common centerpieces and tiered tablecloths are been there, done that. But how about countless candles and 20-foot high succulent walls? If you have a vision, get a team that has a plan that delivers!

When thinking of eclectic design elements, lighting always comes to mind. String lights and dangling terrarium candle globes will go the extra mile.

The next crucial step is to design your florals. Lavish roses, palatial succulents, and sumptuous hydrangeas all give off that modern deluxe vibe we crave.

Then, think about your exit before the after party. Hire a food truck, hot dog stand or even ice cream cart. This can allow for your personalities to leave one more lasting impression.

The Party Doesn’t Stop When the Reception Does

Unless you turn into a pumpkin at midnight, your reception shouldn’t end until you want it to.

Your celebration can last ‘til dawn if you’re up for it. Take the party to the next level and celebrate your nuptials until the wee hours of the morning.

Your guests will appreciate the option to keep partying past midnight. Consider extending your reception hours or even taking things to a local bar for some restless fun! All in all,  you must have your fingerprints on the overall wedding experience.

Untraditional venue

Avoid Cookie-Cutter Weddings

“A cookie-cutter wedding, what’s that?” says every badass wedding planner out there. But we don’t just talk the talk. This is your day, so let’s figure out how to make it all about you, down to every detail.

Say goodbye to Pinterest weddings and hello to the era of ROCKNEVENTS wedding production. We’re loud, outspoken, and badass. So are you. Let’s stop talking and start planning your wedding already.

Help finance your wedding dreams with a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.

Bio: ROCKNEVENTS stages unique weddings from its headquarters in Marina Del Rey, CA. For great ideas, read our blog.

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