Travel insights form Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass
When it comes to destination weddings, locking in the perfect venue is one of the most important pieces of the planning puzzle. And while some couples may find their bliss on a white sand beach or within a lush tropical jungle, others may find that their big day daydreams point toward a vaster, bluer location — the ocean.
Luckily for water-loving lovebirds, cruise ships happen to make for a fabulous venue to celebrate the happiest day of their lives. However, before they hop on board, there are a few things to consider, here’s what travelers should know.
Location, Location, Location
The first decision seafaring couples will need to tackle is determining where their ceremony will take place — during embarkation day, at sea or in port. Ceremonies that take place on embarkation day are popular amongst couples whose friends and families can’t all commit to a full-length cruise but still want to be there for their special day. “We find most weddings are celebrated on board during embarkation day,” said Matt Lupoli, media relations specialist for Carnival Cruise Line in an interview with The Points Guy. “This allows attendees who aren’t sailing with the couple to visit the ship for the ceremony.”
Alternatively, couples with a refined guest list, or those who are rolling solo, might find that a wedding at sea makes for the perfect backdrop to tie the knot. Many cruise ships are happy to play the role of a wedding venue and offer a variety of packages for lovebirds to choose from. However, while the crew will be more than ready to help couples celebrate, something to keep in mind is that, unless crewmembers are a judge, notary public, justice of the peace or minister, travelers’ seaside vows will be symbolic, not legal. To make sure things go off without a hitch, travelers can work with a travel advisor or one of the cruise line’s wedding planners ahead of time to ensure that the proper parties are present when they say “I do.”
Similar to a ceremony at sea, travelers hoping to get married at a port of call or on a cruise line’s private island will need to get their ducks in a row before the big day (preferably through the cruise line’s wedding coordinator or a travel advisor). While they can require more planning, in-port weddings are absolutely gorgeous and are a great way to incorporate a special destination into one’s nuptials.
When it comes to the guest list, many cruises cap out at around 150 people. However, that doesn’t mean that’s the average size of a cruise wedding party. In fact, in the same article with The Points Guy, Princess Cruises shared that two-thirds of its weddings have less than 10 attendees and that the average group size is around 25 guests.
It appears, as far as cruise wedding trends go, that smaller, more intimate ceremonies are on the rise as both the wedding and cruise industries continue to bounce back from COVID-19.
The Price Tag
While this may surprise some couples, a cruise wedding is actually rather affordable with the average cost ranging between $7,000 to $20,000. For comparison, wedding website Zola notes that many couples plan to spend anywhere between $5,000 to upwards of $100,000 to tie the knot in 2022. How much love birds spend on their big day at sea will depend on their cruise line of choice, which wedding package they choose and any additional add-ons they select. From casual and celebratory to all-out luxurious, the possibilities run the gamut.
About the Author
Senior Editor for VAX VacationAccess and world explorer, Jenna loves writing about all things travel. When she’s not busy creating content, she spends her time exploring the great outdoors, cuddling with her two black cats and researching her next big (sometimes strange) adventure.
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