Cruise weddings – Are they really a ‘thing’? Yes! More and more brides and grooms across the UK are opting to exchange their vows at sea, overlooking the stunning blue ocean, enveloped in luxury and amongst some of the most stunning surroundings in the world. But how does a cruise ship wedding take place, where does it all happen and what are the celebrations like? Below is our guide to getting married at sea.
This article perfectly follows on from last week when we looked at the top 5 locations to ‘Pop The Question’ at sea.
Unsure about getting married at sea? It’s only natural. Unlike with churches and hotels across the country, many brides and grooms never get to see their wedding venue until the very last minute and this can be nerve wracking. However, getting married on board one of the world’s largest cruise liners is actually much easier and a lot less stressful than you may think. Cruise lines such as P&O Cruises employ dedicated wedding events coordinators and crew who take care of every little detail, right through from flowers and hair & makeup to photography and reception menus.
Starting Your Big Day the Right Way
Is there a better way to wake up on your wedding day than with a champagne breakfast for two in bed? Cruise lines such as P&O Cruises offer brides and grooms a mouthwatering breakfast package to set the tone for the day – ultimate luxury and pampering. Whether you choose to dine in bed, or out on your private balcony gazing out over the ocean, this is sure to set the tone for a special day and give you the energy needed to say ‘I Do’!
On board or On shore?
Depending on the cruise line, and the destination chosen for your nuptials, you may have the option of exchanging vows either on your ship or on land, out on deck or in a dedicated wedding venue inside the ship. The choices available to you vary between different cruise lines. P&O Cruises, for example, offer a number of special wedding venues which are beautifully designed with luxurious furnishings and fine touches not dissimilar from what you would find in a 5* hotel resort. P&O ships must be at least 12 miles from land when conducting the ceremony, so you can be sure you’ll have absolutely spectacular sea views throughout the service.
Royal Caribbean International, on the other hand, can legally hold ceremonies on their private Caribbean island of CocoCay, giving you that ‘barefoot on the beach’ wedding you may have always dreamed of. If you’ve got your heart set on a certain type of wedding, always check what’s offered by the cruise line before making any decisions – each is governed by different laws and different health & safety regulations.
Along with where to have your wedding, you’ll also want to consider where to hold the celebrations after the ceremony. Small parties will often be offered a section of one of the Main Dining Rooms on board, complete with a special menu comprising of either sit down meals or a more informal buffet-style arrangement.
Larger parties can usually book one of the ship’s Speciality Restaurants for private use. There are, of course, advantages to each option. Celebrating privately with family and friends can really make your day unforgettable, but cruising is all about socialising with like-minded passengers with a passion for sea travel and dining with others can be a great way to meet new friends and expand the party.
An example of a Speciality Restaurant used with P&O Cruises is Marco Pierre’s White Room on board Ventura – a fantastic venue for hosting a wedding reception.
Many brides and grooms choose to get married at the start of their trip, using the voyage itself as their celebratory honeymoon, and why not? Whether it’s the beautiful Fjords of Norway, the glamorous Mediterranean, the white sands of the Caribbean, or the cultural stops on an exotic world voyage, cruise honeymoons can be whatever you wish.
Which Cruise Line is The Best?
The answer to this question is really based on your own preferences, but we have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for P&O Cruises’ ‘Weddings at Sea’. One of the stand out features of P&O’s wedding services is that you can opt to marry on one of the cruise line’s family friendly ships, or on board an adult-only vessel, so you can essentially tailor your guest list.
If you’re travelling with children, or have a number of children attending the ceremony, P&O Cruises’ family-friendly ships (Aurora, Azura, Oceana & Ventura, plus Britannia) have plenty of activities to keep even the youngest of passengers entertained during the voyage. If, however, you’d like a quieter, serene and formal affair, P&O’s adult only ships (Arcadia, Adonia & Oriana) ensure a more intimate atmosphere.