Our popular questions series continues as we look at weddings at sea or the opportunity to renew your vows.
Here’s all you need to know but if you have any further questions or need any assistance at all, give our Cruise Consultants a call on 01246 819819 and we’ll talk you through it.
Getting Married or Renewing Your Vows Onboard
Cruise ship weddings have really grown in popularity in recent years, as more brides and grooms are seeking out new, exciting destinations and alternative wedding concepts.
Weddings and commitments ceremonies on board combine classic luxury with some of the most amazing and breathtaking views in the world.
For those considering a cruise ship wedding, here are just some of the options available to you and your guests:
Ceremonies at Sea
Wedding ceremonies and vow renewals at sea are some of the most popular packages available for guests looking to celebrate a big event on board.
Providing that the ship is in international waters (P&O states that their ships must be at least 12 miles from the nearest land), the Captain is qualified to conduct your ceremony overlooking the vast blue ocean.
There is, perhaps, no greater backdrop for your big day than the panoramic views of the open waters. Many ships offer a number of wedding venues on board; varying in size depending upon the number of guests (ships tend to cater for up to 150 guests, but will also host weddings with just the bride and groom for those looking for a more intimate ceremony).
If you are keen to marry out on deck, choose your ship carefully. Some do not allow outdoor weddings for health and safety reasons, whereas others do, so be sure to check out the terms and conditions first! For outdoor weddings, it’s also a very good idea to plan your destination appropriately for the time of year.
Desert Island Luxury
Many cruise lines own their own private islands, particularly in and around the Caribbean.
These islands are for the use of the cruise lines’ guests only, creating a true desert island paradise.
With white sandy beaches, crystal clear seas, and a wonderful secluded atmosphere, these private islands are perfect for a beachfront wedding.
As the destinations are owned by the cruise line, the Captain can legally perform weddings on shore. These ceremonies are ideal for couples who want to get married or renew their vows in the most picturesque of settings.
The lively reception can be held on board at the end of the day, and the choices are endless!
Guests are often given the choice of hiring one of the speciality dining restaurants for a sophisticated sit down dinner, a section of the buffet restaurant, creating a more laid back, down-to-earth setting, or one of the many bars, perfect for enjoying nibbles and a few celebratory cocktails.
If you’re keen to hold your wedding or vow renewal ceremony in one of the exotic ports of call visited by your chosen ship, your on board wedding coordinator can help you arrange for local services at your destination.
The beauty of these destination weddings is that there are hundreds of options to choose from.
Ranging from the white sandy beaches of Jamaica to the snow-capped mountains of Alaska, there really is a wealth of choice. As the ceremony will be conducted under local law, and in local venues, both religious and civil ceremonies can take place – ideal for those who want a church wedding or blessing.
Is It Legal?
Absolutely! When opting for an alternative wedding such as a cruise ship wedding, and especially when planning on getting married in international waters or in exotic locations, there is often the worry that the ceremony won’t be legal.
However, as long as the UK recognises marriages that take place under the law of the cruise lines’ place of registration, your marriage will legally be recognised back home.
P&O ships are registered in Bermuda, Royal Caribbean in the Bahamas, and Celebrity Cruises in Malta, all of which are recognised by UK law. This means you’ll also receive your marriage certificate from the country in which the ship is registered in, even if you didn’t marry there, which makes for a somewhat unusual souvenir of your big day.
One of the best things about getting married at sea is that you get a built-in honeymoon as part of the package! Holding the ceremony near to the start of your cruise allows for a week or two (or even longer) living the life of luxury as newlyweds.
With gourmet cuisine, nightly entertainment, fascinating destinations, and unrivalled views, a cruise honeymoon is the ultimate in relaxation and opulence. Being miles from land, a cruise honeymoon really is the perfect way to spend some private time with your new spouse before heading back to reality.