Guide To Cruise Ship Weddings – What Brides Need to Know

Cruise Ship Weddings

What It’s Like To Get Married at Sea – Tips Every Bride Needs To Know

Cruise Ship Wedding Tips

There are almost 2.4 million weddings performed in the US each year. Out of which, 25% are destinations wedding.  It feels like romance is in the air when you are getting married on a cruise. Exotic sea view and gently blowing sea breeze that greets the couple; I believe this feeling is worth trying.

But, the reality is a little different from Hollywood. You have to pre-plan the wedding and be prepared for any unexpected situations. Let’s discuss some tips for the bride who is planning a cruise ship wedding.

The Ship Matters

Selecting an adequate ship is the first step. Not all 314 luxury cruise ships will arrange a wedding for you. And, if they do, it can cost you a fortune.  Many larger cruise ships have no problem with wedding planning and often have a wedding planner available to assist you.   As per the ship’s size, there are many options you can choose for taking your vows. For instance, you can tie a knot at;

  • Open deck with a breathtaking sea view.
  • Lounge area.
  • Open atrium with built-in lookers.
  • In an onboard chapel.

Cross Check the Legalities

Getting legally married on a cruise can be a tricky step. There many legalities and procedures that you have to follow prior to departing.  It is best to ask your wedding planner regarding these legalities. The pro tip for this is to decide on the specific location where you want to get married, identify the authoritative country of that location and then study their legalities and regulations.  Some couples decide to get married on the ship, while others choose to have the wedding ceremony on an island beach where the ship pulls into port.

Tips for the Bride

For every bride, the wedding day is the most auspicious day of her life. She has to look perfect so some advance planning is essential.  Here are some tips for the bride to make her cruise wedding momentous.

Wedding Attire

Dress as per the Cruise

The wedding dress is one of the most crucial elements of the wedding. It should be purchased well in advance and packaged to travel.  Let your wedding shop know that you will be traveling with your dress.

The bridesmaids on a cruise wedding are suggested to wear nautical attire that suits the cruise ship’s steep staircases and uneven (or possibly rolling) floors.  But in most instances, your ceremony will take place while the ship is docked.  For the bride, it can be a lightweight wedding dress or a short-length dress without a veil. The sea breeze and veil and can get a bit messy.

A simple white dress with crop shoulder is the perfect one for cooler weather and remember that it is often cooler at sea.

Match your Makeup with the Environment

It can take up to 4.5 hours for a bride to finish her makeup and hair. Your makeup for the cruise wedding should be light, especially if you are going to be wed out of doors in the bright sunlight.  If you have oily skin, then do not use too much foundation or concealers that may not stand up in tropical temperatures.

Just highlight your features with light shade eye makeup. Do not use dark shades like red. The best one is to use light pinks or tropical shades for your eye makeup.

Wedding Hair Styles

As far as hair is concerned,  a nice updo or Chignon is the best as it will not be affected by ocean breezes. The cruise ship will most likely have a makeup artist available in the beauty salon to help you with your hair and makeup.

Shoes and Jewelry are Essential

Wedding Jewelry

A tiara, earrings, and a bracelet are considered to be the perfect combination for a bride. You might want to go with a nautical theme, or a pearl ensemble is always appropriate.  Or you could wear flowers as hair accessories and a bracelet.

As far as shoes are concerned, do not wear super high heels as staircases and unstable decks can cause a problem.   Either wear simple (non-spike) wedding shoes, strappy sandals or other dressy footwear.

Capture Memories with Professional Photographers

Cruise ships provide professional photographers of their own. They also create beautiful keepsake albums.  Many times, this will be part of your wedding package.

If you have your own photographer in mind, then you will need to plan for their attendance on the ship. Therefore, discuss all of this prior with the photographer or go with the ship’s photographer to simplify planning.

Compromise on Decorations

Every bride wants to shout out loud about her happiness through banners and decorations. Though, not all cruise ships provide your desired flower decorations.  Many cruise ships offer a limited range of decorations costing between $700-$2500. But, you can take your own decoration items and fill in your wedding colors or theme, but this may be too many details to worry about.

Fresh natural flowers may not be available, so, brides need to be prepared to be flexible with decorations.

Enjoy your Family Time

You don’t have to invite 300 guests on a cruise wedding, it will be a much smaller more intimate group of family and close friends. It is a special occasion to spend some quality family time.  As a cruise ship bride, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy time with your family for the entire length of the cruise. Arrange dinners and brunches with your family and plan special gatherings with relatives you may not know well.

Pack your Bags Early

You have to do your packing early. Do not start packing things at the 11th hour. It is suggested to make a list of valuable and essential items that are essential for the wedding.  Pack them all well in advance so nothing important is left behind.  Most important of all will be the documents that are required, so be sure those are packed well in advance.

Also, pack for unpredictable weather conditions. Be sure to put your rings in a pouch in a bag that will be with you at all times while traveling, and in the cabin safe once you are onboard.  Make sure to cross-check the essentials list before leaving home.

Be Aware of Sea Sickness

Sea Sickness or motion sickness is a common problem when travelling from a cruise. It is a condition in which you will feel nausea, dizziness, tiredness, excessive saliva production, and burping.

Don’t worry about that; it won’t ruin your big day. Consult your doctor in advance and take pre-medication from the doctor. There are shots, tablets, and patches forms of medication available.  Be careful as you may need to intake medication at regular time intervals and they may interact with other medications or alcohol consumption.  Your doctor will be able to prescribe the best medication for your circumstances.

Calculate the Cost of Your Cruise Wedding

Wedding Toast

Regardless of the wedding type, this is a pricey event and cruise ship weddings are no exception.  The onboard chapel and wedding services at a medium-price luxury cruise will cost you around $1000. Most cruise ships have wedding planning services and have tiered packages that include most of the essential arrangements you will need.  Of course, as you add on additional items, the price will increase accordingly.  The good news is that you will have your pricing well in advance and can budget accordingly.

The fewer the number of guests, the lower your costs will be, and you’ll be able to enjoy your big day with minimal stress.

Choose Your Guest List Wisely

This may sound a bit weird, but girls, trust me, this one is an important tip. The first reason for limiting your guests is that it will lessen the financial burden on you.  You will need to decide if you are paying for the wedding party’s cruise fare.  You may wish to pay for essential family members and ask others to pay their own way.  This alone will limit the number of guests attending.  You should be sure to ask for group pricing from your cruise advisor.

What can go wrong?

Beach Wedding

Despite all the tips that I have given you, be ready for some unpredictable events; that any human can’t control. So it’s better to prepare for this mentally.   Here are some examples:

A planned port of call may not be available when you reach it for rough seas or other reasons.   If you have desired to exchange your vows at a certain port location, there is a possibility that the port is closed due to unforeseen issues.

There can be unpredictable weather or storm that ruins your wedding on the water. Though the weather forecast may predict it, still there is the proportionality of unpredictable weather.  Ask in advance if the time and/or day of your onboard ceremony can be changed in the case of bad weather.

Again the motion sickness or medical emergency can create a significant impact on your big day.

If you are a same-sex couple, legal issues outside of your home country can cause complications.  Be sure to investigate regulations well in advance.

Wrapping It Up

Your wedding is the most awaited day for any couple, especially brides. The brides have dreamed about it a lot and want to complete their dream list in a single day.  Getting wed on a cruise ship is a unique experience.  Although it requires a lot of preparation before hopping on the boat, it can be well worth considering.


Author’s Bio:  Samantha Kaylee is currently working as a Travel Blogger at Crowd Writer and Assignment Assistance UK. She is travel lover and often trek through the snow. She never forget to use trekking poles as a safety precaution. Samantha also blogs at ObjectMe.

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