9 Things To Know Before Getting Married On A Cruise Ship

When you think back to that special day when you and your partner recited your vows, exchanged rings, and finally got married, the location where it happened is what many people will think of first.

9 Things To Know Before Getting Married On A Cruise Ship

While a lot of couples will travel abroad to get married, or to an area that has an emotional connection to both people involved, you may be surprised to hear that cruise ships have become one of the most popular destinations for marriages in recent years.

There are plenty of reasons why this is the case. Not only does a cruise ship ooze a feeling of classiness and luxury, but it’s an excellent opportunity to take all your friends and relatives on a mini-holiday with you as you glide across the glistening seas.

If you’re still deciding where you want to get married, but you know that you want to make the big day as memorable as possible for everyone involved, you should definitely consider a cruise ship, and we’ve got 9 tips right here that will make the experience as delightful as possible. 

Try Keeping The Guest List Small

When you’re planning what guests you’re going to be inviting to the wedding, things can get out of hand very quickly as you start writing down every friend you can think of, along with family members, childhood schoolmates, people you work with, and virtually everyone you know, and before you know it, you have a list longer than the bride’s dress. 

When organizing a cruise ship wedding, however, you’ll want to be a little more careful with how many people you invite since most ships will offer specific wedding packages that will set a limit on how many people can actually attend. 

If you go over this limit, you’re going to be spending a lot more than you would normally for the single package, and the number can quickly add up since if you invite one extra person, what’s to stop you from inviting ten?

If you’re planning a land-based wedding, you can simply ask some guests to land there before you arrive on the cruise. This saves a lot of money and allows some of the guests to explore their surroundings a bit before the ceremony gets underway. 

Consider A Pre-Sail Away Ceremony

A pre-sail away ceremony simply means having the wedding while the ship is still docked. This may not sound as exciting or glamorous as exchanging vows while sailing across the vast open sea, but it does mean you will be able to allow many more people on board to take part in the ceremony and after-party who may not actually want to sail. 

Always keep in mind that cruise ships aren’t for everyone, especially since a lot of people can get seasick easily or won’t be a fan of the limited food or smaller rooms onboard, so this can be an excellent workaround for this. 

Another benefit is that it also builds up anticipation for when you do set sail later in the afternoon or evening when the views tend to be better as the sun begins to set. 

Make Sure To Book In Advance

Remember that before you can even start organizing the wedding on a cruise ship, you’re going to need to book your sailing plans, and considering there is so much to organize and put into place after the initial plans have been set out, booking as far in advance as possible is heavily advised. 

It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of cruise lines that do offer onboard weddings will require customers to contact the wedding department in advance, and while the time for this does differ depending on who you book with, it tends to be at least 2 months. 

If you’re struggling to get into contact with a particular cruise line that you like the look of, remember that your travel agent is always on standby to help you out, and could even organize some extra perks for when you arrive on the ship too, so it’s always worth paying them a visit if you ever feel overwhelmed. 

Check The Legal Details

One of the biggest downsides to organizing a cruise wedding, and one that can often take up a lot of time, is making sure that the event will be completely legal.

Legalizing a wedding in a foreign port can often be a little harder than many people may think, and if you’re planning on embarking on a long cruise that may run through different countries, it can be even more tricky. 

However, don’t let this scare you away from setting up your dream cruise wedding, all you need to do is get in contact with your wedding planner who works on the cruise and ask them to run you through the legality of the event. 

The most you will have to do is sign some paperwork, but it’s well worth doing so you don’t get into any trouble while at sea. 

Always Keep The Weather In Mind

There’s nothing worse than a wedding being unexpectedly canceled. Not only does it ruin the plans for all your guests who may have already paid for and arranged their accommodation and travel plans, but it also means you will have to re-organize the ceremony to take place at a later date which can involve a lot of rushing around.

The biggest factor that can affect a cruise wedding and potentially cause the ceremony to be called off is the weather, so always be aware of where you’re traveling, and how the current conditions are over there. 

For example, if you’re traveling to, or are ported in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico, or the Caribbean, then you’re definitely going to want to avoid hurricane season which usually runs from June to November, so it never hurts to have a look at weather forecasts and get an idea of how probable it is that harsh weather could occur. 

Purchase Travel Insurance Coverage

Most cruise weddings will take place without running into any major problems, but it never hurts to always have a backup just in case there are any issues, and the best way to keep you protected is through travel insurance coverage.

9 Things To Know Before Getting Married On A Cruise Ship

If the trip gets interrupted by harsh weather, the quality of the food and drink isn’t what it was promised on the website, or the event gets canceled altogether, these are all things you can be compensated for so long as you have travel insurance.

While you can purchase travel insurance the day before you set out on your trip, it’s worth buying it at least a few weeks in advance because the sooner you buy it, the more likely you will be to be eligible to receive certain perks and benefits. 

Check Who Is Leading The Ceremony

For a marriage to be made official, it needs to be led by someone who has been granted the legal authority to do so, so while some cruises will allow the cruise captain to lead the marriage, and while this is definitely a unique way to organize the ceremony, this doesn’t always mean that the marriage will be official, and could just be symbolic. 

A cruise captain will not have the authority to legally perform a wedding unless they are also an acting judge, justice of the peace, ministry, or a Notary Public, so if you notice that the cruise captain will be leading the wedding in the package details, make sure to verify who the captain is and if they have the ability to legally proclaim a marriage. 

If you want to be on the safe side, it can be worth choosing a cruise wedding package that involves a clergy leading the ceremony which most of them do. 

Book A Second Sailing For The Honeymoon

There’s no need to stop the celebrations and festivities once the wedding day is over.

If you want to jump straight into the honeymoon, you might want to consider booking back-to-back sailings so you can have the main ceremony on the bigger ship, before then departing and spending some quality time with your partner on a smaller cruise. 

This way, everyone involved in the celebration gets some time to experience the open sea and all of its wonders, while the married couple can also look forward to enjoying more time in the splendor and comfortability of a cruise ship by spending their honeymoon on a second boat. 

Find Out If There Is A Surcharge

Some cruise lines will charge passengers an extra fee if they are planning to get married at a specific time of the year, with this added payment being called a ‘surcharge’. These include holidays such as Valentine’s Day, but also popular wedding months like May and June. 

You don’t want to end up arriving at your own wedding and then spending more than you anticipated, so make sure to check on the details of the wedding package to see if there is any added surcharge, and if it’s too much for your budget, you may want to move the date of the wedding around slightly if you’re still a few months out from the big day. 


There are a few very important factors you will need to keep in mind when organizing a cruise ship wedding, but it’s all worth it in the end when you’re out on the clear blue sea declaring your unrelenting love for your partner in front of all your friends and family members.

Alex Kallen

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