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9 Things to Know When Planning a Cruise Wedding

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Most weddings follow the standard church ceremony-country club reception formula, but what if you and your fiancé aren’t a standard couple? Then you should make sure that your nuptials stand out. A fun, unique way to say, “I do” is to do it with the ocean stretching out endlessly in every direction. Most cruise ships accommodate weddings on board, and it’s an exciting way to tie the knot and to convince your friends and family to treat themselves to a vacation.

If you’re thinking about planning a cruise wedding, here are nine things you should know before the boat departs.

1. You Should Hire a Travel Agent


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You might not need to hire a travel agent for your average vacation, but a cruise wedding involves so many moving parts that it’s almost impossible to pull it off without an expert. Enlist a travel agent to help with paperwork and make sure you don’t overlook any critical details as you plan.

2. You Can Wed at a Port


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Deciding to wed on a cruise doesn’t mean the ship deck is your only option. Many cruise lines allow you to wed at the destinations where they port if you give the crew enough advanced notice. While international beaches make for a beautiful backdrop, keep in mind that a port wedding involves some risk since bad weather and choppy waters sometimes force cruise ships to skip a stop.

3. You May Want to Wed in Advance


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Depending on the country where your wedding ceremony will take place, you might have to jump through crazy hoops to make it legal. An easier alternative is to get your marriage license at home and do an informal ceremony at city hall — one that’s legally binding — and then design a more heartfelt ceremony for the ship.

4. Different Lines Offer Different Packages


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Depending on the vibe that you want your wedding to give off, you should choose your cruise line carefully. Whereas smaller cruise lines promise attention to detail and intimacy, larger lines could be capable of accommodating a bigger and rowdier party.

5. An Online Registry is Ideal


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One issue that’s probably going to come up as you send out invites is that guests won’t quite be sure how to handle wedding gifts. Most won’t want to waste space in their suitcase with kitchen appliances, so create an online registry at Crate and Barrel, Amazon or MyRegistry.com and encourage your guests to buy gifts in advance and ship them directly to your home. This way, they won’t have to deal with the hassle of bringing them aboard — and you won’t worry about getting them back home.

6. It’s Smart to Book Early

When you book a cruise for a big group, regardless of the occasion, it usually requires some advanced notice. So, call the cruise line and set up the basics as many months in advance as possible, ideally around a year. This will ensure that they can accommodate you at the proper time of year and on the route you really want.

7. You Can Nab a Group Rate


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Speaking of booking for a big group, it has its perks. Instead of asking your guests to book their packages individually, call the cruise line to set aside a big block of rooms for everyone. Chances are you and your guests will enjoy a discounted rate thanks to the sheer volume of business that your nuptials are bound to bring in. Even if the cruise line doesn’t specify this, don’t be afraid to ask about a group rate.

8. Certain Seasons Incur Extra Fees


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When you book a traditional wedding venue in June, it’s usually more expensive than reserving the same place in October. The peak wedding season exists on the high seas, too. So after you choose your budget, make sure you carefully consider which time of year is most affordable and decide how much the weather outside will affect your final decision on a wedding date.

9. You Could Get Bumped

When cruise weddings work out, they’re beautiful affairs that the bride and groom, as well as their guests, never forget. But keep in mind that this type of wedding also requires some flexibility. There’s a chance that you’ll get bumped from your cruise — it happens sometimes when the cruise lines overbook. So be prepared for anything and have a Plan B in place, just in case.

You’ll never forget the joy and excitement of your wedding day, regardless of the venue. But if you want everyone in attendance to remember it with the same fondness, a cruise ship wedding is a creative and unique idea. Now that you’re aware of everything there is to know about planning a cruise wedding, it’s time to dive in and start the process. You won’t regret the extra effort when your big day arrives!

Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Tripping.com and more!

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