You want your wedding to be beautiful, unique and memorable for everyone. What better way to achieve this goal than with a cruise elopement? Getting married on a ship allows you to visit exotic places, have a close circle of friends and family to celebrate if you’d like and create a wedding that’s uniquely your own.
To help you plan the wedding of your dreams, we’ve put together a list of some key considerations you’ll want to make along the way. Take a look at our elopement cruise tips and explore how this dynamic wedding venue could be perfect for you and your soon-to-be spouse!
In This Article
- Benefits of Eloping on a Cruise
- Sixteen Tips for Planning to Elope on a Cruise
- Pick Your Dream Wedding Destination
- Choose a Cruise Length
- Decide Where You Want to Get Married
- Check Legal Marriage Requirements
- Get Any Documentation You Might Need
- Find a Ship That Matches Your Style
- Book Your Trip Early
- Keep Your Guests Informed
- Ask for Group Cruise Rates
- Create Your Wedding Website and Registry
- Get a Cruise Wedding Planner
- Choose the Best Package for Your Needs
- Plan Your Reception
- Capture Memories With a Photographer
- Pack for Your Trip
- Savor Your Time Together
- Talk With Windstar to Plan Your Cruise Elopement
Benefits of Eloping on a Cruise
Couples choose to embark on a cruise to start their marriage journey for many different reasons. Whether they love adventure, want to commemorate a special milestone in their relationship or wish for a unique and personalized wedding celebration, a cruise elopement is a perfect solution.
You have the flexibility to plan a massive guest list or a small and intimate soiree. You can even decide if you want to get married on board or stop at one of the cruise’s stunning destinations for the ceremony. Whatever you choose, taking a cruise gives you space to be creative and break with tradition for your nuptials. The following are benefits you can enjoy:
1. Customized Package Options
From dedicated wedding planners to elegant add-ons, you can get expert assistance and diverse options to plan the day of your dreams. Whatever you’re envisioning, you can work with cruise event planners to select the perfect meal, setting, decor and region for your special day.
2. Exotic Destinations
Planning a wedding aboard ship gives you a full-service vacation experience and a destination wedding, all in one. Wherever you’re hoping to travel, you can have a beautiful ceremony and reception in a new, exciting locale. Explore your options for beautiful destination backdrops or dynamic on-ship celebrations. As you do, imagine the wonderful memories you can make and the stunning photos you’ll get for your big day!
3. Convenient Planning and Service
When you plan your wedding on a cruise, you have the benefit of an expert service team ready to help. Many cruises offer full-service packages that can cover planning needs, catering, accommodations and more. You’ll be free to spend more time enjoying the moment and less time coordinating the details.
4. Stunning Views
The striking scenery on a cruise ship creates incredible memories for you and your loved ones. The wide range of options you can choose as the setting for your special day gives you the freedom to capture the perfect aesthetic. Whether you’re envisioning your wedding at sea, on a beautiful isle or in a picturesque, historic locale, anything is possible with a cruise elopement.
5. Vibrant Atmosphere
Taking to the sea offers the feeling that possibilities are endless and the journey beckons you onward. When you’re celebrating a wedding in this adventurous, festive environment, you have the perfect scene for vibrant events, dance floors, good food and laughter. Your cruise ship can likely accommodate your entire event, giving you space to celebrate and visit with loved ones. You can be sure it will be a day to remember at the location you choose.
6. Unique Honeymoon Adventure
Don’t want the adventure to end after the wedding? The beauty of a cruise elopement is that your honeymoon starts right when you finish the ceremony. You’re already being swept away to new corners of the world, so you can travel anywhere with your new spouse. The all-in-one trip makes planning more straightforward while ensuring you’ll have the time of your life throughout the journey.
7. Intimate Elopement Setting
A cruise allows you to create a beautiful day in a private setting when you want to have an elopement rather than planning a big event. Whether you choose an Alaskan cruise elopement, a Caribbean voyage or another exciting trip, you’ll be able to truly get away from it all, have a small destination wedding and keep your circle close to celebrate.
Sixteen Tips for Planning to Elope on a Cruise
When you’re beginning to plan for your wedding, all the decisions can feel overwhelming and exciting at the same time. We’re here to help with some tips to keep your planning process as smooth as possible. Keep these best practices in mind and start planning the perfect elopement for your special day:
1. Pick Your Dream Wedding Destination
Explore your options and find the right place for your perfect wedding! Do you imagine getting married in the Mediterranean, or perhaps on the Greek coast? Or maybe the Bahamas are more your style? Whatever you’re envisioning, select the cruise trip that best fits the exotic location of your dreams.
2. Choose a Cruise Length
You’ll want to balance a cruise length that doesn’t rush you through the ceremony and honeymoon and that also isn’t too costly or lengthy for your guests to join. An ideal period is probably five to seven days, giving you enough time to enjoy your trip without taking too much vacation time. If you’d like to go on a more extended trip, talk with your guests well in advance.
3. Decide Where You Want to Get Married
Wherever you get married, a legal marriage is subject to the country’s laws, so you’ll need to be in port or on land at a destination rather than on the open seas. You have several exciting options for your ceremony. If you’d like to get married at your home port, you could invite more friends and family and bring the officiant of your choice.
Are you envisioning a faraway destination with a more intimate group of attendees? You could choose a destination resort, beach or local site, or you could get married on board the ship at another port. Whatever you choose, you can be sure the vista will be stunning!
4. Check Legal Marriage Requirements
Because your marriage requirements are under the jurisdiction of your ceremony location, you’ll need to get a marriage license from that country. You can work with your cruise wedding coordinator to identify requirements for the port you choose for your wedding. After consulting with your planner, you’ll need to follow up with completing any necessary forms or applications.
Keep in mind that if you get married in a foreign country, you’ll have additional paperwork to fill out. Whatever location you’ll be in during the ceremony, check on the national government’s website for details on how to get married in-country.
5. Get Any Documentation You Might Need
Generally, you will not need a passport for a closed-loop cruise trip where you’ll return to the same location you departed from. However, some countries require passports to come on their soil, so check with your cruise ship or research the sites you’ll visit to decide whether you need a passport. Keep in mind the legal requirements for approved proof of citizenship before you leave, and ensure you have any identification you might need to enter countries on your itinerary.
6. Find a Ship That Matches Your Style
Each ship has its own personality, so you have many options to find the perfect vibe for your nuptials. Look for a vessel that offers the amenities, space and aesthetic you’d like most for your celebrations. You might also want to talk with cruise representatives of the ship you’re considering to find out what wedding packages and services they have available.
7. Book Your Trip Early
Many people love taking cruises, so the ship you’re hoping to take can quickly become booked. Ensure you reserve your space well in advance and talk to the staff about any specific services you’d like for the wedding. To help you prepare, you’ll also want to arrive early at the port before departure and ensure everything is in order before you set sail. Plus, you can enjoy seeing the sights at the port city while you wait!
8. Keep Your Guests Informed
As soon as you book your cruise, reach out to everyone on your guest list and let them know the dates. That way, they’ll have plenty of time to take off work, make travel arrangements and ensure they can attend your big day. If you give them some details about the trip before sending out the wedding invitation, you can help ensure everyone who wants to join you is able to attend.
9. Ask for Group Cruise Rates
To help make your trip more affordable for all your guests, request group rates for your trip. This option can help you ensure everyone who wants to can come along, and you might get special perks for your group. Plan for group excursions at different ports, group dinners and other fun activities that will bring everyone together.
10. Create Your Wedding Website and Registry
To help make sure all your guests are on the same page, build a wedding website and a registry. You can post the details about travel dates, accommodations and ceremony times. You can also ask for any information you may need from guests, like if anyone has food allergies. Setting up a registry gives your guests ideas of what you might like as a gift as you commemorate this milestone with your significant other.
11. Get a Cruise Wedding Planner
When you work with your cruise operators, you can get specialized services to handle planning logistics for you. A designated wedding planner can help you pin down the details and keep everything running smoothly on your wedding day. Depending on the package you choose, your cruise can handle everything from the catering to the decor to the officiant.
12. Choose the Best Package for Your Needs
Your cruise can provide an array of customizations and package options based on what you’re looking for. Whether you envision a relaxed buffet or an elegant sit-down dinner, the cruise can help manage your reception, plan the menu and set up the space for you.
Many packages also include personal touches like live music, flowers and other options to make your day even more special. With all these possibilities available, you can find a package that fits your dream day and your budget.
13. Plan Your Reception
If you’re planning to have your reception on board the ship, work with your cruise to craft your perfect menu. Your ship will likely have an onboard chef who can prepare a scrumptious meal for your celebration.
If your reception will be on land, look into local restaurants with catering options, or see if a vacation resort can host your reception. You’ll have many opportunities to try out the local cuisine in a beautiful setting.
14. Capture Memories With a Photographer
Your cruise ship may provide a professional photographer as a part of your wedding package. You can work with the photographer to plan what shots you want and discuss stylistic preferences. You’ll also want to ask about prints and custom photo book options the photographer can provide along with day-of services. That way, you’ll be able to capture all your favorite memories from the day.
15. Pack for Your Trip
When you’re planning for a wedding, honeymoon and vacation all in one, you might not be sure where to start with packing. Make sure wedding clothes for you and your spouse as well as any wedding party members are ready early on to be sure you have them in time for departure. Grooms and any groomsmen may be able to choose onboard formalwear rental for their tuxes or suits to make packing easier.
Besides the ceremony, pack clothes for your honeymoon travels. Because you may be in a few different climates, remember to bring layers so you can stay comfortable in any weather. Be sure to pack fun outfits for your honeymoon pictures at exotic destinations!
16. Savor Your Time Together
An elopement cruise gives you a perfect balance of time with your guests and time alone with your significant other. You’ll all have so many things to explore on the ship, with an array of activities to keep everyone happy throughout the trip. If you want to slip away with your new spouse to explore one of the cruise’s port stops, you can be sure everyone else will have lots to enjoy in the meantime.
Talk With Windstar to Plan Your Cruise Elopement
If you’re planning an elopement cruise, know that you have a range of options to choose from for your special day. With Windstar Cruises, you can enjoy an elegant wedding and honeymoon in one of several beautiful cruise destinations. Our trusted staff will do everything they can to make your special day everything you’ve dreamed it would be.
With destinations offering diverse options from Alaska to the Mediterranean, our cruises give you an array of choices to create the perfect wedding. Whatever you’re envisioning, let us help you create the beautiful elopement you and your significant other want most. Windstar is the perfect place for a cruise elopement — check out the story of a couple who used our services for their nuptials!
To learn more about our services, request a call from our planning experts today, and we’ll help you develop the perfect wedding elopement package.