First things first, congratulations on your engagement! Take a moment to enjoy this period in time. Tell all your friends and family. Update your social media relationship status. Stare at your engagement ring a couple more times. Shout “I’M ENGAGED” at the top of your lungs and realise that this moment is the beginning of the countdown to your big day. Inevitably, you will soon start asking yourself whether you would like a short-engagement or if you and your partner would prefer to take things slow. Either way, organisation and planning are key. But where do you begin? For those searching for a unique wedding idea, getting married while cruising the ocean is the ultimate destination wedding. Boat weddings or wedding cruises as they are known, are an increasingly popular choice for couples wanting to celebrate their vows with incredible views. They can involve just the two of you, a select handful of family and friends or larger bridal parties. But what exactly is a boat wedding?
What is a boat wedding?
The short and very simple answer would undoubtedly be ‘a wedding that takes place on a boat’. But the reality is much more unique, memorable, and special. A wedding on the ocean evokes not only a spirit of adventure but hosting a wedding while cruising instinctively manifests an elevated sense of elegance and luxury, with an atmosphere that is both fancy and fun. Not to mention the incredible sunsetting coastal views that add an extra element of romance to your special day. Boat weddings are ideal for those wanting an all-in-one venue with affordable and flexible package deals to suit the individual bride and groom.
Planning a boat wedding is no different to planning a land wedding, both can leave you feel overwhelming at times. But fear not, we have put together our ultimate guide to planning a boat wedding to help you manage your upcoming wedding plans.
Top ten tips for planning a boat wedding or wedding cruise
1. Set a budget
As the driving force behind many of your wedding decisions, the wedding budget is a key task to tackle early. Whether you and your partner are footing the wedding costs alone or you have family members who are willing to help out with the finances, it is important to know what you can comfortably afford to spend. Often this can mean a little bit of a reality check between expectations and reality, but once you have got your magic number, it’s important that you stick to it!
2. Save the date
Setting your wedding date early is another incredibly important factor. Often, Wedding dates can be booked at least a year in advance, so it is important you contact your venue early. Many private charters offer online booking facilities that let you easily check if your date is available. If it is, book in early and send our save-the-date cards to your guests to get your guest list confirm.
3. Choose your numbers
Ultimately your guest list decisions are dependent largely on your venue and budget. With a smaller venue comes a more intimate guest list. But that is not always a bad thing. Smaller guest lists not only keep your budget on track, but they also provide a great excuse to why a particular distant relative or old friend is not invited. It is important that you contact the venue manager early to confirm the number of guests that they can safely accommodate. At Ocean Groove Cruises, we can accommodate 50 guests.
4. Select your theme
With boat weddings, the coastal views are largely your decor and theme. Instead of spending your budget on wall decorations, you can save yourself some money knowing that your guests will be amazed by the free views that your venue provides. Many wedding cruise packages also include free venue decorations meaning you get much better value for money that with a normal venue. If you would prefer to select your own theme, there are many to choose from. Some of our favourite themes include vintage, rustic, modern geometric and bohemian.
5. Select your package
Many boat weddings come as package deals, which means you pay a one-off fee for the ceremony and your guests. At Ocean Groove Cruises, our wedding package includes a fully decorated venue, floral arrangements, bubbles, and canape’s. You are also free to use our marriage celebrant and onboard photographer. Many wedding packages can also be upgraded easily with clear costing outlines. This can certainly make the wedding planning simpler. You can even cruise a cruise duration to suit your own special day, select from holding your ceremony onboard, reception or both!
6. Select your catering
It is important to select a wedding caterer that has experience in event management and wedding planning. Often your wedding cruise provider will provide catering but it is important to note that they will have other options if you would prefer an alternatively caterer. Often using the private charters own caterer will save you money and offer a seamless experience to guests. Afterall, they are well experienced providing catering to your venue. View our catering menu here.
7. Choose your ammentities
Boat weddings can accommodate much more than just your guests. Many offer incredible facilities included strobe lighting, surround sound, dance floors and much more. Not only that but if you desire to do so, you can even arrange for a live band or DJ to join you and your guests onboard as you dance the night away under the stars!
8. Discuss your bad weather contingency plan
Even the most organised bride-to-be has no control over the weather and while most of us dream of clear blue skies and sun-soaked photographs that is unfortunately not always guaranteed. No matter the season. It is important when planning a boat wedding, like when planning an outdoor wedding, that you discuss your bad weather contingency plan with the operations manager. With wedding cruises, safety comes first, and adverse weather conditions can prevent your bridal party from leaving the marina. Fortunately, most private charters are docked in beautiful marina settings, which still offer you and your guests a magical experience – Bad weather certainly does not mean bad wedding.
9. Decide on a bar tab
With the cost savings of a boat wedding, you may decide to provide your guests with a bar tab at your wedding reception. Offering a bar tab does not need to be costly, you could choose to offer a limited bar of beer and wine. Or a bar tab that only runs for an hour or two. You could even offer a cocktail hour where each guest receives a single cocktail from the bride and groom. Ultimately the decision is yours, but your wedding cruise provider will be happy to go with your recommendation.
10. Don’t forget to focus on you and your partner
It can be difficult when planning a wedding not to focus to much attention on what your guests will think. Planning a wedding day that offers long-lasting and sweet memories for your guests is important, but it is more important to focus on what you and your partner want. Afterall, this is YOUR day. Make sure you relax and enjoy all the special moments.
If you would like more information regarding a boat wedding, contact our great team here to arrange your free private charter viewing!