Planning a wedding cruise need not be difficult. It does, however, need to be planned well in advance if you are cruising with family and friends. The tips below will make your wedding cruise planning much easier with time tested advice straight from wedding planners.
2. There are several different types of cruise weddings. Some, like princess cruise lines, are flexible and offer weddings at sea, at the harbor with non-sailing guests, or in one of the ports. Other cruise lines are not as flexible and require you to have a pre-cruise wedding at the port of departure.
3. When you request group cruise rates, make sure to ask about any restrictions that the cruise line may have for wedding cruises (You can get group cruise rates online. Just enter your details and any questions you may have in the comments section. Cruise lines will email you their group cruise rates for your wedding).
4. When you book a wedding package with a cruise line, it comes with a wedding coordinator to see to the details of the event for you. While they may be helpful for smaller weddings, the restrictions placed on them by the cruise company can be limiting when you are planning larger events. You should know that you can hire an outside wedding planner to help coordinate larger events at sea.
5. Know that most weddings on cruises don’t actually occur on the ship, but instead happen at the point of departure. This way guests that cannot make it to the cruise can still attend the wedding on board the ship (Each cruise line has its own restrictions on how many people can come to the wedding onboard).
6. When booking a wedding package, cruise companies will offer you an extra hour of photography, cocktails, and a DJ. Take them all and you won’t regret it. They may offer you a package with additional flowers but we would rather spend the money on the other three.
Money Saving Tips
1. Sign up for a wedding registry with the cruise ship and your guests can help you pay for the cruise, excursions and lots of other on board goodies during your honeymoon at sea.
2. Cruise ships are all inclusive only for certain things and you should know what those are. For example, most cruise prices do not include soft drinks, or any alcoholic beverages. While it may be possible to bring some on board (Some cruise ships allow it), this does become an extra expense for you and your wedding guests that sail with you. Drinks on board are priced at about the same price as most bars and restaurants so plan accordingly.
3. You can take lots of photos of yourself at sea with the onboard photographer or save yourself some cash and bring a camera instead.
4. Wedding packages have to be booked after you book the cruise. So if you have family members and friends attending the cruise, then get group cruise rates first. Once you have that settled, then book the wedding package.
5. According to Conde Nast bridal study, the average land based wedding costs a little less than $30,000 whereas a cruise ship wedding for the same 100 people will run you about $7000. That’s a significant savings for the Bride and Groom.
6. Excursions can be booked ahead of the cruise, during the cruise, and at the port of call. If you are traveling with a large group of wedding guests, don’t be tempted into booking a group excursion for everyone. You’ll end up making everyone unhappy. Let your guests know what their choices are ahead of time and let them select and book what interests them.
2. When selecting a destination, make sure you select a port city that is easy for your wedding guests to get to. Select major port cities like New York or Miami as airfare to these airports is usually cheaper than others.
3. After deciding on the location, select a date based on when peak season is for that specific destination. Try to avoid going at the height of peak season. You’ll end up paying a lot and cruise may not even offer group cruise rates for your family and friends. Instead, select a date range at the beginning or the end of peak season. Also, be aware of seasonal tendencies (i.e. Avoid planning a wedding cruise to the Caribbean Islands during spring break).
4. If you are willing to be flexible about the time of the year, you can save a significant amount of money and get some large concessions from cruise lines.
5. If you are sailing form the US, the most popular locations for wedding cruises are Mexico, Bahamas, and the Caribbean Islands. The cheapest cruise rates are generally to the Caribbean.
6. Plan your wedding cruise at least a year in advance if you want your choice of dates, destinations, and discounted group cruise rates.
7. You can get group priced excursions for your friends and family ahead of time through the cruise line. If your family cannot agree on any of the excursions, just wait till you embark at the port and you’ll have lots of tour companies offering their services.
8. Wedding packages from most ships include the following
- An officiate
- Keepsake certificate as a memento of the wedding
- Wedding cake and topper
- Recorded music (Your own) or live music
- Bouquet for the bride and bridesmaid and boutonnière for groom
- Photo and video packages
- Reception (Extra $)
- Champagne reception
- Sit down luncheon (Extra $)
Planning a wedding cruise with friends and family will create lifelong memories for both you and your guests. Using the tips above will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of planning a wedding cruise. Should you need group rates for the wedding cruise, give our free service a try. It’s one simple form, and we’ll get you lowest group rates from every cruise