How to Plan a Cruise Wedding – Our Experience
A little bit about us
My fiance and I are wedding photographers based in Atlanta, GA. This is how we planned our cruise wedding. This article will continue to be updated as we navigate through this experience together.
At the time of writing this article (September 2018), we have been engaged for almost 2 years. We have put off planning our wedding time and time again due to a variety of reasons including personal finances, family health problems, and the paradox of choice that comes with having too many options available to you. With my dad’s cancer now in remission, and our finances in a better place, there never seemed a better time to start planning for our wedding!
Why plan a cruise wedding?
We started brainstorming all of the possibilities. Being active professionals in the local wedding community in Atlanta for the past 10 years, we knew we always wanted to plan a destination wedding. We had initially thrown ideas around like an intimate wedding in Vegas, or an all inclusive resort in Mexico, etc. With all of our ideas floating around, we knew we wanted our wedding to be affordable for family and friends to attend, and we wanted to provide an amazing experience for those who chose to come out.
It came to me in a dream one night! Of all the places to find wedding inspiration! The next morning I contemplated the logistics of planning a cruise wedding. It seemed to check off all of our boxes.
- Cool destination? Check.
- Affordability? It’s possible depending on the cruise line, check.
- Non traditional & non cookie cutter? Check.
- Does it provide a unique & awesome experience for our guests? Check.
How to choose the best cruise lines for weddings
Ideally we were looking to plan a shorter cruise over a weekend. Weekday cruises & longer cruises are less affordable, and would require our guests to take off more vacation time from work. We also wanted to choose a port that was close enough to drive to if our family and friends preferred not to fly.
We chose our cruise line and port based on availability. When we started looking at the nearest ports within driving distance, we were limited to just 3 (Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa). When we looked at the cruise lines available at these ports that offered 3&4 night cruises, we also realized we only had a couple of options available to us. Between Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean, we personally had the best experiences with Royal Caribbean in the past.
We looked at the Royal Caribbean cruises available at the time of year we wanted to get married that matched our criteria (3 or 4 night cruise, over a weekend, and cool locations!). With only 2 or 3 cruises available, there was clearly one winner with the best cruise itinerary that covered 2 islands in the Bahamas within 3 nights.
Cruise wedding reviews : Should I get married on a cruise?
Once we had a fairly good idea of the cruise we wanted to get married on, we started to research Royal Caribbean Wedding reviews, and just cruise wedding reviews in general – we wanted to cover all of our bases. What we found was a very mixed bag.
There were absolute nightmare horror stories posted online highlighting terrible experiences with various cruise lines that dropped the ball when planning weddings & terrible customer support stories. There were also equally great experiences and stories highlighted. After reading as many cruise wedding reviews as we could find, we came to a consensus.
The most disappointed brides seemed to be the ones with the highest expectations. As wedding professionals, we know all too well that anything that can go wrong will go wrong on a wedding day. Wedding professionals do the best they can to prepare for mishaps in advance, but sometimes there are circumstances beyond anyones control that can influence how a wedding day might unfold. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t let those things ruin our day and ruin our precious memories. We would take it in stride & focus on what’s most important to us. We would focus on enjoying our day and creating amazing memories & experiences with the ones we love.
Another thing we read about in the various cruise wedding reviews we stumbled upon is that cruise weddings are not for everyone. Many wedding packages with cruise lines are fairly restrictive in nature – including the times and dates available for ceremonies, the legality of the ceremonies, the vendors available, etc. This is both a blessing and a curse. For the super laid back bride who doesn’t want to plan anything, this is ideal. For the more type a bride looking for a higher level of control and more options for customization, cruise weddings might not provide the best experience.
When we contacted Royal Caribbean’s wedding team, we were prepared for anything! We received a copy of their wedding packages & deliberated on the one that might work best for us.
To be continued!
cruise wedding packages 390
how to plan a cruise wedding 20
royal caribbean cruise wedding 70