Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Most Beautiful Wedding…

When I look at the fabulous weddings in the major magazines I usually suspect that they are staged just for the camera by the magazine. Well I have to post what I think is one of the most beautiful weddings ever and I know this one was real because I know all the people.

My dear friend Renee’s daughter married her college sweetheart last weekend in California. Some of the pictures are now posted on the blog of another dear friend, David Wright who flew out to do the photography.

Yes, dear readers this was an honest to goodness real wedding but it wasn’t staged by amateurs. The brides is studying fashion design, the mom has put together the largest most successful bridal show in the Southeast for the last seven years and the photographer that captures it all is one of the best in the country.

The moral of the story? Oh this time there is no moral, just enjoy David’s beautiful pictures and send out good vibes for Angela and Matt’s future.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

One of the Original Indie Brides

On one of the last nights of the cruise we dined with the most interesting couple Dave and Lyn. They were on board to renew their vows for the fifth time. I found this interesting enough to dig a little deeper.

Of course I asked about their first wedding; it seems that Lyn was one of the original indie brides. Dave and Lyn were originally married in 1982 before the hoopla surrounding Princess Diana forever changed bridal expectations. Lyn wore a Gunny Sack dress off the rack, they had 25 guests and a pot luck dinner in her parents’ backyard at a budget of just under $1000.

I was curious as to just what traditions they carried from ceremony to ceremony. Apparently none, the only thing that was alike from vows to vows were the bride and groom. On their 15th anniversary they did wear the same clothes from the first wedding just to prove that they could. Beyond that everything has been different and unique to that particular time in their lives with special vows to commemorate where they are and where they have been.

They certainly seemed to be a happy couple. Maybe they are onto something with this whole renewing every five year thing.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some More Random Notes About Being Married at Sea

The Princess line has wedding chapels on its 10 newest ships including all of the Grand Class ships.

It seems to be most popular for second weddings. Most repeat brides had done the whole plan it to with in an inch of its life wedding the first time around are more willing to a have a ‘leave the planning’ to use event this time. Even with that the number of weddings on board the Dawn has doubled in the two years that James has been on board her.

The most popular cruises for wedding on the Princess line are any of the 7 day cruises originating in South Florida. In other words, the Caribbean baby! Hot fun in the hot sun. Sounds good to me.

Your ship will need your final arrangements and confirmations one month before you sail. Since you will most likely be booking through a travel agent or The Wedding Experience this probably won’t be a concern since you will have done it six to eight months out anyway.

Where you get married on board does not seem to be limited. You can get married in your cabin if you want or on deck, you can even buyout most of the restaurants or salons for your reception. It really does help to know the ship on which you will be holding your event. Really a plus for those among us that have made cruising a hobby. (Yes they do exist. My traveling companion was on her 37 cruise, her 7th on this particular ship.)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Come Sail Away

Well your wedding diva is on the road again but this time for fun. I am finishing up a cruise to Alaska aboard the Dawn Princess. Never let it be said that I wasn’t thinking about my faithful readers: I spent four days chasing down the on board wedding coordinator for an interview. They had to kick it up to the home office to get permission from the PR wonks. Puleeese. I should have just fibbed and said I was contemplating an on board wedding.

There were two weddings on board this cruise; one at sea and one at the dock in San Francisco. That is an important difference as I found out.

I finally got to spend a pleasant hour over coffee with James Cooper the Senior Assistant Purser of the Dawn. (Very cute, very British) There are two ways you can get married on board a ship: at sea or harbor side. In order to get married at sea you must have arranged to get your license from the country in which the ship is registered. The Princess line, for example carries a Bermuda registry so that will be where you marriage license is issued. Kind of cool, huh? The ceremony will be preformed by the Captain and must be done in International waters. The exact longitude and latitude is recorded on your license for legal purposes. James was able to fully explain the whys and hows of all this because in addition to being a ship’s officer he is also a student of English law.

The other way to do the deed is to get married harbor side. The problem is that the Captain can’t do it. You can only be married by the Captain in international waters. So…you have to have an officiant licensed by the jurisdiction of the port. So our couple that got married in San Francisco had a minister from California. The other piece of this puzzle is you either have to get your minister off the ship before it sails or book him passage; same with your guests. James was telling me it can all get very rush rush to get everyone on board then back off the ship in a very brief window. You don’t, however have to limit yourself to the port from which you leave.

Here is the plan. You set everything up in advance to do it harbor side in one of your ports of call. We had Victoria, British Columbia as a port of call, but any port that you love can work. What fun! Most ships cruising the Caribbean have designated ports of call that are all set up to do weddings. You can either book a reception on board or at a local venue. You can either have your guests meet you there or come along for the ride.

The best way to set something like this up is either through a travel agent or through The Wedding Experience website. They can handle all the details for what ever cruise line you want or whatever port of call catches your fancy. Most cruise lines offer some type of package to make your planning easy. Buy a dress and show up. Such a low stress solution.

Bon voyage!
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