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.