18 Dec 2019
Avatar photo by Silver Compass

Hearing, I now present to you, this newly married couple… is romantic and exciting enough, but what would you say to the addition of a salty ocean breeze and the picturesque panoramic view of a cruise wedding? These are some of the reasons why more and more couples are rethinking their on-land wedding plans. With the option to get married onboard, abroad or on the shore and at affordable prices – combining the moment you say I do, with a luxury holiday – makes it all the more enticing.

Whether you’re an avid or first-time cruiser, Silver Compass are here to help you create and organise the wedding of your dreams. We understand that planning such a significant and life-changing event can be exhausting but with the right guidance from our experts, you can find out the answer to the commonly-Googled question, ‘how to get married on a cruise’. Read on to see how Silver Compass can help you manage the arrangements from the start.

bride and groom in sea

Step 1

Select your wedding location & decide on number of guests

The location of your destination wedding will inevitably influence the overall price, so make sure you both agree on the number of guests you want there.

Can you get married on a cruise? Yes, you can choose to get married onboard, at a port of call or at the port of departure or arrival. Whether you want to marry onboard or ashore, you will want to think about what kind of cruise ship will best suit you. There are options ranging from small and intimate cruises, that include sailing ships, up to the very large resort-style ships.

Amount of cruise wedding guests:

6 guestsfor a small and intimate affair, 6 guests will maintain that completely relaxed theme you’re looking for, whilst keeping costs down – which means you can enjoy more days out at sea.

20+ guestsensuring that your entire family and close friends are there to witness your big day can be vital for some, and that’s great because it is possible to organise such an affair. 

You may wish to say your vows at a particular port that’s mapped on your cruise line’s itinerary – this is a good option for a couple who want everyone to be a part of the wedding but wish to enjoy a peaceful time together after the ceremony.

cruise wedding destination

Step 2

Find your ideal destination and decide on the length of travel

The location and duration of your cruise are two instrumental parts to cruise wedding planning. When choosing, consider the style of wedding you want – the theme is likely to reflect the destination you choose, as a Caribbean wedding will completely differ to a wedding in the Antarctic.

Cruise lengths vary but typically, your choice is between:

  • 3-6 nights
  • 1 week
  • 8-13 nights
  • More than 2 weeks

If you choose to have a large cruise wedding, 3-6 nights is likely to be the most attractive option, as it’s unlikely that everyone will be able to or has the flexibility to take an extended period of time off work.

bride and groom linking arms

Step 3

Pick your wedding date

Booking your cruise wedding in the shoulder season, between peak and off-peak seasons, is a good way to secure the ideal cabin configurations for yourself and your wedding guests at the best fares.

Cruise ‘shoulder seasons’ depend on the destination, for example, a Mediterranean cruise would be during spring and autumn and for Alaska, it’s May, June and September. To whittle down to a date that’s right for you and your guests you will need to consider:

  • That the date doesn’t fall on their birthday or anniversary
  • That the date doesn’t coincide with pre-planned holidays
  • That the date doesn’t make it awkward for those who will need to plan child care

Remember: not everyone will be able to make it to your wedding – and that’s the same for traditional weddings. You can only compromise so much because, ultimately, a date will need to be decided upon between you and your partner, so select the date where the majority of your guests should be able to attend, and plan around the people you most want to be there.

cruise ship on ocean

Step 4

Choosing the best wedding cruise line

Once you’ve decided on your location, look for cruise lines that voyage to your desired destination. Not all cruise lines can perform weddings onboard, so if you’re planning a wedding at sea, you’ll be restricted to those that have a wedding licence. Ask your local cruise experts for advice, they will be able to point you toward first-rate cruise lines and talk you through available wedding packages.

bride and groom on shoreline

Step 5

Booking your wedding cruise

Either pop into your local cruise travel agency or give them a ring, they will be able to talk you through your options and help you to find the best price.

save the date for your cruise wedding

Step 6

Creating save the date cards for your wedding cruise

You may wish to incorporate the destination wedding aspect into your save the date cards – a postcard-style wedding invite might just get your guests feeling more excited than you! For inspiration, check out these designs.

planning a cruise wedding on a laptop

Step 7

Setting up your wedding cruise website

Making a cruise wedding website for your guests provides them with a central hub where they can find out all they need to know about your big day. Your guests may query the dress code, location, travel plans and might want to refer to wedding social media hashtag, so that fun snaps can all be compiled before, during and after your wedding. Creating your own wedding cruise website can also help you to keep track of who has RSVP’d, provide you with beautiful templates, and offer you a built-in registry.

cards and flowers

Step 8

Sending your cruise wedding invites

Sending out your save the date cards is incredibly important, if you’re in hope of ensuring a high RSVP rate. With a cruise wedding, it’s particularly important to plan ahead and give your guests enough time to book time off work and save for the upcoming holiday. Ideally, you should send out your invites 9-12 months in advance.


Step 9

Selecting a cruise wedding photographer

Ask your cruise experts if they have any recommendations when it comes to cruise wedding photographers. If you do not want formal photography, you could ensure that your guests use your chosen cruise wedding hashtag, this way you can collate your wedding photos after the cruise.


Step 10

Set up a cruise wedding registry

When you choose a cruise wedding package, it’s likely there will be an option for a registry service. If this is what you’re looking for, your guests can offer wedding gifts by providing donations that will pay for your onboard amenities.

Types of registry gift giving:

  • Credit to onboard spa
  • Shore and land excursions
  • Dinner for two in delicious restaurant
  • Beverage package
  • and more…
bride and groom embrace

Step 11

Organise your official marriage license

Before the wedding, you need to make sure you get a license well before your departure date. If you’re at all worried that you won’t be able to obtain a license, you can always have a legal ceremony before or after the cruise.

groom's suit and bride's wedding dress

Step 12

Deciding on your cruise wedding dress and suit

If you’re concerned about getting your tux or dress creased in your luggage, ask your cruise lines to see if they can offer rentals. If you’ve already purchased both, make sure you have a garment bag ready! Remember to keep in mind your destination too, you may not want a full black tux or a long white dress in 30 degrees.

celebrations on a wedding day

Bon Voyage and Congratulations!

Now the wait is on as you count down towards your very own wedding cruise. Congratulations to you and your partner, we hope you have the time of your lives!

If you’d like to save our infographic on planning your cruise wedding to share or for future use, you can view it here.

Knowing how to plan a cruise wedding can be difficult, but follow Silver Compass’ advice and you’ll be well on your way to planning the most wonderful day. At Silver Compass, we have a wealth of experience within the cruise industry – so if you’re looking for help, advice or wish to book your next cruise, get in touch – we’d be delighted to help.