What could be more romantic than exchanging wedding vows as the sun goes down over the brilliant Caribbean Sea?  You stand barefoot in the soft sand, warm breezes gently rustling your gown, with the sound of the waves lapping the beach, and the love of your life holding your hand and promising you forever.

Destination weddings are growing in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why.  They are a wedding and honeymoon all rolled up into one, and the wedding photos are simply breathtaking.

With the growing demand for the perfect destination wedding, it’s easier than ever to arrange affordable wedding packages, and what could be more unique and special than a wedding on a cruise ship?

Say Your Vows At Sea, in Port, or On Shore
Bride with Suitcase
Many cruise lines offer a variety of cruise wedding packages.  You can arrange for a wedding on the ship, in the harbor, or at any of the ports on the cruise itinerary, such as on a Caribbean beach, in front of a glacier in Alaska, or in the heart of a romantic European town.

The best part of arranging your wedding through a cruise line is that there are ready-made packages available, with a minimal amount of stress and planning on your part.  You can make one phone call, and the cruise line will arrange for your officiant, the music, flowers, photographer, cake, champagne and it will even assign you a coordinator to make sure it’s the day you’ve always dreamed about.  There are also services you can add on at additional cost, such as pre-ceremony spa treatments or tuxedo rentals for the groom.

Since ship’s captains can legally marry people, you can also arrange for a rare wedding at sea on some cruise lines.  Some newer ships even have onboard wedding chapels to serve this growing demand.  If you have friends and family back home who couldn’t come along, Princess Cruises even has a service where you can broadcast your ceremony live back home via web cam.

If you love the idea of a cruise ship wedding, but don’t really feel like bringing the in-laws and wedding party along for the entire trip, some cruise lines offer weddings at the port, before the ship leaves.  Your guests will be placed on a special list with port security, and can attend the ceremony on land, before you wave goodbye and sail away.

One detail you will need to take care of is the legal aspect of getting married.  You will need to arrange for a marriage license from the location of your wedding, well in advance of your cruise.  Whether it’s a U.S. port or a foreign country, policies and costs will vary from one place to another, and you’ll need to secure this license in advance for your marriage to be legal.  Check with your cruise line’s wedding co-ordinator, and they can help you make sure you have all the proper paperwork done.

You also need to check what cruise offers the exact package you want.  Not every cruise line will arrange for a wedding at a port-of-call.  Some cruise lines don’t allow onboard weddings.  Some smaller luxury cruise lines don’t offer wedding services at all.  The bigger cruise lines, such as Carnival and Princess, offer the most variety of cruise ship wedding services.

Whatever you’re dreaming about for your perfect day, there is sure to be a cruise ship wedding that is just right for you.  Do a little research, and then get ready to kick back, relax and sail off into the sunset together.

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