Cruising for a Destination WeddingWords by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Costola Photography
Cruise the ocean blue, and on your vessel, say “I do.” It sounds like a fairy tale, but destination cruise weddings are actually more attainable than you’d think. In fact, our real wedding couple, Tori and Anthony, took to the seas for their nuptials and found the planning process much easier than anticipated. The cherry on top was that the cruise wedding would be cheaper than having the ceremony on the beaches of Outer Banks or Tybee Island.
“We both wanted a beach wedding,” the couple says, “and we love to cruise, so this worked out perfectly. Also, we did not have to plan a whole lot, which is something we wanted.”
Tori and Anthony fell in love with Grand Turk on their first seven-day cruise together, so finding a cruise that ported there took priority. Once they decided on Carnival for their cruise line, the planning could begin. Unfortunately, some guests couldn’t make it due to cost, but those who could be over the moon about cruising with the couple.
“We sent emails and utilized our wedding website to help guests with booking. Once they contacted Tori’s mom and she got them booked under our group booking, our guests didn’t have to worry about anything other than payments,” the two say.
The couple found little worry as well in their planning of the parties and ceremony. Carnival gave them a list of vendors to choose from, because of this, the vendors were easily accessible. “The only downfall,” Tori says, “is that there is not a lot of choices and a lot of unknowns until you board the ship.” Therefore, Tori and Anthony suggest if you have to be in control at all times, a cruise wedding would not likely not be a good fit for you.
Additionally, the couple strongly advises getting a travel agent. Luckily, for them, Tori’s mom is one and happens to have good repour with Carnival. With her help, booking all 52 of their guests, adding additional perks to cabins and finding offers and deals would be something the couple could take off of their planning to-do list. Not to mention, having a travel agent allowed them to deflect a myriad of guests’ questions surrounding logistics and excursions.
“I will say that many of the people you talk to prior to the wedding are just processors so they do not know how everything truly works out on the ship or at the destination,” Tori says.
The couple did have an issue when they realized some things they’d requested were not found in their final confirmation. Luckily, their wedding coordinator on the boat helped smooth things out and ease their worries. “In the end, everything ended up way more beautiful and perfect than we expected,” the two say.
Ultimately, deciding to bring their nuptials on the sea, the guest count lessened and so did the overall cost. Tori and Anthony feel their wedding wouldn’t have been what they’d wanted if they’d decided to have it at home.
The cruise wedding planning process earned the couple valuable wisdom to pass on to future destination wedding couples:
“Do what you two would like to do and do not let others dictate how YOUR day should be,” the pair says. “Enjoy every single moment because it goes by so fast, and don’t sweat the little stuff. Let things happen how they happen because those are the best stories. Lastly, enjoy your new life together because being with one another is perfect enough.”
Vendors: Photographer: Costola Photography; Wedding Planners: Carnival Cruise Lines & The Wedding Experience; Travel Expert: Diverse Travel Solutions; Transportation: Carnival Cruise Lines; Ceremony/Reception Site: Osprey Beach Hotel & Caicos Islands/ Carnival Cruise Lines on The Pride; Gown Designer/Store: Galina by David's Bridal; Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu; Jewelry: Diamonds Direct; Men's Attire: Men's Wearhouse
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