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  • Writer's pictureLisa Siembab

A Wedding Afloat?

Ever thought about a wedding afloat whilst on a cruise. This has to be the ultimate in wedding romance. There are the obvious benefits to this, for example combining your wedding and honeymoon dramatically reduces costs, your guests pay for themselves and, of course, cruises are usually inclusive of food so no massive food bill for the day. However, you need to think about whether you want a full family entourage on your honeymoon and this is not to mention the thousands of other passengers!

There are a number of options, you could get married at sea, whilst in port at one of the idyllic destinations or have a blessing whilst on-board. All sound amazing but it’s not as easy as it sounds…is anything about getting married?!

So if you fancied the first option, getting married at sea, this is only possible with a small number of cruise lines and the marriage is performed by the Captain. This is because British law states that for a wedding to be legal the ceremony must be held in a public place that is open for all to access. Clearly, it would be difficult to do this at sea! A few cruise lines have got round this by registering in another country such as Bermuda, the Bahamas or Malta. So this is an option but you just need to pick one of the handful of cruise lines that offer this.

The second option is having your wedding whilst in port. This means you are basically getting married in that country and need to fulfil the legal requirements of that country. This is a more risky option for two main reasons. The first is covered in our earlier blog about getting married abroad…the paperwork and residency requirements. The second is your whole wedding is basically dependent on what the weather decides to do that day. If it’s a stormy day and the ship cannot dock or get into port then you wedding day is lost, along with all your plans and money! Grand Cayman is notorious for bad weather and cruise ships being unable to get in.

The final option is to have a legal wedding in the UK before you leave and then have a blessing either on-board or in port conducted by a Celebrant or the Captain. This option obviously carries much less risk in terms of not having to fulfil legal requirements. However, there is still the risk of bad weather and not being able to get into your chosen port but if you choose a less risky time of year and destination you should be lucky.

There is some good news though Mike Penning the Shipping Minister (who knew?) has recently spoken on this issue and has asked for the law to be changed to allow UK cruise lines to cash in on this massive market. This is littered with issues such as determining which country the marriage has took place in to ensure the legal requirements of that country have been met.

However, if this is something that you have set your heart on, most of the large cruise lines are now well versed in marriages, both at sea and in port. They will be able to explain what they can offer and should be able to help with all of the legalities. So, get ready for the sailaway!

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