Having a wedding in port requires a great deal of planning, so many couples opt to have the ceremony on board the ship before embarkation. Depending on which package you purchase and the policies of the cruise line, there may be restrictions on how many guests can attend, especially for guests who are not sailing with you.
Typically, the wedding will be held inside, either in the chapel, the ship's library, a reception room or in one of the onboard entertainment areas. For couples who plan to wed on the day of embarkation, we recommend arriving a day before departure.
Regardless of your ceremony location, here are some important issues to consider:
Licenses: You and your future spouse are responsible for obtaining a marriage license, for a fee, from your wedding destination. You also will need to be familiar with the regulations for marrying in that destination. Some places require that you apply for a license in person, while others allow you to submit an application remotely. Often the cruise line’s wedding coordinator can assist you in obtaining your license.
Attendees: The wedding package you purchase through the cruise line will determine the number of guests you can invite to your ceremony and reception. Guests who are paying passengers on the cruise will be allowed to participate in your wedding. Non-sailing guests are generally permitted to come aboard for weddings and receptions, but you will likely have to provide the cruise line with an accurate list of guests, including legal names, birthdays and/or state-issued identification numbers. Your guests will be asked to show proper identification upon boarding.
The strictness of these regulations varies by cruise line and port. In some ports, particularly foreign ports, you may not be allowed to bring non-sailing guests on board at all. Sailing and non-sailing guests count toward the maximum allowed number of guests for the wedding package you purchase.