Weddings are a wonderful time and cruises make for a fantastic holiday, so the idea of combining the two can be a dream come true. With the opportunity for a really unique wedding location, lots of ways to customize the occasion and some seriously spectacular backdrops, a cruise ship wedding can be the most incredible day. However, the cruise ship wedding is not for everyone and it’s important to think it through thoroughly before you book anything for such an important occasion.
Here are some of the pros and cons of cruise ship weddings to help you make up your mind.
Organization – Most cruise liners will be able to offer some kind of wedding planning service so if you’re looking to get some help organizing the big day this is a great way to do it. Everything from catering to flowers to tuxedo rental can be included in the package, leaving you time to spend getting ready and enjoying the event itself.
Great value – Weddings are expensive wherever you are but a cruise ship wedding offers the chance to get great value for money for a really memorable day. Comparably, cruise weddings often cost less than a similar wedding on land, so they can be the ideal option if you’re looking to have a budget wedding that’s still got all the trimmings.
You can make it your own – Cruise ship weddings can be tailored so that you can have exactly the kind of wedding you want, whether it’s a traditional event or something very ‘out there.’ You just need to bear in mind what you can and can’t take on board, and the logistics of being on a ship.
An instant honeymoon – If you’re already on a cruise then there’s no need to pay for an additional honeymoon, or to factor it into your travel plans as the honeymoon begins the minute the wedding ends. This is an advantage in terms of finances, convenience and low hassle post wedding coordination. Mediterranean Cruises from luxury cruise lines like Celebrity are especially popular for weddings as they are close enough to home for guests to fly home after the ceremony while the wedding couple stays on for their honeymoon.
You won’t be the only ones – Given the size of most cruise ships you’re unlikely to be the only couple getting married on the same ship during a single trip, so if you’re looking for an exclusive venue then this may not be the option for you.
Travel restrictions – It may not be something that occurs to you in advance but remember that some ports will have restrictions on bringing certain things onto the ship. This means that if you’re not happy to swap live flowers for silk, for example, you might have to rule out getting hitched on a cruise ship.
Numbers – Whilst some cruise ships are enormous, others are much smaller so check the size of the ships on the route you’re interested in before you start booking anything. Be sure that all your party can be comfortably accommodated and that there’s enough facilities on the ship to cater for everyone’s needs. It’s also worth bearing in mind that whoever you take with you is going to share both your wedding and your honeymoon cruise – make sure you’ve considered the reality of that before you book anything.
Getting there – Remember that you need to get to the cruise ship to have the wedding and if you miss the boat it’s not quite as easy as being ten minutes late to the church. Plan in advance so that you get to the departure point in plenty of time and whatever you do don’t miss the boat!
Like any wedding venue, there are many pros and cons to getting married on a cruise ship. If, after reading the above, the idea of having your nuptials on the high seas still appeals then this is the perfect time to get booking.
Amy is a freelance travel writer from the UK.
An often overlooked part of planning the perfect wedding is the small matter of how to keep the guests happy. After all, it might be the brides big day but it’s also a day that quite a few people have sacrificed their weekends to be a part of.
The good news is that keeping wedding guests happy isn’t difficult. All you need to do is keep their needs in mind when making all of the big decisions. Here are ten simple tips for a wedding that your guests enjoy almost as much as you do.
1. Choose a Convenient Date
The first rule of keeping your guests happy is to simply choose a convenient date. Avoid major sporting events, long weekends and of course, your best friends birthday. And don’t forget to provide plenty of notice. Wedding invitations are generally expected to be sent out at least two months in advance.
2. Make it Easy to Get to
If some of your guests will be visiting from out of town, try to provide clear driving instructions. Stressful car journeys tend to lead to stressed out guests. Creating a list of cheap hotels in the area is also very much recommended. Just because you’re willing to splash out on a fancy hotel, that doesn’t mean that your guests will be.
3. Allow Plus Ones
If money is tight, plus ones can seem like an unnecessary expense but the reality is that nobody wants to go to a wedding alone. If you want to invite somebody single, don’t hold their relationship status against them. The old “no ring, no bring” rule is not a popular strategy among wedding guests.
4. Keep Things Short and Sweet
Everyone loves a beautiful wedding ceremony but very few people want to spend hours inside a church. It’s your big day and there’s certainly no need to rush but do you really want a two hour ceremony? Remember, the less time you spend at the church, the more time you’ll have at the party afterwards.
5. Don’t Leave People Standing Around
A common wedding mistake is to leave the guests standing around for an hour while the bride and groom are getting their photo taken. The last thing that you want to do is rush your wedding photos but it’s important to offer your guests some kind of entertainment while they wait. Consider some outdoor music, some free champagne and some games for any children in attendance.
6. Let Them Sit Where They Want
Most brides to be obsess over seating arrangements but did you know that professional wedding planners generally recommend against them? Nobody likes being told where to sit and weddings are no exception. Rather than allocating seats, just allocate tables and let people sit next to whoever they want. The result is less planning for you and more freedom for your guests.
7. Keep the Music Down
Music is a vital part of any wedding party but it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone likes to dance. And it’s pretty difficult to have a conversation when you can’t hear what the other person is saying. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally turning things up but try to be considerate of those who are more interested in talking than dancing.
8. Offer a Choice of Food
One of the most common sources of wedding guest complaints is a poor selection of food. Different people have different preferences and it’s important for you to keep this in mind when planning your menu. Find out if any of your guests have specific preferences or food allergies. And don’t forget to provide at least one child friendly choice.
9. Pay for a Free Bar
If you can afford it, nothing makes wedding guests happier than free booze. Offering your guests a free bar doesn’t necessarily have to be that expensive either. There’s no rule that says you can’t limit the beverages to beer and wine. A word of warning however, some people do seem to mistake the term “free bar” for “drinking competition”.
10. Cut the Cake on Time
Finally, we have the small matter of the cake cutting, it’s generally recommended that you don’t leave it too late in the night. The reason for this is simple, nobody wants to leave before the cake gets cut but not everyone wants to party past midnight. By getting the cake cutting out of the way, older wedding guests will be able to leave early, leaving you free to party the night away.
The author of this post, Arnold Parker, has a keen interest in wedding planning as well as photography and resorts to guest blogging to share his thoughts on it. He is part of the team at Jamieson Dean Photography and is the best wedding photographer in Toronto.
If you’ve recently got engaged, one of the first major decisions you will have to make is where you will get married. This can often be one of the most difficult decisions and one that will largely dictate the style and feel of your big day.
Two Different Choices
Unfortunately, choosing your wedding location actually requires you to make two separate decisions. You will need to decide where you will have the wedding ceremony and then, where you will have the wedding reception.
It’s clearly important that both of these locations are close to each other to minimize the traveling that everyone has to do on the actual day of the wedding. Some wedding locations will be able to accommodate both the ceremony and the reception all in one place – however, this isn’t always possible, or preferable.
For some couples it is crucial that the wedding ceremony itself takes place in a church. If this is the case then this needs to be the priority when searching for venues. Maybe one of you has a particular church that you’d like to use. If this is the case, you will need to find a wedding location that’s close to this church. If you don’t have a specific church in mind, your options are a little wider.
Getting Married Abroad
With travel links as they are, some couples are now choosing to get married a long way from their family home. While this is very romantic, there are some practical considerations. You need to ask yourself, ‘how many people will be able to come?’, ‘will they be able to afford it?’ and ‘where will they stay?’. If you are only planning on inviting your closest friends and family, getting married abroad might be the right decision. However, if by getting married abroad many of your friends and family aren’t able to come you may end up regretting it on the day.
The Actual Venue
Once you’ve decided where in the world you want to get married, you then need to look at specific venues. Firstly, you need to make sure it’s big enough. Even if you haven’t finalized your guest list, you should have an approximate idea of numbers. Always go for a larger venue than you think you need. It’s always better that there is slightly too much space than not enough. The second major consideration is the look and feel of the place. This is a day that you will remember for the rest of your life – does the location do it justice? Think about where you will take the photos, where the guests will arrive and what you will do if it’s raining?
There are no firm rules for choosing your wedding venue. In most cases it comes down to the personality and taste of the bride and groom. Visit the venues. If it feels right, go for it!
One of the benefits of getting married in the information age is that there’s no shortage of free advice available online. Millions of people have gotten married before you and quite a few of them have decided to blog about it.
The only downside to such information however is that not all of it is true. Between the myths, misconceptions and superstitions, there’s no shortage of ridiculous ideas surrounding the subject of how to plan that perfect wedding.
Here are ten popular wedding myths that you’d be mad to take seriously.
1. The Bride MUST Wear White
It’s been decades since anyone took this rule seriously. It’s your wedding, you can wear whatever you want. The most popular alternatives to white include pink and lavender. There’s no rule that says you have to stick to a single color either. Plenty of brides liven up their dresses with boldly colored sashes and embroidery.
2. Everything Will be Perfect
There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding. Humans are not perfect creatures and it follows that any event involving them isn’t going to be perfect either. The myth of the perfect wedding is something that sends many brides into a tailspin. Focus on enjoying your day, leave perfection for the movies.
3. You Can Drop Four Dress Sizes Before the Big Day
First off, you probably can’t. And secondly, attempting to do so is going to drive you up the wall. Things tend to get pretty hectic during the months leading up to a wedding. And the last thing that you want to be doing is running around on an empty stomach. Your groom loves you the way you are, choose a dress that you can fit into the day you buy it.
4. It’s Definitely Not Going to Rain
There’s nothing quite like an outdoor wedding but unfortunately, blue skies are very much a requirement. And when you don’t get one, you can easily be left out in the rain, literally. Regardless of what any venue owner tells you, freak rain showers do happen. Always have a back up venue. In the very least, it will save you worrying about it.
5. It’s All About the Bride
What the bride wants, the bride should get. But try not to say the heck with everyone else in the process. When making decisions, don’t forget to think about the guests. Don’t leave them standing around all day while you take pictures. Don’t choose the weekend that people generally spend at the beach. Don’t choose bridesmaid dresses that will mortify your bridesmaids. In other words, don’t turn into Bridezilla.
6. The Bride and Groom Mustn’t See Each Other
This is nothing but an archaic superstition. It’s also something that less and less people take seriously these days. Many people argue that seeing each other the morning of the wedding can actually lead to a greater feeling of intimacy. After all, it offers the bride and groom a chance to be themselves without a hundred people staring at them.
7. Weddings Are Cheaper During a Recession
With the economy showing no signs of improving, it’s not uncommon for brides to expect major discounts on venues and wedding services. Contrary to popular belief however, weddings are just as popular today as they’ve ever been. Discounts are occasionally possible, but if you plan on getting married on a Saturday, forget about it.
8. Smart Brides Save Money by Hiring Friends
There’s no shortage of smart ways to save money on your wedding but unfortunately, hiring your friends isn’t one of them. Professional photographs require more than a fancy camera. And professional music requires more than an iPod. Unfortunately, if you want professional services, you need to pay professionals.
9. The Brides Parents Will Pay for Everything
It’s not uncommon for the brides parents to pay for the wedding but it’s by no means obligatory or to be expected. These days, it’s far more common for couples to pay for the big day themselves. The brides parents are obviously going to want the best for their daughter but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be willing to go broke in the process.
10. Certain People MUST Be Invited
Finally, we have the myth that suggests that certain people should automatically go on the guest list regardless of how you feel about them. Perhaps, they invited you to their wedding. Or perhaps, they’re a family friend and it would be considered disrespectful not to invite them. The reality is that your wedding is just that, yours. And other than the groom, you don’t owe anybody an invite.
Today's guest post is courtesy of Jake Tyler. He has constructed many wedding tents over the years and has had to face some strange situations, with people following crazy wedding myths of their own. Apart from his professional commitments, he also blogs about various issues.
For all the joys of getting married, there’s no denying that the planning stage can get a little stressful. Budgets have to be drawn up, decisions have to be made and the bride has to be kept from tearing her hair out in the process.
The easiest way to prevent a wedding meltdown is to simply learn what not to do. Here are eight of the most common wedding planning mistakes and how to avoid them.
Getting Talked into Unnecessary Purchases
When dealing with wedding service providers, always keep in mind that they want you to spend as much money as possible. They are businesses, like any other, and their primary goal is to make a profit. It’s therefore important to take their advice with a grain of salt.
When choosing a wedding cake, for example, choose the cake that you want, not the cake that the baker recommends. The same applies to floral arrangements, catering and photography.
Forgetting about the Guests
A bride has every right to plan what she considers to be the perfect wedding but it’s important not to forget about the guests completely. For example, when choosing the venue, try not to choose a place that’s going to be a nightmare for your guests to get to.
When choosing bridesmaids dresses, try to choose something that your bridesmaids will actually like. If you want to host an outdoor wedding during the Summer, make sure that you provide adequate shade and water for everyone.
The last thing that you want on your big day is grumpy, dehydrated guests.
Leaving Things Until the Last Minute
If you want to send your stress levels skyrocketing, nothing beats leaving things until the last minute. Here are a few important things to be aware of.
- Wedding dress alterations can take up to six months.
- The most popular venues/churches are rarely available at short notice.
- Wedding guests generally expect to be given at least two months notice.
Spending More Than You Can Afford
Most brides start out with a pretty strict budget. Unfortunately however, it’s surprisingly easy for expenses to get out of hand. If you find yourself spending more than you can afford, it’s important to stop and take a step back.
Your wedding is obviously important but do you really want to start your new life in debt? Some brides end up throwing their budget out the window and the result is a pretty stressful first year of marriage.
Confusing the Fashion Budget with the Dress Budget
A surprisingly common wedding planning mistake is failing to differentiate between the fashion budget and the dress budget. Even if we forget about shipping charges, there’s still the small matter of undergarments, shoes, and jewelry to consider.
If you blow your entire fashion budget on your dress, you’re obviously going to have a hard time affording all the extras. And as a bride, the extras are not something that you’re going to want to skimp on.
Thinking “It” Could Never Happen
Back up plans are an essential part of making sure that your wedding goes off without a hitch. They are also an essential part of simply staying calm as the big day approaches.
- If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, choose a back up indoor venue.
- Keep a list of back up photographers, bands, caterers etc. in case somebody doesn’t show up.
- Ask all service providers about their back up plans. For example, does your photographer have a spare camera?
Booking the Venue too Soon
Another surprisingly common wedding planning mistake is simply booking the venue before you’ve finalized the guest list. This is a mistake because most venues have strict limits regarding how many guests you can invite.
If you book the venue first, you therefore run the risk of not having room for everyone.
To avoid this awkward scenario, don’t book the venue until you know exactly who is coming. It’s also worth noting that guest lists tend to get bigger, not smaller.
Drinking the Night Before
Finally, there’s the small matter of drinking, don’t do it the night before your wedding. Don’t drink during the rehearsal party and if your bridesmaids want to throw you a party, have them throw it well before the big day.
Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. Don’t spoil it with a hangover.
Bob Bentner is a wedding planner in Toronto. His job involves hectic work schedules and it requires him to keep himself updated with the latest market trends. He also likes to blog and frequently writes articles on various topics. He suggests the services of limo4you.ca to his clients for wedding limos in Toronto.