There are many great reasons to get married on a cruise. In addition to the obvious perks of being in an exotic locale or even out on the open sea, getting hitched on a cruise can help simplify the sometimes difficult logistics of the entire wedding experience. If stressing out and trying to plan every last detail of your ceremony, reception and honeymoon doesn’t exactly sound like a lot of fun to you, having it all wrapped up into a single cruise wedding package can be a delightful solution.

Once you’ve made the decision to have your wedding while on a cruise, you’ll have many important things to take into consideration. While getting married on a cruise is a much simpler process than planning a full-fledged traditional wedding, there are still many critical decisions to make and plans to arrange. In order to help you get off on the best foot possible, we’ve compiled a handful of the most vital things to consider before taking that exciting plunge. Be sure to look this list over and keep these points in mind when planning your perfect dream cruise wedding.

Photo Credit: Muha

A Ceremony At Sea? Not So Fast…

Many people have the misconception that it’s possible to get married at sea. While this is true for Princess Cruises – whose captains can marry couples under the legal authority of Bermuda – it is generally untrue for all of the other major cruise lines. Instead, a far more prevalent and common scenario is to get married while the shipped is in port – or to have the ceremony on a local beach. Although most major cruise ships have wedding chapels, they can only really be used when the ship is docked at a specific locality for legal reasons.

Set Up A Cruise Registry

When many couples become engaged, they set up wedding registries from which guests can choose gifts for them as they begin their new life together. In lieu of a traditional gift registry, though, you can set up a cruise registry. Those who wish to participate can contribute as much or as little as they’d like in order to help you pay for your cruise ship wedding. This is a very modern and savvy way to lessen the burden of paying for a full-fledged cruise wedding package. It’s especially smart for those who really don’t need all of the small appliances and other things that are typically purchased for newly-married people.

Be Prepared

One of the first things you’ll want to take care of when planning a cruise ship wedding is procuring the appropriate marriage license. This means that you’ll need to find out where your wedding will legally take place, then obtain a marriage license for that locality. At the same time, you’ll want to confirm that such a license will be considered a legally binding document in your own home state and country. Otherwise, you run the risk of going through with a ceremony that isn’t actually a legal wedding at all.

Consider Different Packages

Most of the major cruise lines offer a wide array of wedding packages. Take your time and consider each one before settling on one. Be sure not to get roped into paying for a detail or two that really doesn’t matter to you. It can be tempting to splurge for the biggest, best package – but will you really need or enjoy all of those extras? Be realistic so that you can enjoy the things that you really want to while on your cruise. Many people opt for simpler ceremonies in exchange for longer itineraries that stop in at more exotic ports of call, for example.

Work With A Wedding Consultant

Although you’re going to have to take care of a lot of the little details like flowers, music and photography, most cruise lines have a wedding consultant who can help you bring everything together so that it’s as streamlined and efficient as possible. Because a cruise line wedding consultant’s work revolves around cruise weddings, he or she can help you plan everything so that it fits within your budget – and so that every last detail is just right. Even though such a consultant usually comes with an extra fee, they more than earn it by helping to make your ideal cruise wedding a reality.

Most Importantly: Have Fun!

While nailing down every last detail and making sure that your cruise wedding goes off without a hitch is important, the number one priority should always be ensuring that your cruise wedding experience is memorable and fun. By incorporating a cruise line that suits your personalities – and selecting an itinerary that makes stops at ports of call that truly interest you – you and your spouse-to-be will have the most incredible time possible. The ultimate goal in planning a cruise ship wedding should be this: From the time you board the ship, until the time your cruise comes to an end, you shouldn’t have to fret over a single detail. Instead, it should be a relaxing, entertaining, memorable – and incredibly romantic – experience.