The weather is getting warmer, summer is near, and it's peak wedding season.  Many couples have their wedding at a banquet hall.  Others have it outdoors at a park or the beach.  We had our wedding on a cruise ship on July 27, 2015.  We have nothing against a more traditional celebration, but we wanted to find something that was easy to plan, affordable, and where we can have our honeymoon all wrapped up in one package.  For couples who are planning their wedding, here are the pros and cons of tying the knot on a cruise:


- It saves big money.  After doing research with multiple major cruise lines, we found that they each had wedding packages at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding.  As of today, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $32,641.  The total cost of our cruise wedding: $2,295. 

- It saves a lot of time.  Major cruise lines come with a wedding planner who will help you with the logistics so you spend significantly less time figuring out the venue, food, cake, photos, decorations, entertainment, flowers, and music.  It’s a lot easier to get all this done when you have a planner and it’s all already on the boat.  We had to fill out some forms to choose our cake, food, and music.  The most time we spent planning was landing on a final count of the guests and giving them information about the ceremony.  Total time spent planning: 1 week. 
Kayaking in Turks and Caicos for our honeymoon.
- You get a honeymoon and wedding in one.  Why celebrate for only a day that feels like a blur when you and your guests can take your time celebrating and relaxing for several days on the beach and a boat with entertainment, food, and games?  You also get an instant honeymoon and wedding in one with a cruise.  And if you just want to have your honeymoon privately, you have the option of having the wedding at the embarkation port, and then your guests can head home before the cruise sets sail.
- You’ll have amazing photos.  There are professional photographers on the ship who will offer a range of photo packages at a reasonable price.  The photographer will have your photos by the end of the trip, and there are several packages to choose from.  And you’ll get a chance to take photos that are hard to get anywhere else.  For example, we got photos together on the outside deck of the ship with New York City in the backdrop, which is a rare photo op.


- It’s a speed wedding - a really quick celebration.   For the cruise we went to, the ceremony was 15 minutes, followed by a one hour reception.  By the time we cut the chocolate almond joy cake (which was so delicious) and had a few bites, we had to do the final dance.  If having a one day wedding is a blur, this was a blink.  There were other packages to get a two hour celebration, but in general, a cruise wedding is a much more condensed version of the day long traditional celebration.  It felt a little bit like the Two Minute Date with Ted and Stella from How I Met Your Mother.

- Many of your friends and family won’t be able to attend.  As with any destination wedding, it is difficult to get your friends and family to travel and attend because of either the travel, cost, or time needed.  Most people can attend something for a day, but when you’re asking for several days of their time, there’s a very small chance that someone who is working full time or in school can attend.  If you have always dreamed of having a wedding where every friend or family member attended, then a more traditional wedding is a better choice.  Looking back, I think having more of our closest friends and family would have made the wedding a bit more memorable and fun, but as a compromise, we celebrated with a private reception with our friends when we got back home from the cruise.

- You (and your party) can be cruised out.  Our only regret about the cruise wedding was that we picked a cruise that was too long (9 days, 8 nights).  If we had to do it over, it would be a 4 day cruise, tops.  By day 5, people were starting to get a bit too stir crazy being in a boat, and the food (although delicious) and activities on the ship got repetitive.  There were too many days in sea and not enough days on shore (only 3 days).

In Conclusion

In the end, your wedding venue is a personal decision, and you want to make the choice that you’ll be happy with looking back.  Some people already have the perfect wedding in mind years in advance.  A wedding cruise is a great idea if you’re short on time planning, want to save some money, and are ok with not every family member and friend attending.  And if you go with a cruise wedding, I recommend contacting the ship at least 9 months in advance to get a spot, as many cruises only can do two weddings per day.
Our wedding dance started off slow, and we surprised our guests around the 2 minute mark with a little bit of the Thriller dance (which has a special meaning to us since I met Alena teaching her Thriller) and 'You're the One that I Want' from Grease. 
My brother-in-law, Bill, giving a funny, heartfelt Man of Honor Speech (we didn't have a Maid of Honor).  He starts his speech with: "I have never been married.  Probably a good thing."