The Love Boat: Tips for Hosting a Floating Wedding

There is the destination wedding, the beach wedding, and the nautical-themed wedding… but what if you and your partner can’t decide which you like best? The answer is simple: Combine them into one of the most unique wedding experiences by hosting your wedding on a boat.

Wedding venues are expensive, and too many of them feel the same. With an on-board wedding, you can sequester your guests and enjoy a night of floating fantasy. Here are some critical reasons why and valuable tips how you can pull off a wedding on a boat.

Thinking It Over

Weddings are stressful for a substantial number of reasons, not least of which is the incredible expense. Young newlyweds-to-be and their families must pay for food and drink for every guest — of which there may be hundreds — decorations to astound and amaze, and a place large and dazzling enough to house it all. All in all, a terrestrial event usually costs upwards of $25,000, and that’s not including the honeymoon. Believe it or not, a floating wedding can cut this number in half.

Boats in general tend to be dramatically less expensive than land-based lodgings; you can probably afford to buy a boat for roughly the same about of money it would take to rent a viable banquet hall. Plus, because boats are smaller, choosing this venue allows you to limit the guest list to only your closest loved ones without feeling guilty. Less space also means fewer decorations; you can embellish the boat simply and chicly with a few touches of light and color.

However, it is important to note that boat captains don’t have the marital power most people ascribe to them. Though a captain is the unquestionable authority on his or her vessel, that power does not extend to most places back on land. Essentially, to make sure your marriage is legal, you will need to find a licensed officiant, who could be anyone from a religious leader to a judge to a sea captain who has registered online.

Getting the Boat

Of course, boats come in as many shapes and sizes as land venues, which means you should do some research on various vessels before you commit to a certain style. Cities near significant waterways usually have a handful of rental shops with boats large enough to host small gatherings. Conversely, a boat is truly a worthwhile investment that can provide years of enjoyment, including an inexpensive and exciting honeymoon after your I-dos.

If you are interested in owning your craft instead of renting it, there are a variety of ways you can save money on your purchase. Experts assert that purchasing a boat in December provides the best deals, as many retailers and manufacturers have sales to clear their lots for new models. Additionally, you should consider buying a refurbished boat from a charity, since these vendors are non-profit and can afford to offer lower prices.

Setting the Scene

There are dozens of themes that are appropriate for floating weddings, and we provide further elaboration on many of them around our site. Beach themes are incredibly popular due to their casual, fun tone, and preppy, nautical weddings are also generally cute and entertaining. For a more formal feel, you may consider a Titanic-themed event, with elegant turn-of-the-century fashion and décor.

Flame-free lights are certainly the safest choice for smaller vessels, as the movement of the water and the people on board could make real-fire candles dangerous. Instead, opt for battery-powered lanterns and candles. You should try to keep paths as open as possible, as the narrow walkways of boats can be difficult for some guests to navigate. Still, you should strive to make your floating wedding as magical as possible.

Reveling in the Romance

Boats are endlessly romantic, which makes one the perfect place to celebrate your love before, during, and after your ceremony. Perhaps the best wedding send-off imaginable is watching a couple sail off to their honeymoon on the very vessel in which they wed. Your boat-based honeymoon is guaranteed to be intimate and fun, as you and your new spouse will have few distractions that will take you away from enjoying your newfound love.

Plus, you can go anywhere the winds and waves take you, as long as you have sufficient navigational skill and supplies. The romance of your floating wedding can last the rest of your lives — as long as you keep your boat as a reminder of the love you share.