The Ultimate Guide to Yacht Weddings
A wedding on a luxury yacht is the pinnacle of indulgence and the ultimate choice for a destination wedding.
As with any wedding regardless of location, there are the usual factors that can influence your big day such as budget, décor, catering. Without doubt, a luxury yacht can perfectly set the tone for one of the most special occasions you'll experience. It can be overwhelming pinpointing the best yacht that fits your budget, can hold all your guests and has an ambiance you like, therefore this article aims to guide you and provide useful tips on the search for your ideal vessel.
A wedding on a yacht can be a cost-effective way to spread expenses for your big day with lots of benefits or inclusions that you may not get for land-based options.
1. Save time by hosting the ceremony and reception in one place
2. Pre or post-wedding accommodation and entertainment on board
3. Flexibility for guest numbers – luxury yacht options can host small intimate gatherings to larger receptions
4. Flexibility with location – ceremonies can be conducted at spectacular beaches, islands, coves
5. Professional yacht crew skilled in giving excellent service
6. Gourmet cuisine and bespoke catering – options can include cocktail canapés or full sit-down degustation menus
7. A memorable venue and occasion for your guests – with lots of incredible photo opportunities
Adaptability for your plans
A wedding on a yacht offers a multitude of options for the bride and groom. You can have a full wedding service that incorporates pre/post wedding cruises, bride and groom parties, ceremony and reception, or you can pare things to a minimum and arrange your reception only. Luxury yachts also provide ideal opportunities for engagement proposals, vow renewals and honeymoon yacht charters. Utilising a yacht charter broker is advisable because they have immense networks and good working relationships with florists, photographers, entertainment, hair and makeup and other services you'll need.
Generally, yacht weddings can be as versatile as a wedding ashore, however the main restriction is your guest list as there's only a finite number of guests you could have on board. This is where it becomes invaluable to consult your yacht charter broker about suitable yachts to match your guest numbers.
Yacht weddings are usually destination weddings so don’t forget to factor in the cost of travel expenses – airfares, visa fees, transfers to the port.
Consider the timing of your ceremony and reception – you may dream of stunning wedding photos at sunset, however some countries place restrictions on times to conduct ceremonies.
In some countries, there are religious restrictions for ceremonies – for example, in Greece, one or both of the couple must follow Greek Orthodox faith to marry in some island churches, however there's no restriction on board yachts. Likewise, for Italy there may be restrictions for Catholic ceremonies.
Another aspect to review is wedding attire. As with any wedding, think carefully about what you'll wear in the climate, and brides may need to check the yacht protocol regarding footwear – that gorgeous pair of bridal high heels may be banned from the yacht decks!
It’s vital to research the legalities of your marriage before you book a yacht wedding. This includes destination-specific marriage laws that can affect your yacht wedding planning and timeframes.
First, you should ascertain what determines a legal binding marriage back in your own country of residence. Secondly, you should understand the legalities of marriage in the country where you'll charter the yacht (the country you'll marry in), especially if the bride, groom or both of the couple is non-resident. For example, in Greece you must be present in the country at least one week prior to the wedding ceremony as documentation you must supply in order to obtain a marriage license varies depending on your nationality and sometimes even differs among regions. In France and also Aruba in the Caribbean, you must have a civil ceremony at the Town Hall first, after which you can have a religious or secular ceremony anywhere you like.
You should also plan well in advance for relevant paperwork and research if documents need to be translated.
Choosing a venue for your wedding is an important piece of the wedding puzzle, so choosing a suitable luxury yacht is crucial to making your wedding a success. We strongly recommend consulting a yacht charter broker for your wedding who has inside knowledge about the specifications of each luxury yacht in the charter fleet, crew insight and availability.
Some important questions to check off with your yacht charter broker:
What are the options for décor? It’s important you're aware of what’s already there on the yacht, from the wall colour to the flooring to the lighting and what you can add. Make sure to ask about what’s movable and what has to stay.
Is there enough space? Picture your wedding from start to finish. Is there enough space for a cocktail reception after the ceremony? Does the dining area offer enough room for seating for an intimate reception dinner? Is there room for a dance floor area big enough to accommodate your guests?
Will there be a wedding planner or a coordinator on the day? For most yacht weddings the person who you deal with regarding the plans may not be present on the actual day so make sure you know who to approach on the day.
What you are responsible for arranging or bringing in? Is it possible to bring in your own wine/champagne and if so, are there corkage fees. Are you allowed to bring in your own flowers, decorations etc. Some yacht brokers prefer that you work with their preferred vendor list. If that is the case, be sure to do your homework on the vendor.
What’s the plan in the event of inclement weather? Every yacht charter broker should present you with a rain plan, especially if you’re planning parts of your ceremony or reception on the top deck.
How late can we party? Most luxury yacht charters cruise for four or five hours. If you want your reception to go later than that, you need to ask about additional costs if you want to stay longer.
What about live entertainment? Make sure to ask about any noise restrictions if you’re planning on having a live band, DJ or other entertainment on board.
Is there a space for the bridal party to get ready? Many yachts have staterooms for the bridal party.
Are there any areas we won’t have access to? On board there may be areas or decks you won’t have access to. Be sure you are aware of what those restrictions are and if they suit your plans for your day.
Is the yacht accessible for your guests? Discuss with your yacht charter broker if you have elderly or less mobile guests who can’t use stairs.
Are there any consequences for not fulfilling the food and beverage minimum? Is there a service charge on top of the bill? If so, how much?
Are there any additional costs? Are there surcharges for cleaning fees, liability insurance, fuel, dockage, taxes, yacht delivery fees, deposits, and cancellation fees. Get every detail in writing so there are no surprises at the end.
Popular Global Destinations for Yacht Weddings
Some popular destinations for yacht weddings include Croatia, Fiji, France, Greek Aegean or Ionian Islands, Italy, Malta, Spain, Tahiti, Turks and Caicos and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
To discuss your yacht wedding charter requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact:
· Alexander Coles, Senior Charter Broker
· +33 677 469 700
· +44 207 368 3328
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