How to Have a Boat Wedding and the 9 Best Venues for One
How many couples do you know that have gotten married on a boat? Probably not many, so why not be the first to tie the knot on this one-of-a-kind venue. A boat wedding has all the makings of a romantic and memorable special day. Picture saying your vows at sunset on a luxury yacht or on the open-air deck of a cruise ship with the breeze blowing through your hair as the open water behind you serves as the backdrop for your "I do's." Enjoy dinner onboard and dance the night away under the stars. Your wedding photos will be absolutely stunning and your guests will leave with memories to last a lifetime. Whether you tie the knot of a sailboat or you charter a yacht, there are plenty of ways to get married on the open water. For the pros and cons of a boat wedding, how to choose the right venue and a few recommendations, read ahead before you dive into planning.
Pros and Cons of a Boat Wedding
Pro: You'll have unbeatable views
You can't get much more gorgeous than being surrounded by open waters. From the sun's reflection on the water to the distant shore views, your special day will be filled with picturesque moments for your wedding photographer to capture.
Con: You can't pick your own decor
Most yachts and cruises come with their own decor and furniture, so make sure you like what they have onboard before you book. If you have a rental company you're dying to work with, you most likely won't be able to do so for a boat wedding. If creating your dream wedding space is something you're set on, a boat wedding may not be right for you.
Pro: Everything you need is onboard
From the tables, chairs, linens, glassware, caterer, bartender, and everything in between, you don't have to think about anything when it comes to your reception (except selecting your meal). It's all set up and ready for you and your partner so you don't have to spend your engagement sourcing every single vendor.
Con: You can't leave the boat
Once the boat sets sail, you likely won't be able to get off. If you know many of your guests get seasick or get anxiety from being in one place for too long, they may not want to attend a boat wedding. Unless there is some kind of medical emergency, the boat won't return to the dock until after the wedding concludes.
How to Choose a Boat Wedding Venue
Most boat wedding venues aren't going to have a high capacity limit, so make sure you're OK with a slightly smaller guest list before making a final decision to have your wedding out at sea. Next, you'll want to figure out where exactly you want to have the wedding. An ocean? A river? A lake? Is there a body of water that is special to the two of you? Perhaps where you had your first date or a beach where you went on your first vacation? Or maybe it's a city cruise that offers skyline views of the place where you both live. Having some kind of connection behind the location you choose will make your wedding that much more special.
Once you select the location for your boat wedding venue, you'll need to narrow down the kind of boat you'd like to tie the knot on. A catamaran or a sailboat will be much better suited for an extremely intimate wedding or elopement, while a luxury yacht or cruise line are ideal options for a bigger guest list. Once you settle on that, it's important to find out what the boat can offer you in terms of event planning. Do they have servers and waiters on board? Is there a dance floor or space for a band or DJ? Do they offer a plated dinner, buffet dinner or a choice between the two? How long do you spend out at sea? Having answers to all of these questions will help you narrow down where you should tie the knot.
9 Boat Wedding Venues to Consider
Whether you're planning a destination wedding or something more local, check out some of our favorite boat wedding venues, from coast to coast.
Triton Charters in San Diego, California
Celebrate your love on an upscale luxury catamaran. It's docked on Shelter Island, offering city views of San Diego. The boat features an open plan seating arrangement that can accommodate up to 100 guests. The bow of the boat can be lowered into the water and guests are permitted to swim whenever they want--making the idea of a brunch wedding followed by a day of swimming an sunbathing an enticing idea. There is a trampoline and slide attached to the boat, which can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Can you picture sealing your commitment by sliding into the ocean on a waterslide? There is a large bar on board that comes with licensed bartenders ready to serve up an array of cocktails for guests. When it comes to wedding cruises, Triton Charters has seasoned sailors and attentive staff waiting to make your big day a memorable one.
Waterways Cruises in Seattle, Washington
This family-owned and operated luxury yacht has been throwing couples fabulous yacht weddings since 1994. You'll have access to a privately chartered yacht complete with a Captain, cruise director, service staff, and bartender for your wedding celebration. Upon boarding guests will be offered a glass of celebratory Champagne before setting sail on a three-hour cruise. You'll have the choice between a plated or buffet dinner, as well as the choice between a classic dining menu or a barbeque menu. Table settings, linens, china, and silverware are included, as well as a fully stocked bar. Have your wedding ceremony on the stern of the boat with the Seattle skyline behind you, and then move inside for your wedding reception in the dining room with windows bordering the entire space so guests still have a access to gorgeous water views. Waterways Cruises experienced staff is excited to make your special day a one-of-a-kind celebration.
SeaFair Miami in Miami, Florida
Host your wedding celebration aboard this 200-foot vessel docked in Miami, Florida. There are multiple special event spaces throughout the yacht to host your elegant nuptials. The View SkyDeck offers breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami Skyline. The open-air deck accommodates 120 people for a seated dinner or 300 for a cocktail-style dinner and dancing under the open sky. The Aft Reception and Coffee Bar has an indoor/outdoor vibe and is a great place for your cocktail hour and to greet guests. Sneak away to the Captain's Lounge for a private moment as newlyweds and enjoy the sweeping views of the city and a drink from the secret bar. The Aft Ballroom features live green walls and bamboo accents reminiscent of a garden. The Grand Reception features 360-degree windows that overlook the bay and allow up to 300 people to dance the night away. Wedding planning is taken care of when you book with the SeaFair. Wedding coordinators will arrange tables, find entertainment, and handle all of the decor so all you have to worry about is getting married.
Savannah Riverboat Cruises in Savannah, Georgia
For a splash of southern charm, consider the tying the knot on either the River Queen or Georgia Queen riverboat, which hold up to 400 or 550 passengers, respectively. Both feature red, white, and blue colors, two climate-controlled dining decks and a third open-air deck. The latest addition to the fleet is the Savannah River Queen, which boasts three climate-controlled dining areas, three bars and a snack bar on the open-air deck. The third deck also features a VIP room that holds up to 36 people, making it a perfect spot for a rehearsal dinner. When you book one of the riverboats, you'll work with an event specialist to assist you with your wedding planning needs from planning your menu, decor and entertained. Exchange vows in an outdoor ceremony on one of the decks overlooking River Street while guests look on from the built-in benches. The Savannah Riverboat Cruises are the perfect wedding venue if you want a mix of southern and nautical charm.
Majestic by Atlantic Cruises in Honolulu, Hawaii
As if getting married in Hawaii wasn't romantic enough, how about having your nuptials on board a three-deck luxurious yacht? This sleek and modern luxury yacht is 150 feet long and has two air-conditioned decks, a dining room and a cocktail lounge. When guests first board this awe-inspiring vessel, they'll enter into the main dining room, where they'll be able to enjoy their gorgeous surroundings through panoramic windows. On the second floor you'll find the cocktail lounge, the perfect place to host serve passed appetizers and drinks after exchanging "I do's." The top is an open-air deck, perfect for a wedding ceremony, wedding photos or a cocktail hour. You'll enjoy one of Hawaii's famous sunsets and then get a stunning view of Waikiki's skyline all lit up at night. Wedding packages on the Majestic start at $159 per person and include a full dinner and special beverage package.
Yachts For All Seasons in New York, New York
A boat wedding doesn't have to be all about getting married on the water, sometimes it's about the view. If you're looking for a jaw-dropping city view, the iconic New York City skyline will be crystal clear in the background of your wedding photos when you charter a luxurious yacht for your wedding day. With over 60 yacht charters to pick from, it can be tough to pick the right one, which is why their wedding planners are there to help you make the right call. Whether you want a big celebration or a small gathering, there is a yacht for you. You'll get an all-inclusive price for the wedding ceremony venue, reception venue, decor, food, alcohol and entertainment when you book with Yachts for All Seasons so the only thing you have to think about is embarking on your new journey as a married couple.
BB Riverboats in Newport, Kentucky
Say "I do" aboard one of three luxury riverboats on the Ohio River with sweeping views of the Cincinnati skyline behind you. The flagship riverboat, the Belle of Cincinnati, is adorned with Victorian decor and offers three climate-controlled decks and an open-air deck. The River Queen is a bit smaller than the flagship riverboat but exudes plenty of charm. Featuring two climate-controlled decks and a bar on the open-air deck, this is a great choice for a smaller wedding celebration. When you book a riverboat for your wedding day, you'll have a selection of all-inclusive wedding packages to choose from based on your style and budget. You'll have access to a wedding planner, flexible payment terms, china, flatware, linens, and a menu tasting. Event add-ons include entertainment, flowers, decor furniture layout and wedding coordination. A guaranteed killer view and with an all-inclusive price? BB Riverboats is a must-see boat wedding venue.
Naples Princess in Naples, Florida
Spend your first few moments as newlyweds enjoy the views from the Gulf of Mexico atop a 105-foot luxury yacht that holds up to 149 passengers. The yacht is newly renovated, boasting a clean, white interior, reflective ceilings, large windows and leather chairs. The sound system can be heard anywhere on board and the two flat screen TVs can be used to show wedding slideshows or live speeches. Their full-service wedding planners can help you and your partner decide which wedding package is right for you. Depending on how involved you want them to be they can plan everything down to the entertainment and flowers. If you're lucky you'll have a dolphin sighting on board to kick-off married life! Enjoy a secluded and private wedding ceremony on the Naples Princess' open air-deck followed by a delicious dinner put together by our exceptional catering staff. You won't regret celebrating your wedding day aboard such a majestic vessel.
The Carolina Girl Yacht in St. Johns, South Carolina
This 150-passenger luxurious yacht is docked in St. Johns Yacht Harbor. Say your vows with unparalleled views surrounding you of the Charleston Historic District, Charleston Harbor, Ravenel Bridge and Ashley River Bridge. The 360-degree river views will appear in the background of all of your wedding photos and offer natural light while dining inside via a plethora of windows. The dance floor on the top deck allows you to have your first dance as a married couple under the stars, and the in-house music coordinator will provide a mixing booth and sound system. Don't worry about tables, chairs or lounge furniture--their staff has it covered. You'll have access to an in-house event coordinator to handle every detail of your special day. The Carolina Girl also partners with local caterers so you and your guests will be well-fed and happy throughout your wedding day.