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February 23, 2021 2 min read

A wedding on the open water is the picture of romance. Plus, if you come from a nautical family, it’s a thoughtful way to honor tradition.

If you’re thinking about having your ceremony at sea, you’ll need to prepare. Here’s what you need to know about planning a boat wedding.

1. Make a Checklist

You should always ensure your craft comes complete with safety equipment like fire extinguishers and signaling devices, but you’re primarily responsible for the other items you’ll need. Along with the cake and party favors, it helps to bring things like extra life jackets and ropes.

Another detail you’ll need to attend is making a float plan and leaving it with a friend, family member or marina staff. Please include the following information:

  • Names and contact information of all passengers
  • Boat description and registration
  • Your itinerary
  • List of onboard distress equipment

If you charter your craft, the marina will have the boat details, but you’ll still need to provide the rest. Please include a section for guests to enter this information on your RSVP cards.

2. Check the Forecast

A Caribbean boat wedding sounds divine, but you probably don’t want to plan it for mid-to-late August when hurricane season peaks. Boat weddings work best in serene waters. Even hardy wayfarers get sick when waves become too tumultuous.

Try to avoid the stormy season and have contingency plans if present conditions make it too dangerous to set sail.

3. Inform Your Guests

couple along waterfront

You might have your sea-legs, but does your great-Aunt Martha? Please be sure to include your event’s nautical setting in your invitations. Those with delicate stomachs may power through with the help of motion sickness medications, but they must take them 30 to 60 minutes ahead of time for full effect.

Plus, you don’t want to risk unnecessary injury. Stiletto heels might be appropriate with a little black dress on land but send a tottering guest overboard at sea.

4. Consider a Combo

It’s wise to have something planned shoreside, given the complexity of a boat wedding. Some of your guests might get terribly nausea even with medications, and others have phobias of the water. Plus, you’ll feel less disappointed if a sudden squall makes conditions too choppy.

Your ship must be in international waters at least 12 miles from land or docked to have the ship’s captain perform the ceremony. Unless you plan to have your wedding aboard a cruise, there’s nothing wrong with doing a smaller-boat water-bound ceremony followed by a land-based reception or vice-versa.

Plan Your Dream Boat Wedding With These Tips

Planning a boat wedding does take more coordination. However, if you love life aquatic, you can pull off your dream with these tips.