Water vows: the art of marrying on a boat or yacht

wedding ceremony on a boat

Water weddings are truly memorable affairs, ones that, especially if held at sunset, can be truly magical – and not just for the couple marrying.

Whether you choose a stunning evening cruise on Sydney’s spectacular Harbour or a lazy meander down Perth’s Swan River, water weddings are unforgettable events.

While cruise companies offer charter vessels for a variety of wedding party sizes, there is always the option of hiring a private yacht, party boat or a classic wooden sailing ship for a touch of old world charm.

Here are just some of the many ways – and sea vessels – you can choose to marry on:

1. A luxury liner is the ultimate in wedding decadence and the Starship Sydney, which can host up to 750 guests, is a perfect example of a modern, stylish venue for a lavish wedding.

2. A paddle steamer is a graceful choice, full of charm and history and perfect for a vintage style wedding. Experience the feeling of stepping back in time as you board one of these beautiful vessels.

3. A yacht is the ideal choice for a smaller more intimate wedding on the water, perhaps for a maximum of fifty guests. Make your wedding personal and plan your own route with a yacht charter.

4. A catamaran is a great choice for a sleek, modern wedding, and can often accommodate between 150 and 200 guests for a cocktail reception. The interior is often minimalist and contemporary, allowing you to stamp your own personality with the decorations.

5. A floating restaurant is a good compromise if you want the feel and views of a wedding on the water, but also want to stay attached to dry land. This type of venue is also generally cheaper than chartering a boat as you don’t need a crew.

The pros and cons of weddings on the water
Hiring a cruise ship for your wedding has plenty of advantages. It is usually an all-inclusive affair, meaning that the company you hire the boat with will also provide catering, entertainment and decorations.

Your wedding ceremony will take place against stunning scenery, which will change continuously as the day or night progresses, giving your guests plenty to look upon - and some unbeatable photo opportunities. Overall, holding your wedding on a boat will make it a unique and unforgettable occasion.

wedding ceremony on a boat
There are a few potential downsides, however, to holding your wedding on any sort of sea vessel.

Firstly the hire of the venue can be expensive and you usually have to pay a set amount per guest for catering on top of a fee per hour for use of the boat.

Secondly, your guests are confined to the boat for the duration of the cruise, which is great for you as you get to mingle in a small area and talk to all of them but not so great for your guests if they want to leave early or get a little sick on the water.

Finally, you are at the mercy of the weather when you are holding your wedding on a boat. If you are planning to have your ceremony or drinks reception on the deck make sure you have a back-up option in case of rain and plan an alternative cruise route with the ship’s captain in case of rough water.



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