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Practical Tips for Planning the Romantic Yacht Wedding of Your Dreams

If you’re imagining your wedding and want it to reflect more of who you are and share it only with those you love most…your own chartered yacht may be the ultimate romantic escape.

So what exactly would that look like?

Here, we’ll peek at the realities and logistics and compile a fresh bouquet of helpful tips for planning your wedding on the water so you can have that tropical elegance only the ocean can provide.

-What Does a Wedding on a Yacht Cost?-

Let’s dive straight in and get the least romantic—but most frequently asked—question out of the way first, “How much does a wedding on a private crewed charter yacht cost?

Just as a traditional wedding ashore can range widely—from the cost of a simple backyard wedding to a cordon-off-all-the-streets-this-show-is-taking-over-the-city event—the cost of chartering a yacht also varies.

But understanding the driving factors that influence the costs of a crewed charter can help you design the most exclusive wedding for your budget.

The three primary factors that affect the cost of chartering a yacht for your wedding include:

  • What size and type of boat—you can choose any type of yacht. A simple sailboat perfect for just the two of you. A catamaran that allows you to share the event with your new family or closest friends. Or a grand motor yacht that can accommodate your entire wedding guest list.
  • Where you are getting married—costs vary between sailing destinations. You can use this calculator to immediately see how different cruising destinations compare.
  • When you get married and how long you’ll be sailing—seasonal and holiday schedules affect availability and pricing. Exceptional deals can be found in the off seasons, and premium rates can be expected for winter holidays. Most crewed charters have a minimum of a one-week sail but can be extended for much longer.

Here’s an example

Canvas Yacht Charters offers their signature Dream Elopement Package for two on a beautiful 44’ sailing catamaran in the Virgin Islands with a professional captain and chef for five days with a base price of just under 10K. (Explore all their wedding and honeymoon packages here.)

-How Many Guests Can Attend?-

Every venue has a capacity limit.

A yacht just has a smaller one.

That’s not necessarily a downside, though. It allows you to share your special celebration with only your most adored friends and family.

The intimate setting is ideal for couples who want to cherish and experience the moment together instead of putting on a show for others.

Or, it is perfect for eloping couples who still want the honeymoon and a photo album filled with beautiful images that reflect who they are and the life they are starting together.

A wedding on a crewed charter yacht is also a perfect solution for newly blended families, where including the children in the pre and post celebrations is as important as the wedding itself.

With private staterooms and endless activities and excursions, you can arrange a perfectly balanced amount of private time and shared activity time for both you, the newlyweds, and your new family to enjoy and bond.

So, how big of a boat do you need to fit everyone?

The average wedding party for a private sailing catamaran is up to 10. However, larger ceremonies can easily be held on larger sailing catamarans, power catamarans, or motor yachts.

Two quick tips for selecting the right-sized charter yacht for your wedding:

  • Know for sure how many people can be on board at one time. Due to Coast Guard licensing regulations, some charter boats cannot have more than 6 or 12 people on board (even when the boat is anchored or at a dock).
  • Remember to include everyone who may be onboard at one time–including an officiant or a photographer.

Working with a charter advisor that specializes in researching and procuring yacht charters for weddings and honeymoons can be a huge benefit. They will not only match up the right size and style boat for your wedding but also the captain and crew that are the best match for delivering the personalized experience and level of service you want.

-Exchange Your Vows Onboard or Ashore?-

Are you envisioning yourself standing barefoot on the bow, with your wedding party gathered around on the trampoline and sea beneath you?

Or…are you envisioning yourself standing on the beach, water lapping the shore behind you, and your wedding party celebrating in the sand all around you?

Having your own private charter allows you the freedom to design your wedding to match your dreams exactly as they are in your head (or Pinterest board).

The option to bring the ceremony ashore could allow for a larger wedding party and accommodate guests that may fly in but won’t be staying with you for the entirety of your cruise.

A beach wedding could also be the solution for sharing your dream day with guests that may have mobility issues with getting on and around the boat—like Grandma and Gramps.

-Getting Everyone (And Everything) Where It Needs to Be-

Whether you choose a ceremony onboard or ashore, there will be the logistics of getting friends, food, flowers, and everything else to and from the boat.

Logistically, this may be one of the bigger differences you’ll navigate in planning your yacht wedding.

So, here’s a toast to good expectation-setting…

You’ll likely use an inflatable dinghy with an outboard motor to shuffle everything about. And here’s the truth, dinghy rides can be wet and bouncy even on picture-perfect days.

Cakes, photographers, dresses…well…they might get a bit of salt spray if transported by inflatable boat to and from.

If that’s all part of the real-life experience you’re looking for, fabulous. But if that makes your belly tighten just because it IS your special day, here are a few tips to help you get everything where it needs to go smoother.

  • Plan your itinerary. Consider a stop at the closest marina (or sheltered anchorage) before the event for easy transporting of last-minute supplies, or make special arrangements to have everything aboard from the beginning of the cruise.
  • Some charters have the opportunity to upgrade the dinghy. Larger dinghies are much drier, can hold more passengers, and go faster. Discuss the options with your charter advisor.
  • Consider requesting two dinghies for your yacht. That way, if one is tied up with one group of guests, you still have another to use. (This will also allow you to have more options for private getaways throughout the length of your cruise.)
  • Work with a charter advisor who has helped plan weddings onboard before. They can be invaluable by knowing all the right questions to ask to select the best boat and crew for your celebration.

-The Luxury of Your Own Captain and Chef Onboard-

One of the most luxurious perks of a crewed charter is having a professional captain and crew pampering you and taking care of all the details.

From the basics like navigating the boat and arranging excursions to the fantasy-fulfilling delight of gourmet meals prepared by a private chef just for you. Not just for one night—but for every meal onboard through the entire cruise!

Your yacht’s crew can customize your wedding and honeymoon cruise and make it a once-in-a-lifetime, true-to-you experience.

And since the crew will play as big of a part in your charter as the boat will, it’s important to consider them during the selection phase.

A knowledgeable advisor will help you with the perfect yacht and crew pairing. They seek out the best matches to present to you. They will also be able to explain in detail the differences between the options and why they suggest one yacht and crew combination over another.

It is even possible to select a captain that can officiate your ceremony on board. Of course, you’ll still have to verify all the local legal regulations accompanying any destination-style wedding.

If you will be working with a local wedding planner to coordinate local services, seek out professionals with experience with yacht weddings and their nuances.

There are talented and trusted planners in many island destinations who will know how to handle all the local details for you and make your wedding onboard beautiful.

-Preparing for The Pre-ceremony Bustle-

Celebrating your special day afloat in the Islands may be one of the most intimate and authentic experiences.

But even the most serene events are often preceded by a bustle of pre-ceremony activity. And traditionally, these activities often require a whole lot of electrical sockets. Curling irons, straighteners, steamers, irons, microwaves…

Your yacht will likely have the ability to plug in all your appliances—but maybe not all at once. And maybe not for an unlimited time.

Most sailing charter boats are powered by a mix of solar, battery, and generator power. Larger motor yachts will be powered by robust generators, and power consumption will be less of a concern.

To avoid the unexpected when selecting your charter yacht, you can ask how it generates power. A generator will provide the on-demand needs (great for the pre-event prep), whereas solar will provide silent energy (to preserve the tranquil ambiance of your ceremony.)

A knowledgeable charter advisor will be able to answer your questions about onboard power options.

-Working With the Weather-

Of course, you want nothing but sunshine and warm trade winds. But sometimes the tropics like to drop some rain in a passing afternoon shower—it’s what keeps everything so lush and green.

Luckily, most tropical showers are short. They pass through and leave a refreshing cool air behind.

A flexible mindset and schedule that can sway to the demands of nature, if needed, will allow you to capture the dream moment exactly the way you want.

-Bringing Your Yacht Wedding Together-

If your fairytale wedding looks more like a dance floor that moves to the rhythm of the waves than a crowded room with people you haven’t seen in 23 years, we can help you make your fairytale come true.

Because the last thing you want on your most special day is a gallery of photos that don’t feel like you. So if a little sand, a little salt, and a stunning tropical sunset are your style,  Canvas Yacht  Charter’s wedding and honeymoon specialist can help smoothly guide you through the planning and package selection.

They will help you to select the perfect destination, yacht, crew, and itinerary for your dream-come-true day.

Choose between the carefully crafted wedding and elopement packages with all the personal touches, or design every detail of your fairytale on the water.

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