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The Complete Guide to Planning a Boat Wedding

A bride and groom sitting on a boat for a boat wedding

If you are looking for a unique and memorable venue for your wedding, a boat could be the perfect choice. Whether it’s a quaint sailboat on a peaceful lake or a luxury yacht cruising along the coast, a boat wedding can provide a stunning backdrop for your special day. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the process of planning a boat wedding from start to finish.

Advantages of a Boat Wedding

Choosing a boat as your wedding venue comes with several advantages. First and foremost, the ever-changing scenery and tranquil water provide a naturally stunning backdrop for your ceremony and reception. The limited space on a boat also encourages a more intimate gathering, allowing you to spend quality time with each of your guests. Additionally, many boat charters offer comprehensive wedding packages, which can simplify the planning process.

Considerations for a Boat Wedding

While a boat wedding can be a dream come true, it also comes with unique considerations. Safety should be your top priority. Ensure that the boat is properly maintained and that all necessary safety equipment is on board. Accessibility may also be a concern for some guests, especially those with mobility issues. Weather is another factor to consider, as it can significantly impact your ceremony and reception. It’s essential to have a backup plan in case of unfavorable weather conditions.

Choosing the Right Boat

The boat you choose will largely depend on your personal style, the number of guests, and your budget. There are various types of boats available for weddings, including sailboats, yachts, riverboats, and even historic tall ships. When choosing a boat, consider the onboard facilities, such as restrooms and kitchen, as well as the layout and seating arrangements. It’s also worth checking whether the boat has a covered area that can be used in case of rain.

Legal Requirements

Before you set sail, it’s essential to understand the legal requirements of a boat wedding. These can vary depending on the location and the size of the boat. In some areas, the captain of the boat can officiate the ceremony. However, in other locations, you may need to bring an official celebrant on board. It’s also important to check whether your marriage will be legally recognized if the boat is in international waters at the time of the ceremony.

Wedding Decor

Decorating a boat for a wedding can be a lot of fun, but it also presents some challenges. Due to the movement of the boat and the wind, you’ll need to secure all decorations carefully. Flowers, bunting, and lanterns can all add a festive touch to a boat wedding. However, less is often more when it comes to boat weddings, as the natural beauty of the surroundings is often decoration enough.

Food and Drink

When planning the menu for your boat wedding, it’s essential to consider the practicalities of preparing and serving food on a boat. A sit-down meal may not be feasible on smaller boats, but a buffet or canapés might work well. Similarly, consider the type of drinks you want to serve. While a full bar might be possible on larger boats, a selection of pre-mixed drinks or a signature cocktail could be a better option for smaller vessels.


Entertainment on a boat can range from a live band or DJ to a simple playlist. Consider the space and power requirements when planning your entertainment. Dancing can be a fun part of any wedding reception, but it might not be feasible on a smaller boat. Instead, you might opt for other forms of entertainment like a magician, a caricature artist, or even a fireworks display if allowed by local regulations.

Wedding Attire

Choosing your wedding attire for a boat wedding requires some careful consideration. Depending on the type of boat and the weather, you may need to opt for more practical attire. High heels and long trains might not be suitable for a boat deck. Similarly, lightweight fabrics can be a better choice to keep cool in the breeze. Don’t forget to inform your guests about the venue so they can dress appropriately as well.


A skilled photographer can capture the magic of a boat wedding beautifully. Discuss with your photographer about the unique challenges and opportunities a boat venue presents. Make the most of the changing scenery for stunning photos, and plan your ceremony time to take advantage of the best lighting, such as the golden hour before sunset.


Logistics can be a bit more complicated for a boat wedding. Consider how your guests will get to and from the boat, and how you will load and unload decorations and supplies. It’s also important to have a clear timeline for the day to ensure everything runs smoothly.


Given the unique nature of a boat wedding, it’s a good idea to consider wedding insurance. This can cover unforeseen circumstances like bad weather, injury, or damage to the boat.

Final Thoughts

Planning a boat wedding may require a bit more preparation and consideration than a traditional venue, but the unique experience and beautiful setting can make it all worth it. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create an unforgettable day that you and your guests will remember for a lifetime.

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