Our weekend began on July 4th at the Hilton Long Beach where we would be staying the night before the wedding. We had contracted a great room rate so we had almost all 60 of our guests staying at the hotel with us for the 4th. We had great service,a beautiful upgraded suite with large balcony & enjoyed spending some time with our guests. I highly recommend this hotel for groups sailing out of Long Beach. They even gave us discounted parking for the weekend cruise & volunteered to shuttle all of our guests to the port. They truly went above & beyond.
The morning of July 5th my bridesmaids & I began to get ready at the Hilton around 6:00am. By 9:30 we were all about 'halfway' put together & ready to head to the ship. By the time we gathered our families & luggage, boarded the shuttle & made it to the pier, it was about 10:15. We checked in, found our wedding coordinator & the day suddenly took on a whirlwind pace. One of my bridesmaids had forgotten her passport & would not be allowed to sail. The coordinator tried to help, but in the end she didn't have the authority to speak for Carnival. They did allow her to board for the wedding, but she then had to get off the ship with the non-sailing guests.
Things are a bit hazy & crazy as far as the boarding process... there were misplaced tuxes, unchecked bags, a coordinator who 'led' us onboard but did not look nor wait to ensure people were following her as she cut across the regular boarding lines. Whew. I was blessed to have a non-sailing guest grab & carry my dress onboard & into my room... she took off so fast that I had no idea where it was at this point because I was trying to ensure my family was back from dropping off bags. I honestly believe that had we been left to our own devices, we'd have been better off during this piece of the process.
Whew... Was I ever glad to be in my room. Now we just needed to find the family members who had agreed to watch the small children of two of my bridesmaids! Eventually we tracked them down... but now we had lost so much time between changing flights, changin children etc.. that we had just an hour to finish getting ready. Our ceremony was scheduled for 1:30; the wedding party (aside from me) was to be at the lounge at 1:15 for a rehearsal. No one had come to get my bridesmaids by 1:20 so they went ahead on their own while my hair/makeup was being finished. Evidently there was a wedding in the same lounge just prior to mine which ran late so no one was able to get into the lounge to set up or run through until 1:30. I believe at this point it was almost 2:00 before my wedding started - which really cut my reception time & photographers time close.
Once I got to the wedding, though - everything ran like clockwork. The coordinator had everything worked out exactly as I had it outlined. The music CD I brought was played almost perfectly, the entrances were spot on.
The reception was fun, but WAY too fast. I didn't have a chance to try any food. They whisked us right into our first dance, pictures with the cake, cake cutting & champagne toasts. I don't remember much else from the reception. I may have had 1-2 of the little drinks & said hello to half of our guests.
After the reception, the photographer immediately whisked us off to take photos around the ship. We were pretty over it at this point, but I didn't even realize until today that I didn't get a single photo with my mom. Make a list of what you want & be assertive about it!
Ok - that's all I can think of at the moment. Feel free to ask questions... and here are links to our photos & raw ceremony video.
NCL Starward, E Carib - 6/95
NCL Seaward, S Carib - 7/96
Carnival Destiny, W Carib - 8/97
Carnival Ecstasy, Baja - 5/01
RCI Grandeur, Mex Riv - 6/02
Carnival Paradise, Baja - 5/06
Carnival Conquest, W Carib - 7/06
Carnival Paradise, Baja - 9/06
Carnival Legend, W Carib - 07/07
Golden Princess, Alaska - 06/08
Carnival Spirit, Mex Riv - 11/08
Carnival Elation, Baja - 02/09
Carnival Splendor, CTN - 03/09
Carnival Spirit, Mex Riv - 04/09
Carnival Elation, Cabo - 09/09
Carnival Elation, Baja - 10/09
Carnival Elation, Cabo - 10/09
Carnival Spirit, Mex Riv - 11/09
Carnival Elation, Cabo B2B - 12/09
Carnival Elation, Baja - 01/10
Carnival Spirit, Mex Riv - 03/10
Carnival Elation, Baja - 04/10
Carnival Liberty, Western Carib - 07/10
Carnival Spirit, Mex Riv - 11/10
Carnival Spirit, Mex Riv - 11/11
Carnival Splendor, Mex Riv - 11/12
Carnival Inspiration, Baja - 07/05/13 Our Wedding