Carnival Wedding Pre-Cruise Questions

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#1
40 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
Hey Everyone! I have looked at the Carnival website and read through many posts in this forum but I still have a few questions, any help/input would be greatly appreciated.

1. Do I have to get a marriage license in the County/State from which I cruise? For example, if I was planning a wedding for embarkation day in Charleston, SC, would I need to go to SC to get my marriage license if I live in NC?

2. Do the Carnival Wedding Packages include the reception?

3. If I do not at least 20 guests attending the ceremony, how will I go about ordering hors d'oeuvres etc? ( The tiers require a minimum of 20 guests). Should we all plan to eat at the Lido buffet or wait for dinner in the MDR?

4. Has anyone ever paid for the staterooms for sailing guests?

5. I have thought about booking all the rooms on my own, rather than having guests book on their own. Any suggestions/input?

6. Has anyone ever used only the decorations Carnival provides? I really don't want to carry a ton of extra items on board so the simpler the better.

7. I have cruised from Port Canaveral in the past, but would need to cruise from Charleston for my wedding because it is closer for family. Has anyone had a wedding on the Carnival Ecstasy? It is a bit smaller and doesn't have quite as many "extras" as the Liberty and Magic, I am afraid I will be disappointed.

Thanks for all the help!
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#2
Bloomington, Indiana
231 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
1. Yes, you will need a marriage license from where you cruise from in order to get married there (at least if you're doing an embarkation wedding). The Wedding Experience will assist you with obtaining this, for a fee, though which will negate a need to make the trip out there. We live in Indiana, and are getting married in Miami - between the marriage license fee and the fee The Wedding Experience charges, we paid less than $250.

2-3. I unfortunately can't help with these - we booked under the old pricing structure, so I can't advise what they're like now.

4. I've heard of it happening, but we aren't doing it. We simply can't afford it.

5. I would recommend getting a good travel agent, and doing a group booking, if you want to do this. Just be sure that you're booking for people who you are positive will go, lest you get stuck with a bunch of rooms that won't be filled.

6. I'm only using the decorations provided by Carnival. A large part of the allure of a cruise wedding for us was not having to worry about decor. I've seen photos, and I think it will be simple and tasteful.

7. Again, I have no personal experience with this. If people are cruise aficionados, maybe some will miss the extras. If any guest is that put off by what the ship doesn't have, though, in my opinion, their priorities are skewed.
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Past cruises:
March 2001 - Ecstasy, Nassau
March 2006 - Celebration, Key West and Nassau
March 2007 - Fascination, Key West and Playa Del Carmen/Calica
Sept. 15-19, 2008 - Majesty of the Seas, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay
April 2013 - Carnival Victory, Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk
#3
40 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
Originally posted by Reportress
1. Yes, you will need a marriage license from where you cruise from in order to get married there (at least if you're doing an embarkation wedding). The Wedding Experience will assist you with obtaining this, for a fee, though which will negate a need to make the trip out there. We live in Indiana, and are getting married in Miami - between the marriage license fee and the fee The Wedding Experience charges, we paid less than $250.

2-3. I unfortunately can't help with these - we booked under the old pricing structure, so I can't advise what they're like now.

4. I've heard of it happening, but we aren't doing it. We simply can't afford it.

5. I would recommend getting a good travel agent, and doing a group booking, if you want to do this. Just be sure that you're booking for people who you are positive will go, lest you get stuck with a bunch of rooms that won't be filled.

6. I'm only using the decorations provided by Carnival. A large part of the allure of a cruise wedding for us was not having to worry about decor. I've seen photos, and I think it will be simple and tasteful.

7. Again, I have no personal experience with this. If people are cruise aficionados, maybe some will miss the extras. If any guest is that put off by what the ship doesn't have, though, in my opinion, their priorities are skewed.


Thanks for your input! I didn't realize The Wedding Experience would obtain the license, that makes life a lot easier I seen photos of the decor as well and thought it would be sufficient. Congratulations on getting married, I wish you a lifetime of happiness!
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#4
Bloomington, Indiana
231 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by NC_Cruisin
Thanks for your input! I didn't realize The Wedding Experience would obtain the license, that makes life a lot easier I seen photos of the decor as well and thought it would be sufficient. Congratulations on getting married, I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

Thank you! I wish you the same!
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Past cruises:
March 2001 - Ecstasy, Nassau
March 2006 - Celebration, Key West and Nassau
March 2007 - Fascination, Key West and Playa Del Carmen/Calica
Sept. 15-19, 2008 - Majesty of the Seas, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay
April 2013 - Carnival Victory, Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk
#5
Jacksonville, FL
74 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
1. Our wedding is in November of this year on the Elation (out of Jacksonville). I wanted my cousin to officiate our wedding, but since we're getting married in Nassau (second port), we have to show them our license 4 weeks prior to sailing.

2. We selected the "Celebrate Bigger" package which includes a 2 hour reception after the 20 minute ceremony. I believe the "Celebrate Big" only has a 1.5 hour reception.

3. This, unfortunately, I cannot help with. Our wedding part is about 35 people at the moment (we've only sent out the Save the Dates so far, so I'm expecting it to grow to 50). But I would suggest calling their wedding line, most of them are super helpful.

4. We're paying for the staterooms for the bridal party (three bridesmaids, three groomsmen, the MOH and Best Man). Since the bridesmaids and my MOH are single, we doubled them in a cabin (2 and 2). The groomsmen weren't as simple, as two of them have spouses. So we booked the cabins and had them pay for their spouses (2 groomsmen in one cabin, one with his spouse, and another with his spouse).

5. I chose to have all the guests book their own cabins, mainly for convenience. Friends want to be by friends, family by family, my MOH's boyfriend wanted to be by her cabin, etc. You get a group booking number and as long as you book 8 cabins in a 14 day period, the booking number holds until your cruise.

6. Wedding hasn't happened yet, but we plan on using all of Carnival's decorations plus lanterns to line the aisle. The runner is 15' long, but they give you the option of doubling it (my mom insists on getting her own, but that'll just be something else to carry). They said they'd give us 30 minutes before ceremony to set up and 15 minutes to clean up.

7. If you get the answer to this question, please let me know! The Elation is an older/ smaller ship, so I'm curious as well. You can contact the wedding coordinators and plan a "ship tour" in advance. We're doing on in April. The Elation is supposed to go through a long dry-dock, so I was told to not get "too comfortable" with how it looks, but at least you'd get the general feel of the ship.

I hope this helps and good luck!!
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Costa Magica 2005 | Carnival Fascination 2013 | Carnival Breeze 2015 | Norwegian Getaway 2016
To Sail | Carnival Elation Nov. 2017 | Norwegian Pearl Apr. 2018
#6
Orlando, FL
363 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
It has been almost 4 years since my Carnival Paradise wedding, but it too was a smaller older ship. It was perfect. I couldn't have been happier with the way everything went and with the way the ship looked. We got married in the middle of the cruise, while in port in Grand Cayman, and they took care of EVERYTHING. The wedding truly went off without a hitch, and the pictures came out so amazing that my mother-in-law ended up buying us the photo package with all of the pictures in them! Good luck!
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Didi C


Carnival Paradise - sailed 5/13/2013 - Wedding 5/15/2013



Majesty of the Seas - sailed 10/12/1997
#7
New Jersey
64 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
@2013CruiseBride.. I am doing a port wedding in Grand Cayman this August and have a few questions. Did you do a reception back on board? When was your wedding? Did you get to pick the time? Do they work with you on setting things up how you want it to be? Were you able to gte your makeup done or did you have to do it yourself?
#8
Orlando, FL
363 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Hi Cruising Bride! My situation was a little different. We got married on the ship in Grand Cayman and not in the island itself. Not sure if you were planning on getting married on the island or on the ship.

We let them pick the time for the wedding and we had a two hour reception after the wedding. We were on a five day cruise that left on a Monday and we got married on Wednesday which was our first port day.

I didn't really ask for too much in regards to set up. The only thing I asked for was a special table to set up my souvenirs, a picture of my parents wedding and a guest book. I had my nephew go down to the reception room ahead of time and set it all up for me.

As for make up, my sisters did my hair and I did my own makeup. But I like doing my makeup myself. I used to sell cosmetics at a department store. I ended up just going in to a Mac counter and got a makeover so I could get some specific ideas for the wedding and bought all my makeup there. Then I just practiced a bunch to make sure I wouldn't be nervous the day of.

I am not sure I could have gotten my makeup done in port as I didn't even look into it.

Hope this helps!! 😊

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Didi C


Carnival Paradise - sailed 5/13/2013 - Wedding 5/15/2013



Majesty of the Seas - sailed 10/12/1997
#9
Carolina!!!!!
2,484 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Hi, I see you live in NC. I am just outside of the Charlotte area and also getting married in Charleston but on the Sunshine when she is there this coming November. From what I have found, you can go anywhere in SC to get your license it does not have to be in Charleston where you apply just has to be in SC.

I think its awesome that you would consider paying for cabins for your guest however I think most of your guest would be more than willing to pay for their own cabin. I work with groups all the time and its very easy to set up and convenient. I thought we would have a small wedding being that its 3 1/2 hours from where we live to Charleston but turns out I have over 50 cruising with us and about 30 others who have RSVPd to just come on board for the wedding. Setting the cruise up as a group booking you would be able to hold cabin space and your guest would only have to put down $50 initially to hold space. There's also perks like onboard credits that your guest would receive booking into a group. Best part ... if you have 8 or more cabins you can earn tour conductor credits that can be applied to your cabin reducing the amount you and your fiance have to pay out of pocket for your cabin, if enough cabins book you could basically get your honeymoon for free!

I have also booked Cover Girl Brides out of Charleston to do my hair and makeup. They will come to my hotel at 7am to start doing hair and makeup since there will be not time once you board ship. The wedding group will need to be at the port at 1030 for boarding. You can also set up a group block at a hotel for night before cruise. We did this with two hotels near Patriots Point and have a bus picking everyone up and driving us to port.

I agree, no extra decorations for me! My fiance and I are wedding djs and do alot of wedding planning as well for others so less I have to do ... the better! Trust me, people really want remember all those extra decorations just the fun they had at the wedding. Keep it simple. I may consider bringing my own silk flowers for the attendants because honestly I think the ones offered by them are way over priced.

Robin Cash Knight
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"But Then I Think About the Good Times Down in the Caribbean Sunshine..." One Particular Harbor - J. Buffett

#10
North Florida
762 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
My understanding is that if you don't have 20 people, since the minimum order is for 20, you pay for service for 20... even if you just have 10


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See my review Dawn Review Jan. 31st, the Suite Life - Cruise Critic Message Boards
2001 NCL Canada, 2003 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2003 Princess to Alaska, 2004 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2006 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2007 Carnival "The Rock Boat," Feb 2007 RCCL Sovereign, Jan 2008 RCCL Grandeur, Feb 2008 Carnival, Jan 2009 NCL Dawn (AAOwner'sSuite), May 2009 NCL Star (A1GardenVilla), Aug 2009 Carnival Sensation, Aug 2010 Carnival Fascination, Christmas 2013 Carnival, June 2014 Carnival Sensation, Valentine's Day 2016 NCL, August 2016 Carnival Valor
#11
North Florida
762 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Does anyone have a suggestion for a hair and makeup person at Pt. Canaveral?


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See my review Dawn Review Jan. 31st, the Suite Life - Cruise Critic Message Boards
2001 NCL Canada, 2003 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2003 Princess to Alaska, 2004 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2006 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2007 Carnival "The Rock Boat," Feb 2007 RCCL Sovereign, Jan 2008 RCCL Grandeur, Feb 2008 Carnival, Jan 2009 NCL Dawn (AAOwner'sSuite), May 2009 NCL Star (A1GardenVilla), Aug 2009 Carnival Sensation, Aug 2010 Carnival Fascination, Christmas 2013 Carnival, June 2014 Carnival Sensation, Valentine's Day 2016 NCL, August 2016 Carnival Valor
#12
MS
4 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Originally posted by AdoptAtty
Does anyone have a suggestion for a hair and makeup person at Pt. Canaveral?


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Following this! My daughter is getting married May 2018 and she would like to have hers done.
#13
North Florida
762 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by Scott&Jewell
Following this! My daughter is getting married May 2018 and she would like to have hers done.


Tenacious Glam in Cocoa, FL has been wonderful so far! Very responsive!


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See my review Dawn Review Jan. 31st, the Suite Life - Cruise Critic Message Boards
2001 NCL Canada, 2003 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2003 Princess to Alaska, 2004 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2006 Carnival "The Rock Boat," 2007 Carnival "The Rock Boat," Feb 2007 RCCL Sovereign, Jan 2008 RCCL Grandeur, Feb 2008 Carnival, Jan 2009 NCL Dawn (AAOwner'sSuite), May 2009 NCL Star (A1GardenVilla), Aug 2009 Carnival Sensation, Aug 2010 Carnival Fascination, Christmas 2013 Carnival, June 2014 Carnival Sensation, Valentine's Day 2016 NCL, August 2016 Carnival Valor
#15
NC
3 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by angelkisses
Hi, I see you live in NC. I am just outside of the Charlotte area and also getting married in Charleston but on the Sunshine when she is there this coming November. From what I have found, you can go anywhere in SC to get your license it does not have to be in Charleston where you apply just has to be in SC.

I think its awesome that you would consider paying for cabins for your guest however I think most of your guest would be more than willing to pay for their own cabin. I work with groups all the time and its very easy to set up and convenient. I thought we would have a small wedding being that its 3 1/2 hours from where we live to Charleston but turns out I have over 50 cruising with us and about 30 others who have RSVPd to just come on board for the wedding. Setting the cruise up as a group booking you would be able to hold cabin space and your guest would only have to put down $50 initially to hold space. There's also perks like onboard credits that your guest would receive booking into a group. Best part ... if you have 8 or more cabins you can earn tour conductor credits that can be applied to your cabin reducing the amount you and your fiance have to pay out of pocket for your cabin, if enough cabins book you could basically get your honeymoon for free!

I have also booked Cover Girl Brides out of Charleston to do my hair and makeup. They will come to my hotel at 7am to start doing hair and makeup since there will be not time once you board ship. The wedding group will need to be at the port at 1030 for boarding. You can also set up a group block at a hotel for night before cruise. We did this with two hotels near Patriots Point and have a bus picking everyone up and driving us to port.

I agree, no extra decorations for me! My fiance and I are wedding djs and do alot of wedding planning as well for others so less I have to do ... the better! Trust me, people really want remember all those extra decorations just the fun they had at the wedding. Keep it simple. I may consider bringing my own silk flowers for the attendants because honestly I think the ones offered by them are way over priced.

Robin Cash Knight

can you get those credits if you go thru a travel agent? im planning mine now and going thru travel agent and would love to get some off on our cabin.