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vannagreen

Review of Wedding on Golden Princess July 19 2009

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In a nutshell: We are married and it was great!

 

The long version:

 

Wedding “At Sea” Review

Ship: Golden Princess

Wedding Date: July 19, 2009

Cruise: 7-Day round trip cruise to Alaska, departing from Seattle

Group Size: 33 (including bride and groom)

Ceremony location: chapel on ship

Weather: Overcast and light rain

TWE contacts: Charlotte and Ana

On Board Ship coordinators: Assistant Purser Marco and his Jr. Assistant Lisa

 

Pre-Planning Stages:

We decided to get married and sea about a year and a half ago. We picked Alaska, but were not sure what ship to choose. After deciding it was important for use to have a wedding actually “at sea” we decided to go with a Princess cruise that sailed 7 days round trip out of Seattle. After telling our closest family and friends our plans (to which they were very enthusiastic about) we sent out “save the week” cards to about 100 people. These cards included an invitation to join us while we cruised and to our wedding. Along with this we included a small card with our travel agents info and a wedding website. Shortly after sending out the invites we had almost 50 guests who had put down deposits to join our group. As our wedding cruise got closer several people decided they were unable to join the cruise so by the time final payment was due we had a total of 33 guests who sailed with us. We had a great TA who took care of all the “group booking” details…so all I had to do was focus on the wedding!

 

Approx 18 months before sailing:

When I first contacted TWE I spoke with Charlotte, who was very courteous and quick to reply with any info I requested. The first step was to book the mandatory “at sea” package for $2250, which is stated to include just the basics: Bermuda license, 9- inch cake, one dozen bride bouquet, a boutonniere, romantic wedding at sea, live music for ceremony, a photographer for 1 hour, bottle of champagne, wine glasses, commemorative certificate, and the captain to perform the ceremony. At the time of booking we were able to reserve a time for the wedding of either 11am, 2pm or 3:30p. I originally choose 2pm, but after a few weeks changed my mind and asked Charlotte to switch us to the 3:30pm time and had no problems.

 

Approximately 6 months before sailing:

I decided on a few plans I wanted to arrange in addition to the basic package. I emailed Charlotte and asked about reserving Sabatini’s for our group. We had the option of reserving the whole restaurant for a private party from 6pm to 8pm for $800 OR to just make a regular reservation for each person for dinner at $20 pp, and we would not have a limit on the amount of time we could stay. We chose to just reserve for the exact group of 30 adults and 3 children for dinner at 7pm. This was reserved and paid through TWE with no problems.

 

45 days before sailing:

We wanted to have a cocktail hour right after ceremony where we cut cake and had a toast, but we did not want to go with either of the cocktail hour options that TWE provides. After getting quotes from TWE for all the items I wanted: Champagne toast, light appetizers, open bar, extra flowers, the prices quickly skyrocketed. So, I contacted our wonderful travel agent, who got in touch with the On Board Services office at Princess and they were able to let us arrange a “group function” right after the wedding ceremony. Going on the advice of past Princes brides, I only ordered the extra cake through TWE. I asked for an extra 14” cake to be tiered with the 9” cake that came with our package. At the time I ordered the cake I did send a photo of what I had in mind. At this time I decided not to order any additional flowers, but I did send a photo of the style I wanted for my “included” one dozen rose bouquet which was to be white, hand tied, with no baby’s breath.

 

 

The Wedding Details...

When we got on the ship on Sat. we had a note from the WC Marco who went over the details with us... My husband and I didn’t follow the tradition of “not seeing” each other before the wedding. We just enjoyed our time together, and had room service for breakfast. At the time of meeting him I told I made plans with Marco to get a preview of the chapel that evening and also to meet him in the morning to get a preview of the cake topper they used.

 

Wedding Party Flowers: Since I was trying to save $, I decided I would make my own boutenniers with fresh flowers that I found in Seattle before we boarded the ship. This turned out to be really simple!! I got some fresh flowers from a florist on land (orchids and roses) wrapped them in a bouquet, and my aunt brought them with her on the ship. Her room steward put them in a vase for her without even being asked...He was great! We also got a small pack of floral wire and tape from the florist where we got the flowers and a quick lesson in how to wire orchids. (Which is super easy to do.) Then the night before the wedding my mom and aunt and I all got together an in about 1 hour we made 4 boutenniers, arrangments for the cake and 2 corsages. My mom then asked the ships florist for some boutennier pins and we were all set. I saved lots by doing it this way and it was really kind of fun.

 

Chapel: We got a preview of the chapel the night before when we went over the detials with Marco. Beauiful chapel with window overlooking the ask area and ocean. This was a recently remodeled area of the ship so it was great!! Especially since it was raining outside. Candles were lit, flowers were great. But in any case...the ceremony goes by so fast I hardly had time to even really notice the details.

Photographer: The photographer started taing photos in our room right before ceremony and walked with us around the ship for about 30 min before the ceremony. During the ceremony I didnt even see her, but she took great photos! Afterward she followed us up to Skywalker’s for our cocktail hour and continued taking photos. We purchased 1 extra hour so we had her from 2:30 to 4:30p.

Ceremony Music: The pianist played “Can’t help falling in Love” by Elvis for processional. Ceremony was very quick and we went with the “contemporary vow #3” from the list of four options we were able to choose from, during the log signing the pianist played “Somebody to Love” by Queen. The pianist was great! We actually sent our own sheet music to the pianist about 2 months before we sailed and they played the music wonderfully! I also asked my family and they said that the pianist also played music as everyone was entering the chapel.

 

Vows: I think from start to finish was about 15 minutes!! The Captain was funny and made us both feel comfortable. We held hands...the lighting was nice. Right after we finished the ceremony, the Captain invited us up to the Bridge. However, we had planned to go directly to Skywalker’s since we had just one-hour to do the cake and toast so we said we would like to come up after this hour.

 

 

 

Cocktail Hour (arranged though On Board Services) not TWE:

While our guests arrived we had champagne glasses ready for them. We also had arranged for an open bar (pre-paid directly through the ship), and a table with vegetables and dip, assorted cheeses and crackers, chocolate covered strawberries and spring rolls. We just wanted a light snack instead of full appetizers since we had plans to go to Sabatini’s for dinner.

Music:

We provided a CD with our own music which was timed so that right after our entrance we could do a first dance, then parent dance, then we moved over to the cake area so we could cut our cake and do a quick toast.

 

 

Cake: The cake was not exactly how I envisioned...nor did it look like the photo I sent... but was decorated tastefully. I though it tasted good, not perfect...but my mom LOVED it. I asked for vanilla cake, with vanilla filling, and buttercream frosting. In order to get that smooth look, they used a very thin poured sugar coating which gave it that smooth look (but it was not thick like rolled fondant) on top of the buttercream. The buttercream tasted more like butter than buttercream. We had ordered a 14" cake to be combined (tiered) with the 9" that comes with the package....so it was big...and we had lots of cake left over. My aunt was smart and asked the servers to cut the cake in slices and deliver 2 slices to every stateroom in our group.... This was a nice touch, as everyone said they enjoyed coming back to their rooms and eating the cake for a midnight snack or breakfast.

After the cocktail hour, we took a break to step out on the Promenade deck and were able to have a few minutes to ourselves to just relax and have a quiet moment with the cool breeze and ocean around us. It was fantastic to get some private time in the middle of all the hoopla!

 

Cake Flowers: I didn't ask for flowers to be put on the cake because in the planning stages when I had asked about the cost of fresh flowers to the cake...TWE quoted me $100. But Marco was great and told me they always put some fresh flowers on the cake (for no extra charge) even though TWE will try to charge you for them if you ask for them.

 

Cocktail Hour cont. :

Halfway though the cocktail hour the captain sent us a message that if we wanted to visit the bridge we would have to go right then. I could have skipped this…but it was kind of fun seeing where they drive the ship. As we walked across the ship while everyone congratulated us and oohed and ahhed at us. We got to see the bridge and take a few photos, and then we headed back to our party.

 

We then walked back up to Skywalker’s to meet with our family and asked a friend who is a great photographer to take some photos of us on the AFT of the ship which is the photo that I always envisioned. (The ships photographer didn’t have time to take us here…but we got some great shots on our own!)

 

After this we headed to our room for a quick rest stop and a change to more comfortable shoes before meeting our family for group photos. Since it was formal night there were lots of stations set up, which we could have used, but by this time we were getting tired of taking photos. We did however ask everyone to meet around 6:30p so that we could get our group to take a group photo.

 

Dinner at Sabatini’s:

I had made a 7pm reservation (pre-paid through TWE). The tables were set up in groups all in a section. Earlier in the day, I had dropped off a box of playing cards in tins (Alaska Flag cards) that we used as favors with name tags, but we expected smaller tables to be set up so that our place settings didn’t work as planned. It was a minor glitch…but everyone was able to work out where to sit. The food was great…but TOO much food….we left stuffed!! After dinner we took a few more photos (since the restaurant is on Deck 7) we took some photos on the outside area which worked out nice, since by this time it was sunset.

 

Finally, after all this… we changed into normal clothes and hit the casino and walked around the ship and just enjoyed the evening as newlyweds!

 

For those interested in the costs of items …

 

This is what I booked with TWE:

Princes “At Sea” wedding package: $1,800 + $450 license fees = $2250

Extra 14” Wedding Cake: $110

1 additional hour of photography: $50

Reservations at Sabatini’s for dinner for 30 adults and 3 kids: $725

Total: $3,135

 

This is what I booked with Princess On-Board Services (Groups Dept):

1-hour open bar for 30 adults: 12$ per person (this included beer, house red and white wine, house champagne, coffee and tea)

2 veggie, 2 cheese, and 2 spring roll platters: 15$ each

Chocolate covered strawberries: 1$ each

Total: approx. $600

 

Video and Photos

http://gs170.photobucket.com/groups/u242/KJMG9GBVBT/

 

 

 

I hope this helps anyone planning their wedding!!! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions!!

 

vannagreen @ hotmail

 

 

Best of Luck!!

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Congratulations!! Wonderful review thank you for all of the tips as well.

Love the photos. Thank you for sharing!

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Congratulations. I really appreciate the review since we are having an at-sea wedding too. I think I want to do an on-deck wedding but I have plenty of time to sort out the details. Thanks again,

Malibubarbie

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Congratulations, Vanessa! Great review and lovely pictures and video! Thank you for taking the time to share everything!

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Just the information I needed! My fiancee and I are planning a May 16 2010 wedding onboard Golden Princess.

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