Weddings onboard the Papagallo are just one of the many venues we offer. Typically, the niche market we serve are weddings for up to 50 people, many of which are second or third marriages.
The ceremony is performed underway off Target Rock with Morro Rock in the background. The captain positions the yacht in the lee of Morro Rock which acts as a windbreak. This makes it a more pleasant experience for the wedding party and guests.
Prior to the cruise, the bride and her attendants gather in the master stateroom below decks where they usually enjoy a bottle of champagne while getting ready for the ceremony. When all the guests have arrived and boarded, the captain gives the order to cast off lines and we get underway.
Everyone gathers on the foredeck where the ceremony will be performed. With the boat in position, the groom and officiate take their places on either side of the windless. Because of the limited space, it is standing room only on the port and starboard rail. The bride’s attendants are the last to join the guests. With everyone in place and the music ready to play, all await the bride’s glorious entrance. Because of the narrow decks, whoever she has selected to walk her down the aisle, must enter the side deck first with the bride to follow.
Let the ceremony begin!
When the officiate introduces the bride and groom as “Mr. & Mrs.,” champagne is passed for a toast and hors d’oeuvres are served. The captain resumes cruising and the party begins. There is music, photo taking, buffet food, the traditional first slice of cake shared between the bride and groom, and the first dance. All good stuff as in a traditional wedding celebration but much more intimate, and memorable.
We have hosted scores of weddings onboard, some more lively and fun than others.
Over the years we have seen flower girls and little children acting as ring bearers, even the bride and groom’s dog standing with them. We’ve conducted champagne saber services, featured violin solos and highlighted the pageantry of military uniforms. You name it and we have probably experienced it onboard.
The most unusual ceremony happened on a sunny Saturday afternoon in early Spring. The weather could not have been more perfect. The bride’s gown was beautiful. The air was filled with excitement and great anticipation. All was in place for a spectacular ceremony. The food selections for the buffet happened to be some of my favorite recipes, and I was excited that the guests would get to experience them.
With the yacht in position and all gathered on the foredeck, it was time for the bride to make her entrance. Everyone was waiting expectantly. There was just one slight problem . . . she refused to come up from the master stateroom.
I sent a female crew member down to get her. The crew member returned and reported that the bride demanded that the officiate and groom join her below decks. She wanted the ceremony conducted in the stateroom with no guests present.
WOW! I felt bad for the groom. The clock kept ticking away. Still no bride. Another fifteen minutes crawled by. Everyone wanted to know what was happening, but no one wanted to ask.
Finally, after shuffling about making small talk to kill time and avoid asking what was going on, the bride’s father joined her below. I wasn’t there and didn’t hear what he said, but I wish I had. What seemed like another fifteen minutes passed. Still no bride. What am I going to do with all this food I wondered. And what about the guests?
Resisting the urge to join the bride and her father in the stateroom, I smiled at the guests and pretended that all was well. A slight delay. Normal.
Finally, the bride’s father met with a degree of success. He convinced her to join her guests so that the ceremony could begin. She in turn made it clear to him that ALL she wanted or would to say was, “I do.”
The “I dos” were said!
After the champagne toast, she retreated to the port side of the aft deck and took out a pack of cigarettes. She lit first one and then another and another, breathing heavily and puffing smoke furiously, as if her life depended on it, for the remainder of the cruise. I don’t think she talked to another person the whole time.
Because she did not want to eat or dance, we dispensed with a good part of our traditional service. Was it cold feet, buyer’s remorse, second thoughts, who knows? We were just thrilled when the cruise ended and the Papagallo, witness to yet another of life’s quirky experiences, was docked peacefully in her spot. My captain and crew didn’t say a word. We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and went home.
To this day I have no idea how that union is doing and I can’t help but wonder if they are still together!
Just joining us? Click here to take the full journey!