How to Plan Your Dream Alaskan Cruise Wedding

Having breakfast and reading on the balcony of your Alaskan cruise wedding

Right off the bat here, let me say that I have personally been on cruises around the world. Australia, Mediterranean, Caribbean, you name it. That said, Seattle is right here in my backyard and one of the most scenic cruises in the world departs just 20 minutes from my front door. That’s right, an Alaskan cruise.

After being a wedding photographer for over 13 years now, I am incredibly selective on the weddings that I choose to bring on since I only photograph a few per year now.

One of the types of weddings that I reserve myself for is an Alaskan cruise wedding.

Why? Well, simply put – it blends my three favorite things.

  1. Traveling via a stunning cruise that is conveniently located right next to me
  2. The PNW aesthetic with water, trees, and the smell of the ocean
  3. Photographing incredible people while having a heck of a fun time


Let’s now dig into planning that Alaskan cruise wedding of yours, shall we?


Choosing the Right Cruise Line

Before you set sail into the Alaskan wilderness, you must select the perfect cruise line to host your wedding. Here are some essential factors to consider:

  • Research different cruise lines offering wedding packages in Alaska.
  • Look into the ship’s amenities, on-board entertainment, and dining options.
  • Read reviews and testimonials from couples who have had their weddings on the cruise line of your choice.



Selecting the Ideal Itinerary

Alaska offers a myriad of stunning destinations to tie the knot. Consider the following when planning your cruise itinerary:

  • Glacier Bay: Witness awe-inspiring glaciers and towering fjords for a truly majestic experience.
  • Juneau: Alaska’s capital city offers a blend of urban amenities and breathtaking natural beauty.
  • Skagway: Embrace the charm of a historic gold rush town amidst picturesque landscapes.
  • Inside Passage: Do it.
  • Balcony Statement: An absolute must.
  • Seattle departure: I’m biased here since I live just outside of Seattle, but still recommend it, especially if you are American yourself.



Nailing the Perfect Time of Year

Alaska’s cruising season typically runs from May to September, with each month offering a unique experience:

  • May: Spring blooms and potential wildlife sightings. Weather is traditionally a bit cooler and glaciers with more fresh pack.
  • June to July: Peak season for wildlife viewing, including whales and bears.
  • August to September: Fall foliage and a chance to witness the Northern Lights.


northern lights in alaska

Photo Credit: Unsplash. Book me for your own northern lights experience and we will capture our own. 🙂


Wedding Packages and Legalities

Ensure you understand the cruise line’s wedding packages and any legal requirements for getting married at sea:

  • Obtain necessary marriage licenses and documentation. Speak with your cruise planner or wedding planner about this ahead of time.
  • Customize your wedding package with add-ons like floral arrangements, photography, and live music.
  • As a pro tip, don’t just go with what is conveniently available onboard with your photography. Get an experienced wedding photographer who specializes in things like this to help ensure you get the best result possible. Moreover, get a wedding photographer with a style that you absolutely love and a personality that will help you have the most fun ever. (Hi, let’s chat)



Inviting Your Guests

Inform your guests well in advance about your cruise wedding plans:

  • Send out “Save the Date” cards or digital invites to give guests ample time to plan and prepare.
  • After those are sent out, you should also send formal invitations with more details after you figure those out.
  • Consider group rates or assistance from the cruise line in organizing travel arrangements for your guests.



Photo Credit: Unsplash. Let’s replace these photographs with your own Alaskan cruise wedding!


FAQs: Alaskan Cruise Weddings Unraveled!

Which cruise line should I choose for my Alaskan wedding/elopement?

Genuinely, it really depends on your desired experience while you are on the cruise itself. Are you wanting more opulent elegance or something more fun and energetic? They don’t always go hand-in-hand on the same cruise line.

  • Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has always been a fantastic operation and we’ve enjoyed our experiences with them in the past.
  • Royal Caribbean’s ships are absolutely fantastic, and something I would highly recommend.
  • Holland America’s ships are known to a bit more elegant & opulent, and therefore traditionally cater to a bit older audience who is looking for more peace and serenity during their vacation.
  • Princess Cruises are very nice as well, but typically also cater to a bit older of an age group (in our experience).
  • Disney Cruises are definitely meant for more families and their kids, but after having been on a Disney cruise myself (to photograph a wedding), there are still plenty of adult activities available, and the food is delicious.

Can I have a religious ceremony on a cruise ship?

Absolutely! Many cruise lines can accommodate religious ceremonies or provide a suitable space for your spiritual needs.


What about the reception and catering?

Cruise lines offer various options for reception venues and catering services. You can tailor the menu to your liking, whether you desire a lavish feast or an intimate dinner.


Will the cruise line help with wedding photography and videography?

Yes, most cruise lines provide photography and videography services to capture your precious moments. However, you can also hire an external photographer if you prefer (which is what I recommend that you do). I would love to be there for you, and I can bring my many years of experience to your special day.


Are Alaskan cruise weddings budget-friendly?

Alaskan cruise weddings can be surprisingly cost-effective, especially when compared to traditional weddings. The all-inclusive packages often cover essential wedding elements, making it easier to budget. Just imagine the catering bill from a traditional wedding by itself, let alone the venue rental or anything else.

What I highly encourage you to consider is having an intimate wedding with your closest friends and family (or just you and your immediate family) and keep things small. It will make your onboard experience fun, tightly knit, and excursions are easier to manage with your smaller guest count as well. Everything logistically just becomes simpler.


Can we explore Alaskan ports with our guests after the wedding?

Absolutely! After your wedding ceremony, you and your guests can explore different Alaskan ports, participate in shore excursions, and create lifelong memories together. And in fact, that is what I highly encourage that you do! Just also be sure to plan for some real downtime, too.

I know how exciting it can be to plan your cruise and go on every excursion that you can, but there is real value in just relaxing. And depending on the port, you might just be able to walk into town without an official excursion. Food for thought!



Conclusion: Anchoring your love in the arctic wilderness with an Alaskan cruise wedding!

And there you have it, lovebirds – the ultimate guide for an Alaskan cruise wedding, designed to help you embark on an extraordinary journey of love and adventure. Picture yourselves saying “I do” against the backdrop of calving glaciers, surrounded by the wonders of nature.

An Alaskan cruise wedding offers an experience like no other, blending romance, adventure, and stunning scenery into one unforgettable celebration. From choosing the right cruise line to exploring Alaskan ports with your loved ones, your wedding voyage promises to be an enchanting and intimate experience.

So, if you’re ready to make your dream wedding come true, set sail for the untamed beauty of Alaska’s icy seas and let your love story be etched in the glaciers of time! Bon voyage, and may your love shine as bright as the Northern Lights!



Please let me know if you make your Alaskan cruise wedding or elopement official. Bonus points if your cruise departs out of Seattle and you take the inside passage. I would absolutely love to be your cruise wedding photographer. Let’s have the best time ever!



Since you are here learning more about the Alaskan wedding and elopement options, I highly recommend that you check out these related articles around my site: