The Love Boat: Can the Captain of the Cruise Ship Marry Us?

The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: You’ll need more than a life preserver to get married on this love boat

More than a dozen different types of wedding officiants can perform ceremonies, though the laws vary by location. In Colorado, for example, a couple can perform their own marriage so long as they provide all the appropriate paperwork. No one wants to find out that their marriage is invalid because the officiant wasn’t “legal,” so it’s best to be certain about the information in advance.

A Valley bride asks: “My husband-to-be and I have always dreamt of getting married on a cruise ship, and then continuing on board for our honeymoon. Here’s our disagreement: I always thought the captain of the ship is allowed, by law, to perform our ceremony. My fiancé believes I’m wrong. Can you tell me which of us is correct?”

(See next page for answer)

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» How much do you pay your officiant (without blowing your budget)?
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Dear Valley bride: Your future husband is correct. It’s a widely held misconception that ship’s captain can legally perform a wedding ceremony. (I think the myth started on the TV show The Love Boat.) The good news is that many cruise ships have legal ministers aboard. If you’re going with the onboard ceremony, I advise you to call the cruise ship company well in advance of your date.

Here are some other wedding officiants that you may never have guessed could legally perform ceremonies:

  • Tribal chief (Native American ceremony only)
  • Pagan priest or priestess
  • Commissioned officer of the Salvation Army
  • Legislator or Constitutional Officer

» Should you invite your wedding officiant to your reception?
» How much do you pay your officiant (without blowing your budget)?
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» View our Wedding Guide

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