Post # 1
Just wondering if I’m keeping my guests “hostage.” We are getting married on a chartered river boat ( http://potomacriverboatco.com/cherry-blossom.php). Ceremony on the roof, weather allowing, and reception, dancing, and open bar on the other two decks, plus anyone is welcome to go back up to the roof anytime they want. The charter company usually does a 3-hour block for a wedding, but I added an extra hour because I didn’t want folks to feel like the event was rushed. We’re chartered from 4-8pm.
There will be very few people at the event who won’t know at least 1/3 of the others; only one young child (3 years), a handful of 5-10 year olds, one teenager (my friend’s son who has a crush on me, so he’s not going to want to go anywhere), and 3 older folks (my mom and my fiance’s parents). Everyone else is mid-20’s to mid-40’s. The people who know each other ALL get along (seriously, low drama guest list here). No crazy drunk uncles or rowdy frat guys. There are plenty of chairs on the boat for everyone, and plenty of bathrooms. We’re ordering a stupid amount of food. The DJ is top-notch (but the crowd aren’t huge dancers). There is heat and AC on the boat in case we need either, plus 2 wrap-around exterior decks and the roofdeck. We have about 110 guests and the max capacity is over 200 so it’s not cramped at all. We’ve already advised the ladies to wear flat, sturdy shoes as the decks may get wet and we don’t want anyone falling overboard. Dress code is “business casual.”
Would you be a little worried that someone is going to feel like they’re trapped? We did make it clear on the invites and our website that we’re going on a boat and it doesn’t return till 8, so hopefully it won’t take anyone by surprise. But I had a nervous thought that we might be dragging it out too long.
What do you think? Am I going to end up grabbing the mic from the DJ and giving everyone a sightseeing tour as we go past the monuments to keep them from rioting and demanding to go back to shore?
FWIW I did ask one friend to PLEASE tell me if people start seeming restless– I can tell the ship to go back to dock anytime, it’s my charter and they’ll go anywhere I want. Not sure if I need more “eyes” on the crowd though.
Post # 3
I don’t think you need to worry, the invite says the wedding is on a boat, I would imagine that people of all ages know that means they’ll not be getting off until the boat actually returns to shore!
Post # 4
You’re good. 4 hours isn’t that long and you were specific on your invitations. I’m sure everyone will be aware, and that is definitely not too long.
Post # 5
I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Four hours isn’t too long for ceremony and reception. And yeah, hopefully your guests can make the logical leap that boat = no skipping out early.
Post # 6
I think four hours sounds like a reasonable amount of time and it’s even better that you do have the option of turning around just in case. I would leave the four hour timeline and keep in mind that your guests understand that the party is on a boat and what that entails about arriving and leaving.
Post # 7
That’s what I was thinking— most of the guests have enjoyed at least one “holy crap, how’d it get to be 3am? And is there more wine left?” type of nights on my deck over the years. But a friend was like 4 HOURS OH MY GOD THAT’S SO LONG the other day, and that planted the seeds of doubt!
I guess I need to embrace Wedding Planning Rule #1: stop listening to other people!
Post # 8
I will be honest…I have been on some river boats for events and parties, and felt somewhat hostage before the thing was ever over, and wishing someone with a speedboat or helicopter would swing by to take me off, but that speaks more to my own issues with not liking not being able to just leave when I want (even if I don’t) than it does to the length of the river cruise itself. I feel the same way on planes, trains and long road trips where I am not driving on my own!
As long as it is clear on the invites how long the cruise is for, then people can be prepared for it. If I got an invite for a river boat cruise I would be fully aware I was not getting off until it docked again!
Post # 9
You could also consider docking after 3 hours but continuing the party for a fourth hour at the dock.
Post # 10
I think it’s fine. There will always be people (like my Darling Husband, ahem) who view any wedding longer than 15 minutes as “too long,” ha. But they learn to suck it up, and no one else will mind. 😛
Post # 11
Does the boat allow smoking? Do you have any smokers amongst your guests?
Personally I hate smoking but my family is mostly smokers and get kind of grumpy when denied their cigarettes for any length of time.
Post # 12
I think you’re fine! Have fun!
Post # 13
Could you maybe dock once shortly after the ceremony? It would allow anyone who gets sea sick and doesn’t know it a chance to get off! As long as no one is feeling motion sick, I don’t think 4 hours is too long.
Post # 14
There won’t be a problem with motion sickness due to the design of the boat, and the calmness of the river. The event director said they have about 2 seasick folks a year, usually bridal party who overdid it the night before, and they do about 175 weddings or events a year, with average of 150 guests. We should be fine there. I’d be reluctant to go back to dock anyway as we’re taking our out-of-town guests from the hotel by shuttle bus; the dock is in a really congested area so the bus probably will end up parking way on the other side of town, so they’ll be stranded and either have to fight for a taxi, or stare at the sidewalk till 8.
We’re also designating the back half of the upper deck for open air smoking area, no smoking on the forward half or lower decks, and the upper deck sections are separated by the base of the wheelhouse, so we should have good harmony between smokers and non-smokers.
I think it’ll be fine, and my one friend is just being a party pooper.
Post # 15
I don’t think four hours is long at all and most weddings I’ve been to (if not all) have been at least that long, if not longer. Ours is 5.5 hours including wedding and reception. The only thing that I’ve seen people “complain” about is when the ceremony is very long (1.5+ hours) and they’re not used to it. For example, we went to a Greek Orthodox wedding which was probably 1.5 hours long and involved a lot of standing and those of us that weren’t used to this were getting a little tired in the end, but I would never dream of just packing up and leaving.
Post # 16
I didn’t vote because I think 4 hours is pretty typical time you could be at a wedding anyway! Plus you made it very clear that the boat wouldn’t be back til 8. I think you are doing it the right way! I would not worry at all!