Oh my goodness! I have been there and done that for my daughter’s wedding! We had a BLAST! I would be more than happy to assist you in any way. If you are trying to be a little more cost effective (or cheaper), there are ways to go about it. Carnival has some great cruises out of San Diego, etc. and tend to have the lowest price points. Plus, they are the “fun ships.” Lots of activities, good times, and younger guests (vs senior citizens). Their “groups” people quite helpful for your booking though we went with local cruise agent. The weddings take place at port, usually prior to departure if you go thru the ship. I found it to be more costly than contracting your own officiant and doing it off ship. We went out of Miami and our daughter got married at Key West. The officiant, photographer, flowers, and marriage license totaled just a little over $1000. Cruise was over Thanksgiving week so prices were a little higher, around $350 for most rooms. Plus, with Carnival you get one free room with every 8 rooms (as long as the cruise is having groups). Sometimes they don’t over holidays or if they already have several large groups going.
As for “is it rude to invite everyone” We debated that too. They ended up inviting everyone they would have invited to a local wedding. To our surprise, our group total was 58!! Much more than the 18-20 we expected. Must have been due to being over Thanksgiving?? Then when they got back, they had their wedding picture on the beach turned into a postcard inviting everyone to a Destination Dessert Open House at our church the week after Christmas. Again, a very inexpensive BLAST! We made Key Lime Pies (Key West), Miami Beach cakes (cruise port), Cozumel cupcakes (strawberry margerita, pina colada, mudslide), palm tree sugar cookies, a beachy wedding cake, and rum cakes (for their Jamicain honeymoon).
Sept is a good time, and a bad time. Prices will be good. Some people will not be able to attend due to time of year.
With Maid/Matron of Honor or bridesmaid, my daughter let her sister pick her own dress off the rack. She had fun buying and returning right up until the week before. The guys wore linen khakis and white shirts.
We are now in the trenches of planning the 2nd daughter’s wedding, just 8 weeks away! While it will be a beautiful, very large outdoor wedding and tent reception at a family farm, it will all come down to one day. Our wedding cruise was a 6 days of nothing but fun!! Another nice thing about a cruise (from the bride and groom standpoint) is you can see your peeps as much, or as little, as you want throughout the week. 🙂