How to Choose the Ideal Time of the Day for Your Yacht Wedding
There is no cookie cutter formula for the perfect yacht wedding. Some couples opt for a bright and early 11 a.m. service, with a light lunch and stunning photos set in a background of glimmering blue waters and historic landmarks like Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Others prefer an evening cruise, with a fabulous full dinner and photos with the spectacular skyline of Manhattan as a backdrop. How can you choose the perfect time to host your yacht wedding cruise? Here are a few tips to guide you to the right decision.
Consider Your Wedding Timeline
Your wedding timeline will likely include an opportunity for the bride (or her representative) to give her final okay for the decorations and setup before guests arrive, as well as pre-ceremony photo shoots, and time to get everyone seated. You should discuss the exact timeline with your wedding planner, but whatever you decide, make sure there is ample time for setting up and taking care of pre-wedding business so that the bride and groom aren’t panting from exhaustion while trying to stammer, “I do.” Weddings can begin anytime from 10 or 11 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m., so be flexible enough to bump the time up or back an hour or two if it looks like things will get too rushed. This date is too important (and too expensive) to cram things in or rush through important items. Schedule the wedding for a time that allows for some leisure and flexibility.
Discuss the Timeline With Your Photographer
We already mentioned your choices for wedding photos — gorgeous sunny daytime views or glamorous evening shots with the glistening black waters of the NY harbor dotted by the world-renown lights of Manhattan skyscrapers. Discuss with your photographer what your wishes require in terms of setup, and what shots he/she needs to take both before and after the ceremony. For example, if you wed at 5 in the spring or fall, all the shots before the ceremony will be daytime scenes, but photos after the wedding will be nighttime shots. Just make sure the time of day the photos represent are how you want to remember your big day.
Do You Want a Seated Dinner, Light Meal, or Just Snacks?
Typically, the time of day listed on the wedding invitations tip the guests off about what kind of food, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres to expect at the reception. So, the time of day you plan your ceremony depends largely on your wedding budget and what kind of reception you prefer. If the ceremony ends around a usual mealtime, guests (and their digestive systems) will expect a meal, even a light one. So, to keep the reception simple with only cocktails or light snacks, plan your ceremony at a non-meal time of day. Discuss your particular situation with your wedding planner, but a general rule is that you’d serve a lunch for an 11 a.m. to noon ceremony and provide dinner for a 5 to 7 p.m. wedding. Guests would only look for refreshments at ceremonies scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. and probably expect only cocktails for a later wedding.
What’s the Weather Like This Time of Year?
Nobody wants to spend time on an open yacht deck before noon in the early spring or late fall, before New England temperatures warm to a pleasant setting, nor do they enjoy hanging outside in the sultry afternoon in July or August. You can also consider the probability of a summer shower in the afternoons, which could throw off your timeline (or drench your wedding party and guests). Plan your ceremony and reception for the most comfortable time of day, and the time least likely to be harassed by precipitation.
What Would You Like Everyone to Wear?
When you visualize your wedding photos, do you see everyone moseying around in comfy casual clothing or dancing joyfully in their finest cocktail wear? Though you should always specify the correct attire on your invitations or wedding website, the time of day largely dictates what people wear. As a general rule, the earlier the ceremony the more casual the dress, up to and including shorts, T-shirts and flip flops. Later ceremonies are typically more formal, up to and including tuxedos and formal dresses. Your wedding — your choice!
What are Your Guests Up to This Time of Year?
To have an 11 a.m. ceremony, guests need arrive at the dock around 10 a.m. This is perfect for a crowd of early risers, the kind who hit the gym at 6 and stroll in the office by 7 each morning. But it won’t work if your friends and family are the types to end each day with a late movie or at a nightclub. Also, consider the time of year you’re getting married: will your guests be antsy about missing a hockey game or are they likely to skip your wedding if it bumps up against kickoff times for the Jets or the Giants? You should also check schedules for the Yankees and the Mets before scheduling your wedding, or the ballet and symphony, depending on your guest list.
Are You Planning to Serve Alcohol?
A few light cocktails are perfectly fine for any time of day, but most guests will prefer not to drink in the early afternoon or too early in the evening. This is an excellent way to discourage Uncle Harvey from overindulging and ruining your reception by hitting on the wait staff, but if you would like a reception that includes a few drinks and some dancing, it’s probably better to schedule your ceremony later in the day. Wine and cocktails make lots of people sleepy. Be sure to encourage designated drivers for groups that tend to need them.
Do You Prefer Rising Early or Partying Late?
What’s the bottom line? If you’re the kind of person who rolls out of bed with bright eyes, ready to tackle the world, pick an early ceremony so you’ll be at your peak for it. Those who can’t manage to find the coffee pot before 10 a.m. should schedule a later ceremony so that they are fully able to enjoy the whole affair. Your wedding, your way!
Yachts for All Seasons has an experienced professional staff of wedding planners ready to help you plan your perfect yacht wedding, from the time of day to the decorations and menu. They have a yacht right-sized for your NYC wedding, whether you’re planning an intimate ceremony with a few family and friends, or a grand gala with hundreds of guests. Contact us to start planning your perfect NYC Yacht Wedding today!