The Inside Word: Wedding Cruises

Ahoy! Fresh sea air, panoramic harbour views and a night of dancing under the stars – HaurakiBlue’s Mike Murphy explains the ins and outs of saying ‘I do’ on the sea

    Ahoy! Fresh sea air, panoramic harbour views and a night of dancing under the stars – HaurakiBlue’s Mike Murphy explains the ins and outs of saying ‘I do’ on the sea.

    Tell us about Ipipiri
    Our 44.5m, four-level cruise catamaran is the ultimate floating venue: it’s available for overnight wedding cruises in Auckland’s stunning Hauraki Gulf. Ipipiri has 30 ocean-view cabins, a restaurant and bar, and can accommodate up to 100 guests for a ceremony and reception, and 60 guest overnight.
    Why would you recommend a wedding cruise instead of a conventional wedding venue?
    A wedding at sea is a spectacularly romantic way to tie the knot. Imagine cruising around the beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf, drinking in the fresh sea air, kayaking and snorkeling with your guests – it’s magic. Plus, having an all-in-one venue for your ceremony, reception and wedding night accommodation makes planning a breeze.
    What’s the timeline for an overnight cruise?
    We personalise the itinerary to suit you, but generally a cruise sets off at 3pm to the ceremony location. Then guests enjoy canapés while the bridal party takes off for photos, and when you return, the festivities continue! The next morning, you enjoy a delicious breakfast before returning to shore.
    What factors should a couple consider when deciding whether or not to have a wedding cruise?
    Make sure you choose a cruise ship that works with your guest list. HaurakiBlue Cruises can accommodate up to 100 guests for your ceremony and reception, and 60 guests overnight.
    What are the location options for the ceremony?
    There are beautiful beaches on Motuihe, Motutapu and Waiheke Island; our small run-about boat transports the bridal party and guests – it can come right up onto the beach and has a drop-down ramp at the front, so it’s easy to get on and off without getting your feet wet!
    If staying on board is easier, our top-level sundeck offers uninterrupted views of the harbour. The main level has a semi-covered deck with plenty of room inside.
    What if the weather turns rough?
    We plan a range of options to suit the weather on the day. Our crew can easily choose a calm, sheltered area to moor the vessel. If conditions are very poor, we stay within the Waitemata Harbour rather than venturing out into the gulf.
    In your opinion, what kind of menu is best suited to a cruise?
    Your à la carte menu can be tailored to suit your preferences. Obviously seafood is a perfect match for a wedding at sea – but it’s totally up to you! Whatever you choose, the focus will be on beautifully presented local produce, complemented by quality wines.
    Can couples decorate the boat beforehand?
    Depending on the length of the charter, you can access the boat up to three hours before departure. Fairy lights, bunting and floral arrangements all look fantastic on board – our crew will be on hand to help you secure decorations safely. 

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