By Kim Kavin
Nick Trotter is not a priest, rabbi, minister, judge, or a justice of the peace, even still, the Virginia resident found himself performing a wedding ceremony recently aboard the 142-foot Eurocraft Baron Trenck in the Mediterranean. It wasn’t even part of his official duties as the broker who had arranged the charter through his company, Meridian Yachts. Yet he, along with the yacht’s crew, wanted to do everything possible to give the clients the dream wedding ceremony they wanted.
“We were on the sundeck with flowers everywhere,” Trotter says. “People came to watch, and we did a few traditional things for the couple’s Russian heritage. We had a translator, and I made up a set of vows for them. I’m not even close to licensed to do anything like that, but they never had any intention of it being a legal ceremony. They didn't want the piece of paper from that charter. They wanted the memory of exchanging the vows and having all the people around. It was fun.”
Getting married during a charter yacht vacation can be a proper, legal union, or it can be what Trotter describes: a ceremony for ceremony’s sake. The choice belongs to the couple getting married, and it depends a great deal on how much advance legwork they want to do.
Step one is determining what constitutes a legal marriage in the place where you reside. Different states and different countries have different steps that must be taken for a marriage to be considered legal.
Step two is determining what constitutes a legal marriage in the place where your yacht will be on charter. Again, there are different rules in different places, and you need to be sure that you are following them all.
Step three is combining the rules from both places to ensure that whatever you are planning will meet all the legal standards.
“The actual, legal act of getting married can take place on a yacht, but you have to do your homework, or when you get home, you might find out that you’re not exactly married,” Trotter says. “You have to jump through the hoops for both places. That can be fun, an adventure, a project. You don’t want to wait until the last minute, because there may be requirements about spending a certain period of time in the destination before appearing in a magistrate’s office, things like that.”
Trotter was married in the British Virgin Islands, and he has arranged vacations for clients to get married in the BVI, as well.
“But the ceremony on the yacht is usually about just that: a ceremony,” he says. “Having the ceremony on a yacht is great fun. It’s a great experience. It’s also a great way to pare down the guest list, though the money goes out the other door when you charter the yacht. Hopefully, the broker and crew will be excited about it. If you have the right team helping you, it will be the memory of a lifetime. Some of those chief stewardesses, you’ll have to rein them in, they’ll be so excited to do all the decorations and planning.”
Trotter says that anyone thinking about a yacht charter wedding should first look for a charter broker who is enthusiastic about the event. That broker will seek out a yacht whose captain and crew are also eager to put on a good show, and together, they will all help the client realize their dream wedding.
“If you’re working with people who aren’t as excited about the wedding as you are, then you need a different team,” Trotter says.
Beyond that, he adds, simply decide what you want the experience to be. It can be 100 percent legal, or it can be primarily for your own memories.
“The fun bits, the planning the ceremony, that’s all personal preference,” he says. “You don’t want to squash the fun, but you want to know what you’re getting into. Then the hurdles aren’t negatives. They’re part of the adventure. If you think of it that way, then you’ll have a great time.”
And when you're ready, you can have a Honeymoon Charter too.