November 5, 2013
Posted in: Ship's Company
Previously on the We Are Cunard blog, Steve and Catharine shared their wedding story with us. Today, Kirsty Wakefield, Captain’s Secretary and Wedding Coordinator on board Queen Victoria, tells us about her role in planning a couple’s big day on board a Cunard Queen…
It is a huge role and responsibility to be in the position to plan and organise someone’s wedding day on board a Cunard ship. I meet the wedding couple within a couple of hours of them boarding and that’s when as a Wedding Coordinator, I begin to plan their big day.
This year, I have had six weddings to organise so far, three of which were in the same 17-night voyage. This was a test of my organisational and communication skills, and making sure I didn’t have the wrong bride with the wrong groom on the day!
The first wedding couple on this particular voyage were from Australia. They had brought some friends along with them – one couple who were renewing their vows later in the voyage and another who had renewed their vows on Queen Victoria on a previous voyage. It was so nice that they all had something in common with the ship.
I met them on embarkation day. They had chosen to marry two days later, so meeting them and making sure I had all the correct information – what flowers they wanted, who their witnesses were going to be, the colour scheme, the type of cake they wanted and the music that they wanted, was vital.
I then have to distribute all the information out to necessary departments to make sure their big day is everything the couple had wished for and more!
I had a great support team with me throughout this voyage. Andy and Joni for the music, Lauren our Social Hostess, to help and assist me with anything I asked for, the photo department who took the time to meet with each wedding couple to find out exactly how they wanted their wedding photos to look, and housekeeping for making the same room look completely different each day. I couldn’t have managed it if it wasn’t for each and every one of them, they were a great help!
After the ceremony, the photographer took them around the ship to capture some amazing shots. On the open decks, by the funnel (my personal favourite place for wedding photos on board), in the grand lobby and probably the most famous of all, on the stairs by the grand clock. As the ceremony was at 11am, they had chosen to have a celebratory lunch in the Verandah. We had the pedestal flowers and cake delivered to the restaurant for them to enjoy.
My second wedding couple were from Wales. They were travelling alone and therefore had asked for a member of the ship’s company to be their witnesses. This is where myself and Lauren stepped in. Not only were we helping to organise the big day, but we were taking part in it too! I always feel honored when a couple asks us to be witnesses, because it is such a special occasion for them and they are asking you, someone they have only just met, to witness their marriage. Each wedding I have planned will always stay in my memory, but when you take on such a role as a witness, it sticks in your mind so much more. For this particular wedding, we also did a reading each, which the couple chose for us to read.
When I first met this couple they told me that they would have to go out in Palermo (our first port) to buy a new tie for the wedding as the groom had forgotten to pack not only his wedding tie, but all his ties for the voyage! The bride had not been too happy about this. On the day of the wedding, I met the groom in the Commodore Club just before the ceremony. I commented on his tie and said ‘so you managed to get one in Palermo then?’. He laughed and said to me ‘this is the original tie I bought at home. We did pick one up in Palermo though.’ I was very confused at this point and he could see this. He carried on saying ‘as I was getting my shirt out of the suit bag, there were all my ties wrapped in my shirt. I’d not forgotten to bring them, I’d just not looked far enough!’ My response was ‘does your bride-to-be know?’ ‘No, but I think she’s going to kill me when she sees it!’
The bride arrived with Lauren and the traditional Cunard bell boy. She had some photos taken on her own before entering the venue. Her dress was ivory and lace and just very classic, she looked lovely.
After the Captain pronounced them husband and wife, the groom asked his new wife if she had noticed anything. She looked at him and all she said was ‘that’s not the tie we bought yesterday, did you have it with you all along?’ – he then explained what happened. She laughed it off in the end. Her face was a picture once she realised that was the original tie!
My last wedding couple of the voyage wanted a simple ceremony and just to be married. Friends and family at home thought they were just going on a cruise, on holiday and none of them knew they were going to come back married! They had eloped to Queen Victoria!
One of the most rewarding things for me as the Wedding Coordinator, is after the ceremony when the couple are happily married and ready to enjoy the rest of their holiday/honeymoon, and they see you out and about on board the ship, they just want everyone to know that it was you who made their day so special. I get thank you cards and White Star cards each time from the guests, which I keep as such a special memory of someone else’s special day.
Find out more about Cunard Weddings at Sea online or call our dedicated Wedding Planners on 0843 373 0305.