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Windjammer Weddings:
Romance on the High Seas

Every summer, couples from all over the country come to the coast of Maine
to pledge their love and commitment in the sanctity of marriage. In the
presence of family and friends, with rocky shores and blue ocean waters as a
backdrop, there is no better place to conduct a picture-perfect wedding.

Some couples choose to take their seaside ceremonies one step further -- just
ask the twelve captains of the
Maine Windjammer Association. The sailing
season, which lasts from mid-May through mid-October, sees weddings
throughout, and rarely does a season go by in which a captain isn't called
upon to conduct a wedding at the helm.

“Hosting weddings on board has been a real learning experience for me,”
says Captain Brenda Walker of the Isaac H. Evans. “I write every ceremony
for each individual wedding, for each couple. We talk about what they want,
and I try to get a real sense of who they are. It’s a challenge, but it’s a great
time to be a captain.”

Weddings at Sea: A Unique Experience

The romance surrounding a windjammer wedding is quite unique --
couples can pick the day, the weather, the island, or the harbor, surrounded
by fresh ocean air, sounds of the sea, and a boat full of family and friends
both old and new. Depending on the windjammer, couples can charter the
whole vessel or just book a cabin for themselves.

While on board, couples can make their wedding ceremony as simple or
coordinated as they wish. Helpful captains and crews make the process run
smoothly, and add a little fun, as well says Captain Walker.

“For one wedding, my first mate decided to dress up for the ceremony. He
and the crew went to a thrift store and bought suits and dresses. And our
cook made a wedding cake that was just amazing. Where else can you get a
wedding cake baked in a wood-fired oven?” says Captain Walker.

Oftentimes, windjammers also serve as host to couples renewing their vows,
or those taking a second chance at marriage.

“We see a lot of older couples, but we’re also seeing more younger couples
as well," says Captain Walker. And captains aren’t necessarily the ones
conducting the ceremony -- we’ve hosted weddings before where couples
were married by a minister.  It’s all up to them.”

Windjammers also serve as a wonderful place to spend a honeymoon or
anniversary. One windjammer, the Victory Chimes, even offers a 25 percent
discount to couples sailing on their anniversary date.

If you know someone planning a wedding this year, consider suggesting a
windjammer wedding. After all, says Captain Walker, “Millions of people
can say they’ve been married in a church, but how many can say they’ve
been married on a beautiful, traditional windjammer? It’s a most unique

All 12 windjammer captains are licensed to perform weddings at sea.  For
more information, visit the
Maine Windjammer Association.

In addition, the schooners of Maine Adventure Sails (Schooner J&E Riggin
and Schooner Timberwind) also perform wedding aboard their ships. For
more info visit
Maine Adventure Sails.
Windjammer Wedding - Photo by David Beaulieu
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