Cunard ships have long been a backdrop to love stories across the globe and now, with the first marriage taking place on a crossing to New York, they have become wedding venues where couples can say "I do" at sea onboard the most famous ocean liners in the world.
On Sunday April 29, Denise Holding and Barry Maloney became the first Cunard couple to marry at sea during a mid-Atlantic ceremony aboard Queen Mary 2.
The couple, who run the Accrington Riding Centre in Lancashire, have been together 28 years but it was the opportunity to wed aboard their favourite ship that made up their minds to marry.
Barry Maloney said after travelling with Cunard many times and enjoying the excellent service and quality, there was no better venue than Queen Mary 2.
“It's still jaw-dropping no matter how many times you visit. It would only be Cunard – we have tried other lines but they do not step up to the mark like Cunard does,” he said.
"The best part is, you don't just have the wedding day – you have the rest of the voyage to enjoy and the destination. It's not over when the ceremony has finished as you are still on board with your friends and family."
The couple’s wedding service was conducted by Captain Kevin Oprey, who invited the couple up to the bridge after the ceremony to sound the ship’s whistle – a highlight for Barry.
“Cunard went above and beyond to make our day special and romantic. We wouldn’t have done it on any other ship, everyone should experience Cunard White Star Service at least once in their lifetime,” Barry said.
Denise said of the couple’s big day, “It was perfection from the start….we felt so special all day long and everybody who dealt with us was very professional. Looking back we would do it all over again. It was magical…one year on from the Royal Wedding we had our own Royal Wedding at sea!”
The couple set sail on April 27 and enjoyed a round trip voyage from Southampton to New York and home again, arriving back in Southampton on Friday 11 May 2012.
Couples wishing to wed onboard can choose from the full spectrum of Cunard’s worldwide voyages lasting seven nights or more. The Cunard Wedding Package, priced at US$2500 includes the services of an onboard wedding coordinator, the ceremony conducted by the Captain, wedding stationery, floral arrangements, music, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, the wedding cake and a celebratory breakfast in bed for the bride and groom. A wedding licence fee is additional. To maintain exclusivity, only one wedding will be arranged per day and only on days at sea.
Full details are available in the special ‘Cunard Weddings’ brochure which may be downloaded at www.cunardline.com.au