Star Ferry Wedding

When I think of Hong Kong, I think of the beautiful Victoria Harbour. When I think of the harbour, I think of the Star Ferry. What can be more Hong Kong than having a wedding ceremony on the Star Ferry? Getting married on the Star Ferry sounds like a romantic idea, and it’s especially popular with westerners and mixed couples. Recently I was asked to give some advice on Star Ferry wedding. Here comes some tips for those planning a wedding on the famous green and white boat.

Star Ferry Company rents out ferries on its own standard terms which apply many restrictions to your planning e.g. number of guests, time and duration of the ceremony. I would suggest the first step is to read the rental terms and conditions to check if it fits your expectation.

Capacity – even though the Star Ferry states the maximum capacity of each type of ferries, it would be uncomfortable if your party fills to the maximum limit. You have to leave room for people to walk around and mingle. Also, the wedding ceremony usually takes place at the front of the ferry. That front compartment can only hold around 60 people. So if you have more than 60 guests, some of them may not be able to get a close view of the ceremony.

Duration – the Star Ferry cruises along the harbour for as long as you book it. I think the most appropriate duration is two hours. This would give enough time for guests to be seated and for the couple and other relevant parties to prepare for the ceremony. The wedding ceremony itself usually takes around 20 minutes. After the ceremony, allow time for speech, cake cutting, toasting and photo taking. There is nowhere to go on the ferry. Try to think of ways to entertain the guests e.g. giving them little notepaper to write words for the couple, fun photo booth for taking photos etc. Ceremony longer than two hours might make your guests feel crammed in for too long. There are not that many toilets on board; long duration in a confined space may pose inconvenience.

Logistics – planning a wedding on a ferry takes significant effort. Normally your ferry docks at the pier 30 minutes before the actual ferry departure time. During that 30 minutes, you have to get all the decoration and catering ready. Time pressure is immense even for professional service providers. If you plan a DIY event, try to engage friends who won’t freak out under pressure… Once the ferry leaves the pier, obviously no one late can get on board. Be sure you delegate a person to count the number of expected guests and make sure all the VIPs, e.g. witnesses signing the marriage certificate are on time.

Decoration – the normal ferry feels quite bare and it would be nice to add some wedding theme decoration. Be aware that the ferry rocks a lot especially at the pier. Making something stand still may not be an easy task. I have seen poster stand falling down, professional decorators running out of tapes to stick things firmly…

Catering – keeping drinks cold in the summer and keeping food hot in the winter can be a challenge. Multi-tier wedding cake might be susceptible to collapse during transportation. Keep your food and beverage simple. Save your big wedding feast after you get off the ferry.

Weather risk – even if you have made the perfect plan, you still have to wish for luck to make your perfect wedding come true. Private rental Star Ferry does not operate in typhoon number 3 or some other weather warnings. This is a significant consideration/risk if your wedding is in the summer months. The ferry is also quite open to the elements. Heavy rain, strong wind, super hot or cold climate may hamper the comfort level of the ceremony too. If the ferry cannot operate due to adverse weather, Star Ferry Company allows you to hold the ceremony at the pier, but it is just a rather crude waiting area. My advice is to have a contingency plan to fall back to if the ferry ceremony does not go ahead.

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Comments (1)

One Response to “Star Ferry Wedding”

  1. Tammy says:

    Dear Anna,
    Thank you so so so much for your blog, this information is really useful, some of them are something we didn’t think of. We are still looking for other options at this stage..:)

    I really love your blog and your advices!!! Hopefully see you in person one day!

    Keep on the good work!!

    BIG THANK YOU!

    Tammy