From Marilyn Monroe and John F Kennedy to the very modern Beyonce and Jay-Z, many of the world’s most glamorous couples have taken to the water to enjoy the kind of romantic indulgence only sailing can offer.
As Lee Vitello says, yachts and motor launches are often seen as the ultimate sign of prestige and grandeur. And as the owner of Melbourne VIP Boat Charters with more than 10 years in the business, he’s helped countless brides and grooms tap into this sense of luxury as they sail off into the sunset.
It initially took Lee five years to find the MV Salute for his business, and the boat proved more than worth the wait, especially after a refurbishment that included extra features such as a surround-stereo system, refrigerator, iPod connectivity and even an espresso machine.
“The MV Salute is a classic gentleman’s motor launch, built in the late ’60s, and it’s got classic charm,” he explains. “We’ve even had a few celebrities on the boat, like the former captain of the Socceroos, Craig Moore, and footballers Kevin Muskat and Nick Maxwell.”
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According to Lee, one of the most memorable moments aboard the stylish craft was when a man proposed to his girlfriend as sunset fell. The crew had been thrilled to help organise the occasion and had even bought flowers from which they stripped the petals to cover the floor. They had even rolled out a red carpet for the occasion.
“She said yes, by the way!” he laughs.
Inspired? That’s great. Now here are a few other creative inspirations on how to sail the friendly seas before, during and after your wedding.
Indulge in a high-tea affair
As a starting point, a luxury vessel is a beautiful base from which to create a sophisticated and refined bridal shower. Just imagine an elegant high tea on the water, offering a gorgeous chance to nibble delicate finger sandwiches and fancies while daintily sipping champagne and watching the world go by with your besties.
“It’s very intimate and especially nice for the mothers-in-law,” offers Lee. “We can drop you off at any of the famous waterfront restaurants where you can have lunch, too.”
As the wedding gets closer, a boat can also be an impressive way to inject an element of sophistication into your hen’s or buck’s night. Lee says festivities can begin as soon as you board, when the music pumps up and the bartender pops the cork on your complimentary bottle of Veuve, heralding the boat’s journey to your next destination to continue the party. Afterwards, it’s again waiting to take you wherever you need or want to go.
“The MV Salute is a one-stop shop,” Lee says. “Once you get on we’re fully licenced. We do an alcohol and food package, offer light hot and cold finger food, such as prawn, meat and cheese platters, and we have imported beers and some of the best champagnes around.” The company also offers a drinks service, so someone is constantly at your beck and call for the evening.
And if you fancy a stripper for your celebration, that can be arranged too.
Arrive in style
When the big day dawns, you can dial up the grandeur of your wedding by sailing to your ceremony, ensuring your arrival becomes both elegant and truly unforgettable.
Plus, there’s a little bonus to be had. “It’s guaranteed that there will be no traffic jams!” says Lee. And we all know what an advantage that can be. “If you’re going to your ceremony by car or limo, and there’s a breakdown or an accident on the road, and it gets congested, you could be late to your venue.” Whereas on the water, that’s not a problem.
Another option is to organise for a boat to take the bridal party and guests to the reception after the vows. It’s not only a wonderful way to spend time with them and treat them to something special, it’s also a superb opportunity to show off the sights of your hometown to visiting friends and relatives.
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Strike a pose
It wouldn’t be a wedding day without gorgeous photos to preserve the memories. So now imagine this. You’re standing tall on a beautiful boat with your hair fanning out in the wind, as the sun sparkles off the water all around. Even better, it’s all captured on film. So memorable. So luxurious. After all, nothing quite says glamor like posing on a boat.
Morever, as the MV Salute sails down the Maribyrnong River in Melbourne, Lee says there are also several iconic landmarks that make for wonderful photos and backdrops.
Many couples, for example, have taken advantage of the opportunity to feature Crown Towers as a backdrop, while others have posed during a romantic sunset with the Bolte Bridge behind them. Sportsmad fans have even had their wedding photos taken in front of Etihad Stadium. Like they say, variety is the spice of life.
Make waves at your ceremony
Last but not least, of course, there’s always the the option of having your ceremony on the friendly seas. Whether you say your vows at sunset, or in the heart of the day as the sun sparkles across the waves, the location can add a wonderful sense of privacy and a cosy, intimate feel, almost hidden away from the rest of the world.
Perhaps there is even somewhere special on the harbour that you would like to act as the picturesque backdrop while you and the love of your life exchange vows.
Whatever you decide, don’t forget to make the most of the consultants who can help bring to life your dreams of a beautiful wedding on a boat.
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