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Weddings on the Water

Being married on a ship is a romantic old custom now made possible by Windsor River Cruises.

Inviting wedding parties to bring their celebration on-board the locally owned sightseeing and dining vessel, The Macassa Bay, John Sheridan assures engaged couples that everything is shipshape for the big day. "We have our own wedding specialist" to take care of all the details, says the vice president of Windsor River Cruises Ltd.

The ocean going, Transport Canada Certified Vessel serves as limousine, chapel, dining room and dance floor, all on one handsome boat. She is 93 feet long and three decks high, with a fully licensed bar, galley kitchen and washrooms. The salon on the main floor boasts a dance floor and comfortably seats guests for dinner, providing a prime view of the passing scenery as the boat sails along the Detroit River. Guests can also dine or dance on the open upper deck, under a protective canopy. A PA system carries the live entertainers' or DJ's music throughout the boat.

Although The Macassa Bay has a capacity for up to 195 passengers, John believes, A hundred is plenty for something like a wedding.

Wedding Packages are custom designed to fulfill the vision of the bride and groom or same sex couple, with prices to suit any budget. One option is to board the boat downtown at its Festival Plaza dock across from Caesars Windsor. The captain sails the wedding party and guests to Hiram Walker's palatial Canadian Club Brand Centre on the Detroit River, where the bride and groom and party disembark for photos. Guests can stay on-board, availing themselves of the bar and hors d'oeuvres. The photo session over, the wedding party takes their places on-board for the ceremony. Windsor River Cruises can provide an officiant or accommodate the couples own presider.

Then the reception begins. On board, we can offer hors d'oeuvres, plated dinners or buffets, John says. The gourmet cuisine is catered by St. Clair College Centre for the Arts. Dancing follows as The Macassa Bay continues its cruise of three hours or longer. "One bride called and requested a cruise to Amherstburg," says John. The cruise company was happy to oblige.

Another option pleases both the seafaring groom and landlubber bride. After boarding the boat at Festival Plaza, the wedding party and guests are taken on a cruise, during which the couple exchange their vows. Everyone is then brought to Dieppe Park for photos. Afterward, the party steps across Riverside Drive to the reception waiting at St. Clair College Centre for the Arts. "They do a great job for us," says John.

Windsor River Cruises is also available for rehearsal dinners and stag and doe events. The pleasure of being on a cruising boat, combined with the couple's joy, immediately puts everyone in a celebratory mood.