While the Queen Mary was undoubtedly a prime destination for well off couples going to Europe on their honeymoon, we are not aware of any documented wedding services held aboard the Queen Mary while in service on the high seas as a working ocean liner. (British merchant marine captains were not empowered to officiate at weddings.)
The creation of a wedding chapel and the offering of wedding chapel services was a business decision made to generate revenue for the ship after it came to Long Beach, California. In the 1970’s, the second-class smoking room was reconfigured into a wedding chapel facility.
The room in its original configuration.
A portion of this room was partitioned off as a wedding services sales office and another portion was portioned off as a dressing room for the bride. The remainder of the room serves as the chapel with a maximum seating capacity of 160. The minimum rent for wedding use of the facility is currently $1,100 (2003).
The Second Class Smoking Room today - converted into a Wedding Chapel.
Recently a gazebo was constructed atop the outdoor stage that is itself constructed atop the roof of the former second-class main lounge. For $2,000 a couple can say their vows here perched like figurines atop a wedding cake.
The gazebo structure where some wedding services are held today.
As we recommend restoring the second-class smoking room and the tennis courts for Club Queen Mary use, where and how might the wedding chapel services be offered?
The restoration of the Queen Mary offers the opportunity to expand the wedding service program and upgrade it with a more flexible and ship-smart atmosphere. Instead of limiting weddings to a room that can hold no more than 160 people, we suggest using any of the restored lounges on the upper decks as settings for weddings.
For outdoor ceremonies (weather permitting, and it usually does in California) we suggest the forecastle of the ship by the ship’s bell.
|Upper deck lounges – The existing first class main lounge and the first
class smoking room, the waiting to be restored starboard gallery, the long
gallery, and the pre-war ballroom all have (or had) focal points that would make
wonderful settings for weddings.
Right - The Starboard Gallery
Below - the Ballroom (left) and the First Class Lounge (right).
Below - The Long Gallery, Forward end (right) and the 1st Class Smoking Room (left).
The golden screen surrounding the fireplace in the main lounge, the large paintings at either end of the long gallery, the fireplaces in the starboard gallery are all potentially wonderful settings for wedding ceremonies. The rooms might then be used for receptions after the wedding ceremony – or the assemblage might retire to an original dinning room on R deck for a wedding feast.
The forecastle – who does not remember the romantic interlude in the movie "Titanic" when the young couple climbs to the very peak of the bow to survey the ocean scene? A like setting is waiting for use aboard the Queen Mary for outdoor wedding services. Large enough to accommodate many guests as observers, the forecastle of the ship at the ship’s bell offer a stunning original setting for an outdoor wedding ceremony.
Views of the Forecastle area, seen close-up (left) and from Sun Deck (right).
There is a skyline view of Long Beach to the right. This area adjoins the Tourist Class Garden Lounge, where a wedding reception might be held. A few steps down is the tourist class dining room, which when restored, can be used for a banqueting room seating several hundred people.
In the event of unexpected bad weather the outdoor ceremony might be moved inside to the ship’s bridge – as was done for some wedding services aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 when it was docked for several months in Japan in the early 1980’s.Related Services
Wedding chapel services should be sold in tandem with other hospitality and catering services. These include flowers, cocktail receptions, dinners and hotel rooms.
This change offers the opportunity to schedule more services in a wider variety of unique and authentic shipboard settings. It assumes follow-on receptions with a more appropriate use of the ship.