Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Couple gets married in helium balloon 450 feet above Royal Caribbean's private island

17 Dec 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

Destination weddings took on a whole new meaning last week as two Royal Caribbean cruisers tied the knot at Perfect Day at CocoCay. But the newlyweds didn’t get married on the island… they got married above it!

CocoCay helium balloon

Thomas and Nancy Budzyn were wed at the top of Royal Caribbean’s Up, Up, and Away helium balloon at Perfect Day at CocoCay. While weddings on a cruise are nothing new, this may be the most unique cruise wedding we’ve seen yet!

The Up, Up, and Away helium balloon at Royal Caribbean’s private island takes guests 450 feet in the air for 360 degree views of this Bahamian paradise. As the highest vantage point in the entire Bahamas, the helium balloon provides a view of the island like no other.

On December 9, 2022, two Royal Caribbean cruisers were married on the helium balloon. We wanted to learn more about their special day.

The newlyweds

Thomas and Nancy Budzyn live in Naples, Florida and are frequent Royal Caribbean cruisers, both of whom hold Diamond Plus status in the Crown & Anchor Society.

While the pair had met years ago, their relationship as a couple began after the cruising restart, and they took their first cruise together in July 2021. As the two both work remotely, they can cruise often and have been on thirteen cruises together since the restart.

I couldn’t help but ask how the idea of getting married on the Up, Up, and Away helium balloon came to be.

“We have been to CocoCay so many times together and always have a great time,” Thomas mentioned. “Plus, it’s so beautiful there. It just seemed like the perfect place to have our perfect day.”

Thomas and Nancy were the first couple to get married in the balloon, although another couple had previously gotten engaged there!

“Everyone always does the same thing. We wanted to do something different and hopefully be trendsetters.”

After a trial run in the balloon during a cruise over Thanksgiving, Thomas and Nancy were ready to return in a few weeks for their special day.

The ceremony

One of the main issues with the Up, Up, and Away helium balloon at Perfect Day at CocoCay is that rides are weather dependent. Weather conditions must be ideal–with very little wind and no rain–for the helium balloon to run.

Thomas explained how this was a potential issue for their special day.

“The only concern was the wind, as that could cause the balloon not to go up. We were mentally prepared for a last-minute venue change, either the wedding pavilion or somewhere on the beach.”

Luckily their wedding day brought sunny blue skies. They were notified 30 minutes before the ceremony that the balloon ride would take place.

The ceremony was small, with six attendees: the couple, the island’s Entertainment Manager, the balloon operator, the officiant (Nancy’s best friend), and another friend that took photos. The Up, Up, and Away helium balloon can accommodate thirty people in total.

“The balloon ride is short,” Thomas said. “The whole thing from boarding to unboarding was around 12 minutes. We had a short, simple ceremony to fit within the time constraint.”

After the wedding

After the ceremony, the wedding party headed over to Oasis Lagoon and each had the island’s signature drink, the Coco Loco. They took several photos on the bridge over the lagoon before heading back to the ship.

A private tram escorted the newlyweds back to Symphony of the Seas, where they took a few photos with the island’s dancers and band.

Once back onboard, Thomas and Nancy headed to the casino (a little post-wedding luck, perhaps?) before enjoying champagne and cake.

Thomas mentioned how the staff was excellent during the planning process and wedding ceremony.

“The staff were all just as excited as we were. The crew, both on the island and on the ship, made us feel like they were part of our wedding and our family.”

The only caveat with getting married at Perfect Day at CocoCay? The heat.

“One does not realize how hot it is,” Thomas joked, “until you walk from the ship to the balloon in a tuxedo!”

Thank you to Thomas and Nancy for sharing their story with us at Royal Caribbean Blog. Congratulations and we wish you many happy years together!

Get our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with cruise news & advice

    We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy