Be One of the First Couples to Get Married in Antarctica

Destination wedding meets bucket list.

Just picture it: You’ve just landed at the southern tip of South America, feeling like a boss at the edge of the world as you look at a giant ocean ahead of you. You and your fiancé board a luxurious ship headed for Antarctica, where, surrounded by glaciers and penguins, you’ll be amongst the first to get legally married on the seventh continent of this here planet.

It’s a dream that’s now a reality for couples of all orientations who are searching for a truly unforgettable way to tie that sailor’s knot. Before this year, marriages in Antarctica were symbolic ceremonies only, but not legally binding—you’d have to obtain and sign the marriage license elsewhere.

Starting unironically on February 14, 2022, the Happily Ever Atlas program from Atlas Ocean Voyages allows guests to take advantage of a rare trifecta: a once-in-a-lifetime destination, Covid-safe circumstances, and a marriage license that says “Antarctica.”

It’s a destination wedding and bucket list trip all in one.

Atlas Ocean Voyages
Test of a strong relationship: if you can paddle the boat in the right direction. | Atlas Ocean Voyages

This new first comes at a potentially fitting time, as the pandemic continues to hover a question mark over largely populated areas and events. With a reported boom in weddings for 2022, this could be a never-before-seen option for those who don’t care for the fuss of a big guest list, are aiming for a safer celebration, but still want a momentous story.

All passengers must present proof of vaccination before the trip begins and take PCR tests before boarding.

Atlas Ocean Voyages
You know you wanna pretend to be Jack and Rose right now. | Atlas Ocean Voyages

Cruises may be the main way to get to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the long journey. On Atlas Ocean Voyages, time seems to melt away while you cross the Drake Passage, trying to recall which of the many relaxing nights was it that you ate that incredible salmon or unwound in the onboard sauna. Whether they’re tears shed from joy or from the cold wind on your face, you can pretend to be Jack and Rose on the bow of the ship. Or you can do some sea kayaking around the glaciers.

You, your partner, your select crew in life, and the seals are the only ones in on the secret that this is the place to be.

The only wedding guests are already in black tie. | David Schultz/Mint Images RF/Getty Images

Antarctica, which is also known as the “white desert,” is the only continent without residents. There’s no permanent population, since visitors are all rotating scientists and very temporary travelers. That’s all to say there’s a whole lot of space for social distancing. You might even feel like the only human when you give your “I do” in that snowy expanse, surrounded by a guest list of penguins already dressed in tuxedos.

If you’re the type who prefers mind-blowing nature to wasted materials like an aisle of rose petals and a bouquet of flowers, you’ll be happy to know you’re legally not allowed to bring decorations onto Antarctica anyway, as dictated by the Antarctic Treaty, so as to protect the land.

I see a duck; what do you see? | TasfotoNL/Shutterstock

Marriage licenses are issued by Britain, with reciprocity in the United States. This means that there is no need for US residents to file additional paperwork. The entire voyage is $12,000 per person, which includes food, board, the journey itself, and airfare to and from Ushuaia, Argentina. You do have to put down an additional £500 for the marriage license, but that’s refunded by the cruise company.

Just don’t forget your passport for this rare country stamp.

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Mikkel Woodruff is a freelance writer who co-owns Sometimes Sailing and Sometimes Home travel websites with her husband. Follow her travels at @sometimeshome.