It’s wedding season, and St. Thomas is the perfect place to host the wedding of your dreams. We’ve helped plan many St. Thomas weddings, including one of our own. Island Luxury co-owner Sydnee was married at beautiful Estate Sherpenjewel! Along the way, we’ve learned what works – and what doesn’t – when planning a destination wedding. Here are our top tips:
Pictured: Preparing for a wedding at Estate Sherpenjewel
St. Thomas Wedding Planning Mistake #1: Blowing Your Budget
Think a destination wedding has to cost an exorbitant amount of money? Think again. There are lots of ways to make a wedding on St. Thomas work for any budget. We recommend:
Scheduling your wedding during the off-season (June-November). You’ll get the lowest rates on accommodations and many vendors offer discounts during those months as well.
Selecting vendors independently vs. choosing a package deal. Many vendors offer tiered pricing if you contact them directly. Reach out and we’ll give you a list of our favorites!
Opting for a beach ceremony. All St. Thomas beaches are public and most charge only a small fee to hold your wedding on the sand. This fee varies based on the beach and how many people you’re hosting, but average $150-$250. Consider a beach ceremony paired with a small reception at one of our luxury villas, which is a great way to stay within budget while providing guests with the comforts of a traditional venue. Contact us to learn more about booking one of our villas for your St. Thomas wedding.
Mistake #2: Procrastinating on Your Marriage License
It might not be the most romantic part of wedding planning, but don’t forget this important step. You’ll want to download and complete your application for a marriage license well before your big day. After your completed application has been received, there’s an eight-day waiting period and $100 fee before you can pick up the license. You must return the paperwork within 10 days after your St. Thomas wedding. If you’re working with a wedding planner, they may offer to take care of this last step for you.
Speaking of wedding planners, they’re a great way to make sure you don’t miss any of the important wedding details. We’ve worked with some of the very best on the island. Our concierge service is available to help pair Island Luxury guests with the perfect planner.
Pictured: An Estate Sherpenjewel wedding with a view of Magens Bay
Mistake #3: Losing Your Guests at a Big Resort
One of the benefits of a destination wedding is that it brings your nearest and dearest together for a few unforgettable days. You’re going to want to spend as much time with these treasured guests as possible, which leads us to our next question: should you book separate rooms at a resort or stay together in a St. Thomas luxury villa?
Resorts typically offer lots of amenities, but they can be expensive and less intimate than a villa. After all, you’re sharing the resort with hundreds of strangers. Villas, on the other hand, allow your guests to enjoy time together while still affording them the privacy of their own space. You can have a quiet spa day for the bride and her bridesmaids, a chef-prepared dinner under the stars, or any other wedding festivities you can imagine within the comfort of your own luxury retreat. You can see our list of vacation villas here or reach out to us to get the planning started.
Mistake #4: Forgetting the Details
There are a lot of St. Thomas-specific items that need to be considered during the wedding planning process. If you haven’t been to the island before, you might not even know they exist! We’ve listed a few unique things you’re going to want to take into consideration while planning for your big day.
Have you thought about transportation? St. Thomas does not have Uber or Lyft. Additionally, we drive on the left side of the road, which might be intimidating for some guests. We can help you reserve a private driver or figure out a taxi service to transport you and your guests around the island.
A trip to the grocery store should be the last thing on your mind when you arrive on St. Thomas. We can arrange for a provisioning service to stock your accommodations with food, drink and your favorite celebratory bubbly!
Your guests won’t need passports unless they plan to travel outside the U.S. Virgin Islands during their Caribbean trip. They will need bug spray, reef-safe sunscreen, and clothing to wear over their swimsuits for beach and sightseeing days!
Mistake #5: Letting the Party End Too Soon
The ceremony and reception have wrapped up – now what? Here are a few ideas to make sure everyone has the trip of a lifetime:
Sail off into the sunset together on a boat charter
Spend a day exploring one of the nearby islands like St. John or Water Island
Find a quiet cay and enjoy an afternoon on the beach
Make memories ziplining or stand-up paddleboarding together, or schedule a group surf lesson
We hope you have the St. Thomas wedding of your dreams, and we’d be honored to help you with any of the services we’ve mentioned above! We’ll leave you with a few Caribbean wedding customs you can incorporate into your big day to guarantee lasting love:
Place a dime in the bride’s shoe on the wedding day to ensure wealth and prosperity
Don’t let the flowers touch the ground during the bouquet toss, or you’ll risk an unhappy union
Sprinkle a little white rum outside the venue to appease the spirits and let them join in the celebration
Most of all, enjoy and don’t forget to return often!