This topic is near and dear to my heart, as Robert and I had our own magical St. John wedding in 2013. We, along with 75 family and friends, set sail on Kekoa and exchanged our vows just as the sun was dropping into the blue Caribbean Sea. Over the years that we’ve lived on St. John and hosted guests at our Island Abodes properties, we’ve had the privilege of being involved in one way or another with dozens of other couples who were either getting married on St. John, or here for a weddingmoon, honeymoon, babymoon, or vow renewal. All have been wonderful and special, but I’d have to say that other than my own St. John wedding, my favorite was when my brother and sister-in-law got married at Trunk Bay in 2016. All of the things that make St. John special as a tropical island getaway make it the perfect place to tie the knot. Here’s what you need to know.
St. John Wedding Planners
St. John has some wonderful wedding planners who can coordinate all the details for you, freeing you up to enjoy the special time with your betrothed and any friends and family. Most St. John wedding planners offer a reasonable flat fee for helping with your Virgin Islands marriage application, any required permits, an officiant, a photographer, and getting your marriage license. And they can help arrange a venue and caterer if you have a larger wedding party. We personally know and have worked with all of these St. John wedding planners and highly recommend each of them (listed in alphabetical order by last name):
Mary Bartolucci with Island Style Weddings
Michelle Fage Cawthron with Paradise Planning
Anne Marie Porter with St. John Weddings
Planning Your Own St. John Wedding
Our advice is to hire a wedding planner, but it’s certainly possible to coordinate things on your own. If you decide to go that route, you’ll need to take care of all the details, and especially the application, license and permits. Here’s some information you’ll need to know…
Getting a Virgin Islands Marriage License
You’ll need to apply for a marriage license at the Family Division of the VI Superior Court. Their website has all the information about applying for and obtaining a VI marriage license. Here’s the link.
Permits to Get Married on a Virgin Islands National Park Beach
St. John’s amazing North Shore beaches are the biggest draw for travelers, and the same holds true for couples getting married. But if you want to have a ceremony on Hawksnest, Cinnamon, Maho, Francis, or the most popular one, Trunk Bay, you’ll need a permit from the National Park Service. Here’s a link to their website with all the info you’ll need.
Virgin Islands Wedding Officiants
Aside from outsourcing all the details, working with either Mary Bartolucci or Anne Marie Porter means they can officiate at your ceremony. If you decide to go it alone, a great choice for officiant is Island Mike, a former trial attorney who has truly found his calling in a much happier business.
Hair and Make-Up
St. John Photographers
We have used the services of all five of these awesome photographers (listed alphabetically by last name):
Anne Bequette, STJ Creative Photography
Sage Hammond, Crown Images
Savanah Loftus, Savanah Loftus Photography
Yelena Rogers, Yelena Rogers Photography
Lindsay Vann, Lindsay Vann Photography
St. John Caterers
To cater a reception or a private dinner or brunch, we highly recommend these wonderful folks:
Best St. John Restaurants for Large Groups
Best St. John Restaurants for Intimate, Romantic Dinners
Annual Trunk Bay Vow Renewal
For many years on Valentine’s Day, Anne Marie Porter has conducted a free vow renewal ceremony on Trunk Bay. It’s a very special event where sometimes more than 100 couples renew their vows. If you’ve been thinking of renewing your vows, this is a wonderful time to be on St. John. For more information, visit here.
St. John Wedding Accommodations
One of the most important details about getting married on St. John is finding the right accommodations for the happy couple and wedding guests. At Island Abodes we specialize in hosting special occasions. Our Sunset Serenade Suites in the hills above Cruz Bay consists of four enchanting 1-bedroom vacation homes. It’s perfect for wedding groups, and we’ve hosted so many happy couples in the Penthouse, Honeymoon Suite, Hibiscus Suite, and Papaya Suite. Down Yonder Pool Villa consists of 2 King master suites and a 30 foot saltwater pool. It can be rented separately, or together with the Garden Suite to add another private 1BR/1BA home. All units come with our famous Island Abodes hospitality, of course! We allow events when you do a buy out of either Sunset Sereande Suites or Chocolate Hole Renals. Many wedding welcome parties have taken place at Sunset Serenade Suites as it is one of the best places to watch the sunset on island!