How to plan a wedding in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
First off, planning a wedding in Thomas, USVI is incredibly fun and easy! And in this part of the 2018 Guide to Getting Married in St. Thomas, I’ll show you just how easy. I’ll outline the main steps of how to plan a destination wedding and fill you in on the crucial thing that every couple needs to do before attempting to plan a destination wedding here in the islands.
Now, what have you gotten yourselves into?
You’ve decided to have one of the most important events in your life, 2,000 miles from home, on an island where you probably don’t know a soul. Which means you must be an adventurous soul!
But before you break out in hives or hit the bottle, I’m here
HOW TO PLAN A DESTINATION WEDDING IN ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS
If you’re like most of my clients, you’ve never planned a wedding before. Most likely, you’ve never even been to the Virgin Islands and you have no idea how to start the planning process. Which makes sense.
I mean, if you’re planning a wedding on your home turf, then you’d probably already have a few venues and even a few vendors in mind. And of course, you have family, friends, and co-workers for referrals.
But instead, you’re starting from scratch with an island wedding. And you have the daunting task of spending countless hours searching, researching and
Research is good, but why not get the answers from an expert? (Hint: That’s Me!)
The first piece of advice:
PLAN YOUR WEDDING THE EASY WAY: HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
We’re also with you when life gets in the way and you’re just too busy to worry about everything that needs to get done.
Basically, you can think of the Blue Sky Ceremony team as that friend – with amazing style – who never ever gets tired of talking about your wedding.
Whether your wedding is big or small, I offer wedding planning services packages that are fully customizable to suit your needs. Drop me a line to get started or keep reading to discover some things to make our first consultation the most productive. That way, we can jump right in and talk specifics about your wedding.
But before we talk, I’ll have a few questions for you, and it’s better to think about them and discuss with your fiance first.
You see, here’s a little secret:
What you’re probably doing right now – dreaming of the possibilities and exploring all of your options – this is the crucial first step to planning a destination wedding.
In fact, these possibilities and dreams are all things I’ll ask you about during our first phone call.
THE CRUCIAL FIRST STAGE OF WEDDING PLANNING: THE PRE-PLANNING
You know the adage “measure twice, cut once”? Well, it doesn’t actually tell you anything about planning your project. Before you’re ready to even measure, you’ve got decisions to make. For example, if you were building a cabinet, you’d need to know what it’s for, where it is going, and a myriad of other details. You would need to make some pre-planning decisions before making that first measurement and cut.
The same is true with wedding planning.
Researching options and exploring ideas is a great way to start the process of planning your wedding.
But, believe it or not, many couples jump headlong into the planning process without really considering or discussing some crucial and important things. And with so much to read and digest and decide on out there, they waste a lot of time scouring the internet and find themselves no further along.
At this point, I imagine you’ve sat down and talked with your fiance (or are preparing to do so tonight) about the type of wedding you’d like – specifically whether or not you want a destination wedding and where and when that destination wedding might be.
In this Pre-Planning stage of wedding planning, the first thing you should discuss with your partner is the where, how, and the when of the big day.
For The Where – my vote (if it counts for anything) is St. Thomas or St. John, US Virgin Islands! (Duh!)
Once you’ve narrowed down your island, you’ve probably also decided The How of getting to the island – via cruise or staying with us for a few days (or more!) at a hotel or vacation villa.
Travel Tip: The weather is just about always perfect in the Virgin Islands – so it’s always beautiful in the islands. Check our yearly temps.
If you’re staying with us on the island, you don’t need to know all of the specifics such as accommodations, etc, just yet. That’s something we can discuss when we delve into the planning process. After covering The Where and The How – you should also start thinking about …
The When of your big day. Unless you’re planning to get married on your anniversary, or some other prescribed date (for example 9/19/19, 2/20/20 – hurry, these dates go fast!), you don’t have to set a firm date yet. But it’s a good idea to set a date range or
Once you have some of the preliminary stuff worked out, you’re almost ready to go crazy and start pinning beach wedding photos to your Pinterest board BUT there are some other
PRE-PLANNING STAGE 2: WEDDING SIZE & GUEST LIST
Guest List Advice: Invite all the grandparents (even the mean ones). Don’t invite the whole office, unless you really love them. Don’t use your wedding to reconnect with friends you’ve lost touch with. Don’t let your parents go wild with invites…unless they’re paying for it all.
Your wedding’s size is one of the most important details in all of the wedding planning decisions. Having a general sense of the size of the wedding will help direct all future discussions and decisions, from the location to the timeline to the cake. You two should start thinking about whether you want to:
- Elope (and/or maybe bring a few guests)
- Have an intimate celebration (maybe 20 or less)
- Have a small wedding (maybe 20 – 40 guests)
- Have a blow out bash (50+ guests)
Having a sense of the size of your wedding will set you up for the Final Stage of Pre-Planning: Budgeting.
PRE-PLANNING STAGE 3: BUDGETING
So now you know you know all about the island (that it exists, how to get here, and why St. Thomas is the best choice for your wedding), and have an idea of the type of wedding you want to host ( a big bash, something intimate, or screw hosting, we’re eloping!). Now it’s time to talk about how much it’s going to cost?
I’ve found that in the wedding industry as a whole, vendors, blogs, other websites seem to avoid the topic of money. And yet, this is one of the most important things to consider when planning your wedding.
Before diving into costs and decisions and looking at all of the pretty things, the best thing you can do to make planning your wedding as easy as possible is to figure out how much you have to spend.
I’ve found that budget isn’t a really good word to describe what you need at this stage. I checked out a thesaurus (don’t judge me) in search of a better word. It suggested “allowance”, “allocation” or “quota:. I happened to like “allocation”. Because budget could include every penny you spend on the entire trip (accommodations, travel, rental cars, food, excursions, etc.).
So instead of thinking of this stage as ‘budgeting’ (calculating each expense in excruciating detail), think of this stage as ‘allocating’ for the actual wedding costs.
Separating or allocating an amount
The question to ask yourselves is how much do you plan to spend on your wedding? You don’t need an exact figure but you’ll want to know a range that you want to stay within.
If at this stage, you just have a grand total number for the entire trip and wedding, say $15,000, start by taking a look at airfare and accommodations (check out any travel site – Orbitz, Expedia, etc.) and subtract that amount from the big number.
So if travel and accommodation are $5,000, you’ll have approximately $10,000 for the wedding. A great place to start!
You can find many wedding budget calculators online. I don’t find them nearly as helpful as calling an actual, local wedding planner like me. But they are a good start to give you a general sense of average numbers.
NOW WE CAN START PLANNING!!!
That’s right, we can finally jump headlong into planning and make the hard decisions like whether you will have a ‘first look’ before the ceremony, chose which world-class beach for your wedding ceremony, and select the perfect flavor for your wedding cake.
NOW, THE FUN STUFF! HERE’S HOW
I’LL PLAN YOUR WEDDING!
I specialize in hands-on planning for destination weddings, elopements, cruise ship weddings and vow renewals in St. Thomas & St. John.
That means if you appreciate custom details, personal and fun flourishes, and outside of the box ideas and you are looking for someone to ease the stress, tie all of the details together, and make the day run smoothly, then consider me your new best friend.
It all starts with an initial consultation where we’ll define your vision for your day and decide what type of planning service you need.
I’ve narrowed down my services to three types of wedding planning:
The One-Hour Wedding
The Whole Nine-Yards
The St. Somewhere-in-Between
Learn more about my wedding planning services and packages here.
HOW IT ALL WORKS
Regardless of which planning service is right for you, on our first call, we’ll discuss your vision and the options for bringing it to life. We’ll also discuss your wedding’s size, local industry pricing, and the elements of the wedding that are most important you.
With all of this information, I’ll create a customized budget outline of what you need to achieve your vision, where the wedding expenses are broken down and balanced based on your needs for your wedding. The outline will break down your specific wishes for your wedding.
I’ll then get started planning your wedding immediately, helping you narrow down the outline of the day as we start choosing vendors, locations, and services.
At first, the details might feel overwhelming, but my job is to shoulder the burden and make it fun and easy. You only have to focus on the parts you love and you can tune out for the parts you don’t.
01. The Consultation
This will be our first date. We’ll get to know each other, and I’ll ask lots of questions – which you’ll know the answers to if you followed my advice above.
You’ll probably have even more questions for me. And that’s great. Questions are always great!
We’ll be able to cover a lot on this first call and be ready to get things rolling.
02. The Planning Phase
Planning a wedding has never been so easy. The best part?
I’ll take care of the all of the logistics and keep track of everything. That way, you know that no detail has been missed even if your busy life gets in the way.
03. The Big Day
This is the grand finale – the culmination of all our efforts.
You’ll get to travel to St. Thomas or St. John and simply show up on your wedding day, relaxed and ready to wed.
That’s right, you’ll be able to enjoy your wedding and vacation and feel relaxed because you know that everything has been meticulously organized down to the last detail.
No matter which of my services you choose, I’ll walk you through the entire process including:
I once read that the average bride spends 1-2 hours per day planning her wedding. I also read somewhere that the average bride spends 250 hours planner her own wedding. Good thing you are no average bride. And good thing you’ve got me be your side – because, seriously, who has time for that?
- finding the perfect beach or venue for your destination wedding & the right vendors (photographers, florists, bakers, etc) to make your day perfect;
- putting together timeframes, timelines, checklists, and budget;
- creating a design and vision for your wedding day;
- finding the perfect somebody to perform your wedding ceremony; and if you’re getting legally wed, the marriage license;
- navigating the ins and outs of wedding etiquette (and sometimes family drama too);
- arranging you and your guests travel to the islands;
- and finally, I’ll be with you on the day-of the wedding to make sure everything goes according to plan while you relax and enjoy every second!
THE NEXT STEP
Call 340-642-0195 or contact me today to schedule a consultation to get the ball rolling and plan your Blue Sky Ceremony.