Thursday, July 14, 2011

St. Thomas, USVI Wedding Review

If you're looking into having a destination wedding in St Thomas, I hope that this entry can assist you. I scoured the web for photos and reviews on blogs and they were hard to come by - so hopefully this will help someone out who is even just looking for the simplest thing. Feel free to ask questions!

Wedding Planner: Janelle Scott with Island Bliss Weddings

I absolutely loved working with Janelle from Island Bliss. She was so very helpful and always quick to respond to my emails. I'm sure I asked some pretty dumb questions, but she always made me feel that they were valid and worked with me to get exactly what I wanted. I had in mind the simplest, small white wedding and she delivered! The rum punch, waters, basket for my fans, palm and conch aisle and steel pan player were all perfect and she was even helpful as to what shoes I could wear. For the record, if you get married on Lime Tree's lawn like I did, go for heels! The ground is hard and mine never sunk or stuck to the ground at all.
The bouquets were gorgeous and she was even able to get us some flowers for the reception through the florist for around $20. We didn't want anything big or fancy, and she really took care of our needs. The package that we bought included travel to the courthouse and then to the ceremony, but Janelle was so accommodating in that we were going to the courthouse on our own and she let us use that ride to get from the ceremony to the reception. Getting married in June, it was HOT (but I would much prefer a perfectly hot day to a rainy one) so the a/c was awesome after the ceremony. Janelle also helped us get transportation for all of our guests from the ceremony to the reception so that no one had to drive after a fun open bar :) She was amazing and I highly recommend using her services! Plus, you can see really cute pictures of her daughters and fun tips on her blog.
Photography: Booked through Island Bliss Weddings

We really didn't have the budget to spend thousands of dollars on a photographer, so Janelle had the option of a a cheaper photographer. I was a bit worried at first, but as soon as we got the cd of photos back (less than a month after the wedding!) I was in love. They came out so great and we have more than we need. It was perfect for us and what we wanted, and I am so glad that Janelle had this option.

Reception: Kate Atwell at Havana Blue/The Sandbar

I had this vision for our reception - that people could dance on the beach and really get the whole island feel. As soon as I looked up reviews of Havana Blue, I knew that I wanted our reception to be held there. We worked with Kate who was so great. Really, we were able to customize every part of the cocktail hour, apps, dinner, dancing, etc to get exactly what we wanted for a price that was reasonable. We had cocktail hour at the Sand Bar downtstairs and were able to use our ipod to play through the bar. We had open bar with some really fun drinks, music and food. We had part of the bar that led to the beach to ourselves with a little sitting and dance area.

For dinner we went upstairs where the tables overlook the beach and ocean and it is open air windows. The food was good, it is a latin flare restaurant, and the servers took such great care of us. Kate let us pick our own menu options for our guests which was great and let us have a few nice options that werent bank breaking.

After dinner we went downstairs for cake and dancing (again, ipod hookup) and had tables/tiki torches set up on the beach as well, where you could still hear the music. It was nice to be able to feel the breeze and get your feet in the sand and water and I think everyone had a great time!

Kate set up everything that I brought her in a big box (we checked it on the plane) from guestbook to favors. We met up a few days before and were honestly amazed by the location. It is absolutely beautiful and I could not have been any happier with our choice.

Cake: Island Sweet Stuff, through Havana Blue
Our cake was so delicious!! I look at the top of it every day in the freezer and think how badly I want to gobble it up! Kate took care of this for us but I think you could order from Island Sweet Stuff all on your own. Our was chocolate cake, bavarian filling and rum buttercream icing. It was moist and decadent. Please get your cake from here!!

Ceremony: Stuart Scott at Lime Tree Beach
I love how Janelle's husband is the officiate for the weddings that she does! I love the who family business vibe and everyone was so pleased with the ceremony. He did a really great job and was so helpful. We literally did not need to know or rehearse anything - it was so laid back and Stuart just told us what to do as we went. I loved our ceremony and definitely got teary eyed! I also told him about my plan to have a portable fan under my dress -Stuart told me to let him know if I figure that out and I will still be thinking about it because he gets hot under that thing!

Hair and Makeup: Je'Taime with Sugar and Spice Artistry

One of the scariest parts about this wedding far away thing was my hair and makeup. I would not be able to have a trial run and was basically going in blindly. I was unable to find one bad review on Sugar and Spice Artistry, so I immediately booked their services. I went with the airbrush, HD, makeup and a half up/down hair style. I sent many photos via email and probably confirmed my appointment way too many times, but I just had to be sure that we were good to go! Je'Taime was so pleasant and lovely in each response and in person as well. She did an amazing job that I am so happy with. She has even convinced me to start using a lip stain now!

Dress: Long's Bridal, Orlando - Maggie Sottero

The day that we went dress shopping I thought that I had found my dress at another shop, but 2 stops later (at our final store) I instantly fell in love with my dress. Long's is a small store so I feel so lucky that I found my dress and I know it was just meant to be. My dress was a discontinued Maggie Sottero, strapless and ivory with lace and beading. All dresses like this had been too expensive in the other stores (really, $1,500 for a dress?!) but it was what I had really wanted. My sister Erin found this one on the sale rack and since it's discontinued you have to buy it off the rack, meaning it really has to fit perfect. When I pulled it over my head and went out into the mirror, it was love at first sight! The dress was so gorgeous and I just knew it was mine. Plus, the price tag of $450 made me know it was my dress! I originally planned to go with just the peacock feather to the hair, but my sister Kelly put a veil on me and the look was complete.

Gwen did my alterations (3 visits) and did it perfectly. We scored a pretty good deal on it also and my total for my dress/veil was under what most people pay for just a dress before alterations and a veil. I would definitely go back to Long's for regular alterations as well.

Honeymoon: Sapphire Beach

We LOVED our place at Sapphire Resort and Marina. It was a 2 story condo complete with everything we needed - even coolers and chairs. We were able to get free lounge chair and snorkeling gear rentals and the beach was so pretty. There was great snorkeling and our families came by 2 days to spend on our beach with us. We will definitely stay there again when we return - we rented from

Welcome Dinner: Duffy's Love Shack

We really wanted just a fun restaurant to go to for our 'Welcome' dinner and Duffy's was the place! It is a local landmark and right smack dab on the edge of a parking lot. The food is not overpriced and everyone enjoyed what they got, but the most fun is all of the drinks. The drink menu is out of this world and the best part is each drink comes in a different glass that you can keep. Adam got the 'Shark Tank' which they serve in a fish bowl with sharks inside and when you're served it they play the jaws music. Super fun! This was the perfect place for us to be able to enjoy everyone who made it out to spend our wedding week with us. (we also went back and ate the s'mores another night which was really more fun than tasty)

Some random info about our trip:
-We all rented cars which turned out to be the best thing for us. Relying on taxis is expensive and time consuming, if you ask me. Also, make sure you rent from a place that lets you take your car over to St John. The driving isn't bad there and you just take the car barge over. It's quick and pretty cheap.
-We shopped at the Food Center, KMart, Plaza Extra and Marina Market for our food for breakfast and lunch. We packed coolers of beer/homemade rum punch/sandwiches and chips for our days at Megans Bay, Sapphire, and everyplace else we went.
-Go shopping in the downtown area on a day when cruise ships are in town. This is when the stores will be guaranteed to be open (also, if you buy your liquor from here they will package it for you to check on the plane, free of charge. We also got some packaged at the Food Center.)
-The electricity was out on the island A LOT!!! The morning of the wedding is when it first happened and I got really nervous! Thank goodness the place we stayed had a backup generator to keep the power re-starting. When we got to Sapphire they did not have a backup and the power would be out for hours at a time. Good thing we weren't in the rooms much!
-The only night it rained for us, it stormed! We went to Iggies for the Wednesday night carnival show. It is supposed to be fun with fire breathers and music and I read good reviews. It is quite pricey and a buffet is included. After we ate, and before the show, serious hurricane winds blew through and a down pour encircled us! The show was cancelled but they still charged full price for the buffet. NOT worth it! (I knew what to expect food wise but would never ever pay $50 a pop for it without the show). So beware if you plan to go on a night where weather may be intruding. It was still fun to ride out the storm with everyone on the patio!

1 comment:

  1. You truly provided great advice! I stumbled upon this site this morning and coincidently we have just returned from our wedding at Limetree and our reception was also at Havana Blue. Our experience was perfect as well! Great fun and memories.