Caitlin + Charlie: St. John, Virgin Islands: Tropical DIY Destination Wedding
I’m still almost can’t belive that I got to be a part of this wedding. I got to spend almost an entire week with Caitlin, Charlie, and their closest friends & family on the idyllic island of St. John in the Virgin Islands. It was a really wonderful opportunity for me to get to know everyone and get a little extra insight into their lives that I wouldn’t otherwise have. After spending a week together snorkeling, touring, dining, and sunburning — and witnessing the roller coaster of excitement (and stress) firsthand on the days leading up to a wedding — by the time the wedding day arrived I felt like part of the family.
(And one sneak peek from our Rock the Dress shoot the next day!)
Like most destination weddings, you can plan as much as you want from your computer screen, but you really have to throw caution to the wind and make sure to pack your sense of humor. Charlie’s groomsmen ended up having to stay with us for two days before the wedding because they couldn’t get to the Villa that they had intended to stay at Charlie tried driving his friends with the small compact car that we rented, but unfortunately, the vehicle wouldn’t make it up a massive hill in the torrential rain storm that led to their Villa. Charlie almost didn’t make it to the welcome dinner as a result. Luckily, as soon as we both arrived at the dinner and saw our smiling friends and family who had traveled such a far distance, just for us, the stress was lifted. I’m sure the delicious rum punch helped with that.
On the morning of the wedding the couple got ready in their villa in separate rooms. I loved this part of the day. Besides making it easy for me to run back and forth to document the preparations, it was just hilarious to see the completely different approaches the guys and girls were taking to getting ready, juxtaposed in such close proximity It also made for a really sweet First Look on the terrace, with their friends looking on from inside.
Another great personalized touch was the taxi that the groomsmen found to transport them to the ceremony. Charlie is originally from Minnesota, also home of the artist Prince, and he actually managed to find a Purple Rain-themed “safari” taxi on the island which we all found pretty hysterical.
The beach was decorated with beautiful little arrangements of flowers, glowing lanterns, and a bamboo chuppa marked the spot for the ceremony. A local musician played steel drums as guests arrived which filled the air with that uniquely Caribbean vibe. Guests were also greeted with dangerously delicious rum drinks called Painkillers, served in coconuts husks, and just like the name says they make you feel pretty fantastic. (So fantastic in fact that a number of their friends stripped down to their skivvies and jumped into the ocean before dinner was even served. Ha! It was basically the best sign ever that your wedding guests are thoroughly enjoying themselves.)
Wedding guests were free to take a dip in the Caribbean Sea, take a stroll on the beach, and dance the night away. There were moments in the night where I thought I was dreaming. I couldn’t have envisioned my wedding any other way. Having my closest family and friends with us on the most important day of our lives was incredible. Something about the island of St John makes you want to forget your worries and take off your shoes and dance in the sand.
Looking back, the hiccups leading up to the wedding are really what made it so memorable.
And that’s simply the best attitude to have.