St. John is a stunning backdrop for any wedding whether it be held on a beach at sunset or in a private villa overlooking the famed North Shore. We’d like to thank our friends at Ceremonies of St. John for putting together the following list of possible wedding locales.
The beach: Our first location is by far the most popular option for a St. John wedding. What a better backdrop than the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Trunk Bay is the top wedding spot followed by Hawksnest beach. Sunset weddings are quite popular, although the time varies depending on the time of the year. Sunset weddings typically begin around 5 p.m. in the winter and 6 p.m. during the summer months. For those who prefer a morning wedding, the ceremony would occur before 10 a.m. when the beaches are still empty.
Some people think they can simply go to the beach and get married, but that’s not the case in St. John. The National Park requires every ceremony that takes place within the boundaries of the Park to have a wedding planner with a Commercial Use Authorization permit and only six planners are allowed to work within the National Park. (Just an FYI, nearly all North Shore beaches are within the National Park.)
There are few nuisances involved with beach weddings of which you should be aware. For example, only 50 people are allowed on the beach at one time. In addition, only 25 chairs are allowed on the beach at a time for a wedding ceremony. For those who choose to marry on Trunk Bay, the $4 per person entrance fee still applies until 4:30 p.m.
Glass is not allowed on the beach, nor is anything that can be shoved into the sand such as a sand ceremony table, cake table display, canopy or arch. A canopy or arch can be erected on the beach, but the posts cannot be buried into the sand. Nothing can be tied to the vegetation. If rose petals are used to create an aisle, the petals must be real and removed from the beach following the ceremony. Open flames, tiki torches, wish lanterns and amplified music are not allowed.
Annaberg Ruins: Many people choose the Annaberg Ruins for the backdrop of their wedding. This option offers a good deal of privacy as only one wedding can be performed at a time at the ruins. Because of its location, most ceremonies at Annaberg begin roughly one hour prior to sunset. (Just an FYI, you cannot see the actual sunset from the ruins.)
Annaberg is more of a bare bones locations as there is not electricity and the only facility is a public bathroom located near the public parking lot. This bathroom does not have running water. And just like the beach weddings, open flames, tiki torches and wish lanterns are not permitted.
Sailboat: For those who opt to marry on the water, the ceremony must take place in US waters in order to be considered legal. The smaller charter boats can carry up to six passengers, or for a much larger ceremony, a catamaran can carry up to 60 guests.
Not all boat captains are approved to perform ceremonies, so you should check with your wedding planner first to see if the captain has been approved by the Virgin Islands courthouse. If the captain is not approved, a minister can go on the boat and marry the couple.
Private villas: In order to get married in a private villa, you must rent the villa for the week. Typically an additional fee will be charged in order to hold the ceremony and/or reception at the villa. Most villas only allow up to 35 guests and the villa owner must approve the event.
Church locations: Lastly for those wanting a more traditional wedding, there are several church options available. Specific rules must be followed. For example, the Catholic Church only allows a couple to marry if both people are Catholic. Also, priests can only marry couples inside of the Catholic church. Priests are not allowed to perform ceremonies outside of the church. You can bring a clergy member from your hometown, however that person must be approved to perform the ceremony by the Virgin Islands courthouse. A church rental fee will apply for all church weddings.
Ceremonies of St. John has been planning island weddings since 1996. If you would like more information about having your wedding on St. John, you can contact them the following ways:
Toll Free: 1-888-282-3933
Local: (340) 693-7362