Destination I Do
Friday, February 24, 2012

Destination Wedding St. Thomas: A Former Planner's Dream Come True!

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Reichman Photography

Here at Destination I Do, we decided roughly six months ago to expand beyond our "Real Wedding Wednesday’s" here on the blog to bring even more inspiration and information to our readers. We think we’ve succeeded with our "Destination Couples Dish," real wedding posts every Friday. Today’s bride is a perfect example. It’s always interesting to see how brides overcome obstacles and what advice they pass on to other women planning their dream destination wedding.

Alexis is a self-professed Type-A personality and a former wedding planner, so needless to say, she not only knew what she wanted for her destination wedding, but how to get it. Their first step was to find a wedding planner they could trust to be their eyes and ears on the island. The California couple never really considered a hometown affair, but opted for St. Thomas, USVI instead, thanks to their world-wide family and friends.

“In our situation, my husband’s family is from England, my family is from Chicago and we have friends from all over the world; which meant that no matter where we got married, the large majority of our guest list was going to have to travel,” recalls Alexis. “We were lucky that we could take advantage of that situation and go somewhere warm, beautiful and far enough away that everyone could make a long weekend out of it and be able to truly enjoy the whole experience.”

Even though the couple dreamed of a far flung destination wedding, for them it wouldn’t have been worth it without their family and friends in tow. “Before we made a final decision we called our family and bridal party to run the idea by them and let them know we would have a longer engagement to allow for people to save up money and vacation time,” says Alexis. “We are very lucky to be surrounded by such supportive people because everyone’s reaction was the same, ‘It’s your wedding and you should do whatever you want, we will be there no matter what and are excited to go somewhere tropical!’”

This couple really did go to great lengths to make sure their destination wedding was as enjoyable and easy for their guests as possible. “Any singles I introduced through email/Facebook a year ahead of time and recommended they should room together at the wedding to help save money (many of them did and it worked out great) and I kept an eye on flight prices and sent out email blasts when prices seemed to be down,” says the bride.

When it came to accommodations at the Wyndham Sugar Bay and what would be best for their guests, Buster and Alexis went above and beyond and got a little creative to make sure everyone would be happy. “Between our guests, we were dealing with an entire spectrum of different budgets,” recalls the couple. “[The hotel] needed to be nice enough to please the ‘money is no problem’ guests, but cost-effective enough so everyone could make it. I was able to work out deals for two different room-block packages to suit different budgets. I had a great all-inclusive rate for those who didn’t want to spend another penny once they got to the island and I also had a room-only rate for people who knew they were going to explore the many amazing restaurants on the island.”

Knowing she couldn’t control everything, despite how much she wanted to, Alexis and her planner prioritized her wedding and focused on what was most important. “When I started the planning process I knew that the atmosphere and memories were most important to me for the day, so I knew I would be happy to splurge on location, photographers and a great band – the rest I was willing to compromise on.”

Another reason we believe this destination wedding couple will be such a help for our readers, is not only their cunning, but determination. If this couple can pull off their dream wedding, than you can too! “To add another spin on my planning experience, my husband and I spent the year before our wedding working away: six months in Canada and the next six months in northern Ireland and Malta, so I was dealing with a moving home base and crazy time differences,” recalls Alexis. “Thank goodness for the Internet and email!”

The couple stresses the importance of sticking to what you truly want despite obstacles. In the end, everything will be worth it and you’ll have your new husband/wife by your side. “With our work travel schedule and a Caribbean wedding on top of it, I knew I was in for an adventure from the beginning,” says Alexis. “So I took it in stride, gave myself plenty of time and was determined to not let that stop me from having the wedding I’d always dreamed of. I enjoyed the challenge to make it all work and got an amazing product in the end. Patience and persistence is key!”

Photographer: Reichman Photography
Venue: Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas
Wedding Planner: Jennifer Johnson with Jen Events
Florist: East End Flower Shop
Videographer: HiDefinition Videography
Band: Greg Kinslow Band
Hair & Makeup: Hilary Marquart with La Luna Salon
Gown Designer: Pronovias
Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Allure/Jos. A. Bank

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