A British Virgin Islands WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Dave Puente Weddings
Lindsay and Patrick first visited the British Virgin Islands and, more specifically, Jost Van Dyke, for their first anniversary of dating. The island created unbelievable memories, so when the time came to decide on a location for their nuptials, only a British Virgin Islands wedding would do. The couple knew getting their family and friends to the BVI island of Jost Van Dyke would be a challenge, but it was one they knew would be worth it in the end. “We wanted to share Jost with our family and friends [and] we wanted our wedding to be unique,” says Lindsay. “We didn’t want to use a venue that hundreds of couples use. We [also] liked the intimacy…when you have a destination wedding you get to truly spend time with your family and friends that matter most.”
Choosing a remote destination did come with a few drawbacks, but achieving their dream wedding was worth the sacrifices. “There was some concern about some family members not being able to make it,” says the bride. “My response was that this was our dream wedding…we weren’t doing it another way so that a couple of family members could make it. May be a bit harsh, but true. We assured our families that we would also have a celebration at home, so those who couldn’t make it to the island could celebrate with us.” Overall, their loved ones’ responses were positive and Lindsay and Patrick were comfortable standing by their Jost Van Dyke decision.
We asked the newlyweds what makes this Caribbean destination so special. “It’s remote, not commercialized, there are no resorts on the island, the locals are amazing and there’s nothing to do on the island but relax, eat, drink and explore.” Interestingly enough, the couple’s favorite characteristics of the island were also what made it logistically complicated. “There were a lot of issues trying to figure out how to get 45 people from St. Thomas to Jost Van Dyke,” recalls Lindsay. “There are a lot of logistics with flights, taxis and ferries. Our wedding planner, Mary, was essential in helping us manage getting everyone from St. Thomas to the remote villas on Sandy Ground Estates.
“[Travel] for our guests went smoothly, it’s a long travel day, but we were able to suggest the best flights and arrange ferries, water taxis and ground taxis. It was a challenge for Mary, Patrick and I, but we tried to figure everything out for our guests so they didn’t have to. Sandy Ground is very challenging to get in and out of. Patrick and I knew this and prepared our guests. We made sure that people who weren’t able to hike stayed at more accessible villas on the island.”
As it turns out, hiring a wedding planner paid off in many more ways than one. “A wedding planner was a must,” says the bride. “I tried to start planning without one and it would have been impossible to plan a wedding on an island in another country without her. Mary made it possible for Patrick and I to have our dream wedding. I initially thought that planning a destination wedding would be easier because I wouldn’t have to deal with a lot of the little cosmetic details, but I quickly learned that those issues are replaced with logistical issues –like getting groceries for 45 people from St. Thomas to the villas on Sandy Ground.”
We asked the bride how a Caribbean destination wedding was different than a hometown wedding would have been. “We would have had 200+ people rather than our core group of closest friends and family, spent the night talking to people we hadn’t seen or talked to in years, Patrick and I wouldn’t have had a lot of time together, and it would have been one night rather than a week with the people we love the most. Doing a beach wedding let us avoid having to focus too much on details – we were able to have a laid-back, barefoot, tropical ceremony.”
We asked the successful destination wedding bride if she had any final words of advice for other couples currently planning a wedding away from home. “Do what you think is best for your wedding. It’s about you as a couple, celebrating with your closest friends and family. Throw a party you’ll actually enjoy rather than throwing a party to impress people. If you can extend your wedding celebration over the span of a few days I would highly recommend it.”
Vendors: Photographer: Dave Puente Weddings, Wedding Planner: Mary with Island Style Weddings, Ceremony/Reception Site: Sandy Ground Estates, Florist: Roses Too, Inc., Hair: Benjamin Rodich with Bryce Jermain Salon, Makeup: Misty Johnson, Jewelry: Wixon Jewelers, Gown Designer: Katie May, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Tommy Hilfiger, Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Shirt: Banana Republic and Pants: J.Crew, DJ: Ian Samuel with TopNotch
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