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Dreaming of saying your vows in one of the most romantic places in the United States? Well, look no further! It might be easier than you think! We are here today to share with you The Ultimate U.S. Virgin Islands Elopement Guide! You don’t even need a passport to escape to this paradise!
This blog post will go over all of the ins and outs of getting married on the beautiful island of the USVI, as well as some things you should know before arriving on your big day. Whether you’re planning a small elopement with just the two of you or an intimate wedding with close family and friends, this blog post has got you covered! Plus, you’ll even hear some insight from Bryt and I! Did you know we got married on St. Thomas a few years ago?! Now, let’s get to it!
The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean region and consist of 4 main islands: St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas, and Water Island. The USVI occupy a total area of 346 beautiful miles. The islands were originally taken over by Denmark for their sugar plantations but later sold to the United States in 1917 due to World War I. Later on, the USVI was granted self-authority in 1954 and became an organized unincorporated territory of the US in 1978.
St. Croix, also known as “Big Island”, is the largest of the four islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands and has a population of 35,000 people among its 15 square miles of land. It boasts 10 miles of palm-lined beaches and some of the best sailing in all of the Caribbean. Here you can visit dozens of sugar mill ruins (there are about 150) and the Whim Plantation, a preserved sugar plantation. St Croix is also home to three national parks and numerous other parks that provide enough scenic beauty to last a lifetime!
St. John is the most popular of the three US Virgin Islands and is a favorite with honeymooners because of its beautiful beaches. Hence why it might be known as “Love City”! While you are here, check out Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Francis Bay! If you get lucky you might even snorkel with a sea turtle! St. John also offers a variety of hiking trails with our favorites being Ram Head, Reef Bay, and Leinster Bay. You can also check out Cinnamon Bay Plantation and Annaberg Plantation.
St. Thomas is the main territory of the Virgin Islands, and it is home to Charlotte Amalie, which is a cruise ship destination (more to come on this later). It’s also the hub for docks, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. The beaches are magnificent and lap up to deep blue waters with lots of hotels, resorts, condos, and villas situated between sugar-like sand and lush green hills. A little over 25% of the island is taken up by US Virgin Islands National Park.
Water Island is so different from most of the Caribbean Islands because of its super small size! Development has also been limited for many years which makes this a prime spot to visit if you are looking for a little bit more peace and quiet. Getting around on Golf Cart is pretty popular, as it’s a pretty laid-back island! When you visit, make sure there are no cruise chips at Crown Bay! To get here you will take the ferry from Crown Bay. Once there, there is a free ride that will take you to the beach! You’ll also want to check out Dinghy’s Bar and Grill!
Have we convinced you yet? Are you ready to say HELL YES to a U.S. Virgin Islands Elopement? If so, keep on scrolling to learn how to make that happen!
So you’ve said yes to adventure and you are ready to do the dang thing. We got married in the USVI sight unseen just a few years ago! So the below details are a few things we wish we would have known before getting married in the USVI. We hope this helps simplify the logistics and helps you plan in a more stress-free way!
First, narrow down a date! You will want to consider weekdays (Monday through Thursday) to avoid crowds as much as possible. You will also want to consider the season (more below), holidays and parades, and of course the cruise ship schedule (more below!).
Now coming to the location, look at the above descriptions and their beaches/parks. See which ones you can envision your day in and check with your photog (that’s us!) to make sure they allow elopements! The best part of the islands is that you can get so many different looks within a few miles. So, find an island that you love and we can make it happen!
Besides finalizing the location, you’ll want to reserve all of the other vendors that will make your day epic as well! Don’t forget about hair, makeup, an officiant, music, florals, videography, and us (your elopement photogs!). All of these vendors will work together to ensure the best day possible!
Don’t forget to make your marriage legal! Visit the Family Division in the judicial district to file your marriage application between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. You must dress business casual (no shorts!). You can also pre-arrange to visit on a Saturday/Sunday for an extra fee. There is a $100 application fee and a $100 marriage license fee to be paid when you pick it up. You can find more information HERE. We can help you get your documents in ahead of time so that all you will need to do will be to pick up your license when you arrive!
PS: As we mentioned above, we got married in St. Thomas and same-sex marriages are allowed! 🙂
This is pretty tricky to answer because every literally every single place in the USVI offers a gorgeous backdrop for your elopement. How will you choose?! I honestly don’t know HA.
Here we have picked some of the most popular destinations for your wedding in the USVI.
Imagine saying your vows on a private beach at your own Airbnb? We did JUST that! Here are were our top Airbnb options and then the one we chose! We felt like this route was perfect for us just because we loved the privacy it had to offer. Nothing is better than getting ready at the place where you exchange your vows. Less stress and much more seclusion from wandering eyes 🙂
Sand Dollar Estate– If your budget allows, we think this place is just magical! Beachfront vows, plenty of space, and all the in-betweens!
Villa Norbu-Crowned a jewel of St. Thomas, is the perfect spot for a beautiful ceremony surrounded by island native plants!
Sea Star Villa – This is where we had our intimate wedding! It is one of the few houses on St. Thomas that has beach access! (see photo below of the super pretty pool!)
We’d like to argue that there isn’t a bad time to elope in the Virgin Islands, but they do have a hurricane season 🙂 Being informed is super important when planning your elopement!
One really important item to note when planning a USVI elopement are the cruise ships. When there are a lot of cruise ships there are just A LOT more people on the island. This means beaches are busier and restaurants are much more crowded. We encourage you to check the cruise ship schedule and plan around it! But don’t worry, we will help you do that too 🙂
But one thing is for sure if you are going to elope between April- August, BOOK IT NOW 🙂
We suggest either early morning or sunset for your elopement! The mid-day sun is pretty harsh here but it is perfect for a little nap between your sunrise elopement and sunset photos! Imagine saying your vows as the sun comes up then heading off to a brunch with your lover. Sounds perfect to us 🙂
The US Virgin Islands has so many great activities that you can do before and after your wedding. From snorkeling to boating, to eating at all of the amazing local restaurants. The activities are endless! Here are just a few ideas for you to enjoy while you are visiting!
Activities to do in the USVI
We might be biased (because we said our vows here) but we truly feel the USVI is one of the most perfect elopement locations there ever was! From perfect year-round weather to endless amounts of activities, The USVI has it all (and some!).
So, have we convinced you yet? Does a USVI wedding sound perfect to the two of you? Well, what are you waiting for? Click HERE to start planning your adventure elopement in the USVI today!
Sam + Bryt