Destination weddings are increasing in popularity. Instead of spending lots of money on big weddings with fancy venues and tons of catered food, many couples are choosing to spend their money on a more intimate ceremony with close family and friends perhaps in an exotic location.
By BECKY J. BEALL
Recently I spoke with a couple who decided to marry in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Here is their story. Angela Cater (Helena, Alabama) and Duncan Smith (Sevierville, Tennessee) met in December 2008 when both were interns at Birmingham’s Southern Company. When wedding bells started ringing, the planning quickly turned to thoughts of a small wedding in Angela’s home away from home – St. Thomas. She had vacationed there most of her life and she had found a fabulous photographer on the island that she followed for more than a year prior to engagement. Her photos were stunning and really showed off the beauty of St. Thomas. That was the biggest selling point for Cater. The couple collectively decided they wanted their special day to be an experience and not have to worry about pleasing everyone and inviting so many folks they rarely even kept up with. “By having a wedding in St. Thomas, we were able to make it into a vacation for our family and close friends,” Cater said.
Planning a Destination Wedding
Angela said it was surprisingly easy to plan the wedding despite the distance. “I am a super planner when it comes to events in my life and I was worried that if I had a wedding locally I would stress myself out and try to be in control of too many things. My wedding planner and I talked on the phone a few times and corresponded through email,” she explains.
Angela and Duncan found a wedding planner in St. Thomas — Leslie Dawson of Perfect Weddings — and they highly recommend her. She handled getting the flowers (from Blooming Things) and the cake (from Island Sweet Stuff). Dawson also planned the reception aboard the Daydreamer catamaran and booked it for the “rehearsail” party the night before as well. It was the highlight of the trip for the couple and their 30 guests. And of course, the photographer, Sage Hammond of Crown Images that Cater had faithfully followed online, captured the entire event just as beautifully as they imagined.
The Wedding Day
Cater and Smith married on August 14, 2015 at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Lindquist Beach (also known as Smith Bay – how appropriate). They stayed at Bluebeard’s Castle on the hill of town in Charlotte Amalie. Cater’s parents honeymooned there over 30 years ago and went back a couple of years later purchasing a timeshare to ensure their return to St. Thomas over and over for years to come. Their guests also stayed at Bluebeard’s Castle.
Angela’s wedding day started by getting ready with her loved ones overlooking a harbor full of cruise ships (a bonus of staying at the castle). She relays, “We had our first look in the very location my parents began their marriage. We arrived at Lindquist Beach after a quick summer rain shower to be greeted by a picture-perfect scene: sugar white sand, glassy blue green water, and bright green islands in the background. We said our vows with bare feet in front of our 30 closest family and friends.
After the ceremony, we hopped on a catamaran and danced, ate, and drank the afternoon away and ended with a perfect sunset.” A fairy tale, right? I’d say it’s as close as you can get. The happy couple, now residing in the Birmingham area, have no regrets about their destination wedding. They wouldn’t change a thing. What a lovely beginning to happily ever after.
You can read more about the Smith’s wedding day by going to the photographer’s blog where she has a post about it: http://sagehammond.com/blog/wedding-sunset-sail.