Everything you need to know about getting married on St. John
The Caribbean has long been a destination for couples getting away for romantic honeymoons, but with destination weddings becoming more and more popular, men and women saying “I do” are realizing the benefits of traveling to the Caribbean for both the wedding and honeymoon, all in one. However, planning a destination wedding to the Caribbean can get tricky – not only are you organizing an event hundreds of miles away, you’re often having to deal with foreign countries and matching their wedding regulations and restrictions to those of the United States. Not so on the island of St. John, where you and your future husband or wife can have both the benefits of a tropical wedding with American conveniences and customs, as St. John is one of the islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
St. John’s Lure
The island of St. John, one of the three islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands, is just 20 square miles of land surrounded by crystal-sand beaches and turquoise-blue water, making it an intimate getaway for the beachcomber and water enthusiast alike. Not only are the beaches and surrounding waters beautiful, the island’s tropical trees and plants and rolling hills also provide an ideal landscape for romance. Just three hours from Miami by air – and a quick and peaceful ferry ride with warm, tropical breezes welcoming you – the island is easy to get to, and easy to traverse by rental car, taxi or foot. The island’s main destinations are filled with shopping, dining and entertainment with both American and tropical flair. And unlike crowded party islands such as Jamaica and the Bahamas, and upscale retreats like Bermuda and Aruba, St. John is a laid-back destination filled with a variety of locals, from the descendents of native Indian tribes to artistic Bohemians.
Marriage Island Style
Couples choosing a tropical destination wedding often have one dream in mind: a beach wedding. St. John’s miles of beaches offer a plethora of ceremony and reception sites, with wedding coordinators organizing the details so you don’t have to. Besides a number of secluded beaches, popular beaches include Hawksnest, Trunk Bay or Cinnamon Bay, which provide scenic and romantic views that will surely leave your guests breathless and make a beautiful backdrop for your wedding photography. Looking for a more historic destination? St. John’s got nearly 300 years of history at the Annaberg Ruins, one of the largest sugar plantations in the islands with sweeping hills and lush, tropical vegetation, or Bluebeard’s Castle, the famed pirate’s former home overlooking the Charlotte Amalie harbor.
For a taste of the island, host a beach barbeque. Or for another unique treat, host your wedding aboard one of the island’s many chartered sailboats, where guests will have an uninterrupted view of the sunset or a sky filled with shining stars.
While all-inclusive resorts may be popular reception destinations on other Caribbean islands, St. John’s visitors prefer to rent private villas, which can also make ideal ceremony or reception locations – just contact one of the island’s wedding coordinators to help arrange for catering, flowers and all of your wedding needs. Family and friends can enjoy time at their own villas while you finalize wedding details, and once the big day has passed, there is no need to travel to your honeymoon suite, just stroll through the palms and your honeymoon can begin.
As a United States territory, getting married on St. John is relatively easy, and the laws for marriage are the same as anywhere in America. The Territorial Court will need to be notified of your intent to marry at least eight days prior to the wedding. Before a wedding license is issued, both members of the wedding party must appear before the Clerk of the Court to state their business under oath. However, a blood test or physical exam, which may be required in some U.S. states, is not required. The marriage application fee of $50 and license fee of $50 must be paid with a certified check, money order or cash, if visiting the court in person. As with any U.S. government office, the Court is only open Monday through Fridays, and will be closed on major holidays. Special arrangements can be made for a weekend visit to the court for an additional $150.
When notifying the Court of your upcoming nuptials, you will need to provide, a letter stating the dates you will be visiting the island, the date you intend to pick up the license and, for both bride and groom, notarized documentation of the following:
- Full names
- Date of birth and current age
- Social Security numbers
- Nationality and place of residence
- Names of parents (including mothers’ maiden names)
- Previous marital status (divorced, widowed or annulled). If there has been a divorce, a certified divorce decree is also required. If a marriage has ended by death, a death certificate is required.
Send all materials to: The Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, Alexander A. Farrelly Justice Center, P.O. Box 70, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands 00804. It is recommended that you call (340) 774-6680 to confirm documents have been received and are being processed.
See you on the Island,
John & Heidi Walsh
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