Intimate Island Beach Elopement: Minnesota Elopement Photographers Take On the United States Virgin Islands – St. Thomas

Imagine getting married on the beach in the Virgin Islands, surrounded by the people you love, with the waves crashing behind you… Having a hard time imagining it? We struggled too until we were standing on the beach shooting this beautiful wedding with this amazing couple.

There have been a few times when Aaron and I have been somewhere and we both look at each other and have this “moment.” It’s not a “moment” like in the romance movies or some cheesy comedy. It’s this moment where we both have this feeling deep in our cores that we were meant to be there in that specific moment. This unspoken connection wraps around us and we get this immediate sense of joy and gratitude. These are the moments that we live, work, and breathe for.

When we shot this wedding in St. Thomas, we felt this exact moment.

Where It All Began: An Engagement Shoot

When Tyler and Cassie reached out to us, they originally only booked us for an engagement session. They had mentioned that they had a destination wedding and were still looking around for a photographer. Nonetheless, we were absolutely stoked to be working with them and couldn’t wait for their shoot in October of 2021. When their engagement session finally was here, we just could not wait to get out and work with them. We ended up going to Jay Cooke State Park and had an absolute blast. All of the fall colors were just right and we had an amazing time connecting with them.

After the engagement shoot, we got a message from Cassie and Tyler expressing how they really wanted us to shoot their big day. We had created an amazing connection with them and they loved their engagement pictures so much, they wanted us for their wedding too. And just like that we were booked for a destination wedding in St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands!

Now, Aaron and I had shot a few destination weddings before so we weren’t completely lost as to how this all works. But every “destination” is different and it was our first island beach elopement! We were so excited but we had a lot to learn.

Arriving to St. Thomas: Pinch me! Is this real life?

Me (KC), living it up in our Jeep

We really only have one word for St. Thomas: SURREAL! The Virgin Islands were not on our bucket list to travel to but after this trip let me tell you, we cannot stress it enough that this is a place you HAVE to see!

Our travel to the Virgin Islands was truly smooth sailing. We had a layover in Atlanta and all together, the flight was only about 3 or 4 hours. Unbeknownst to us, you don’t need a passport to travel to St. Thomas since it is a U.S. territory (But, hey! It’s all a learning process!). Getting off the plane, you don’t step off into an airport. When you step out of the plane, you are right on the tarmac (We seriously felt like we were in movie!). Immediately, the tropical air filled our lungs and we knew we were about to step into a whole new world (*cue The Little Mermaid song*).

Aaron making friends with the plants in St. Thomas!

First, we went to pick up our rental car. We had coordinated with the rental service and were set up to get a basic car that we could use for the week. When we got to Enterprise, our car wasn’t there but the associate who helped us said there were some people who were turning in their vehicles so we would end up with one of those. Next thing you know, we ended up with a Jeep and, boy, are we glad we did!

If you are unfamiliar with the roads in St. Thomas, they are very steep and are full of twists and turns. We were very grateful that we ended up with a Jeep that could handle that sort of terrain because we don’t know if our basic little rental car would’ve made it through our trip! Not only did we have to adjust to the unfamiliar terrain, we had to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road (It was almost like relearning how to drive!).

After we got our fancy Jeep, we headed on up to our Airbnb. On past vacations and work trips, Aaron and I have chosen to stay right on the ocean because, let’s be real, who doesn’t want to stay right on the ocean? But this time, we decided to stay somewhere at a higher altitude so we could take in more of the scenery that St. Thomas had to offer. I mean this when I say this: this was the best decision we made on this entire trip.

Our Airbnb overlooked over the entire island and we could not have asked for better views! We even had the chance to watch a rainstorm over the island below. It was an absolutely breathtaking experience and we highly recommend staying up a little higher if you are planning a trip to St. Thomas.

Watching as a rain storm pours over the island

The Wedding: Feeling Like Home

The morning after we arrived, we met up with Tyler and Cassie for some coffee and breakfast! It was a great time catching up with them and talking through their day. We met with them at the resort they were staying at: Sapphire Beach Resort. After breakfast, we walked around and got familiar with the resort and where the ceremony was going to be held. The resort was absolutely beautiful and we were just speechless. We couldn’t imagine a more stunning place to have your wedding than right on the beach with the white sand between your toes and the waves crashing against the shore. The anticipation was building even more for this wedding (We didn’t even know that was possible!).

On the morning of March 5th, 2022, we excitedly headed over to the resort with butterflies in our stomachs. We knew that this was not only such a huge day in the lives of Tyler and Cassie but in our own for capturing something so magical. We felt prepared and ready to bring on the love of the day.

Tyler and Cassie had expressed to us that they were more so introverted individuals. Through our time with them at the engagement session and other instances, we knew this to be true so we anxiously waited to see what they were like on their big day! Let me just say: when Cassie and Tyler were all dolled up, they knew they looked good! The confidence just radiated through the room as they were getting ready and the energy was infectious.

This wedding was one for the books. Not only because it was genuinely the most beautiful place on Earth but because of the connections we were able to make with our couple and their wedding guests. We had so much fun talking and getting to know everyone! It felt like everyone we came to talk to had something in common with us and we felt so seen and recognized.

By the end of the night, we were swept off our feet by St. Thomas! Truly, we felt like we were at home there and we just couldn’t wait to do more! We were in the most beautiful place, with the most amazing people, living out our dreams.

Cassie and Tyler tying the knot!

Good Vibes and Good Times: A Word of Advice

If you are planning on traveling to St. Thomas, we want to give you a word of advice. The island is slowly recovering from a hurricane from a few years back. This means that the cost of some things in the Virgin Islands can be a little pricey! Just keep in mind that the Virgin Islands depend on tourism for their economics so if you’re planning a trip, go all in and spend the money to help the islanders! We are all here to help a lending hand so this is an important thing to keep in mind when planning on going to the Virgin Islands.

We wanted to just take a minute and express so much gratitude for being able to shoot this wedding! Tyler and Cassie were absolutely amazing and we couldn’t have asked for a better couple to work with for a wedding like this! We are forever grateful that we get to live this life and do this as a job.

Looking for a destination wedding photographer? You’re in the right place! Let’s get in contact and talk that ‘ish out! Planning on keeping your wedding closer to home? Check out our recent blog on our top five favorite venues in Minnesota!

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Peace and blessings, beautiful humans! xoxo

Craving some more of Cassie and Tyler? Check out this slideshow of some of our favorite pictures from their wedding day!


Vendors:

Wedding Planner: Island Bliss Weddings

Makeup and Hair: Glam Squad

Venue: Sapphire Beach Resort

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