Jasmine White Photography is sharing with us today and has a lot to say about this amazing St. Thomas Virgin Islands destination wedding!
Go take a look and start planning your memorable destination wedding!
How do you even begin a blog as epic as shooting a cruise wedding in St. Thomas? It is hard to put into words the craziness of this 8 day wedding experience, but I will just start at the beginning (this might be the longest JWP blog yet). Elizabeth contacted me last January about photographing her and her fiance's wedding in St. Thomas, and much to my surprise it was going to be a one day stop on a 7 day Eastern Carribean Cruise! Sounds like I am dreaming, right? Nope - just pinch me, totally real! Anyway, when I found out that if I were commissioned for this wedding that we would be driving back from Port Canaveral, Florida on Christmas Eve, I told her that the only way I'd feel comfortable traveling home on Christmas Eve is if we could take our 3 year old son, Easton, with us in case of a weather delay or some other transportation issue and we weren't able to get back to him for Christmas Day. I didn't know at the time, but Elizabeth is a nanny, so the thought of my bring my little man along didn't even phase her, she immediately agreed - and that was that, we were headed on a cruise to shoot a wedding! Just mark this one off the bucketlist!
On December 16th we headed to Cocoa Beach Florida, as our cruise left port on December 17th. At this point we still had not had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth and Chris as their schedules didn't allow them to do our normal engagement session beforehand, so other than A LOT of Facebook messaging back and forth, I had never met them in person! The day we boarded the ship was exhausting after driving the day before almost 12 hours with a 3 year old, so we ended up calling it an early night and planned to meet Elizabeth, Chris, and their friends Patrick and Ellen the next morning for breakfast on the Lido deck of the ship. After meeting them it was like I had already known them forever, maybe it was because we were cruising to paradise, but everything just flowed normally (except my high energy toddler) and we ended up having a lot of fun! Now is where I get to praise my husband, Jason, because he was so calm and collected this entire trip. In the beginning I was completely stressed out because Easton took a few days to adjust to cruising and he was pretty difficult (and that is putting it mildly). While I am usually the calm voice of reason for my brides, my three year old had me in a panic over being able to manage shooting this destination wedding and keeping him alive for 8 days at the simultaneously, lol. I was so stressed out the first few days on the ship that I hardly enjoyed myself until after the wedding, because I wanted everything to be perfect for Elizabeth and Chris. But my work/mommy worries ended up being for nothing, and when wedding day arrived I was in my normal 'take charge, calm, get it done photographer mode' and Easton was the perfect little gentleman the entire day (other than talking nonstop, haha). Thank you Jason for holding it together for me those first couple days!
Our first stop on the cruise was the Dominican Republic. I have been to the Dominican before, but this time was much different. The first time I was in the DR I was in the wealthier part of the country, Santo Domingo, and it made for a completely different experience. This time we were in a third-world area, and you could definitely tell that the struggle to survive was real - despite the area's incredible beauty. Jason, Easton, and I took a shore excursion this day to Amber Cove Beach where we were in a ginormous open air safari truck that struggled to make it on the rough terrain. We rode through actual rivers and at one point on our 45 minute drive to the beach our truck was stuck up in the mud and had to be pulled out by another truck on a hill that was straight up and down. Being from West Virginia, I have been pulled out of a mud hole a time or two, but this was completely different, and so dangerous, but the tour guides acted as if this was just a normal part of their day - it was insane. We ended up having a beautiful day at Amber Cove, and while parts of the ride there and back were sketchy, Easton really enjoyed the big truck and playing in the sand. The next stop on our cruise was our wedding destination, St. Thomas!
The morning of the wedding I headed up to Elizabeth and Chris' cabin for a few quick wedding morning photos on their balcony that overlooked the ocean - it was a super calm morning, as there was nothing that could be done until the ship ported for us to disembark and start the day.Our ship ended up being about an hour late to St. Thomas due to rough seas the night before, so Elizabeth ended up having to contact her wedding coordinator to get things moved around to accommodate our late arrival, but it did not seem to really affect the day other than the morning portion.Once getting off the ship, Elizabeth headed to Sugar and Spice Salon Spa to begin hair and makeup, we met up with her there a couple hours later and began taking photos of her day.After the salon JWP headed off to the courthouse in order to make sure that the nuptials shared in St. Thomas would be official! On the drive over we were able to see our ship in the port so I was able to roll down the window and grab this shot (below) of the Carnival Magic (on the right) ported in St. Thomas. Luckily in St. Thomas you drive on the left side of the road, so I had the perfect vantage point - even at 40mph!
At the courthouse in St. Thomas there were some strict rules about what I was allowed to photograph. I was not allowed to photograph the actual book that they were signing or the documents that they were taking care of, so I have some candid moments of the newlyweds being silly. Chris was blindfolded and led into the courthouse, as to not see his bride before she walked down the aisle.At the courthouse in St. Thomas there were some strict rules about what I was allowed to photograph. I was not allowed to photograph the actual book that they were signing or the documents that they were taking care of, so I have some candid moments of the newlyweds being silly. Chris was blindfolded and led into the courthouse, as to not see his bride before she walked down the aisle.After the reception we hurried back to the ship (we seriously made it back with about 20 minutes to spare), took a few photos on the ship, and out of sheer exhaustion from all involved in the big day, called it a night. After the wedding day in St. Thomas we still had two more ports of call - the first was San Juan, Puerto Rico - which was very urban with lots of historic sites that included forts and ocean-lined cemeteries, it was truly beautiful and I would love to go back and visit again! This day Jason, Easton, and I took a guided bus tour that took us to all the main tourist locations within the city.
After Puerto Rico we headed to our last port - Grand Turk. As our ship began to dock on this morning, we looked out our cabin room window and all we could see was crystal blue waters lined with white sand beaches. We decided that we would be spending our morning on the beach, before heading back to the ship and letting Easton play in the Carnival Magic Waterpark.
I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for this experience. This was one of my photographer bucket-list items and I am thankful to Elizabeth and Chris for helping me mark this one off my long list of dream wedding locations to work. There are so many amazing photos from this trip, and narrowing down 50+ photos for the blog was nearly impossible. The fact that this was a real life work-trip for us still seems surreal and I will forever keep this in the forefront of my mind. We made some great friends from this trip, seen some gorgeous locations, made wonderful memories, and most importantly Elizabeth and Chris are now married - which was the main objective! I hope you enjoyed the blog and some of the stories from our 8 day wedding experience.
Photographer: Jasmine White Photography
Makeup Artist: Sugar and Spice Artistry
Event Planner: Island Bliss Weddings
Culinary: Sunset Grille
Cake Designer: Island Sweet Stuff Wedding Cakes
Dress Designer: MOONLIGHT Bridal
Transportation: Carnival Cruise Lines
Event Venue: Lindquest Beach
Happy Wedding Planning!