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Laura Hunt

Susan and Sean - a Caribbean Wedding

Susan and Sean live and work in Washington, DC. It was hard for them to choose the wedding site. Susan came from Cleveland, but her parents had moved to New York. Sean was brought up in Charlottesville, VA, but his mother taught in Indiana at that time. Where should they celebrate? They considered Washington, where most of their friends lived, but they could not find a place they really liked.

A year before the wedding, Susan and Sean invested in a time-share in St. John and had spent several vacations there. They loved that Caribbean island, and since most of their friends worked in consulting as they did, most of them had accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to make the trip. So, why not St. John?

In January they went to the island to scout it out. They decided to have the ceremony and reception at the Rosewood Resort at Caneel Bay. Most of the guests could stay at the Westin Beach Hotel, which was a bit more moderate in price. The wedding date was another consideration towards their guests. High season started after Thanksgiving, and with only a few extra days of vacation, they could spend over a week on that island.

In Spring Susan and Sean sent out lime green save-the-date cards. The bridesmaids chose their dresses to be casual made of a quilted flower design, strapless like Susan's wedding gown, which she had designed herself. The couple flew in on Tuesday before the wedding. They had rented white dinner jackets in DC and brought the ones for the fathers with them. They also had bought casual ties for all the men in the wedding party.

On Thursday evening the festivities began with a pub crawl. In their rooms, the guests found a map to this event as well as the weekend itinerary with a list of the great beaches and good places to eat. They were compiled with the help of the Westin Hotel's coordinator. Friday was the Rehearsal Dinner at the beach; all the guests were invited. To remember the fun weekend, each guest received a T-shirt with a St. John's license plate; the numbers on the plates were the wedding date. It was a beautiful evening, and when the sun went down, tiki torches were lit, and the party continued.

Saturday - Wedding Day at Canleen Resort. The staff of a hair salon on St. John came to the hotel and beautified the women. The in-house wedding coordinator took care of everything that concerned the ceremony and the reception. The gorgeous ceremony site overlooked the British Virgin Islands. Pink flower petals led to the flower arch under which the couple was married. They had planned to bring their own pastor with them, but after 9/11 he was not so daring anymore. They decided to pick the pastor they could understand best. It turned out to be a great choice. He not only performed a meaningful ceremony, they are still friends with him and visit him whenever they are on St. John.

On such a small island it was hard to find the vendors. From the string quartet only, the violin player knew the whole Bach piece Susan had wanted be played at her wedding. The brass quartet players only knew the beginnings, but not the ends of the songs, so they improvised. The pictures shot by the photographer were supplemented by pictures from disposable cameras, used by the guests. The photographs are not exactly art pieces. Nevertheless, they show how much fun they had. Rum is so cheap on St. John, they decided to give a bottle of rum to each guest as a favor.

The reception dinner was exquisite. The hotel served fish, meat, and vegetarian fare. The cake was good, too, considering that they only could choose from three different flavors. There were two fabulous bands: steel drums for cocktails and a reggae band for dancing. Once during the reception a somewhat tipsy stranger passed by, and, wanting to participate, grabbed the microphone, and sang.

The next day most wedding guests met at the beach, sun-bathed, and swam before they all left for different destinations.

Susan: "I wouldn't have anything different. We and our 70 guests had so much fun. It was such a relaxed atmosphere, one long celebration with our wedding as the highlight. If you are a control freak, don't even consider it. You have to go with the flow. The flowers of my bridal bouquet were not right, so what! I am here to get married to the most wonderful man in this warm, lush, gorgeous place. Why would I think the flowers are so important?"

My son was a guest. His comments: "A marvelous wedding!"

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