Today we’re sharing a very special destination wedding. This is the first wedding to take place on the beautiful Caribbean island of St. John after Hurricane Irma hit. The island is rebuilding and rebounding and welcoming weddings once again and it’s clear from this magical day, that St. John is coming back for couples in style!
The bride, Mariam and her groom Jesse decided to elope but make it something extra special to see, not just to experience. So they enlisted the assistance of some incredibly talented St. John wedding professionals who are back at work since the hurricane and creating beautiful memories like these once again.
We asked the couple’s amazing destination wedding planner and St. John resident, Mary Bartolucci from Island Style Weddings, to tell us about this very big milestone, not only for the couple but the island too!
When my friend Jesse approached me about marrying he and his fiance in early December, I was delighted to be able to assist them. I explained to them that I was leaving island for some R& R and we would have to hold the wedding within a week. Due to the situation we all found ourselves in, they just wanted a quick ceremony on the beach with a few friends to celebrate with after.
Jesse and Mariam met in Thailand and continued a long distance romance over the next year. Mariam, a beauty from Siberia moved to St John in July 2017 to be with Jesse. Little did they know 6 weeks after her arrival, all of our lives would change dramatically. Hurricane Irma was making her way to the US Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm.( it actually came as a Cat 8- 265 MPH winds) They chose to stay in Jesse’s apartment for the storm, having their landlord board them inside the apartment to ride out the storm. How is that curve ball to test the relationship?
After 3 months of bucket baths, no power, phone, or Internet, it was a wonderful gift to be able to design something special for them. I called on some wedding vendor friends, all were quite hungry for their creative juices to flow again.
Jessica from Roses Too Flowers and I had been admiring a table scape by Colin Cowie we had been itching to create. I love the beach feel without the standard starfish and lanterns look. We wanted to create a St John chic look.
For weeks after the storm I had been walking the beach at Chocolate Hole on St John. I found some great driftwood, sea fans, sea urchins and sponges to incorporate with the floral design.
The energy on Trunk Bay felt like new beginnings, the beach is wider, more expansive and even more beautiful.
The island is recovering quickly, it is a great time to come and enjoy the natural beauty which is more magnificent than before.
Congratulations to the newlyweds!
Destination Wedding Photographer: Savanah Loftus
Wedding Vendors: Wedding Coordination + Design: Island Style Weddings, Flowers: Roses Too Flowers, Hair and Makeup: Cruz Salon, Catering: Oasis Private Chefs, Wedding Dress: Lulee Bridal, Jewelry: Bamboo St. John