A Helicopter Wedding in the U.S. Virgin Islands – Toni & Nate

November 29, 2021
Helicopter Weddings | Adventure Elopement Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer

Helicopter weddings are as awesome (and adventurous) as they sound! These 2 celebrated in style: on a private island

hans lollik wedding
Adventure Elopement Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer

Here’s one couple’s adventure elopement story—and loads of information (scroll down) on where to have your helicopter wedding adventure~

For couples who want the ultimate private elopement experience—or the most dramatic party entrance—a helicopter wedding could be your answer. Urban or remote, and with 0 guests or 400, one things is for sure: heli weddings are one-of-a-kind experiences for the most adventurous couples!

Antonia and Nate decided to elope in a very nontraditional way: via a helicopter ride to a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nate was previously in the Air Force, so he was no strangers to heli rides. And Toni, as Nate likes to call her, is the sweetest—but with an adventurer hidden behind her smile. Together, they definitely have a shocking amount of road tripping and travel experience under their belt—and even live most of the time on the road.

Given all that, it’s no surprise that they wanted to have a unique elopement and say their vows on a private beach with 0 guests. So that’s what we did!

As an adventure elopement photographer who loves helicopter weddings, I was of course up for the adventure! I even have her original email, where she wanted to make sure I was cool with a helicopter ride to the ceremony site. Was I?! The more helicopter elopements I have the honor of photographing, the better.

That’s me below, and a photo of Antonia & Nate landing!

Since I work in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands frequently (I used to live on island, but now I commute during wedding season) and have photographed helicopter elopements here before, I met them near the tarmac. Antonia was in a satin wedding dress, and Nate was in khaki pants and a sky blue linen shirt.

The plan was to helicopter me and the videographer to Hans Lollik Island, an uninhabited island (there are actually 2 islands, but only the larger one is really referred to) just off the coast of St. Thomas. We would then be there to capture the bride and groom coming in on their helicopter. As we took off, we passed over Magens Bay Beach, where I could just make out a group of my friends waving to our helicopter! They knew I was likely going to fly over them as I was working that day.

Waiting for the Bride & Groom to Land in Their Helicopter

We landed and got all set up for the bride and groom. And then we heard the whir of the chopper as they circled overhead, then landed on the sloping beach. Hans Lollik is juuuust big enough for a helicopter to land here. In fact, a Hans Lollik wedding is almost guaranteed to be private anyway (especially on a weekday, when most St. Thomas and St. John wedding occur), because you can only get to this island via boat, or the very rare helicopter elopement.

Out came Antonia and Nate, grinning and walking towards us. We took a few photos, and then the officiant started the ceremony.

Naturally, it started raining (which almost never happens in St. John or St. Thomas!) during their vows, but no biggie—these two didn’t even think about it, and instead enjoyed their exchange of vows, and then had a little champagne and some snacks with their toes in the sand afterwards. It was as picture-perfect as could be!

Once we were finished, the officiant and videographer left. I got extra time to take photos of them, then jumped in the front of the helicopter for our ride back, and snapped a few shots of Toni and Nate enjoying their first helicopter wedding as a now-married couple! Plus, we got to fly over Magens Bay, one of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean.

Kathryn Cooper Weddings USVI wedding photographer

I have photographed hundreds of elopements and weddings in St. Thomas, New York, California, Hawaii, Switzerland, India—you name it, I’ve probably photographed there. But as a helicopter wedding photographer, these adventures always have a special place in my adrenaline-pumping heart. And really, once your headphones are on, helicopters are surprisingly smooth and peaceful. It’s as close to being a bird as it gets, because you can’t really photograph a couple easily while hang gliding (though that’s next I hope!).

Are you planning to elope in a helicopter? Here are some points to consider:

-Make sure you know safety procedures—what to wear, what to bring, when to enter and exit, etc.

-Hire an experienced adventure elopement photographer (like me!) who knows not only safety, but the best angles, how to use the helicopter in flight, has the right wide-angle and zoom lenses for inside the aircraft, etc.

-Have a flexible schedule, since helicopters won’t fly in non-ideal weather. The U.S. Virgin Islands are ideal for great weather, but places like NYC, or the Grand Canyon, or the mountains in the PNW can be tempermental.

-Are you arriving to a wedding or eloping? Will the helicopter stay with you or drop you off and then return? Plan it out with your elopement planner, elopement photographer, and helicopter company
-Have heaps of fun! This is a once-in-a-lifetime wedding adventure you won’t soon forget

Kathryn Cooper Weddings USVI wedding photographer heli wedding

Where will you have your helicopter wedding?

I’ve photographed helicopter weddings in several different parts of the USA. Popular locations include:

-Nevada (Las Vegas)
-Arizona (Grand Canyon; Sedona)
-New York (NYC on Wings Air)
-Florida (Key West; Everglades)
-Michigan (Pictured Rocks)
-U.S. Virgin Islands
-California (coastal; Eastern Sierras)

In the USA, Hawaii (below, Maui) seems to be the #1 spot people want to see via helicopter, with an Alaskan glacier helicopter elopement being #2. That said, there are so many locations for helicopter elopements, so these are just a few popular ones. And really, who wouldn’t want to see Washington, or the wilds of Montana, or the coasts of Maine?! Or what about Italy…or Thailand…or Peru?

helicopter weddings Hawaii travel photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings

Internationally, helicopter weddings can be done over safari lands in Namibia and Botswana…or incredible formations in Greece and Turkey…or one-of-a-kind outdoor paradises in the Philippines or Indonesia. There are so many unique locations—or popular locations for a cityscape!

Looking for unique ways to elope? A helicopter wedding to an incredible location could be perfect for you. If you decide on a helicopter wedding like Nate and Toni did, I’d love to be your photographer and capture the experience! And if you decide to get married in a helicopter (okay, or on the ground), have an incredible time, soak up every moment of it, and enjoy the views. A helicopter wedding adventure is definitely an experience you’ll never, ever forget~

Photographer (me): Kathryn Cooper Weddings
Helicopter Company: Caribbean Buzz Helicopters
Wedding Planner & Officiant: Island Bliss Weddings
Flowers: East End Flower Shop

pelicans beach wedding
Couple in the Virgin Islands elopes to a private island Hans Lollik, St. Thomas elopement photographer

Helicopter Wedding Photographer | St. Thomas Wedding | Adventure Wedding Photographer

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My children and I were the first to land in a helicopter on the island of the US Virgin Island st croix for my wedding on November 27th 2004 and it was an awesome feeling my name is Marsha Frederick Lewis my husband’s name Andy Lewis

Wow! I cant imagine the rush you’d feel from an experience like that. That’s such a great way to celebrate your wedding day. Nice work Kathryn!

When I first read the title I knew this was going to be an epic adventure. I love that it rained! I’ve been told that means good luck in some places 🙂

What a great way to elope! Helicopter elopements sound so fun!

Elopement with helicopter looks fun. Their happines and joy documented so well with the photos.

HOLY WOWWWWW! I loveeeeeee the helicopter and the absolute intimacy that these two had on their wedding day. How perfect! You nailed these so perfectly.


Heck yes! I’m all for couples doing things THEIR way. Talk about adventurous!

This looks so fun! And I love how many possibilities a helicopter wedding can bring!

Helicopter elopement looks like so much fun! it’s so amazing that you get to personalize your wedding day any way you want. Great storytelling :))