Sand Dollar Estate | Destination Wedding Photographer | St. Thomas Wedding Photographer
Meredith and Andrew said their vows at this gorgeous St. Thomas wedding venue—and I photographed their perfect day at this oceanfront beach villa
Getting married in the Caribbean never looked so darn beautiful. Meredith and Andrew’s Sand Dollar Estate wedding shows why this is the perfect U.S. Virgin Islands wedding venue for saying your vows, eating, celebrating, and swimming—all with some of the best views imaginable.
A Sand Dollar Estate Wedding is perfect for intimate weddings and full-weekend celebrations. The multiple rooms, multiple levels and decks, unique lookout points, and private beachfront property on the Magen’s Bay outlet couldn’t be more perfect.
When you get married at Sand Dollar Estate, you can have your ceremony in a variety of locations on the property. As a St. John and St. Thomas destination wedding photographer, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing at Sand Dollar Estate quite a few times.
Where to Say Your Vows at Sand Dollar Estate
There are 3 main setups for saying vows at your Sand Dollar Estate wedding:
- Having your ceremony on the ocean side of the deck, with guests wrapped around the pool
- Setting your guests up symmetrical facing out on the deck, with guests toward the ocean
- Saying vows down on the beach, with the waves gently lapping onto the beach. This third option provides a grand entrance of walking down the flights to your guests awaiting on the beach.
I love photographing all of these setups—and there are other options as well—but the one Meredith and Andrew chose (option #1) provided this awesome viewpoint from yet another upper deck. In fact, I feature this image in my wedding gallery because it’s so unique!
Sand Dollar Estate – Magens Bay St. Thomas
With up to 3 different villas available to rent, the space sleeps up to 30 people and holds around 65 for celebrations. That’s what makes this St. Thomas private villa the perfect place to hold an intimate destination wedding. You can all travel together, celebrate together, and enjoy your own safe, calm, private beach for your group.
This U.S. Virgin Islands wedding venue is under 2 miles from world-famous Magens Bay beach (which I’ve shot dozens of weddings on–but Sand Dollar Estate is light-years better), and is still just 20 minutes from the airport. Set on the actual inlet of Magens Bay, Sand Dollar Estate is fortunate to get beautiful sunsets. Surprisingly, the U.S. Virgin Islands is not one of those places with dreamy sunsets every night. I know, I know. I’m ruining your childhood dreams, but that’s the reality. Hawaii wins for sunsets hands-down. BUT not all hope is lost. There are still incredible sunsets on St. John and St. Thomas, but it just involves a little luck.
The light for golden hour, however? Super gorgeous. Just look at her!
A Golden Hour Wedding Ceremony
For their golden hour ceremony, Meredith wore a stunning Berta Bridal wedding dress, and had her father walk her down the small aisle to Andrew. Andrew didn’t look too shabby himself in his custom suit, waiting for her at the end of the aisle!
Based in California, Meredith and Andrew are used to good weather…but that tropical water? It’s something else. Though they weren’t huge into portraits and were eager to get back to their party, we snapped a few simple couple’s photos down at the beach. It’s wonderful to be there at golden hour and sunset with the place to yourselves.
Everything was perfectly coordinated by U.S. Virgin Islands wedding planner Janelle Scott, whom I work with all the time on St. Thomas and St. John. In fact, you can see a number of my photos on her website!
Why Have a Destination Wedding at Sand Dollar Estate?
Simply put, because it’s the perfect private getaway where you’ll feel like millionaires for the week/end. I wrote about Sand Dollar Estate in my article on the Top 10 St. Thomas Wedding Venues & Beaches, and with good reason: It will feel like your closest family and friends are celebrating on a magical Caribbean hilltop, all at your own beachfront property. That’s because you ARE doing all of this!
Don’t get scared with their Air BnB listing, because with the right planner (Janelle Scott of Island Bliss Weddings is the planner to work with here), you can have your dream St. Thomas wedding at this private waterfront villa for a surprisingly affordable rate. You can go to lots of St. Thomas beaches, and I list some of my favorite ones in this article. But really, nothing compares to having your own, private mini Magens Bay Beach with houses dotting the bay, no sounds except for the water and occasional pelican, and amazing views.
Destination Wedding Photographer St. Thomas
I’ve been doing destination wedding photography in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 7 years now (crazy!), and though I now travel back and forth (St. Thomas, New York, California, etc.), it’s still a second home to me. Photographing Sand Dollar Estate weddings, rehearsal dinners, brunches, and parties is always a delight, and the way Island Bliss Weddings sets up wedding dinners is just gorgeous. For Meredith and Andrew, however, they opted for a much more casual stand-and-dine or sit-on-the-deck buffet. Super relaxed, dance, chill, drink.
I love private villa rentals for destination weddings, because people really do come as strangers and leave as friends—as hokey as the saying is. It’s so much fun to watch people come together and celebrate, snorkel, eat together, and just enjoy time at this magical place. That’s exactly what having your destination wedding in the US Virgin Islands is like when you rent out Sand Dollar Estate.
You know how homes look great on drones, but there’s no way guests can actually get that view without a private helicopter? A Sand Dollar Estate wedding means you can get those amazing views on all their decks and lookouts, without having to fly. It’s just awesome.
This St. Thomas wedding venue will have you celebrating in style—and leave you yearning to come back the very next week.
Photography: Kathryn Cooper Weddings
Venue: Sand Dollar Estate
Planner: Island Bliss Weddings
Dress: Berta Bridal
Kathryn Cooper Weddings: Sand Dollar Estate Wedding | Wedding Venues St. Thomas | USVI Wedding Photographer
This is gorgeous! What an awesome spot for a destination wedding or elopement! You did a spectacular job capturing their day and showcasing their joy! I think I need a tropical vacay after seeing all of these photos!
Okay, I need to come visit here ASAP. It’s so gorgeous!! Such a dream for couples to come have their wedding and enjoy themselves. Great post!
okay can you please take me there right now! love seeing you blogposts. you have such amazing ideas
Awww thanks so much Thijsiena! I so appreciate that!
What a beautiful venue and I love your unique angles in some of these photos! I can’t help but get nervous about how close some of the guests are to the pool edge. Hah! I wonder if anyone has ever fallen in!
Hahaha! That’s so true. No one has fallen in that I know of, though one of the parties I photographed here hired “mermaids” to swim around, and the kids went swimming.
Wow! St. Thomas looks so stunning! You captured it so beautifully and I love hearing about the three different set-ups you can have your ceremony in. Amazing job!
Much appreciated, Meghan! There are so many choices here which makes the venue even better.
Now I need to go to the US Virgin Islands ASAP! Ridiculously beautiful beachside location for this intimate wedding. So many good insider tips and vendor recommendations for St. Thomas too!
Oh my gosh, this location in the Virgin Islands is STUNNING!! And I love their poolside ceremony overlooking the water – it looks incredible!
Thanks Sarah! I do love working here–how could I not?!