Destination Wedding Photographer | Trunk Bay Beach | St. John Wedding Photographer
What’s a destination wedding on Trunk Bay St. John really like? If clear blue water, white sand, waving palm trees, and a destination wedding in the Caribbean sound too good to be true, rest assured it’s not. The U.S. Virgin Islands is an incredible place for the perfect beach wedding, and Trunk Bay is a beach that’s hard to beat.
St. John wedding photographer, USVI
Christina and Adam wanted the ultimate tropical destination wedding, and St. John weddings are admittedly hard to beat. Love National Parks? Technically, your wedding here on Trunk Bay will be a National Park wedding, because it’s part of the Virgin Islands National Park. Though most National Parks charge fees, and Trunk Bay has a $5/person entry fee, the National Park (aka most of St. John) does not. As a St. John wedding photographer, I’d say about 85% of my couples choose to get married on Trunk Bay beach, simply because it’s accessible, beautiful, and uber-famous.
As for Trunk Bay, well…it’s one of the most famous beaches in the world. Voted a Top 10 beach by multiple travel outlets, this pristine USVI beach features an underwater snorkeling trail, a long stretch of sand, beautiful views with turquoise water, pavilions, and a beautiful overlook (below).
Yes, Trunk Bay—or Trunk Bay Beach, as visitors call it—really looks like this. This is not touched up or enhanced. I was a landscape photographer before I was a destination wedding photographer, and St. John USVI is simply stunning.
A Tropical St. John Wedding
For Christina & Adam’s destination wedding on St. John, they first hired a local planner. I can’t recommend a local planner such as Island Bliss Weddings or Jenn Events enough! They will save you TONS of time, worry, effort, and money in the long run. Why? They know all the local vendors, permits, timings, extra, seasons, and more. They’ve done not just hundreds, but thousands of weddings here and have connections you just can’t find with Google. Basically, you hire one of them, and then just pick and choose your flower colors, your budget, and your decorations. Want to charter a boat for a snorkeling trip with your friends and family? They know the people and will organize transportation for you. It’s so much easier than trying to source every little thing yourselves—trust me.
Their officiant was a good friend of theirs, and while everyone wondered when the groom was going to come walk down the aisle…he showed up IN A BOAT! I love photographing nontraditional weddings and amazing couples, so this groom-on-a-boat arrival was perfect. That’s right: To make an entrance, don’t just walk in—helicopter, parachute, or boat in. Adam and his mother hopped out and then watched as the bride walked along the water’s edge. Like almost all St. John beaches, Trunk Bay has magnificent water. Pristine, blue and green, with lush palm trees…it’s hard to find better.
Adam and Christine are jokesters, and their officiant and wedding party enjoyed the lighter side of the wedding, to say the least. Just look at them…
Photographing the Details of this Trunk Bay Wedding
Parasols and umbrellas helped shield the crowd from the sun’s rays. One of my favorite parts of the ceremony? Christina’s pink orchid waterfall bouquet! How beautiful is this?!
Afterwards, all the guests were whisked away to the resort, and Adam, Christine, and I took photos in the little hidden bay alongside Trunk Bay. Following their portraits, we all got on the boat. The couple smashed some beers, and I took photos as we sailed off into the sunset. Though the wedding was perfect, this St. John sunset was the icing on the cake.
Because St. John and the entire US Virgin Islands are so near the equator, sunset is around about 6:10 – 6:40 any night of the year, no matter winter nor summer. This could help you and your wedding planner with your schedule, but typically I’ll start photography earlier in the day since celebrations generally end earlier here, too (as opposed to summertime in the Northeast, where a New York sunset is often from 8-9 in warmer months).
After some photos at the local ruins (which dot many of St. John’s beaches, like Cinnamon Bay and Lameshur Bay), they went into their night festivities at Zozo’s at Caneel Bay.
Trunk Bay St. John does require permits for your destination wedding or elopement.
You cannot just set up on Trunk Bay Beach and hope no one catches you! Make sure you have a permit, and know the right times (generally 4:30pm or after). There’s also a ~$100 marriage license processing fee for those having a St. Thomas or St. John wedding. Your local wedding planner will take you through all the steps needed, and even drive you to the courthouse.
How to get to Trunk Bay Beach, St. John?
To get to Trunk Bay St. John, you must fly or boat in to St. Thomas, then take the ferry over to St. John’s port. Unless, of course, you charter a private boat!
The USVI ferry runs frequently from Red Hook, St. Thomas to Cruz Bay, St. John. You can walk on or drive your car on. From Cruz Bay, it’s a 12-15-minute drive to the beautiful beach of Trunk Bay. You can also take safaris—cheap local open-air share taxis—to most destinations. You can also rent cars and 4×4 Jeeps and make your way around the island yourself.
Entrance to Trunk Bay Beach, St. John is $5 per person until they close in the afternoon. Then, anything goes.
What if Trunk Bay is already booked?
If Trunk Bay won’t work, not to fret: there are TONS of less-crowded, stunning beaches nearby. While people travel to St. Thomas for culture, activities, and fun, people who make the schlep (ferry ride + transport) over to St. John come for the nature. Mainly, they come to hike the National Park and swim or boat around the beaches. And amazing beaches St. John has!
Maho Beach is amazing, especially for snorkeling with rays and turtles. Cinnamon Bay Beach is beautiful. Hawksnest Beach and Honeymoon Beach are lovely and more intimate. Denis Bay Beach is usually less crowded. And there are tons of more secret beaches with amazing underwater life that you’ll just have to find for yourself! This list of St. John beaches should get your visual taste buds going.
Final Thoughts: A Trunk Bay Beach Wedding
Expect to be barefoot half the time, to see some of the most beautiful water ever, to have beautiful weather, and to discover amazing hikes, swim spots, and views around the island. I love that from St. John, it’s easy to see fewer buildings and more islands and views than on St. Thomas. You’ll really feel like you’re in the middle of a tropical paradise on St. John, because that’s kind of why people visit the U.S. Virgin Islands and then never leave. ~