General considerations for your wedding and photography

Best time of day for photography is considered to be 2 hours after sunup to two hours before sundown. We can shoot mid day, but morning and afternoon IS better.

Sunset weddings

Keep in mind that the most beach locations are on the north shore of the islands. As such the sun goes down south of the islands in the winter months. So select a date between April and October for the best sunsets.

Winter months for photography

During the winter, as mentioned above, the sun sets behind the islands when on the north shores. This casts a shadow that makes the light very flat for photography. We can still get some wonderful photographs when this happens, but it is better before the island shadow arrives. So chose a time for finishing up at about 1/2 hour before sundown.

 

 

St. John wedding locations

Cruz Bay, St. John. The gateway to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean

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St. John is a jewel in the Caribbean. located about 20 min tues away from St. Thomas by ferry. The main reason St. John is so nice is that most of it is a National Park. St. John offers two major resorts, the Westin and Caneel Bay. Both are very picturesque, particularly Caneel Bay. There are also a number of nice small hotels. At an area called Peter Bay are some of the most spectacular villas one can imagine. Wait, there's more. If you love the water and the beach, st John also offers some of the best beaches and water sports in the Caribbean. Even though there are a number of very nice restaurants and bars, st. John for the most part has a much more laid back atmosphere than St. Thomas. And because of it's natural beauty, St. John is a photographers dream.

| Caneel Bay Resort | Our Lady of Mount Carmel | Westin Resort | Gibney Beach | Hawksnest Beach |

| Jumbie Bay | Trunk Bay | Cinnamon Bay | Maho Bay | Annaburg Sugar Mill |

click on the images for a larger view


Caneel Bay Resort

Caneel Bay Resort is one of the nicest upscale resorts on St. John or the Caribbean for that matter. Situated on a peninsula jutting out from St. John into the Caribbean, Caneel Bay offers some excellent locations for weddings and photography. Like most resorts they have in house wedding planning services. They have contract photographers they use, but you can request us. You can also go through a wedding planner and pay a site fee. The fee last I heard was $5000.00 and is charged no matter how you book your wedding. If you have the coin this is a gorgeous place for a wedding and the facilities are top notch. Their primary wedding location is Turtle Point as seen in the first photograph. You will also have easy access to Honeymoon Beach which is just yards from Turtle Point.

Turtle Point has a glorious view for weddings and photography Honeymoon beach, a small picturesque beach very close to Turtle Point at Caneel Bay, St. John Turtle Point is the main location for weddings at Caneel Bay Dinning amoungst the ruins at Caneel is a treat.


Westin Resort

The Westin is a large resort and villa complex located about 10 minutes by taxi from Cruz Bay, St. John. The grounds are beautiful and spacious. The wedding staff here is top notch. The beach here can be crowded during the day and there is a lot of "stuff" on the beach. But there is an area to the north of the main beach where they do most of their weddings. Adjacent to the beach there is also a nice gazebo and grassy area where they have tents set up for receptions.

The grounds of the Westin refeclt the beauty of the St. john National Park A grassy are at the Westin, St. John just next to the beach. The beach at the Westin. A typical wedding setup. Under the tents for a wedding reception


Our Lady of Mount Carmel

If you want a small Catholic church wedding in paradise, then Our lady of Mount Carmel would be a good choice. Located just a couple of blocks from the ferry docks in Cruz Bay, it is easy to get to. The church has gone through a complete rebuild and is lovely. There are plans to replace the folding chairs with mahogany pews. Take a look at the first photo of the exterior of the church. See the stop sign on the far left. It is probably the only stop sign in the islands that the drivers pay attention to. It was re-worded to say "thou shalt STOP" and it works!

A small Catholic church in Cruz Bay, St. John The newly rebuilt Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a lovely little church A St. John church with lovely details


Gibney Beach

Ah, Gibney Beach! One of my favorites for photography. A very lush tropical setting with lots of palms and tropical foliage. The beach is not very wide, but serviceable for small weddings. There is also a small building here that can be rented for receptions ( it used to belong to J. Robert Oppenheimer, "the father of the atomic bomb," ). Otherwise there are no facilities here. Parking is at a premium also, so plan to car pool here or taxi. Best time of day is afternoon here for photography, as the high palms and island block the sun in the early morning hours.

Gibney Beach on St. John Gibney has a snall beach are for weddings A beautiful beach for photography


Hawksnest Beach

Located in the larger Hawksnest Bay between the beaches of Caneel and Gibney Beach. This is a much larger beach than Gibney, and has bathroom, changing and covered picnic facilities ( a good backup in case it rains ). There is also a large parking lot. Best time of day is the morning hours as the water absolutely glows a pure aqua marine color. The afternoons also work well though and we still get good color in the water. If the beach is crowded there is a small isolated beach area at one end that we refer to as wedding beach which can be used, but it is small.

Beautiful agua marine water early moring at Hawksnest, St. John. Many small areas for small weddings Weddings of all sizes from just couples to larger weddings can be accommodated


Jumbie Bay Beach

A small, fairly remote intimate beach located between Gibney and Trunk Bay. You could easily drive right by the entrance if your not careful. The entrance is a fairly short path with steps leading down to the beach. A small beach that shares the area with beach rock in the center and sand area at both ends.(See center photo). This beach works well in both the morning and afternoon. This beach is mostly visited by locals, and like most beaches in the Virgin Islands is best used during the week.

Jumbie Bay on St. John A small secluded beach known by the locals on St. John A great place for a wedding on St. John


Trunk Bay

Trunk Bay! Yes, this is my favorite beach to shoot on. There are many excellent areas for photography ... not to mention weddings also! There are three main areas for weddings. The main beach or center section is good for large weddings where you need room for lots of chairs. The area off to the right has a small little bay within the larger Trunk Bay area. Here is my favorite palm tree (see the second photo). Although the tree has almost fallen over at this point, the park service has propped it up in an effort to save it. So it still works as a great prop.

At the other end of the beach is a nice rocky area with good sand. This is a nice spot to chose when the beach may be a little crowded. Water color is excellent in both the morning and afternoon. If you are doing a "sunset" wedding we will lose some of the water color nearer sunset. Do not consider this beach during the day as it can get very crowded. Particularly when there are a lot of cruise ships in port.

Trunk Bay, St. John A gorgous spot for your wedding and photography The most beautiful beach on St. john Dazzling colors and beautiful sand on St. John Over looking Trunk Bay, St. John


Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon Bay is another wonderful beach for weddings and photography. This beach is one of the main recreation areas for the National Park. Even if you are not getting married her it does have very complete facilities. There is a campground here and concessions for snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports. The eastern (or right side as you face the ocean) end is punctuated by rocks and is lovely. Because of the size of the beach it is also good for large weddings.

Cinnamon Bay is a good alternative if Trunk is crowded. Like most St. John beaches Cinnamon offers beatuful blue Caribbean water. Cinnamon Bay also has some great aternatives for photography.


Maho Bay

A beautiful crescent shaped bay on the way to the Sugar Mill. About a 20-25 minute drive from Cruz Bay. This area has some great sea grape trees and the proverbial palm trees. The beach is rather narrow, but there are some larger areas that can be used. There is also a building and bathrooms there that could be used for a reception, but you would need to check with the park service to rent the facility. This is a good afternoon and sunset spot most of the year except for December-March when the sun sets behind the island. this beach because of it's distance from Cruz Bay does not see as much tourist traffic. Parking is right along the road where you step out of your car and onto Maho beach.

Maho Bay, St. John Maho Bay is a beautiful beach for photography on St. John Maho Bay is a fairly shallow beach for small to medium weddings


Annaburg Sugar Mill Ruins

This is an old sugar mill with some of the ruins dating back to the 18th century. Here you have an excellent view of the channel separating the US and British Virgin Islands. The ruins and the view make for a number of interesting possibilities for photography. Most wedding couples use this as a pre-wedding shoot. Although you could use it as a wedding location also. If you are going to have some photographs shot here you need to allow sufficient time to change locations. The ruins are about 15 minutes from places like Trunk Bay. This area is best in the afternoon for good light.

The sugar mill has a number of nioce backdrops for photography arches, trees and old stone paths for strolling The view from the ruins includes islands like Tortola in the British Virgin Islands


 

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Memeber of the Professional Photographers of America since 1973Gary Felton is a Certified Professional Photographer

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