Common Questions & Answers
1. Why do I need a wedding planner?
Organizing a cocktail party can be fun and self-expressive including sending the invitations and writing or even preparing the menu. Guests will enjoy their hostess’s attention to detail and express appreciation for the evening’s events. Now imagine doing everything you would do for a gathering of friends and add to the list selecting a florist, photographer, transportation, venue, officiant and permitting, as well as catering this event. It all has to be accomplished from a distance, including booking accommodations. It no longer is about your special day, it is about logistics. The information your wedding planner can bring is experience with these vendors as well as details on sites that would never be published like beaches with fire ant problems or homes with septic concerns.
KatiLady takes that burden and allow you to revel in the enjoyable segments of planning your wedding. We eliminate the superfluous vendors whom have proven to be unreliable or over priced and provide you with a reasonable selection. Your planner will help you as much or as little as you like, from helping to select ideal flowers for the time of year to preparing a schedule of the day’s events. She will direct your processional, have back-up scenarios in place for unseemly weather and will not bother you with the details unless such a thing happens. She will enhance your wedding day by taking on the taxing parts and allowing you to enjoy your event.
2. Do Wedding Planners tack on an additional fee to my services like photography or music?
Planners usually do one of three things. We’ll use photography package for example.
-If they get a commission, it is from the vendor/photographer. Let’s say the photographer’s package on their website is $800.00. Whether the planner books the photographer or you do, you still only pay $800.00, nothing additional. If the planner makes a commission, it is out of the $800.00 from the photographer and not additional to you (usually 5 to 10%, similar to a finders fee).
-The planner and the service provider do not pay each other but work on a referral system referring each other.
-The planner adds a percentage on top of the package cost and passes the fee along to you.
3. What are the most common challenges brides have when planning their own destination wedding on St. John?
Brides usually are concerned about where to begin. It is difficult to determine the best thing to do first, especially from a distance. Our job is to assist you throughout the planning process by walking you through each phase. Your first step is to identify your planner, then the location (villa, restaurant or boat) and book accommodations. From there, the fun part begins and we can direct you through your vendor bookings from the get go so you are in line with local customs, permits and laws.
4. How many guests can we host at a Villa, Restaurant or Boat?
Villas range from hosting 12 – 150 people while various restaurants on island can easily accommodate romantic elopement pairs to 100 guests. Boats also vary in their capacity as some catamarans can hold upwards of 60 people for a cocktail party but only 35 for a sit down dinner while other cruising ships will allow over 100 guests on board at a time. Other options including renting multiple boats holding over 150 guests. The scenarios are quite extensive. For specific details, speak to a KatiLady Planner.
5. Is it difficult to get to St. John from the United States ? Do you need a passport?
It is very easy to reach St. John from the continental United States and no, you do not need a passport. St. John is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is a U.S. Territory. Flights leave daily to St. Thomas from Atlanta, Miami, New York City, Puerto Rico and Philadelphia. Major airlines like American, Delta, JetBlue, United and US Airways all fly to St. Thomas. Upon arriving on St. Thomas, you will take a 20-30 minute ferry to St. John where your greeter will meet you at the dock to bring you to your villa or ride a taxi to your hotel.
6. When should I send out the save the date notices?
For large scale destination weddings (30 – 100+ guests) you will want to send the save the date notices within 6-9 months of the event. For smaller and more intimate weddings you can send within 3-6 months of the event and expect the same turnout.
7. What information should I include on my Save-The-Date?
You should include some information about beautiful St. John and why you choose the island, the date of your wedding, and your planner’s contact information so she can assist your guests in their travel arrangements and accommodations.
8. What is the typical attendance rate for destination weddings?
You can expect 60-70% of the guests you invite to actually attend your destination wedding, depending on proximity to major airports and those traveling with children.
9. Do we need to rehearse?
It depends on the size of your wedding party. If it is determined that you do, your planner will want to meet with just the people in the party at the site where the ceremony is to be preformed around the same time that your ceremony is scheduled for a few days before your wedding day.
10. Do we need a rehearsal dinner? How is that different from a welcome dinner/party?
Most couples choose to do a combination rehearsal/welcome party. It is usally held a night or two prior to your wedding so that guests can mingle and get to know each other and the island a bit. It is a great way to say thank you for coming so far. These get togethers can be planned at a restaurant, dance bar, sunset cruise or villa. Ask you planner for ideas.
11. How often will I speak with my planner?
Typically most plans will be made via email with a phone consult about once a month depending on the complicity of the event. It is completely up to the couple and what makes them feel comfortable.
12. What ceremony options do I have for religious and secular weddings?
You are not limited in this area. Do keep in mind however that some religions will not perform a ceremony on the beach and must be preformed at their place of worship.
13. Do I have to be in the Virgin Islands a certain amount of time in order to get married here?
14. Can my wedding planner do everything for me?
Yes, with one exception. You must personally fill out the marriage application, send it in and both you and your spouse must appear in person with identification to pick up the certificate prior to your ceremony.