Dear Engaged Couple,
We have been providing wedding planning for the past decade to destination minded couples and are honored to be considered for this position for your event. Our experience has taught us that couples have many questions in the initial phases of identifying their planner. We hope that this step-by-step description will assist you in selecting Weddings by KatiLady to guide you through the organizational phases of your celebration.
Tropical island breezes carry perfumed jasmine scents through the most lovely of wedding ceremonies. Weddings by KatiLady Planners will inspire your senses and develop your dream into an island wedding reality. With nearly two decades of experience, our planners are more than informed about St. John’s unique ceremony site options. From romantic ruins reminiscent of days long gone to sunset bathed shore lines, this island has a little bit of everything for the bride and groom to chose from. Our planners know every option.
With your ceremony under way, focus your attention to the celebration of this momentous event by allowing Kati or Michelle to assist in the reception plans. While private villa weddings are their specialty, your options include restaurants, beach BBQ’s and boat excursions.
Having hosted weddings at over 60 different villas on island they are incredibly informed on what each home has to offer. Villas are ideal options with unimaginable vistas and constant breezes that create magazine quality photo settings. Speak to your wedding planner about the different homes available on island.
Catering meals at private villas is a tropical breeze. The KatiLady menus have a sophisticated approach to comfort foods offering variations in local fish like Mahi Mahi, Tuna and Spiny Tail Lobster. Options also include Island favorites like Coconut Chicken and West Indians Curries. Traditional options are available and lend themselves perfectly to those seeking recognized dishes prepared throughout the United States. Speak to your planner about custom menus and surf n’ turf options for those seeking a truly spectacularly prepared meal.
Some clients prefer the formality and comfort of a restaurant setting for their reception. Our planners work with the best restaurants on St. John. After determining your preferences on location, menu and style of restaurant, your planner will suggest options to meet your vision.
Choosing your vendors could not be simpler as you collaborate with your planner. She will have sorted out the vendors that make the most sense for your style wedding and present you with the best options from our gallery of service providers.
To begin the vendor selection you will want to book your officiant. This is the person who will conduct your marriage ceremony. Our selection includes women and men from a handful of backgrounds and faiths. Most are non-denominational in religion though there are select Christian ministers available for your ceremony as well. Several officiants on island are able to perform Jewish style, Buddhist style and even Catholic ceremonies. All of our officiants will take you through the marriage license process. Explaining how to procure, fill out and submit your marriage documents to the USVI Court System will be key to your officiant’s responsibilities and included in their fees.
St. John flourishes with musical variety and KatiLady works with vendors who have proven themselves reliable, capable and “in-tune” with wedding receptions. From famous International Reggae bands to classically trained flutists, your music selection is vast. Depending on your ceremony style you may be booking musician(s) to serenade the bride down the aisle. Steel Pan Players offer a Caribbean feel to any tropical wedding albeit on the beach at sunset or overlooking the waters from your private villa. Jazz trios, flutists, guitarists and even acapella singers are available as well. Cocktail hour music is often a consideration and while some couples prefer their own tunes on a personal play list prefer a DJ or band to begin the celebration. Some villas are setup with iPod docks allowing couples hosting smaller gatherings to use such sound systems for their receptions while parties of 30+ mostly require a DJ or band in order to meet the crowd’s needs.
St. John bursts with photographers of all experience levels vying to be part of your wedding celebration. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the options though you can rely on your KatiLady planner to have identified the best of the bunch. Our company has spent over a decade creating our photographer selections as creative, punctual and reliable options. Too often novice photographers come to the island enticed by the majestic tropical splendor but unaware of the complications involved with executing and delivering a couple’s wedding photos. The planners of KatiLady limit your exposure to such vendors offering up only the tried and true in the business.
With the challenges involved in shipping living flora to our tropical island, we have found that direct contact to a wholesaler is often the best option for our clients. Having established relationships with our vendors, we have a much higher rate of client satisfaction as options for flowers have grown and quality improved. KatiLady’s planners will walk you through a floral canvas of possibilities based on your season and time of day. We should note that tropical flowers hold up best in our hot Caribbean sun. For instance, summer day time weddings would be wise to chose birds of paradise and not peonies. This kind of advice has been won through much trial and error. Speak to your planner for more suggestions on flowers best suited to your wedding.
While we are but 8 ½ miles from one end of the island to the other, our roads are quite hilly. Should your ceremony be located somewhere other than your reception, we strongly encourage renting open-air taxis to bring guests to and from the events. Limo service is also available for the bridal couple and immediate attendants based on locations and weather. Again, KatiLady planners will have details on which sites and events would require such bookings.
Once your wedding planning is under way, it is time to consider your welcome party and/or rehearsal dinner. Weddings of a certain size justify both events as often families & friends are meeting each other for the first time. There are many options for your rehearsal dinner or welcome party. Restaurants lend themselves to smaller rehearsal dinners and your KatiLady planner has relationships with various eateries on island. Other options are hosting a Caribbean BBQ at a private villa, a beach gathering or a sunset cruise prior to the wedding day. Your wedding planner can speak directly to the person responsible and work with them to assure an awesome event that does not overshadow or resemble your wedding soon to come.
KatiLady bills a consulting fee for your entire event. Our consulting fee is based on years of experience in the business and knowing what is involved in planning a wedding for 10 versus 100. We bill based on the number of guests you anticipate along with your wedding and reception location. At no time will you be presented with an increased bill for unexpected services.
In your initial estimate you will find an estimate quote associated to your wedding. This is created based on our years of experience booking similar size, location or style events.
To reserve your date with KatiLady, a deposit is due upon booking. Progress payments along the way will be necessary to reserve vendors. Final payment is due 30 days prior to the event. We understand that destination weddings often have unexpected head count changes and while you are committed to the minimum number of guests attending at 30 days prior to the event, we are happy to accommodate up to a 20% increase until 14 days prior to the wedding. At that time we would provide the added cost to you in a revised bill and final payment is due upon arrival in cash or can be wire transferred to our account.
We hope this step-by-step process has allowed you to better understand the planning process of a Destination Wedding. It was created to answer your most basic questions on what you will be accomplishing with your KatiLady planner. Though we would like to note that our weddings are customized to meet your needs and there is much our planners can do that falls outside of this general process. As residents of St. John, we understand the nuances of travel from the states through St. Thomas and onto island. We have numerous suggestions on how to move parties of varying sizes through their travels as well as assisting in gift baskets, welcome packages, provisioning and directions. KatiLady’s planners are committed to making your event above and beyond your desires. We thank you for taking the time and initiative to review our process.
Congratulations to you and your betrothed on this incredibly momentous occasion!
The KatiLady Team