I just came back from a very important meeting from the Virgin Islands National Parks. They had called a special meeting to meet with the wedding planners who hold permits that allow us to have weddings on their beaches. It is very important to know that only 8 wedding planners have this permit (this is the limit they allow at the National Parks). If you hire a wedding planner that does NOT have a special permit, your wedding is at risk! I have noticed a few local wedding planning services that advertise for weddings on St. John and they do not have a permit. This make me nervous for the bride & grooms that hire them. Last thing you want at your wedding is a park ranger yelling that you are not allowed to be there!
The meeting was to go over certain rules & regulations that are strictly enforced. I am listing out the rules here to make it easier to refer to them as needed – we will add these rules to our FAQ Guide and will send a link to all our St. John brides.
Rules for wedding on the beaches of St. John’s National Parks:
- Weddings held on the beach prior to 4:45pm can only have a maximum of 25 guests in attendance.
- Weddings held on the beach after 4:45pm can only have a maximum of 60 guests in attendance.
- Peace Hill will only allow a maximum of 30 guests.
- No more than 25 chairs can be set up on the beach.
- Absolutely no fake/silk rose petals to be used anywhere in the National Park. All real rose petals must be picked up, one by one, if used on the beach. We can face penalties if the rose petals are not picked up and therefore do not allow them (for our sunset weddings, it is often dusk by time the last guests leave and we can’t risk trying to pick up rose petals in the dark! Petals also get lost under the sand and can become “unearthed” later. Not worth getting in trouble with and possibly losing our permit over).
- No amplified music on the beach – no iPods with amps, no amplifiers for guitarist, violinist, etc.
- You must pay the $4 entry fee to Trunk Bay if your wedding takes place between the hours of 8:30am and 4pm.
- No signs can be tied, affixed with ropes or straps, to any trees within the National Park boundry
- No tables can be brought in, only picnic tables can be used
- No glass on the beach – this means no sand ceremonies that involve glass vases (check here for an alternative)
Certain rules pertaining to Cinnamon Bay Beach weddings:
- Between Thanksgiving Weekend and May 1st, no weddings are permitted on Cinnamon Bay Beach unless the bride & groom are guests of the Cinnamon Bay Campground
- From May 2nd to the start of Thanskgiving weekend, weddings will only be allowed with the approval of Cinnamon Bay Campground Management
- No food or beverages may be served at Cinnamon Bay Beach unless provided by Cinnamon Bay
- All chairs for weddings must be rented from Cinnamon Bay, you cannot order these from an outside vendor (ex. your wedding planner or rental company)
- During the months of October to June, no weddings will be held after 5:45pm
- During the months of July to September, no weddings will be held after 6:30pm
- The maximum amount of guest at any time will be 25
- All Cinnamon Bay weddings must be arranged at least one month in advance
Things other wedding planners may have told you that are not true:
- You do not need a special permit to have an archway for your ceremony
- You can arrange for a rental company to bring chairs for your wedding, your wedding planer is not your only option for chair rental
Photographers: this is tricky! I actually need to call and verify this information and will update it at soon as I have it correct, but from my understanding now:
- If you hire a local photographer on your own, they must have their own permit with the beach
- If you hire a photographer through Island Bliss Weddings, our permit covers their liability
- Bringing a photographer with you: this is what I need to verify with the parks department and whether or not this photographer will need to obtain their own park permit
Phew! That was a lot of rules! It is very, very important that we follow them though.
PS Thank you Blue Glass Photography for the above images!