When many think of white sand beaches and crystal blue waters in the United States, places like Hawaii or Puerto Rico are usually the first to come to mind. However, there’s another tropical destination accessible to U.S. residents without the need of a passport. That exotic location we’re referring to is the U.S. Virgin Islands!
Black Bride had the pleasure of visiting the picturesque beaches of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a well deserved mix of fun, relaxation and delicious seafood. In-between boat rides, snorkel sessions and a few dives at rum bars – we found out why St. Thomas is a hot spot for destination weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries and any other romantic occasions you can imagine.
Our first stop: Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. With over 60,000 square feet of event space, this island retreat is nestled right in the heart of Charlotte Amalie Harbor satisfied our wanderlust with six on-site restaurants, four dazzling pools and stunning oceanfront views. If you’re the adventurous type, Frenchman’s Reef is conveniently situated on St. Thomas’s famed Morning Star Beach, where you can partake in fun activities with your sweetheart, such as: jet-skiing, kayaking, sailing, scuba, snorkeling, paddle boarding, golf, tennis and volleyball.
When it comes to architecture, Frenchman’s Reef knows how to impress with a classy and modern interior that exudes island vibes. Each room is decorated with tastefully bright linens, furniture and art – providing a cozy stay that feels like home. Treat yourselves to an ocean or island view and you’ll see St. Thomas truly is paradise come sunset.
Black Bride Tip: Want to save money? Schedule your trip in October during Frenchman’s Reef’s off-season to get the best rates. Hurricane season shouldn’t scare you away from a tropical getaway. The last serious storm to hit was in 1995, and the island as a whole has made major improvements in infrastructure since then.
While on property, couples are free to explore all Frenchman’s Reef has to offer. Whether you want to get your workout on at the Fitness Center, indulge in a savory meal or lounge around a poolside, there’s something for everyone at Frenchman’s Reef. And if you’re of drinking age, try the authentic U.S. Virgin Island rum that’s mixed into Frenchman’s Reef’s signature cocktails. We were huge fans of the Mango Pain Killa so much, that even a six hour flight delay couldn’t get us down!
Black Bride Tip: For your convenience, Frenchman’s Reef allows you to charge purchases to your room so you don’t have to carry a wallet everywhere. Take advantage of this system to avoid losing money or other valuables while going in-and-out of the resort.
Weddings At Frenchman’s Reef
With an average of 250 weddings per year, Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is one venue in high-demand. Why is it so popular? Well, couples’ get their dream beach destination wedding – no passports or stressful visas required.
Not only is St. Thomas easy to get to and beautiful to look at, but weddings at Frenchman’s Reef are affordable and tailor-made. From cakes and catering, to limousines and linens, Frenchman’s Reef has got you covered every step of the way. Providing certified wedding planners on-site, Frenchman’s Reef allows you to customize your special day for an unforgettable tropic experience. The resort’s esteemed executive chef is also on-hand to assist you with catering decisions, ensuring all food selections fit your taste and wedding theme.
Frenchman’s Reef offers indoor and outdoor banquet space can accommodate intimate gatherings with friends and family for a lavish affair with hundreds of guests. Indoor venues include the Grand Harbor Ballroom, Island Rooms and The Beacon Lounge.
Grand Harbor Ballroom: Over 14,000 square feet, the Grand Harbor Ballroom is the Frenchman Reef’s largest venue. It can accommodate more than 1,000 guests for any banquet or gala, and can also be divided into four sections – each seating up to 400 guests.
Island Rooms: With eight different rooms to choose from, Frenchman’s Reef’s Island Rooms are flexible event spaces where you can host a ceremony or reception. Seating up to 100 guests comfortably, the Island Rooms are spacious enough for moderate-sized weddings.
The Beacon Lounge: Perfect for small and intimate ceremonies, The Beacon Lounge provides a unique experience in Frenchman’s Reef’s beautiful wine cellar. Seating up to 12 guests, this smaller sized venue is hassle-free, budget-friendly and memorable.
And of course Frenchman’s Reef offers picture-perfect outdoor venues for all your tropical wedding needs. The on-property “Garden Wedding Gazebo” caught our eye, as did Morning Star Beach.
Garden Wedding Gazebo: Located a short distance from the resort’s infinity pool lies a secluded wedding gazebo that overlooks the sea. Capable of seating 50 guests, give or take, the Garden Wedding Gazebo is perched on a lush green bluff, providing all the drama you need for a memorable ceremony.
Morning Star Beach: With the shimmering turquoise Caribbean Sea and soft white sand, Morning Star Beach is a romantic open space for ceremonies and receptions. Have as many guests as your heart desires with this spacious outdoor venue.
Black Bride Tip: Don’t forget to apply for your marriage license prior to your U.S. Virgin Island wedding. Applications and payment must be submitted to the Superior Court of VI at least eight days before your arrival.
Pre or post nuptials, couples and wedding parties are encouraged to visit the Lazule Sea Spa, which provides luxury treatments, including a variety of massages, facials, body scrubs and wraps. We opted for a 60-minute full body therapeutic massage that made all our tension melt away. At the end of our treatment, our skin felt silky and firm. And our fun didn’t end there! Spa guests are free to enjoy Lazule’s private lounge, pool and jacuzzi after receiving a service; a perk we utilized for a few hours while we sipped sweet tea.
There’s also a Lazule Sea Salon where brides-and grooms-to-be can take advantage of hair, nail, makeup, and even waxing services. We couldn’t help but adore the cutely packaged bath bombs sold at the salon, perfect for those who want to bring relaxation up to their room.
Black Bride Tip: Try to schedule your spa appointment in the evening so you can march yourself to bed right after. You’re not going to want to do much anyway after you’ve relaxed and had your stress massaged away.
Nearly ready to book your trip to St. Thomas? We don’t blame you. After enjoying delectable meals at The Cat, Coco Joe’s, Aqua Terra, Sunset Grill and Havana Blue, a day trip touring St. John with intermittent snorkeling sessions in Trunk Bay, spa treatments and dips into a gorgeous infinity pool – we at Black Bride ended our St. Thomas takeover with night kayaking in Pirates Point. Decked out with glow-in-the-dark bracelets and an illuminated transparent kayak, our kayaking tour took place in complete darkness. While our guide led the way and shared information on all things St. Thomas, we glided effortlessly through the water and spotted native fish, stingrays and sea turtles.
If you want to see more of what we got ourselves into at Frenchman’s Reef, check out our trip updates on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackBrideUSVI. For Instagram – see our slideshow here. For more information on Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, please visit www.frenchmansreefmarriott.com. We promise you’ll fall in love with everything you see!
Click HERE to win a FREE Honeymoon to St. Thomas! One lucky engaged or married couple will win a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon: a 3-night romantic honeymoon getaway at the Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas! After the stress of planning a wedding who wouldn’t want to win this giveaway!?