They don’t call St. John “Love City” for nothing. Need a place to get married? Or honeymoon? Or fall in love? We’ve got you covered. And if you are lucky enough to have already done all three, we’ve also got the perfect place — and time — to tell your spouse you would marry them all over again.
St. John’s “barefoot minister,” Anne Marie Porter, is inviting couples to renew their vows on the beach at Trunk Bay at 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
“It makes my heart sing to see so many couples who are wise enough to renew their marriage vows,” says Anne Marie, who has presided over the mass ceremony every Valentine’s Day for the past decade. “It’s joyful for me to be in the midst of that much accomplishment…Couples who have let life challenges bring them closer rather than separate them, couples that want to stand and say ‘I do’ again, because it’s a lot more meaningful and challenging to say ‘I do’ after 30, 40, 50 years of marriage than it was the first day you said it.”
Brides and grooms will be greeted by steel pan musician Albion Sewer playing “Here Comes the Bride” as each bride steps out of her jeep or taxi. Down on the beach, flutist Michael Banzahf will set the tone for the ceremony. Couples renew their vows as the sun starts to set.
“We’re on the beach that last beautiful hour of lighting,” says Anne Marie.
The tradition started in 2003 when a St. John couple wanting to renew their vows invited their married guests to join in. It grew from there. Since then, Anne Marie has re-married more than 800 couples. “We’ve had events where there were 3,000 years of marriage on the beach,” she says.
Brides and grooms range from the newly wed to those with 50 or 60 years of marriage behind them and children and grandchildren in attendance. Some couples are tourists who plan their vacation around the date. Others are locals who take the 4 o’clock ferry over from St. Thomas.
And did we mention it’s free? The ceremony is a gift from Anne Marie, who says the joy is all hers. No fee, no registration.
“Just show up and get married,” says Anne Marie. “And have a honeymoon!”