• Photography By:

    Ali Beck Photography

    Lauren and George Raysik

    October 22, 2022 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

    A Destination Wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas Filled with Timeless Island Luxury

    Lauren and George Raysik met at 30,000 feet in the air. It was an early flight from Detroit, Michigan to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Lauren was en route to visit a college friend while George was heading from his internship to his family’s summer home.

    “We were both excited for a trip to the shore, but neither of us knew this flight would change our lives,” Lauren shares. “I quickly noticed the cute guy sitting in the aisle seat of my assigned row. He, being the chivalrous college boy, offered to put my bag in the overhead for me as I took the middle seat. I knew this cute seat mate would make the start of my trip enjoyable; however, I didn't expect the non-stop conversation, laughs, and feelings of excitement that would make the hour and half flight feel like ten minutes.”

    “Laughing and splashing in the water, feeling so much joy, was the best way to end the night.”

    Lauren and George exchanged numbers with a promise to go out as soon as they were back in Detroit. The rest of the summer was spent together, going on dates around the city, exploring hidden restaurant gems, and wondering where this new romance would lead.

    “I moved back to Arizona to finish my senior year at Arizona State University,” George recounts. “While neither of us had ever had a long distance relationship, it didn't take long before I was asking Lauren to come down to Arizona and asked her to be my girlfriend. We frequently traveled back and forth to see each other. Between the trips, countless facetimes, and intentional conversations, our relationship continued to grow. After two years of long distance, Lauren moved to Arizona to start our lives out in the desert.”

    A Lake Michigan Proposal

    During Lauren’s family’s summer vacation at a cottage on Lake Michigan – one of her favorite places in the world – George decided to pop the question.

    “It seems like most people have some clue when the proposal is nearing,” Lauren notes. “However, I was truly in the dark. I was lounging around the house in oversized sweatpants and a jacket, completely enjoying being ‘off the grid.’ The sun was setting over the lake; it was a stunning orange and pink, truly the perfect backdrop.

    My family suggested we go down to the beach to celebrate my aunt and uncle's anniversary with some sunset pictures. As we stood there, I hugged George and immediately knew something was about to happen. I knew his heart was racing at an unnaturally fast pace for someone just standing watching the sunset. I threw my oversized jacket and held my breath as he led me to the water's edge for our turn to get pictures. He dropped down on one knee shortly after and my whole family cheered and celebrated with champagne on the beach. It was sweet, intimate, and absolutely perfect.”

    Planning A Destination Wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

    With Arizona being such a popular wedding destination, the newly engaged pair toured several wedding venues that they loved; but none of them felt like the right fit. Lauren was at work when George sent her the link for events at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. Thinking it was a joke, she texted him back: “Haha sounds good!” A few conversations and a pros/cons list later, they decided to take the plunge and start planning a destination wedding in St. Thomas.

    “After all,” Lauren explains, “we met when heading away for a vacation, so what better way to celebrate our love than to bring our families and friends along for an adventure! Our love of the ocean and passion for travel made that location the perfect spot. We knew from prior experience that the Ritz-Carlton would hold themselves to a certain standard (despite booking this during COVID times), and we felt confident that they would deliver on what we wanted, despite never having been to that specific location.

    They paired us with a great planner, helped to organize our vendors, and coordinated our planning visit – the first time we visited the resort! Most of our vendors we booked through the resort (East End Flower Shop, Sugar and Spice Hair and Makeup); however, we did bring in the amazing Ali Beck Photography from California and Sydney Beth Video from Utah.”

    Eleven months after booking their wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, Lauren and George had a flight full of their friends traveling from Arizona, meeting up with their family in the middle of the Caribbean for “the greatest adventure of their lives thus far.”

    Timeless Island Luxury

    When envisioning the décor and ambiance of their big day, the couple had their hearts set on a St. Thomas wedding filled with “timeless island luxury.”

    “We wanted to embody the laid-back feeling of the Caribbean while tying in the luxury of the resort,” Lauren describes. “We focused on natural elements such as palm branches and candle ambiance. We wanted to focus on enhancing our environment and be sure to not take away from the natural beauty of the island. We kept it simple by handing out the traditional island PainKiller cocktails as guests entered cocktail hour, and enjoyed amazing surf and turf entrees that our guests raved about.”

    When it came time for the ceremony, 80 close friends and family members gathered together as the bride walked down the aisle with her mom.

    “She is my best friend and my biggest supporter,” Lauren adds, “and that moment made the day feel complete. We chose a destination wedding because we wanted this day to not just be a memory through pictures, but a moment that our friends and families would remember forever. When Ali, my photographer, asked us how we wanted to feel the day of we said, ‘at peace.’ By the time I was ready to walk down the aisle I felt beyond excited and completely at peace.

    We had a beautiful ceremony led by George’s Uncle Mike. We laughed and cried, and spent the rest of the evening dancing the night away! Our band, In the Sand Band, and the DJ who followed kept the party ROCKING – no one wanted to leave the dance floor.”

    “We are a family who love to have fun and love a good party,” says George. “So when Lauren said, ‘Let’s get everyone together to go jump in the pool’ once the last song played, I couldn't say no! All groomsmen and bridesmaids ran to the pool and took ‘taking the plunge’ to the next level. Laughing and splashing in the water, feeling so much joy, was the best way to end the night. That moment and the Catamaran cruise on Lady Lynsey the following day with all of our friends were easily the moments that are still talked about today!”

    Aware that brides and grooms often feel too rushed to eat or sit down during their wedding day, due to running around and visiting with guests, Lauren and George were set on doing the opposite.

    “We intentionally planned our weekend to maximize time with our family and friends to avoid those feelings,” says Lauren. “We wanted to be in the moment the whole day and to take in every emotion. From exploring the bars in Red Hook to enjoying the Cabanas at the Ritz pool and dancing with the Stilt Walkers at our Welcome Dinner, we fully enjoyed the two days prior to our wedding celebrating with those we love.”

    Honeymooning in the Caribbean

    After celebrating their wedding in paradise, the newlyweds spent a few more nights at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas before heading to St. John for their honeymoon. Their days consisted of snorkeling, lounging in the sun, and a bucket of beers at Trunk Bay Beach.

    “Between the amazing snorkel tours finding sea turtles at Maho Bay, the boat excursions that took us all around the island, and the amazing local food and drinks, we had a hard time closing the chapter of this story as we eventually journeyed back to Arizona,” Lauren recalls. “From one fateful flight to another, we believe we created the experience of a lifetime with our favorite people celebrating our love story. We will forever look back on our wedding day with hearts full of love, gratitude, and unspeakable joy.”


    Location & Catering: The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Floral Design: East End Flower Shop; Wedding Dress: Chosen by Kyha; Hair & Makeup: Sugar and Spice Salon; Entertainment: In the Sand Band, DJ Cap; Cinematography: Sydney Beth Video; Photography: Ali Beck Photography

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