I just read the experience of one disappointed poster about her wedding at Caneel Bay. Each time I read the (few) really negative posts about Caneel and some of the other places I truly love, it saddens me -- both that the individual had a bad experience and that the resort is seen with such a critical eye. I think the BIG problem with many people who book destination weddings or even just a tropical vacation is not doing enough research, not visiting first (especially in the case of a wedding), and basically not really knowing much about a place before going.
5 star, luxury, etc. in New York City, for example, means all the bells and whistles and chandeliers of a fancy hotel. Perfect service, perfect food, and water and electricity that work 24-7.
This is not the islands. Water stops; electricity goes down. It happens. The culture is different; "island time" is not just a fun phrase to toss around; and courtesy before criticism goes a long way.
Caneel Bay is an entirely different resort. It's not fancy in the traditional sense. There are no ritzy bells and whistles. If one reads about when and why and by whom (Laurence Rockefeller) this resort was built, it's easy to understand the place and to appreciate it for what it is -- AND what it is not. The resort is unique as it's within the confines of the Virgin Islands National Park. There are donkeys and deer and mongoose roaming the property. Butterflies and birds and, yes, a few insects. Sometimes it's hot and humid (that's the tropics, you can't change it); sometimes it rains (ditto; that's why everything is green and lush and blooming like crazy).
When we started going to Caneel back in the 80s there was no air conditioning anywhere on property and no fans in the rooms. The rooms had only screens on the windows. Air was added some years back, as well as window glass. I actually loved the old days...at night there was no noise whatsoever except the sounds of nature -- bird song, frogs, critters moving around amongst the seagrape trees. So much more pleasant than a roaring air conditioner.
So...perfection is always in the eye of the beholder. I've always loved the place and with 7 of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean right on property, I can't imagine a more lovely spot for a wedding. But it's definitely NOT for everyone. I've always felt that you get what you pay for at Caneel; you pay for an unspoiled beauty that's becoming rare. Thank goodness Rockefeller had the foresight to buy up 2/3 of this island and donate to the national park system. I hope it never changes.
But...if you need the 5-star, bells and whistles experience (and I love that, too, but for different reasons, on certain occasions), you probably won't be happy with Caneel. You have to be the sort of traveler (nope, not a tourist) who can see and enjoy different places and people for what and who they are -- not for what you want them to be.
Research thoroughly, compare lots of places, and plan carefully. Know exactly what you're spending your dollars for. That way you won't likely be disappointed.