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Beth and Kirk | Sueno del Mar Elopement

Beth and Kirk epitomize the term Pura Vida! Beth was a lot of fun to work with and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to plan someone’s wedding. She envisioned blues with dark purples for her color palette. We incorporated a single red rose in her bouquet to commemorate her father. Beth was an absolute bomb shell and her bridal portraits made me think of Hollywood Starlets. Kirk was a beam of light and I do not think anything in the world could have ruffled his feathers. June is a very popular month for brides and there were weddings-a-plenty up and down the beaches of Tamarindo that day. Beth and Kirk were happy to be a part of all the festivities! Enjoy a few highlights from their special intimate elopement.

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bride and groom kissing on beach
navy and white wedding reception
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purple bridal bouquet
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Many thanks to:

Kirsten with Eventos Artesanos for florals, Dusty Hale for photography, Cabo Luna for special lighting, Hair by Nick Brown, Makeup by Tricia with Maravilla Makeup. Wedding Planning and Design by Pura Vida Weddings.

Mia + Barry l Playa Langosta Elopement

When Mia contacted me to plan her wedding, honestly she didn’t seem to have strong opinions, which can be a good thing but also a scary thing for a wedding planner. After seeing a picture of her dress and finding out she likes yellow this was all I needed. Soft, delicate, lovely, with a hint of timidity was the first thing that came to mind when I met Mia. She and Barry were a joy to work with.  Just as the ceremony ended on Langosta Beach, we were surprised by some passer-byers on horseback. I was thrilled for this photo opportunity. Little did I know Barry was not too fond of horses! You would never know it from these magnificent photos. Thanks for being a sport, Barry! Pura vida Weddings is happy to share our favorite pics of this elopement Wedding in Costa Rica. Aqua + Yellow + beautiful setting made for a perfect day.

bride walking down beach aisle
yellow grooms' boutonniere
yellow and aqua wedding flowers
bride and groom kissing on beach
yellow and succulent bridal bouquet
bridal gown
aqua and yellow flowers
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bride and groom on beach
sweetheart table for bride and groom
wedding ceremony on beach
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bride and groom on beach
bride and groom kissing in costa rica

Planning and Design: Pura Vida Weddings

Florals: Colette’s Florist

Photos: Kristen Brown – Samba to the Sea

Tamarindo Wedding-Suzanne and Kris

Suzanne and Kris met in Canada while working together.  Suzanne lived in Costa Rica as a child and during those years her family regularly vacationed on Tamarindo beach. It had always been her dream to be married in Tamarindo.  Enter tropical beach wedding at sunset!  Suzanne choose her family’s favorite Tamarindo beachfront location, Casa Cook, for their beach ceremony and poolside cocktail hour and then on to Hotel Capitan Suizo for the reception festivities.

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Suzanne choose a contemporary color palette of navy blue and yellow.

navy and yellow wedding colors The couple exchanged their vows under a bamboo canopy accented with tropical flowers on one of Costa Rica’s prettiest beaches against the stunning sunset.

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Suzanne’s bouquet featured yellow calla lilies, white lilies and Star of Bethlehem.

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The reception was held on the beach in front of Hotel Capitan Suizo lit with twinkle lights and lanterns.

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Escort cards were held by mini pineapples the perfect tropical touch

escort cards tamarindo wedding A Local guitar trio serenaded the crowd with Latin music, adding an authentic Costa Rican touch to the ceremony and cocktail hour.

trio Being an accomplished pastry chef the wedding cake was high on Suzanne’s list of priorities. She choose a cake featuring tall tiers of various favors of  accented with bold sugar ribbons of navy and white strips.

susies cake Wish lanterns were lit and released after dinner, the perfect time to get great photos of this lovely tradition.

costarica wedding sky balloon Many thanks to the very talented Robin Jolin who captured this wedding with incredible photos.

Costa Rica Wedding-Prioritizing Your Wedding Planning

Congratulations! You’re engaged! You’ve decided that Costa Rica is the perfect location for your dream destination wedding. Let the planning begin! Setting your priorities early in the wedding planning process will insure your plans will go smoothly and with much less stress. In my experience as a wedding planner in Costa Rica for almost 10 years, the best advice I can give you to begin is- take a big breath, then sit down as a couple and make lists. Then prioritize the lists together.

Begin by establishing your wedding budget. The key here is to begin by deciding what your overall budget will be for the all your wedding costs. Then make your list-photography food, bar, flowers, music etc.  Then prioritize the list to spend more on things that are truly important to you and less on those that don’t matter as much. There’s no need to become too detailed in this beginning phase. Your wedding planner will help you to fine tune your list and add all the details as the planning progresses.

This is an area where you’ll find you and your fiancé may have some differences so go through your list together and first star the “must haves” you both agree on.  After having done that prioritize the remaining components with a number.

Next, work on your guest list. You’ll need to have a fairly good idea of the approximate number of people attending before you decide on a venue. Begin your guest list by writing down everyone you would like to include. Then prioritize the list with levels.  Immediate family, bridal party and best friends at level one, secondary family and close friends would be level two.  Level three can be composed of your coworkers, family member’s friends and acquaintances. If you need to abbreviate your guest list, begin at the bottom and work your way up.

The next step will be to select your venue. Your wedding planner in Costa Rica will be a very valuable resource for this. Your Costa Rica wedding planner knows that the best venues and that they book quickly, especially for weekend dates. Therefore working with you to select the perfect location and securing your venue for you will be her priority and the first thing you’ll be working together on. Previous to discussing venues with your wedding planner, you’ll need to make a list of your venue priorities and have an idea of your guest’s accommodation budgets. Then make a list of the things that you want in your location. Do you prefer a remote rustic location? Or a beach front resort within walking distance to activates? Are you looking for an open air venue? A venue with a view?

With these three important aspects of your wedding planning in place you’re ready to begin working on the fun details of your wedding with your wedding planner. For additional advice on wedding planning priorities we like this article in Real Weddings and this local travel agency.

Costa Rica Wedding in Tamarindo-Meredith and Joe

Meredith and Joe had been together for many years before deciding to tie the knot in an intimate wedding ceremony surrounded by their family and friends from Minnesota. They choose the gardens overlooking the beach, at one of favorite venues, Hotel Capitan Suizo as the location for their ceremony which was followed by a candlelit reception dinner on the beach.

Thank you for letting us take part in your wedding day!

Photography by El Velo

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Wedding Planning-Save money on your destination wedding in Costa Rica

Weddings should always reflect the individual personalities and priorities of the couple getting married. In our opinion there is no need to go into debt when planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica. The most important factor is to make your wedding personal and meaningful to the couple saying their vows. As experienced Costa Rica wedding planners, we have worked with lots of couples on a budget. To help you get started on saving money with your wedding in Costa Rica we’ve compiled some of our favorite cost effective strategies for making your special day memorable while remaining within your budget.

1. Trim your guest list. This will slash your catering and bar costs, save on invitations, the number of centerpieces, wedding favors. Avoid the pressure you may feel to invite distant family members, work colleges and any one you haven’t stayed in touch with for the past 3 years.  And, recommend an ICT approved travel agency so you won’t have to worry about their itinerary.

2. Invitations are definitely an area where DYIers can show off their skills and save lots of money. Print and include in your invitations a newsletter an explanation of how guests can make their room reservations at the resort where your wedding is taking place and the room rates. Also make your own escort cards, menus, and wedding favors.

3. Music- Consider a DJ instead of a live band. This will save you hundreds of dollars. The advantage of a DJ is you get a master of ceremony to move the reception along and they are much less expensive than a band. If you truly want only live music, consider a band native to Costa Rica such as a salsa band. A rock bottom budget option is to rent speakers and use your ipod playlist.

4. Attire-Try not to shop at a traditional bridal salon. Consider sample sales which provide an array of designer dresses with deep discount pricing.


5. Location-Host your ceremony on the beach which is free (and it doesn’t get much better than that!) Hold your ceremony and reception at the same location or within walking distance—this will cut travel time for the vendors we pay by the hour and eliminate the cost of transporting your guests. A reception at a resort or hotel venue will always cost less than a reception at a villa or house. This is because if the space is not equipped to cater a large party, extra costs are incurred for bringing in tables, linens, place settings, or even a kitchen.

 

6. Bar- Alcohol will be one of your biggest wedding expenses and can put a huge hole in your budget quickly. Limiting a traditional full bar to two or three hours can substantially cut costs. Cost cutting alternatives include serving beer and wine only. Consider skipping the champagne toast. For cocktail hour choose to serve only a signature cocktail made with a local alcohol.

7. Flowers- Reuse some of the ceremony flowers for the cake table. Flowers that decorate the ceremony chairs can be put in vases and turned into centerpieces. Choose local flowers which are always less expensive and will add a real Costa Rican touch to your event. Avoid cascades and instead consider small, hand-tied bouquets for the bride and attendants―cascades require a lot of wiring, and more labor means higher cost.

8. HIRE a wedding planner in Costa Rica-One of the most overlooked and misunderstood budget crunching tactics is to hire a wedding planner. Some couples think that when their wedding budget is already stretched thin, a good way to cut costs is to try to handle planning and coordinating the wedding on their own-NOT TRUE. What many couples don’t realize is that working with a wedding planner will always save you a significant amount of money — and at the same time take away the stresses that go along with trying to plan a destination wedding on your own. Hiring a wedding planner in Costa Rica will insure that when you arrive for your wedding all you have to do is…relax!

Tamarindo Wedding

Hotel Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo provided the perfect pristine, tropical setting for the wedding of Katrina and Neal. The November weather cooperated and Mother Nature did her part by contributing an incredible, red lit sky at sunset.  Our very best wishes to this amazing couple!

Photography by El Velo

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Potrero Wedding –Kristen and Lawrence

On July 21 Kristen and Lawrence said their vows in a beach front wedding ceremony at Hotel Bahia del Sol in Playa Potrero surround by their family and friends from California.

The bride chose a Tiffany blue and deep purple color palette which was complimented with simplistic table arrangements and bouquets of purple lisianthus, hydrangea, dendrobia orchids and deep purple calla lilies.

A release of sky lanterns on the beach made the perfect ending to a perfect day. Thank you Kristen and Lawrence for sharing your romantic wedding day with us!

Photography by El Velo

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Selecting your Beach Wedding Gown

Every bride is excited to purchase her wedding dress and knows the moment she puts on that special dress that “this is the one.” Brides planning beach weddings have some special considerations when selecting the perfect beach wedding dress before they say “yes to the dress.”

So what makes a great beach wedding dress?

The first consideration when choosing your beach wedding dress should be the fabric. A fabric that is light weight will help keep you cool, comfortable and looking fresh all day. Crepes,  Charmeuse 09-Romantic-Beach-Wedding-Dress-2013 glamboxweddings , chiffon, voile and georgette fabrics are light weight and flowing. These fabrics also pack well for destination beach weddings and usually do not wrinkle as much as a silk will.

Another important consideration is the style of the dress. Ball gown styles and dresses with long trains work best in more formal settings. For a beach wedding choose a dress with a casual, timeless elegance and a breezy style. These styles also look best with sandals or bare feet. Short trains and sheaths also work well.  Strapless dresses and those with one shoulder offer an a great look for beach weddings and will show off the your tan.

When purchasing a wedding dress for a beach wedding keep in mind that the beach is sometimes windy so avoid styles that could get blown around. If you choose a short style dress pick one that is fitted so it won’t get blown up in the mind. Remember that the beach can be very hot. Try to select a style that’s light in weight and doesn’t have a multitude of fabric layers, one you’re comfortable in and keeps you feeling and looking cool.

And what’s the perfect accessory for your tropical  beach wedding dress? A beautiful fresh flower in your hair!

Tamarindo Wedding-Jay and Mariana

Joined by friends and family from all over the world, Mariana and Jay were married with an interactive spiritual wedding ceremony which they had meticulously planned themselves. Guests gathered in a circle which was designated with flower pedals around the bride and groom as they said their vows. The ceremony included a very touching water and a flower offering in which all the guests took part.

The bride showed off her creativity with her DIY project of making escort cards using antiqued paper. The escort cards were then attached to the straws for the coco locos served during cocktail hour. The tables were numbered using frames made locally from banana leaves.

Mariana choose a deep brown and white color palette with floral arrangements of orchids, lilies, hydrangea twigs and hanging candles- the perfect detail for this beach wedding.

Many thanks for allowing us to be a part of your wedding day!

Photography by Perry Carlile

Venue- Hotel Capitan Suizo,Tamarindo

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Costa Rica Elopement-Chris and Aruna

When Chris and Aruna decided to be married in Costa Rica they knew that a large scale wedding was not what they were dreaming of.  They wanted a private, sentimental wedding ceremony on the beach at sunset followed by a romantic candle light dinner for two. When they arrived back home they planned incorporate sharing their elopement photos at a more traditional reception they were hosting for their families and friends. Congratulations to a wonderful couple!.

Photography- El Velo

Venue-JW Marriott Hacienda Pinilla

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Marty and Leo

 

Sometimes when I’m planning destination weddings in Costa Rica, I come across a couple that stands out and who I have an immediate connection with. That’s definitely true for Marty and Leo, who were married at the Tamarindo Diria Hotel in March.

What struck me most about their wedding planning was Leo – the groom’s – involvement. Right from the start, Leo got himself involved in the planning and decorating for their day, whereas often, I don’t hear from the groom at all.

Probably his biggest contributing factor to the decor of the wedding was putting together the table designs and centerpieces at the reception. He is really interested in and knowledgeable about lighting and that shone through (pardon the pun) when he put together white branches and marbles inside glass vases, which were lit by LED lights. The result was gorgeous.

Leo also had a hand in selecting the menu for their night.

Naturally, Marty was a huge part of the planning and design as well. Some of the elements she chose for the wedding were visually quite different from what I often see. For example, Marty’s dress was a drop waist with a voluminous, ground-skimming skirt and a gold and cream shimmery bodice. She held a bouquet made solely of baby’s breath.

At the ceremony, guests sat on chairs draped in white, and colorful paper parasols were placed next to each row, which made for some great pictures.

As a side note, the two best men at their wedding gave an excellent toast at the reception. It was like a comedy routine and had the whole crowd roaring!

All photos by photo by John Williamson: www.weddingphotoscostarica.com.

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Courtney and John

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Courtney and John’s wedding is a great example of how the simplest detail can become inspiration for a beautiful event. Courtney found a lovely print paper in charcoal and yellow and based the design for their day off that theme. The colors worked wonders together.

 

Courtney had her hands in many aspects of the wedding and was a true DIY bride, creating the invitations, the reception seat markers, welcome gift bags made from Costa Rica T-shirts, and painting the placemats at the rehearsal dinner herself. She was very detail-oriented and it paid off on the couple’s big day. Communication was a big part of making this wedding come together perfectly, especially with the DIY elements – the bride and I spent many hours on the phone to come up with ideas and how to pull them off.

 

In addition, the wedding was a 4-day affair, including activities and entertainment for the guests in addition to the big day. These included a luau, and re-creating some of the couple’s favorite hangouts from her younger years, including tie-dyed clothing, decade-specific music and food stations featuring some of the pair’s preferred eateries as high school students in New York.

 

The wedding included several Jewish traditions, but a family friend officiated rather than a rabbi. The ceremony was stunningly decorated with pretty yellow flowers settled in paper cones, attached to the seats along the aisle and white and yellow petals decorated the sand leading up to the veranda where the pair said their I Do’s.

 

Courtney’s dedication and involvement in putting together the personal touches and details of this wedding made it stand out not only to me as the planner, but certainly to the bride and groom and to their guests.

Shoes by Christian Louboutin. Dress by Winnie Couture. Flowers by
Artflower . Photos by Julie Comfort/Comfort Studio. Venue: Cala Luna

 

 

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DIY Wedding Ideas

As a wedding planner in Costa Rica, I know the little details are what make a wedding unique.  You and your guests will remember the personal touches after your special day comes to a close, even at a destination wedding.

Personalizing your day with your favorite flowers and color palette are the best-known ways to add your signature to the day, but brides are stepping it up by adding DIY – or do-it-yourself – touches to the decor and other aspects of the wedding.

Here are a few DIY crafts you could try to make your wedding day truly unique.

Wedding invitations : Use photos of you and your partner or make your own invitations using stamps or by printing them off at home. You’ll save money and impress your guests.

DIY projects can make your destination beach wedding in Costa Rica that much more unique
DIY projects can make your destination beach wedding in Costa Rica that much more unique

Table and seat markers : Recently I had a couple use photos of each of their guests as seat markers during the reception. It was a cute idea and a great way to make each guest feel appreciated. You could also mark guests’ seats by attaching their names to flowers, seashells, or some knickknack that has special meaning to you and your partner.

For table markers, people have hung them from the ceiling or canopy overhead, and others have opted to name tables in a special way. The couple who used the photos of their guests named their tables after instruments, since the bride was an accomplished musician. You can also mark numbers on wine bottles and illuminate them with glow sticks inside.

Get guests involved : Make or buy a chalkboard and personalize it with pictures of you and your other half, or with cute sayings. Leave chalk nearby, place it in a prominent place and encourage your guests to write love sayings or messages of congratulations. You can use it in your house as art after the wedding. Or do the same idea by laying out stationery at the entry to the reception area.

Also, set up a photo booth or leave disposable cameras on the tables so guests can take pictures during the event.

Decor, etc. : Make your own paper lanterns, hang jars filled with flowers from chairs at the ceremony, create your own centerpieces for the tables or bake cupcakes instead of serving cake during the reception. Some brides have made their own hair accessories or even their own bouquets. It’s up to you how much you want to tackle yourself (or have your bridesmaids help!) and how much time you can spend on crafts.

Wedding favors : Put the dry ingredients for cookies or brownies in a mason jar and add a tag with your guests’ names as party favors. Or try wrapping candles in ribbons or other material that matches your decor.

I have a DIY board on my Pinterest account here that you can see for more ideas, and follow my other boards too!

Shervan and Golnar

Julie  for A Brit & A Blonde (www.abritandablonde.com)
Julie
for A Brit & A Blonde (www.abritandablonde.com)

Golnar and Shervan’s destination wedding in Costa Rica combined the natural beauty of this country’s gold coast with the symbolism and tradition of a Persian wedding.

The Tamarindo Diria resort’s gardens were adorned in gold, burgundy and orange and decorated with calla lilies as the Toronto pair walked down the aisle together, according to tradition. They sat at the sofreh as a select group of family and friends set up the aghd according to tradition, which held ornately decorated heirlooms, sweets, vegetables and the Mirror of Fate.

As waves rolled onto the sandy beach in the background, a ceremony in Farsi married the couple amid lush greenery and an intimate gathering of family and friends. Meanwhile, women held up a white cloth over the bride and groom as the officiant spoke – in traditional Persian weddings, sugar is ground over the couple’s heads but is caught by the cloth to symbolize sweetness and happiness.

They were elegantly dressed – the bride in a simple off-white, long gown with a netted corset peeking from the back and standout emerald strapped heels, and the groom in a polished cream three-piece suit, complete with a rust-colored paisley bowtie. She held a tied bouquet of white calla lillies and her hair was adorned with a white floral arrangement, holding the veil in place.

After the guests found their seats using photo cards of themselves, a group of the invitees performed a knife dance for the married couple. In honor of Shervan’s accomplished music career, tables were named after instruments and the cake top, fashioned by a friend of the couple, depicted Shervan playing the piano as Golnar watched.

Julie  for A Brit & A Blonde (www.abritandablonde.com)
Julie
for A Brit & A Blonde (www.abritandablonde.com)

The guests’ involvement in all aspects of the wedding made the event stand out. Tradition made them not only observers, but active participants in the act of joining two lives into one, from the setting of the sofreh aghd, to fanning the couple with the fine cloth and dancing during the reception at the Diria’s Mixcoa.

The traditions were made all the more special by marrying the ancient culture of Persia with Costa Rica’s beauty and the details of Golnar and Shervan’s day played to that blend.

Julie  for A Brit & A Blonde (www.abritandablonde.com)
Julie
for A Brit & A Blonde (www.abritandablonde.com)

 

Beth and Cary

I had the ultimate pleasure to coordinate two weddings, back to back, in November for two groups of amazing, fun loving Texans. Beth and Cary had spent quite some time in Costa Rica in the past and decided it was the perfect location to say their I Dos in a meaningful Christian wedding ceremony which included all 65 guests singing Amazing Grace as the sunset on the beach- beautiful!. Beth and Cary met as students in Texas and followed their first dance with the Aggie War Hymn which had everyone up on the dance floor.

Wishing you both a lifetime of Pura Vida!

Venue-Bahia del Sol resort

Photography by Toh of Bidrop Photography

Cindy and Tim

I first met this incredible couple over a year ago during their trip to Costa Rica to check out property they had purchased here.  After spending only a few hours with them I totally knew I wanted to plan their wedding! Cindy and Tim’s children were high school friends and introduced them to each other. Their focus in planning their wedding was on romance and on the joining of their two families and this reflected in every aspect of their wedding day. Their children were their attendants and Cindy’s two sons walked her down the aisle. Cindy chose a calla lily theme and a soft, yet tropical color palette of pale mango, pale lime green and beige.

Our very best wishes to an amazing couple -Thank you for sharing your romantic and very fun wedding day with us!

Venue- Cala Luna, Photography-El Velo

Real wedding in Costa Rica-Mary and Tyler

Mary and Tyler had traveled here many times and knew that Costa Rica was the place where they wanted to be married. On November 11 they were married on the beach at sunset at Hotel Capitan Suizo. Mary and Tyler were such a fun loving, jovial couple. Tyler preferred being given a wedding sword-yes wedding sword- rather than a ring on his wedding day and Mary complied, where upon Tyler used the sword proudly to cut the wedding cake! Both the bride and groom were accomplished salsa dancers and spent the evening dancing to one of Costa Rica’s top salsa bands.

Wishing a lifetime of fun and adventure to this very special couple!  Awesome photography by El Velo. Mary’s dress by Modern Trousseau.

Beach Wedding Color Palettes

One of the aspects of wedding planning that brides enjoy most is selecting their wedding color palette. Keeping your wedding location in mind when doing this is important. Burgundy and taupe look great in a country club setting but for a tropical beach wedding consider those vibrant colors that reflect in the sunset, the sea and the tropical flora and fauna. Popular palettes I’m seeing for the upcoming wedding season include the orange/coral and fuchsia palette. This combo works so well with the native tropical flowers which are so abundant in Costa Rica and serve as a natural backdrop for weddings taking place here. I love designing the floral bouquets, the decor and the wedding cakes around these palettes because the choices are endless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you cannot go wrong by including one of the many shades of aqua/turquoise into your beach wedding color palette. Tiffany blue has always been a great wedding color. For a vibrant beach wedding theme try pairing it with a coral/orange or fuchsia. If you prefer a beach palette that’s more serene, pale aqua blue and sand is a longstanding winner.