Category Archives: wedding planning

Real Wedding | Jennifer + Daniel | Tamarindo, Costa Rica

When Jennifer contacted me to plan her wedding, I liked her immediately. Warm, kind and confident. Jennifer wanted an intimate wedding with her closest family and friends. Classic, elegant, timeless was the style she wanted to reflect on she and Daniels’ wedding day.

Everyone who met or saw Jennifer was stunned by her beauty.  The vendors that witness many weddings secretly voted her dress the best of the year and Jennifer the most beautiful bride. Our efforts to realize the setting she dreamed of were definitely out-shined by her beauty. This was fine with me.. all eyes are supposed to be on the bride!

Deep purple Calla Lillies, ivory Roses and pale-green Hydrangeas were used in the floral details. Pura Vida Weddings is proud to present highlights of this special wedding.


Jennifer + Daniel

Many thanks to:

Colette’s Florist, Jesse Bishop on guitar, Eventos Artesanos for the beautiful tables and lighting, Maravilla Makeup Tricia Espinoza, Juan Carlos with El Velo Photography for capturing the memories.

Costa Rica Wedding Planning-The Advantages of a Beach Wedding

As a wedding planner in Costa Rica I have found that the number one location choice for a wedding ceremony in Costa Rica is the beach at sunset. It’s hard to find a more scenic and romantic setting than the beach with the tranquil sound of the ocean, gentle breezes and the sunset creating a spectacular red glow on the ocean and the tide pools that set the backdrop for the wedding ceremony. However there lots of other benefits that have made the beach the most popular wedding location for a wedding in Costa Rica.

costa rica beach wedding

1. A beach eliminates much of the stress that’s involved with planning a traditional wedding. One of the primary reasons for this is that a beach wedding is quite casual and more simplistic. The back ground for a beach wedding is less involved because it’s created by nature and this   eliminates much of the stress involved in creating a traditional wedding setting.

2. A beach wedding is a much more cost effective choice than a traditional wedding for several reasons. There are no site fees to be paid. There is no need for costly décor. Additionally your wedding attire will be casual, and less costly than tuxedo rentals and expensive attendants dresses purchased at a bridal salon.

3. A traditional wedding setting is usually in a church or in a public venue. A beach wedding is truly unique. A beach wedding allows you to personalize your tropical wedding theme with endless and creative options.  

A beach wedding in Costa Rica is romantic, cost effective, stress free and the perfect way to begin your lives together!

Boutique beach hotel, Nicoya Peninsula

Playa Potrero Costa Rica Wedding

Ashley and Alex were really looking forward to escaping the cold damp winter in Baltimore and spending the week with their family and friends in sunny Playa Potrero.

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Halfway through the planning of their wedding Ashley and Alex realized that they had planned their wedding day to happen the day after the Super bowl. Oh no! The Super Bowl cannot be missed! It was an   easily solved dilemma. We planned a Costa Rica style Super Bowl party in lieu of a rehearsal dinner.

Ashley and Alex surprised their guests by having their sisters officiate at their wedding ceremony. The sisters personalized the ceremony by sharing favorite memories they each had of their siblings and included a reading from The Velveteen Rabbit.

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Following a sunset photo session on the beach the couple entered the reception site under an arch of sparklers.

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Ashley chose a soft muted color palette of pale sage, peach, grey and an accent of coral. The signature flower for the wedding was the rose and was complimented with succulents.

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The fun evening ended with salsa lessons for the entire group.

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A million thanks to Isabella of Ella Photography. It was such a pleasure to work with you and the photos are amazing!

Destination Wedding in Costa Rica-Tips for Planning

For many brides the idea of having a destination wedding has always been their dream.  I’ve been planning destination weddings in Costa Rica for many years and I’d like to share a few pointers to help those brides get started on making their dream destination wedding in Costa Rica become a reality.

1.       Weather

Know the seasonal weather changes of the country where your wedding will take place. Consult with your wedding planner to insure that your wedding won’t be taking place during the dreaded rainy season. Rates are always lower during periods of poor weather. Don’t be enticed by the low rates as they won’t compensate for all day downpours on your wedding day.  Costa Rica has two seasons-green season and dry season. Generally dry season begins in mid -November and ends in early May and rainy season is during September on October on the pacific coast. May, June, July and August are transitional months when there is a chance of rain but usually only at certain times of day. High season (dry season) will provide you with the best weather but it’s also likely that the beaches will be most crowded then and the rates at their highest. Consider hosting your wedding right before or after the high season in May, June, July and August, which are transitional months. You’re very likely to experience good weather and you’ll be able to take advantage of better priced rates on accommodations.

2.       Costa Rica marriage requirements

Marriage requirements vary throughout the world and it’s important to know the legal aspects of being married in Costa Rica and what is required. Costa Rica does not require that you be in country for any specific amount of time before you are married. Your wedding planner will answer all your questions being legally married and will refer you to an attorney who specializes in marrying foreigners. The attorney will take care of all the legal paperwork, translations and filings for you.

3.       Enlist the help of an experienced wedding planner in Costa Rica

For a destination wedding you need to entrust most of your wedding planning to a professional who is experienced at that destination, speaks the language and has an established relationship with the best local wedding vendors.  Choose a local wedding planner who is familiar with the location. She will be your “go to” person who knows all the ins and outs and logistics of securing and working with your venue, flowers, music, rentals etc.

4.       Give consideration to your guests

 Keep your guests informed about weather, local restaurants, tours and trips, hotel rates, airport transports and local currency exchange. This can be done with a wedding newsletter or a wedding website. Post the wedding events and a wedding day schedule on your website so your guests will know what’s happening. Send out your Save the Dates as early as possible to allow your guests to begin watching airfare prices and book their flights well in advance.

5.       Location, location location

Your wedding location will dictate the theme and the over all vibe of your wedding.  A beach wedding in Costa Rica will be tropical, casual and laid back. This vibe should be reflected in the décor you choose, the food you serve, your music and your wedding dress. You can help set the mood for your wedding day by arranging for a group excursion the day before. For a wedding in Costa Rica, your wedding planner will be able to take care of all the excursion details for you.  Consider a canopy touror a sunset snorkel cruise.

6.       Book well in advance

Costa Rica has become one of the most popular destinations in the world for a destination wedding. The best venues and accommodations will book very quickly. The earlier you book your wedding, the larger selection of premier venues and accommodations and hotels you’ll have to choose from.

Checkout what Destinations Weddings has to offer with some additional tips for planning your destination wedding.

Wedding in Costa Rica-What to DIY and what to leave to your Costa Rica Wedding Planner

Adding DIY touches to your wedding is not only a popular trend but also a great way to personalize your destination wedding in Costa Rica.  When planning a wedding in Costa Rica the DIY elements you add will require some special consider because they must be brought in your luggage. Therefore keep in mind that your items need to light weight and they need to travel well. Before you go through the Pinterest boards and pull out craft supplies consider your DIY choices wisely. Many times doing it yourself can cost you more than relying on your Costa Rica wedding planner to supply those extra wedding details.

As an experienced wedding planner in Costa Rica Here are 3 useful DIY suggestions for your wedding in Costa Rica and the 3 wedding elements that are best left to the professionals.

Love this article about DIY and Pinterest 

What to DIY 

1.Invitations- Making your invitations and save the dates are the perfect way to begin adding DIY elements to your Costa Rica wedding and using your DIY wedding skills to save money. Embossed invitations with elaborate font are very costly. Consider making your own invitations instead and give them your personal touch. Make use of some creative craft store papers, a photo software program, and PhotoShop, making your own wedding invitations will save you money and is great way to show off your creativity. For inspiration in creating your Costa Rica destination wedding invitation we like Martha Stewart.


2. Table favors-Let your creativity shine! Pack these little table additions in your luggage and show your guests how artistic you can be. Check out Intimate Weddings – for an idea to make your own coffee bag wedding favors -perfect for a Costa Rica wedding! coffee-favor-bags-1-pic1

3. Welcome gift bags– For your destination wedding in Costa Rica nothing says “I’m so glad you’re here” like a welcome gift bag in their accommodations when they arrive. Make the bags yourself or buy bags and add your creative touches. Fill the bags with handy things your guests will use during their stay and don’t forget to include a personalized welcome note to each guest.

Leave To The Professionals 

1. Wedding Photography-You’ve been told that many of your guests will be taking pictures during your wedding and some of them have really great cameras and a photographic eye. There are many of advantages to hiring a photographer. A professional photographer won’t be socializing or drinking at your wedding and won’t miss any of the important moments or details. A photographer who is experienced in shooting sunset weddings in Costa Rica knows where the lighting is best, what time of day is the best for different kinds of shots, and has a repertoire of tried and true wedding beach photos.  Money spent on a professional wedding photographer, who has experience shooting destination weddings in Costa Rica, will ensure that the photos you will treasure for a lifetime are picture perfect.

2. Music- Of course it’s easy to make a wedding playlist, put it on your ipod, rent a small speaker system and try to provide the music for your wedding. However hiring a band or DJ has a presence, and adds lots of personality to your wedding. They take requests, make announcements, set the pace of the wedding, and watch the crowd to change the types of music they’re playing based on how many people are up dancing. Your ipod playlist is simply…your ipod playlist

3. Wedding Planning and coordinating- Of course you’re organized and have lots of friends and family members who are offering to help you to organize your own wedding. Trying to plan and coordinate your own wedding in a foreign country is a DIY mistake. There is a huge difference in a destination wedding that is self-made and one that’s been planned and coordinated by a professional Costa Rica wedding planner. Having a DIY planned wedding may sound fun, but having a professional wedding planner in Costa Rica coordinate your wedding will provide you with an impeccably organized event and a stress-free wedding day.

For more information about where to spend your wedding dollar and where to DIY check out  what Rustic Wedding Chic has to say.





Hire the right wedding planner in Costa Rica

When planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica hiring a wedding planner is an added cost, but is essential and will always save you money, time and stress! The key is to hire the RIGHT wedding planner and many brides don’t realize that they have choices. Basically there are two types of destination wedding planners, each being very different in what they can offer their clients and the level of wedding services they can provide to you.

One of these two wedding planner choices is the in- house wedding planner, or a venue coordinator. This type of wedding planner is an employee of the hotel or resort and is working for the venue-They are NOT working for you.  In house or resort wedding planners will tell you that they will plan your wedding for free….. And we all know nothing is really free.  The in house planner’s job is to bring in business and sell rooms for the resort and to sell you lots of added wedding products (that the resort promotes) and make money for the resort. Resort planners will sometimes offer you a lower priced wedding package which includes a few essential wedding components and usually lots of things you really don’t want or need. Brides who scrutinized these packages will see that that after purchasing the package and adding the necessary items that are not included the price will sky rocket. Your wedding décor, music and detail choices will be limited to the vendors and products that the resort promotes.

The other choice that brides have when planning their wedding in Costa Rica is to hire an experienced, independent wedding planner. An independent wedding planner is working for YOU not a resort. They work with you to help you keep your wedding budget in check. Independent wedding planners in Costa Rica are able to offer you a vast selection of services and products in all price points and will negotiate on your behalf to save you money.   They will provide you with a personalized level of service, including expert wedding design and deliver exceptional quality and attention to detail. Additionally most independent wedding planners are fluent in English and in many cases it their first language so nothing is ever lost in translation.

Having an independent Costa Rica wedding planner on your side is the first step to staying within your wedding budget and having the wedding of your dreams. Their fee is an expense that any cost conscience bride cannot afford to be without and in almost all cases an independent wedding planner will save you their fee and more on your overall wedding costs.

We love this article from The Wedding Channel about why you need the right wedding planner.


Wedding in Tamarindo Costa Rica-Jill and Jack

This charming couple from Illinois chose one of our favorite wedding venues, Hotel Capitan Suizo to exchange their vows in a simplistically tropical wedding setting surrounded by their family and friends on December 7. Working with Jill in planning her Tamarindo wedding was a complete pleasure. She selected Costa Rica as the location of her wedding because she wanted the naturalistic backdrop of the sand and the surf to showcase her wedding and its yellow color palate which was stunning.

Thank you Jill and Jack for letting us be a part of your wedding day!

tamarindo wedding vows

jills cake