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.

Rachel and Sandy

I completely enjoyed working with Rachel. She had a vision for her wedding and was a DIY bride. What creativity! The theme was feathers and Rachel used them to decorate her shoes, the wine bottles and did feathers on fish line to “float” surrounding her ceremony decor. It was a joy to be able to experience a couple so in love. Thanks for letting me be a part of your wedding day and thanks to Sylvia Guardia Photography-I love working with you Syl!


(originally published: August 20, 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keri and Angelce

Sometimes you totally connect with a couple and they become truly memorable. This was the case for me with Keri and Angelce married on the beach on July 3 at Hotel Capitan Suizo.Their laid back attitudes and sunny dispositions made them a perfect match. I wish you guys the best life has to offer and hope to see you again very soon! Love the photos-Thanks Margaux Photography.

(originally published: July 17, 2012)

Eleanor and Andrew

A wonderfully simple and chic wedding hosted at Cala Luna by Eleanor and Andrew of San Francisco took place on July 1.  This couple’s love of fun was expressed with lots of pre wedding day planned activities and by ending the evening with a photo booth. A big “Gracias” to JC of El Velo Photography  for capturing the mood perfectly! Eleanor’s dress by Jinza Couture. Shoes by Brian Atwood.

(originally posted: July 13, 2012)

Sarah and Cole

Sarah and Cole, of Wisconsin, were joined by their family and friends for a heartfelt Christian wedding ceremony, including selected readings done their guests at Bahia Del Sol Resort on June 16. Sarah chose calla lilies as the signature flower for her wedding and a white and mahogany color scheme for the ceremony. To provide guests the opportunity to send them a wedding wish, we did a message tree accented with dendrobia orchids to coordinate with the table pieces.

Fishing trips, a spa day and lots of party time at the pool kept guests quite busy during their stay.

Sarah and Cole, we wish you a lifetime of happiness!

Sarah’s dress by Nicole Miller, shoes by Grace. Many thanks for the great photos to JC at El Velo Photography.

(originally published: June 19, 2012)

Jenny and Tavis

Jenny and Tavis, an incredibly stunning couple from Oregon met in middle school ten years ago. Their wedding took place at one of our favorite venues-Hotel Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo. Jenny was a joy to work with and really had an eye for colors and style. She knew she wanted a classically designed tropical wedding- nothing trendy. Using the dark navy blue of the girl’s dresses she chose a color palette of deep oranges, shades of fuchsia and a muted green. Thank you Jenny and Tav or letting us take part in your wedding day.

Dress by Maggie Sattero. Shoes by Candis. A million thanks to Richard May-Great photos!

(0riginally published: June 15, 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa and Daniel

On May 11, Melissa and Daniel of Oregon were married in a beautiful beachfront ceremony at Hotel Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo. Melissa has an incredible sense of humor. Her comedic emails to me often left me LOL. Dan and Melissa met while working the midnight shift together in an Ann Harbor hospital. Melissa’s modern, naturalistic style was complimented with a deep blue color palette. Personal touches for the reception table included monogrammed  wine glasses and luggage tag place cards.

(originally published: May 19, 2012)

Therese and Nathan

The pristine beach at Hotel Capitan Suizo-www.hotelcapitansuizo.com – was the setting for the intimate wedding ceremony of Nate and Therese on May 5. This fun loving couple from Baltimore met in college and had been together for 10 years. On Nate’s third trip and Therese’s second to Costa Rica they decided to be married here. Congratulations to a great pair!

Therese’s dress-Charter Club. Many thanks to Margaux of Margaux Photography for the great phtotos-www.margauxphotography.com

(originally published: May 16, 2012)

Valari and Randall

Valari from Washington state and Randall from Heredia CR met in 2008 while they were both working for Amazon.com in the San Jose area. The Tamarindo Diria was the setting for their wedding. Valari choose the vibrant, tropical color scheme of tangerine and aqua.  Personal details were very important to her and she set her creative skills to work by including a beautiful collection of handmade candle holders which we used on the table and as favors for the guests to take home.

Rather than using a traditional guestbook, Valari choose to have a message in a bottle. Each guest writes them a message on their wedding day and puts it in a bottle. On their first anniversary they’ll open the bottles and read the messages.

To incorporate Costa Rican culture into their wedding Val and Randall included a carnival or comparsa as the grand finale for their day and after a few shots of Guaro I can tell you these North American and Costa Rican families showed that they really knew how to party!

Thank you to Richard May for the great photos-www.weddingscr.com

Most of all thank you to a wonderful couple for allowing us to be a part of your important day. We all wish you many years of happiness!

Bride’s dress by Anjolique, shoes were from Dyeables.

(originally posted: May 12, 2012)

Nichole and Pete

Pete’s family are long time residents of Tamarindo and therefore family and friends from Washington, Oregon and Colorado were joined by several lively Tamarindo locals to celebrate Pete and Nichole’s wedding day.

Venue -Villa Cascada Tamarindo. Wedding dress by Casablanca bridals. Shoes by Badgley Mischka. Photography by El Velo

(originally posted: February 19, 2012)

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