Mary and Tom’s Costa Rica elopement ended with a fantastic sunset at Hotel Capitan Suizo on May 26. Check out this slide show by one of our favorite photographers Sylvia Guardia at https://vimeo.com/98030359
Choosing your wedding color palette is one of the most fun parts of planning your wedding. For a wedding in Costa Rica the choices are endless. Most color experts will tell you to make sure you consider your venue colors when selecting your wedding color palette. When hosting your wedding in Costa Rica the venue colors are the colors supplied by nature and there are no colors that that clash with nature. Your Costa Rica wedding venue will offer you the back drop of aqua blue of the ocean, the pale beige of the sand, the multi shades of green of the foliage and the reds, purples, yellows and fuchsias of the surrounding tropical flowers.
So now that you know that the sky is the limit for your Costa Rica wedding color palette let’s take a look at some of the colors trending for weddings in 2014.
Coral- The hottest color trend of 2014. What’s not to love about the many shades of coral? It’s vibrant, festive and tropical. It pairs beautifully with greens and yellow. Coral looks great on all skin tones from dark to fair. See more at: The Perfect Palette.
Yellow-Nothing says happy tropical wedding day like the color yellow. The color yellow set against the blue of the ocean and the sky is an unsurpassed and the perfect pick for a tropical color theme. Yellow works well with all the tropical floral colors.
Green-Make it serene and use the color green! Green is just one of those colors that no one dislikes because it has so many hues. When planning your wedding in Costa Rica consider the lighter, cooler shades of green. Mint is very hot for 2014. It’s sweet and sophisticated. Green pairs beautifully with just about any other color and green gives a feeling of coolness which is awesome in warmer climates such as the tropics of Costa Rica.
Orchid-The orchid is Costa Rica’s national flower and they are plentiful and available in an array of hues from pale crème to the darkest richest royal purple. For you wedding in Costa Rica why not take advantage of these abundant tropical beauties and consider an orchid color palette for your wedding.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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 , 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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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)
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)