Tag Archives: tropical wedding

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

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.

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!

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.


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

1 coco locos large tent set up (640x478) cake (2)

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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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)