A Beautiful Week Long Costa Rican Wedding by Jeremie Barlow Photography
When your groom hails from Costa Rica and you’re keen on the idea of hosting a destination wedding, this beautiful country is the obvious location. Courtney and Albert wanted to give their guests the full Costa Rican experience, so they put together a fantastic week of excursions and activities for their family and friends; from a visit to Albert’s family’s coffee plantation, to a ‘Ticos’ versus ‘Gringos’ soccer match, a sunset catamaran cruise, and a welcome party in a beautiful mansion overlooking the ocean, complete with salsa dancers! The week culminated, of course, with their beautiful wedding. Courtney and Albert said “I do” in a breathtaking poolside ceremony surrounded by their nearest and dearest, and some stunning Costa Rican scenery. Over to the lovely Courtney to tell the story . . . .
From the Bride: Choosing a location for our wedding was an easy choice as Albert is Costa Rican, and my first big family vacation was to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. From the beginning we also knew we wanted to create an authentic Costa Rican experience for our guests rather than just hosting a destination wedding on a pretty beach. The first thing I did was interview wedding planners and luckily met the amazing Samantha Kohn from Events and Weddings Costa Rica. She really is Costa Rica’s best wedding planner! Then we decided to create the perfect wedding week by flying our wedding party down the Wednesday before our big day and renting Casa Espanola, an amazing house in the heart of the rain forest, for everyone to stay in. Casa Espanola also served as the site for our welcome ‘fiesta’ where Albert’s family cooked their favorite ‘Tico’ cuisine and dancers put on a salsa show for our guests on Thursday evening. Nothing helps break the language barrier like good food, tequila and dancing! On Friday, we took our guests on a snorkelling and whale watching sunset cruise on a huge catamaran before ending up at Ronny’s Place for burritos and the best sangria in Costa Rica.
For our ceremony location, I chose Costa Verde Hotel’s pool because it not only has a beautiful view but its trees are filled with monkeys – it was by far the most authentic setting! Samantha found our florist, Carlos Gil, who transformed Costa Verde from a somewhat lodgey feel to a luxurious wedding venue covered in white and purple orchids. I wore a gorgeous lace Monique Lhuillier gown, while Albert and his groomsmen wore custom suits. My bridesmaids wore beautiful Melissa Sweet dresses, and everyone had fresh orchids in their hair. My uncle married us, and as we took photographs, our guests enjoyed “pipas” (coconuts filled with cocktails) and listened to one of the best guitarists in the country, David Coto. After cocktail hour, shuttles took guests to our reception site at Costa Verde’s event center where we were all seated for a served seafood dinner. I wanted the feel to be relaxed and exotic, so we chose orange linens, bamboo chargers and huge centerpieces with tropical flowers. To kick off the party, we opted for tequila shots rather than a champagne toast, which was definitely a highlight of the night! Our band, Marta y los del Barrio, got rave reviews from our guests as they mixed both American and Latino favorites. Those who weren’t dancing enjoyed hand-rolled cigars from our cigar roller and took in the views of the ocean below. We ended our perfect night with a ‘carniva’ exit, equipped with masks, drums and limbo!
Our wedding week really was all I had hoped it would be, and thanks to the fact that our favorite photographer, Jeremie Barlow, and videographer, Matt Davis from Lifestage Films, flew down to Costa Rica with us, we are reminded of how wonderful it was every day!
Photography: Jeremie Barlow Photography
Wedding Planner: Samantha Kohn from Events & Weddings Costa Rica
Accommodation Venue: Casa Espanola
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Costa Verde Hotel
Videography: Life Stage Films
Ceremony Guitarist: David Coto
Reception Band: Marta y los del Barrio
Floral Design: Eventos Carlos Gil
Linen & Equipment Hire: Costa Mesa
Brides Gown: Monique Lhuillier
Bridesmaids Gowns: Melissa Sweet
Grooms & Groomsmen Suits: Astor & Black