It’s impossible not to love this couple. When a bride asks the officiant if she can kiss her husband before THE kiss, it’s not only the cutest thing ever, but it’s a one way ticket into this bloggers heart. Their wedding in Costa Rica was beyond breathless. Captured forever in a super smile inducing film from Life Stage Films, this wedding has burrowed straight to the place in my heart which is reserved solely for cute brides in lace gowns on beautiful tropical beaches.

From Life Stage Films … There is nothing like a good destination wedding especially when it involves such a diverse group of extremely nice people.Albert & Courtney’s wedding was like no other I have experienced. From the moment we got there we were family and we could feel the excitement in the Costa Rican air. The weekend started off with a Yacht Party & Rehearsal Dinner surrounded my the majestic backdrop of Manuel Antonio.

But that night was just a warm up for what was next. The wedding day started calm as the bride & groom got ready at separate locations with their groomsmen and bridesmaids. Then the day started to speed up as the ocean front ceremony began. After that, a photo shoot on the beach, followed by dinner & tequila shots and then the BEST dancing I have ever seen at a wedding. The rest of the night was a huge party complete with masquerade masks and a great band. It was by far the best way to end Courtney & Albert’s wedding. I feel so privileged that I got to be a part of their wedding and that my camera was there to capture the blending of families, friends, & cultures.

From the bride … Our relationship has never been conventional, and neither was our wedding! A few months after my husband and I met, I moved to London, England for graduate school. After a year of being oceans apart, I moved back to the U.S. but took an internship in New York City, while he remained with his job, and more importantly his daughters, in North Carolina. (Thank God for Skype!) While I was like most twenty-somethings and had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, I knew one thing for sure – that I wanted to be with Albert. So naturally, I proposed to him in Times Square. Sadly, he said no, but a few months later he caved and got down on one knee himself. And that’s how the wedding of our dreams came to fruition!

Choosing a location 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 guests rather than just hosting a destination wedding. Ultimately, we decided to fly our wedding party down the Wednesday before and rented Casa Espanola, an amazing house in the rainforest, so we could all stay together. Casa Espanola was also the site for our welcome party on Thursday evening, where Albert’s family cooked some of their favorite “tico” cuisine and dancers put on a show before teaching all the “gringos” to salsa. Nothing helps break a language barrier like good food, tequila and salsa!

For our ceremony location, I chose Costa Verde Hotel’s pool because it is in the heart of the rain forest – iguanas and monkeys included! With the help of Samantha Kohn at Events & Weddings Costa Rica, I knew we could transform Costa Verde’s somewhat “lodgy” feel to a luxurious and exotic wedding venue. It was honestly shocking to see how amazing the pool area looked after Samantha and our florist, Carlos Gil, were done covering everything with white and purple orchids. The ceremony could not have been more perfect! I wore a gorgeous lace Monique Lhuillier gown, while Alb and his groomsmen wore custom suits. The view from the pool was breathtaking, and it was so special to hear Albert’s personal vows. 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. The only thing missing was my grandparents who were unfortunately unable to make the trip, so we Skyped them in to watch the ceremony. (Once again, Skype saved the day!)

After cocktail hour, shuttles took guests to our reception site at Costa Verde’s event center where we were all seated for a served 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 turned out to be a huge hit! Our band, Marta y los del Barrio, got rave reviews from our guests as they mixed both American and Latino favorites, and those who weren’t dancing were enjoying hand-rolled cigars from our cigar roller. I have never seen my husband dance the way he did that night! We were both just so happy! We ended our perfect night with a “carnival” exit, equipped with masks, drums and limbo.

Our wedding week was truly “us”, and thanks to the fact that our favorite photographer, Jeremie Barlow, and videographer, Matt Davis at Life Stage Films, flew down to Costa Rica with us, we are reminded of how amazing it was every day.

Cinematography: Life Stage Films / Photography: Jeremie Barlow Photography / Second Shooter: Adam Gilbert / Designer + Planner: Samantha Kohn, Events & Weddings Costa Rica / Band: Marta y Los Del Barrio / Venue: Costa Verde Resort / Flowers: Eventos Carlos Gil / Cake: Victoria Zoch / Rentals: Costa Mesa

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