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Costa Rica Wedding from Slayleigh James Photography + The Special Day

I am completely determined to talk one of my lovely friends into a week-long wedding adventure after spending a little time with this Costa Rica wedding snapped up by Slayleigh James and planned to perfection by The Special Day (complete with stunning florals from Elena Damy Designs). Can you imagine day after day of pure fun with your nearest and dearest? It sounds like the best idea ever, and after taking a peek at these pics, I’m pretty sure it was. See them all here.

And don’t miss their ah-mazing film from the ridiculously talented folks at Elysium Productions


From The Special DayKei & Yusuke being world travelers and adventurers themselves, it was important to them to have a wedding where their family and friends could come together to enjoy a new culture & country together. But the priority was having a location that offered a little bit of everything  for those with the more adventurous spirit several activities to choose from, to those that just wanted to relax at the beach. With guests that lived on both coasts of the U.S., as well as from Japan, Costa Rica was a nice central point being approximately 6 hours from either the West or East Coasts, and being on Central Standard Time, there wasn’t too much of a time adjustment, or jet lag. Manuel Antonio on the Central Pacific side of Costa Rica offered all the various activities and characteristics that Kei and Yusuke were looking for  from surfing, scuba diving, white water rafting, hiking, the beach, wildlife, and logistically not hard to get to, plus being one of the premier destinations in Costa Rica. It was an intimate group of about 40 guests, and we planned a multi-day itinerary of events and group activities so that guests could experience Manuel Antonio & Costa Rica at its best. Late November was just tapering off from the rainy season or green season, but before heading into their peak season. We handled all the planning and organization of each activity & event, the logistics, and provided detailed information via the wedding website, the invitations, and email communication regarding what to expect, the packing list, as well as arranged airport shuttle transportation to/from San Jose Airport down to Manuel Antonio for all guests, which the bride and groom hosted. Even for the casual lunches or dinners, we made the recommendations, handled the reservations, as well as the transportation. This was just a short list, as with all destination weddings we plan, we take care of every detail  we become the travel guide, the concierge, the tripadvisor guide, the consultant, the planner, the logistics coordinator, the translator  sometimes the baby sitter, the driver, the wardrobe stylist, the chef, the bartender, the sommelier, as well as having the positive encouraging attitude to hold a hand and jump in the water together! While there were many group lunches & dinners that we organized for the wedding week, we share here several of the different events and activities pre and post wedding day of Kei & Yusukes Costa Rica Destination Wedding:

Day 1 – Family & Friends started arriving on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of having traditional Thanksgiving style dinner with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, and fixings, we had one of the best local restaurants in Quepos/Manuel Antonio  La Esquina del Sabor cater the dinner, serving tipico Costa Rican cuisine and freshly made tropical juices.

Day 2 – After breakfast at the hotel we took the group for a morning hike to Manuel Antonio National Park, a must see in the area, in which you will see wildlife, flora & fauna, and amazing views of the ocean from various lookout points. Then you can enjoy and swim in the warm ocean, with a picnic along the beautiful beach. Along the hike, we saw sloths, white faced monkeys, a raccoon, lots of iguanas, and a crocodile! After the hike, in the afternoon for the more adventurous spirits, the guests went zip lining through the jungles.. exhilarating to fly atop and through the trees.

Day 3 – Wedding day! Kei & Yusuke didnt want a beach wedding, but a location with an ocean view would be perfect. Villa Vigia  a private estate overlooking Manuel Antonio and the Pacific, set the stage & backdrop for Kei & Yusukes Costa Rica destination wedding day. An intimate wedding ceremony & reception for 40 of their closest family and friends was exactly what the bride and groom had in mind. Appetizers during the cocktail hour included 1. Costa Rican ceviche with coconut milk, ginger and bananas, 2. Patacones (fried green plantain) with refried black beans, 3. French live pate and onion jelly on baguette, 4. Carribean patties (Costa Rican spicy empanaditas) and 5. Trout tartare with berry caper on avocado toast. Wine for the evening was provided by Vino d Vino, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carmenere, Malbec, and Merlot from Cumbres Andinas, Chile. With a plethora of tropical fruits, we had a juice bar to serve passion fruit, pineapple and mango juices, as well as fresh mint lemonade. The bamboo straws are made locally in Costa Rica. Salad: Fresh Hearts of Palm & Pineapple Salad, with Grilled Macadamia. The evenings menu included: Appetizer: Shrimp Tempura with Mango and Avocado Salsa, Entrees: Seabass in a Passion Fruit & Miso Sauce with Braised BokChoy, Beef Tenderloin with Guava and Red Wine Sauce

We ended the night with dancing and even had a salsa instructor to come in and teach guests how to salsa dance!

Day 4 – The day after the wedding, instead of a post-wedding brunch, we started the day a little later (knowing the guests would have a lot of fun the night before at the wedding). Kayaking through the mangroves was a nice and relaxed activity. Heres a description of the activity: Paddle through the smooth inland waterways of the Damas Island Estuary, one of the most unusual types of vegetation on the planet, and learn the importance of this delicate ecosystem. Mangroves thrive where the salt waters of the ocean meet the fresh waters of tropical rivers creating a periodically submerged forest of interlacing aerial roots. Your guide will show you the wealth of animal and bird life that lives in this unique habitat, such as mangrove wrens, swallows and an abundance of shore birds. On the banks of the estuary, youll see the main protagonists of the mangrove ecosystem; the Sally light foot crab, as well as boa constrictors tangled in the aerial roots, silky ant eaters and monkeys in the upper branches and crocodiles slipping in and out of the water. After a relaxing day paddling in the estuary, we headed back to the condos at Los Altos Resort and enjoyed time by the pool and watching the sunset which is one of the amazing scenes because the sky just lights up like fire

Day 5 – One of the activities the bride & groom had on their must do list was white water rafting, which I was happy to oblige with being a white water enthusiast myself. Near Manuel Antonio the Rio Savegre is only about a 50 minute drive  one of the cleanest rivers in the country, with fun class 3 rapids. We took the adventure group for a fun day on the river, with a hike to the waterfalls. The drive to the river is scenic and beautiful as well. Rafting is a great team building & bonding exercise and definitely fun to do as a pre or post wedding activity. You dont need any experience or need to swim to be able to go white water rafting!

Day 6 – A great way to end the week of fun, adventure, and a lifetime of memories on a sunset cruise around Manuel Antonio (this cruise is also a great welcome event if timing appropriate)

Photography: Slayleigh James, Alex Hill | Floral Design: Elena Damy Designs | Planning: The Special Day | Venue: Villa Vigia | Invitations & Stationary: Cherish Paperie | Cinematography: Elysium Productions | Linens: Wildflower Linens | Catering: Citrus Catering | Wine: Vino d Vino | Cake: Mariposa Bakery | Officiant: Jim Mears | DJ + Lighting: DJ Estif of Costa Rica Wedding DJ & Cabo Luna | Rentals: Costa Mesa | Hair + Makeup: Rachel, Costa Rica Hair & Makeup by Monica

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Costa Rica Wedding from A Brit & A Blonde and Four Winds Weddings & Events

You know why I love A Brit & A Blonde?  Well, other than the fact that they are two of the sweetest photogs you will ever meet?  They are crazy talented.  In a way that kind of takes your breath away.  So, when this glorious Costa Rica wedding made its way into my inbox, it was akin to Christmas morning. Because this is a gift that not only features drop-dead gorgeous imagery, but a seriously stunning duo and the beyond beautiful stylings from Four Winds Weddings & Events.  See every last amazing moment in the full gallery.


From A Brit & A Blonde… Crystal and Daniel really wanted a simple and understated event with vintage details. They chose to marry on the beach in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica and host their reception at a nearby mountaintop villa. For the ceremony they featured locally made teak benches. The aisle was lined with driftwood posts and green beach glass salvaged bottles tied with twine. They used bunches of star of Bethlehem for the post vases with a look that was fresh, but muted, as to not distract from the natural beauty of the stunning coastline. For her bridal bouquet, they used blown white roses, star of Bethlehem and mini kumquat fruit for an accent of color. Gotta love that. So fun!

Crystal and Dan live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. And have the cutest baby named Beckett who was by mommy’s side for most of the ceremony as the guest of honour. Included in Crytal’s bridal bouquet was the perfect charm “I love you to the moon and back” – which is a quote from the much loved children’s book Goodnight Moon that Crystal has read to Beckett since the first day he was born. The mustaches that they had on hand for a group shot (and also seen on their save the date and for some fun shots of the two of them) have a personal backstory. It was a “Mustache Party” that actually got Crystal and Dan together back in 2009. Crystal and 3 of her girlfriends found themselves “mustache-less” and had to rectify the situation. Crystal came up with the idea that they could draw a mustache on their fingers – she went into the bar to ask the bartender if he had a sharpie she could use. That bartender was Dan!

The reception decor was designed to compliment the feel of the ceremony. Lovely blue satin napkins, jute burlap and a collection of green beach glass mason jars and bottles that acted as vases. A ceiling of warm cafe lighting and crackle glass candle votives were used at the head table to provide soft lighting for dining. Guests indulged in a three tiered chocolate ganache cake and danced under the stars.

Wedding Photography: A Brit & A Blonde | Event + Floral Designer: Four Winds Weddings & Events | Reception Venue: Villa Paraiso | Wedding Dress: Caroline DeVillo Couture Bridal | DJ: XDJ Costa Rica | Rentals: Eventos Artesanos  | Shoes: Dolce Vita | Groom’s Attire: J. Crew | Catering: Tropical Gourmet

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Costa Rica Wedding from Ale Sura Photo + Costa Rica Destination Weddings

When people ask me for advice on planning their big day, I always say – hire people you absolutely love, trust and admire and you won’t have to worry about a thing. This couple researched away until they could do just that, and came out with a team of talents including Ale Sura PhotoCosta Rica Destination Weddings and Art Flower that made their dream destination wedding a reality. It’s too gorgeous to miss, so join me in getting lost in all the lovely – right here.

From the Bride…Our wedding theme revolved around the colors Coffee, Wood and Green Apple. These are all colors that reminded us of this great country, and joining together on the sand, under an open sky. We were very, very, very picky about our service providers – with the actual attitude of a company mattering just as much as the aesthetics of the event. Relatively simple meetings would turn into 5-hour conversations with companies like Arte Flor (the best Floral company in Costa Rica!). We didn’t want cheesy, overly melo-dramatic wedding photos, so we went with the coolest photographer who basically told us “just let me do what I do and you’ll like the result”. Cool. Sold. We chose a club DJ to do the music at our ceremony. And so on it went. From the smallest detail to big decisions like table settings, we went out of our way to choose something that reflected how unique – and overly picky – we both are.

Despite all this though, we realized that the most important thing for us was that our wedding was FUN. We set up a stand for people to get pipas (think coconuts), a photo booth for silly pictures, a fun lounge for the older attendees, burlap bags of lavender for people to throw half at us as we walked down the aisle and keep half for their baggage. We made everyone a jar of homemade Guava jam. The music started as soon as Mike walked down the aisle and didn’t stop until late at night. At around 10 o’clock we had a Costa Rican specialty – the Carnivale – where costumed dancers, drummers and trumpet players play Rumba music in the midst of the crowd. It got everyone out of their seats, and for the first time ever saw our mothers dancing like they were teenagers.

The weather was perfect. Sunny skies and a light breeze greeted guests throughout the day. Right as the Pastor began to speak the clouds opened to reveal a gorgeous sunset. Some guests even gasped. If we could give any advice to couples looking to get married, it’d be to handle as much yourself as you’re comfortable with, and then trust the people you hire. After all, you know better than anyone what your special day will look like, so fret the details but then as it gets close to the wedding day, relax. It’ll all go awesome. Also, don’t listen to anyone who cares more about selling you stuff than about the love you two share.

Finally, just know that it really is all worth it. As we lay in bed the morning after, slightly hungover but happy as can be, we smiled and said to each other “we did it.” We had gone through all the trials and tribulations a couple could go through: distance, difference of cultures, work issues, illnesses, money problems and still managed to have the perfect Wedding. Moving outside to the balcony we sat on our deck chairs and closed our eyes, the sound of the waves crashing against the beach in our ears. With a lot of work and a lot of help, we did it. 

Wedding Photography: Ale Sura Photo / Wedding Venue: Langosta Beach Club in Tamarindo, Costa Rica / Event Coordinator: Maria Eugenia Roldán from Costa Rica Destination Weddings / Floral Design: Art Flower / Cake +  Pastries: Victoria Zoch / DJ: Marcelo Matos / Wedding Dress: Kitty Chen Couture / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Groom’s Attire: Island Importers / Groom’s Shoes: Kenneth Cole

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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