This romantic, yet relaxed, tropical wedding, will instantly brighten your day! With friends scattered all over the globe, our adorable duo decided on a destination wedding in beautiful Costa Rica, where they had spent their very first vacation as a couple.
With the help of Marianne Fischel of Bliss Weddings, the bride and groom ensured an amazing time with loved ones in the kind of celebration where shoes are optional, laughter and love keep everything flowing and a simple, chic, organic elegance rules the day. Costa Vida Photography was on hand to perfectly document this gorgeous event!
From the bride: My husband Austen and I met nearly eight years ago in Laguna Beach, California (my husband’s hometown). We took our very first vacation together just six months into our relationship. We traveled down to Costa Rica and fell in love with not only the country, but with each other, too. We spent nearly three weeks exploring the west coast, jungle trekking, sun bathing on the beaches, surfing, and eating fresh fruit while lazing in a hammock. It was one of the most magical trips of our life. We got engaged when we lived abroad in Sydney, Australia. When trying to plan where we wanted to have our wedding, the world was, literally, our oyster. A bulk of our family was back home, scattered among The States. But we also had friends in Australia, Europe and Asia. We knew that no matter where we had the wedding, it was going to be a destination wedding for some of our guests, so why not make a vacation out of it for us, too? We made a list of the most important things we wanted to have during our ‘wedding week’: time to spend with those we care about (more than one day), sunshine and warm weather, ocean and beach activities (preferably with warm water), a small-town vibe with a secluded, exotic feel, somewhere close to California, where our parents are located (as traveling would be hardest on them).
The first (and only) destination that felt like it had all that and more was Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. It’s unlike anywhere else (and we’ve been a lot of places). When searching for our venue, we kept thinking-we’re going all the way down to Costa Rica to do this. We might as well go all the way and do it right. We chose to celebrate our marriage at hotel Florblanca with 60 of our closest family and friends. In our humble opinion, there is no better place. They’ve built a gorgeous hotel that seamlessly blends luxury and nature – it’s a fantastic experience. They catered to our every want and need, treated us like family and greeted us by our first names. We felt like we were at home. I was really lucky, Cody (General Manager at Florblanca) recommended Bliss Weddings when I asked about a coordinator. I worked with Marianne for nearly two years, choosing a look and feel, materials, flowers, you name it! She was incredibly helpful, patient and calming. She took care of every detail and I never felt overwhelmed, which is a miracle since I am not fluent in Spanish and hadn’t visited Santa Teresa since we traveled there the first time in 2007. The best part was she was with me throughout my whole wedding day, making sure I had everything I needed, constantly smiling and happy. It was awesome being near her because she gives off such a warm, positive vibe.
Choosing a photographer took a really long time. My husband is a photographer and we are really picky. We do not like a lot of wedding photography. We were looking for someone with a lot of talent, that shoots in a photo-journalistic style. When I ran across Jon’s company, Costa Vida Photography, I knew we had found our guy. I was so worried he wouldn’t be available, but thankfully he was and responded to our enquiry immediately. He was very easy to work with and such a nice guy. He put everyone at ease, was off doing his thing and took photographs without any of us noticing. It was like he wasn’t even there! Maybe it’s just me, but I have been to a lot of weddings where the photographers were so invasive, constantly interrupting conversations and moments. Jon was the complete opposite – he captured every moment naturally. It was such a lovely experience. When we received our wedding photos, I was shocked – they are insanely gorgeous! Every single one. I am so grateful – these are the moments we will be remembering for the rest of our life. The wedding went off without a hitch, everything was taken care of from start to finish. We didn’t have to lift a finger – we were able to enjoy the whole thing and be in the moment. We had the time of our lives! There was so much love, happiness, laughter and everyone was relaxed – that was the most surprising thing for my husband and I. We were at ease from the moment we arrived until the moment we left. We received so many emails and hand written letters from guests after the wedding saying it was one of the most magical nights of their lives. I cannot believe how lucky we were to say ‘I do’ in the cool shade of the trees and party (all night) at Florblanca. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. We can’t wait to come back every March and stay at the place that helped create one of our most beautiful memories.