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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Costa Rica Destination Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of A Brit & A Blonde

Laura and Joshua are longtime travel enthusiasts, so when they opted for a destination wedding, no one was surprised. “If anything, our families and friends were super excited because they were guaranteed a great vacation in the cold winter month of January!” says the bride. The couple regularly travels to tropical places to celebrate the New Year and had been to Costa Rica just six months before getting engaged. Having had such an amazing time at the Zephyr Palace in Herradura, Costa Rica, it was an easy choice for hosting their dream wedding away.

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The couple allotted themselves plenty of time to plan (a little over a year) and say this was crucial in making the process less stressful. It gave their guests plenty of time to book their flights and all of the couple’s first-choice vendors had their date open. What was even more instrumental in Laura and Joshua pulling off their tropical destination wedding was hiring the right wedding planner.

“I had contacted the International Wedding Planners Association who provided me with a list of recommended planners within the country,” says Laura. “Following that, I set up phone calls with five of them based on their websites and online reviews and held ‘interviews’ and asked for draft proposals from each one. Having all of this information allowed us to make a good decision based on their style and ours. It was by far one of the most important parts of the entire process.

“One-hundred percent, use a wedding planner when doing a destination wedding and make sure to pick them carefully! They are familiar with the vendors and are a great resource of information since you have probably never planned a wedding before and they will keep you sane and on track throughout the process. They will also serve as a liaison between you and all the bookings which need to be made and can prove to be very difficult when there are time zone differences and language barriers.”

After a year of organized planning, Laura and Joshua’s wedding finally arrived. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, the couple arranged shuttles to bring large groups of guests from the airport to the hotel a little over an hour away. “This allowed guests to get to know each other from the start and avoided any confusion or issues with ground transportation,” recalls Laura. The couple also arranged transportation back to the airport after the wedding weekend as a final “thank you” to their guests.

After all was said and done, the couple couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day and don’t regret hosting a destination wedding for a second. Interestingly enough, Laura had a friend simultaneously planning a wedding in the couple’s home state of New York and was able to compare resources and pricing. “Our final count ended up being about 85 people [in Costa Rica], whereas if we had it in NYC we would have ended up with 200-plus people. Nonetheless, the price tag would have been much higher.”

This couple has some final words of advice for other couples considering a wedding away. “When planning a destination wedding, there are lots of exciting parts, but there are also going to be things which are out of your control and you just have to go with it. Expect that something will go wrong and issues will arise, but take a deep breath and remember that no one’s wedding goes 100% as planned. The guests won’t notice the minor details that you focus on, so if it doesn’t come out exactly as you had hoped – it’s not the end of the world…it’s the beginning of your married life!”

Vendors: Photographer: A Brit & A Blonde, Ceremony/Reception Site: Zephyr Palace in Costa Rica, Wedding Planner: Samantha Kohn of Events & Weddings Costa Rica, Florist: Christina Coronas with Artflower, Videography: Jonathan Yonkers, Gown Designer: Pronovias, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Vera Wang, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Dessy/Vera Wang, Musicians: Grupo Expresso, Stationery: Serendipity Beyond Design, Cake: Construcciones Dulces, Equipment Rentals: Costa Mesa, Fireworks: Faisa Fireworks

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