Costa Rican Real WeddingWords by Lauren Marshall
Photos courtesy of Kevin Heslin Photography
Rohid Ahmed and Radha Morar wanted a wedding that fused the traditional ceremonies of their heritages with the intimacy often brought by a destination wedding. They so eloquently answered our questions that we left the couple's answers to share their Costa Rica wedding journey and advice best!
Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?
Traditionally Indian/Pakistani weddings are a big affair with lots of people over a three-to-four day period. We wanted a traditional wedding but also wanted it to be an intimate affair with our closest family and friends. Our families are scattered all over the world and we wanted to share a new place with them. [Our venue], Villa Punto de Vista, allowed us to share a home with our immediate families throughout the wedding and served as an excellent wedding venue!
How did your family and friends respond to the decision? If any of them had a negative reaction, how did you resolve it?
Initially, our families did not understand the appeal of a destination wedding and culturally, it is not well accepted to exclude extended friends and family from a wedding due to capacity constraints. Fortunately, with time, we were able to convince our families of a destination wedding.
How/why did you choose the location/destination? Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?
We chose Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica because it had everything we were looking for: facilities and vendors to host a traditional Hindu Ceremony, a beautiful villa that could serve as a venue and could be used for lodging and idyllic views. Our experience at Villa Punto de Vista was beyond our wildest dreams, the staff made the stay a once in a lifetime experience for all of us and having access to the beach and the pool during the downtime between wedding festivities was extremely relaxing. The biggest issue was that Manuel Antonio is quite a drive from the San Jose airport. With some planning on our end and a lot of help from Weddings Costa Rica, we were able to organize transportation for our guests.
How would you describe your overall experience of planning a destination wedding?
The process could have been very stressful, likely more so than a local wedding, but this was not the case for us. There will always be stressful moments when planning something this important, but our wedding planner, Weddings Costa Rica, made all the difference. Our planner made the process of organizing this wedding manageable. Her level of organization, responsiveness and professionalism is what made this 3-day wedding possible for us.
Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples?
We used a wedding planner and in turn, the vendors that she referred us to. Her recommend people really narrowed down our choices and her recommendations and professional reputation gave us confidence in the vendors that we selected. We only hired vendors that our wedding planner had used for previous events, which gave us confidence that things will run smoothly on the day of.
Did you include any do-it-yourself projects in your wedding/reception?
We planned party favors for each day of the event: sunglasses, bangles and local organic truffles.
What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
We traveled twice to Manuel Antonio prior to the wedding to get the lay of the land. Through our experience, we were able to provide our friends and families with travel tips and information regarding rental cars, driving conditions, hotels, transport companies, etc. Our planner assisted with arranging transportation for guests who didn’t want to drive and transportation for everyone not at the villa to-and-from the villa to their hotels. We did encounter some issues, but they were minor and we had our planner by our side to assist along the way.
How were you able to coordinate with vendors from afar? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
We had a Skype chat with our photographer and wedding planner but other than that we mostly communicated via email or in-person during our two trips with each of our vendors. There were no issues with communication; thankfully everyone was very prompt and professional.
Do you feel you spent more or less money by choosing to do a destination wedding?
I believe that in the end, we spent about the same amount of money for a much more unique and exciting experience. A wedding at home would have had approximately 200 guests vs 90 guests at our destination.
How do you think your wedding would have been different had you not hold it away from home?
I believe our wedding would have been beautiful at home but far less intimate. We really wanted to give our family and friends a new experience and allow them to see a new place and culture. This would not have been possible at home.
Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?
I believe that if you can identify a good wedding planner, they can help to relieve most of the stress that comes with planning a destination wedding. As working professionals, our schedules do not allow us to dedicate a lot of time to organize a destination wedding, which is why we would always recommend a great planner to assist with the heavy lifting. Ultimately, regardless of whether one is planning a destination or a local wedding, minor hiccups will arise, but the most important thing to remember is to stay in the moment because it goes fast.
Vendors: Photographer: Kevin Heslin; Wedding Planner: Larissa Banting with Weddings Costa Rica; Ceremony/Reception Site: Villa Punto de Vista; Stationery: Minted; Hair & Makeup: Melania DaSilva Deaver & Carolina Lera with Mademoiselle Salon; DJ: Outspoken Vision Entertainment
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