Coupled In Costa RicaWords by Candice Maniga
Photos courtesy of Bradford Martens
Crystal’s favorite place to be is at the beach, so when she and her husband Steve were engaged, they knew the question to ask wasn’t could they or would they – the question was “which one?” The two became one in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. “We didn’t want a cookie-cutter destination wedding,” the bride said. “Costa Rica was a nice blend of nature and privacy, but also affordable for everyone.”
Although a destination wedding meant limiting their guest list, friends and family were supportive and – knowing the couple - expected a destination wedding. With the bride’s guests coming in from Florida and the groom’s guests traveling from Texas, two potential hiccups they solved together were the 2 hours and 30 minutes of travel between the airport and resort and their friends not getting to know one another.
Crystal and Steve were able to cover everyone’s airport-to-hotel travel expenses by renting buses stocked with beer and food to transport their guests in groups. “By the time the groups [arrived] at the resort, people were already making friends,” the newlyweds said.
Not every part of the wedding planning went over easily. The bride and groom had to compromise on their date: “The only issue we had was that Costa Rica’s rainy season is during the summer, which is when we wanted to get married,” Crystal said. “We just changed our date to the spring and were good to go!” Any other hitches were handled by their wedding planner, Meaghan Cody of Sweet Pea Events.
“A destination wedding is complicated with language barriers, and even finding vendors in more remote locations can be tough.” the bride exclaimed. “Meaghan handled all of that so we didn’t have to…she really went above and beyond in the days leading up to the wedding!”
As far as finances were concerned, the couple said they would have spent the same if they hadn’t had a destination wedding – the only differences would have been more guests and potentially feeling pressure to have a religious ceremony. Limiting their guest list and having the ceremony they wanted did mean being able to do one thing: splurge.
“The level of luxury we were able to experience for the price, the culture, the memories and having our two groups of friends truly bond over four days was incredible,” the newlyweds said. For such a unique location and wedding, they were overjoyed to have the four days to match versus what they would have had if they had gone the traditional route.
Crystal credited her wedding planner for relieving a lot of stress over decisions and planning. “I can’t stress enough how important having a wedding planner is,” she said. Her advice for soon-to-be brides choosing a planner is to “hire someone who is organized that you trust and get along with.” The bride and groom also had a way to make the planning process something to look forward to: “Steve and I would go out for brunch and mimosas after every wedding-related meeting,” Crystal said.
“Try not to sweat the details,” the bride advised. “Unexpected things will definitely come up, but just enjoy everything because the day goes by so fast.”
Vendors: Photographer: Bradford Martens, Wedding Planner: Sweet Pea Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Tulemar, Ceremony Musician: Crise Ensemble, Rentals: Costa Mesa, Florist: Eventos Artesanos, Stationery: Pink Champagne Paper Co., Hair & Makeup: Hair – Costa Rica Hair & Makeup by Monica, Gown Designer: Grace Loves Lace, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Men’s Wearhouse, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Blush, Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Men’s Wearhouse, Catering: Chef Desiree Brassert, Cake: Mariposa, DJ: Doug Gomez
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