Dream Wedding And A WaterfallWords by Candice Maniga
Photos courtesy of Willa Kveta
Jorge and Lauren realized a traditional ceremony didn’t align with their vision – intimate, adventurous and relating to nature. Unsatisfied with the venues in their area, they searched for the location of their dream wedding and honeymoon. The newlyweds’ dream came true when they said, “I do” in front of the Magia Blanca waterfall in Vara Blanca, Costa Rica.
The bride’s parents – while understanding - weren’t thrilled with their choice in venue, but the issue was resolved by the bride and groom promising to have a reception for everyone unable to attend after their Costa Rican adventure.
With the groom’s immediate family being the only guests and Vara Blanca only an hour away from the airport, there were no travel issues. Overall, the destination couple described their experience to be “absolutely perfect and stress-free.”
“[We] have so many friends who got lost in the planning of the event that it caused strain on their relationships,” the newlyweds said. Luckily, their experience went smoothly with the help of their wedding planner Melanie Marsell and the staff at the Peace Lodge. The couple did their research and realized that having an easygoing planning process wasn’t the only huge perk - they also saved a significant amount by having their destination wedding.
They noticed the local venues they checked out would have been $30,000 for less than 200 people. That “didn’t sit well” with the newlyweds, so they moved on and were able to get their dream wedding and honeymoon for $10,000. Costa Rica was perfect because it not only fit within a lower price range, but it also had all the nature they wanted – rain forests, waterfalls, beaches, wildlife and volcanoes.
After searching the Internet, a wedding package offered by the Peace Lodge Resort caught their attention. “[It] allowed us to get married at a waterfall location which was symbolic to us in our relationship,” the newlyweds said. They used social media – specifically hashtags on Instagram – to find their photographer and gather ideas.
The Peace Lodge staff stepped in for most vendor positions, so Jorge and Lauren were able to communicate their visions via emails, typically receiving responses within a couple days. “Lauren was very particular on her bouquet, wanting a specific flower and color scheme,” Jorge said. “They matched it to a tee. She couldn’t have been happier with the finished product!”
With their savings, they were able to spend on a 4-wheel drive SUV to explore the country, zipline near the Arenal Volcano, kayak through the Ora River and indulge. “My dress and his tux were about a third of the cost,” the bride said. “We also stayed in 5-star hotels for that week!”
Looking back on their wedding experience, the newlyweds advise that future brides and grooms put their happiness above all. “It’s your day – a day that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives and re-tell to your children and grandchildren,” they said. “Make it fun and with little to no stress!”
“Remember this day is supposed to be a representation of the love you share, and a promise you’re both making to each other,” Jorge and Lauren said. “Everything and everybody else is secondary.”
Vendors: Photographer: Willa Kveta, Wedding Planner: Melanie Marsell, Ceremony/Reception Site: Magia Blanca Waterfall, Florist: Peace Lodge Staff, Stationery: Peace Lodge Staff, Cake: Peace Lodge Staff, Gown Designer: Galina Signature from David's Bridal, Gown Style: SWG719, Groom's Clothing Designer: Ted Baker by Nordstrom
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