Costa Rican Rainforest Wedding Inspo-Featured Image

Costa Rican Rainforest Wedding Inspo

March 11, 2022
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Viviana Vieto

Situated on a lush, 2.5-acre tropical reserve in Costa Rica sits a dreamy rainforest respite by the name of Villa La Isla. Encompassed by exotic wildlife, this 8-bedroom villa overlooks the emerald waters of the Manuel Antonio bay and comes fully staffed for exclusive use. You might even say it’s the perfect place for an intimate, secluded wedding.

To help inspire and inform you about the picturesque surroundings and the venue itself, we’re sharing a styled shoot created by a talented team of vendors under the direction of wedding planner and designer, Amiee Monihan of Tropical Occasions. We spoke with Aimee to get the inside scoop behind all the dreamy details!

 How did this styled shoot first get started?
A: The house owners had just finished this new sister luxury home Villa La Isla (sister property and next door to other luxe home and incredibly popular destination wedding venue, Villa Punto De Vista). They had yet to host any actual weddings there yet. Then covid hit and we spoke about how they should market to smaller yet very elegant high styled wedding groups as the house was perfect for these smaller weddings. The house next door can handle weddings up to as much as 100, whereas this house really has a max of 40. So we decided to do a styled shoot to show the beauty of the home in this gorgeous setting.  We also felt strong at times in pushing the idea that weddings did not need to be canceled or even postponed. We wanted to show brides and grooms about the pivot to a more intimate gathering without giving up the feeling of a luxury event.

Q: What was the inspiration for the theme/style of the shoot? How did the location of the shoot influence it?
A: Look 1: The first look I wanted to be a reflection of the actual rainforest and the organic flora that grows all throughout the country from the mountains to the jungles and beach fronts. I added a juxtaposition to that super wild-growing organic feel and mixed in very modern touches from the all-glass table to the black stemware and chargers. While one sits in this house and in this mind-blowing modern design, you are looking at the most gorgeous landscape of trees, jungle, natural growing flowers and it was this mix of these two different visual worlds that I wanted to create in the actual wedding design.

Q: Tell us about the ceremony look. What elements were included and why?
A: Look 1:  I wanted the ceremony to feel as if they were in the actual rainforest. The terrace that is perfect for weddings at the venue has this huge wall of massive bamboo trees mixed with other types of tropical trees. I wanted the ceremony to play off this and feel like it was naturally growing within this setting. We went with a low floral design to not block the beauty happening behind it, yet to just enhance it. The aisleway I wanted to feel as if these are actual greens and floral growing on the floor of the forest. I added a needed modern touch with the ghost chairs to pull in the modern design of the home.

Q: Tell us about the reception look. What elements were included and why?
A: Look 1:  For the reception, We introduced the all-glass table mixed with the black stemware and base plates. We chose to use more traditional paperie than go too modern there and loved the wax seal with place card attached to the menu. I really wanted a mix of styles from the rainforest organic adding in some romantic classical in paperie then the modern furniture rather than keep it one dimensional. Floral was to be again wild, non-symmetrical and a mix of tropicals that grow right in the Costa Rican rainforest to as well roses and other nationally sourced grown floral in the country. I added some fun modern wood and cement cubed taper candle holders that played off elements in the home’s design. This house is so spectacular you cannot help but pull ideas from its sublime architecture.

One important takeaway: In the design, you will see large arrangements at the bases of tables. These are both the aisleway arrangements from ceremonies. There is no reason why any free-standing floral used in ceremonies should not be re-purposed in a reception. Ceremonies typically last 30-45 minutes and reusing floral from your ceremony to enhance your reception (if the arrangement is truly free-standing and easy to move) should not happen. It is as well a nice way to tie both together. So ask your florist or planners if this is possible and it above all has great savings for you to get double usage out of your floral at one price.

Q: How did the team of vendors work together?
A: Great!!! We have an immense talent pool of the greatest wedding professionals in Costa Rica. It was vital that this shoot was in support of all local talent. Every single vendor/ creative partner involved are located in the country with thriving businesses there. We work with all these ppl on a constant basis and we were given the freedom to choose whom we felt would be perfect for this project. We knew with the assemble chosen they would all excel in their roles in the project!

Q: What was your favorite part of the shoot and why?
A: I think, in all honesty, it was the supported artistic freedom. We had been dying to be able to work in this brand new spectacular designed luxury home. The owners of the houses have given us the honor of naming us their top preferred planners for both these homes and they gave us complete freedom in how we went about this shoot. They never asked what plan was and who we would use, they completely trusted us to showcase their insanely beautiful property to its best potential and we did just that.

Having the ability to design freely and then choose the dream team to support your design is every creative person’s dream, scenario. Showcasing high-end cuisine was also another element we wanted to bring to the shoot, so eating the food prepared by the country’s best gourmet chef Torsten Radke executive chef at Ono Cuisine was a BIG bonus!

I was also obsessed with the CAKE! We had told the cake designer a little bit about both designs I showed her mood boards and lots of pics of houses. I asked for an art piece. I wanted a cake that truly felt like it was a piece of art standing alone in the house, and boy did she deliver, it was even more incredible in person!

Vendors: Coordination & Design: Tropical Occasions; Venue: Villa La Isla; Photo & Video: Viviana Vieto; Florist: Stylos y Flores; Rentals: Costa Mesa Event Rentals; Hair & Makeup: Mademoiselle Salon- Priscilla; Paperie: Papeterie Studio; Catering: ONO Cuisine; Cake: Cakeology; Fashion: Boutique Galatea; Natalie’s Fashion: Lis Simon; Pablo’s Fashion: Feliz Ramiro

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