Amanda and Ryan

Costa Rica Volcano Wedding


February 21, 2024
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Megan MCcullor

Known for harboring tree frogs, jaguars and Costa Rica’s most active volcano, Arenal Volcano National Park, a protected area in northern Costa Rica, will forever be a special landmark in Amanda and Ryan’s love story. 

costa rica wedding, amanda and ryan's first look

The couple originally met in true sitcom fashion, Amanda lived in the same apartment complex as Ryan’s best friend. One day, while hanging out in the common area, Ryan and his best friend invited Amanda to join in, not knowing she would soon become a much larger part of their lives.

bridesmaids and groomsmen before wedding

A few adorable babies and an engagement later, Amanda and Ryan began mulling over the idea of saying their vows in a place set apart from the norm. The bride immediately had a vision of a tropical paradise complete with beaches, monkeys and volcanos. That’s when Costa Rica started looking like the perfect destination. 

pura vida welcome sign, bride with bouquet, tropical arch with volcano in background

“We initially chose a resort in Costa Rica with wedding packages but it felt like something was missing,” Amanda tells us.

Drawn to the idea of getting married in front of the Arenal Volcano, the couple began hunting for a wedding coordinator who knew the area and could help point them in the right direction. Amanda and Ryan selected Meghan and her team at Mil Besos who quickly suggested Arenal Koità, a restaurant located in the Hotel Mountain Paradise, as a venue option. 

couple stand at altar

“Neither of us had ever been to Costa Rica prior to the wedding,” Amanda says. “Not knowing exactly what to expect did cause some anxiety, but we were confident we chose a great wedding planner and held our trust in Mil Besos.”

couple exchanging vows, sand ceremony

Ryan and Amanda’s trust was not misplaced as the team’s knowledge and connections with the local vendors saved them a lot of stress and money in the long run! 

After a few days of experiencing the wonderment and relaxation of one of the world’s five “Blue Zones,” the couple and their guests arrived on the wedding day. 

couple celebrate end of ceremony with shot, bridesmaids in blue gowns with Amanda

“We performed a unity sand ceremony along with our two children,” Ryan says. “It was a really fun way to include them in the ceremony. We mailed the combined sand to Unity in Glass, a company out of Texas, that created a sculpture we display in our home.”

tablescape, fresh coconuts with straws and tag, couple celebrate with guests

Framed by a stunning tropical arch made from two columns of native plants and palms featuring pops of pink and white, the couple sealed the promise of “forever” in front of an incomparable view. A celebration featuring fresh coconut drinks, joyous dancing, and gorgeous tropical tablescapes followed.

Pondering what their wedding would have been like had it been held back home, Amanda says:

“There wouldn’t have been a volcano in the background of our wedding pictures…If we had held the ceremony closer to home, we would not have been able to make as many memories with friends and family over the wedding week. We assumed it would have been more stressful and we would have been more involved with the planning and small details.”

tropical reception decor

Not only did the choice to wed away from the mundanity of home life provide a sense of intimacy, but it also allowed Ryan and Amanda the experience of a lifetime, enjoying a new place with their nearest and dearest!

Amanda and Ryan dance and kiss at reception

Vendors: Photographer: Megan MCcullor; Wedding Planner: Mil Besos; Venue: Arenal Koita; Florist: Diana Palomo; Rentals: Costa Mesa Event Rentals; Cake: Jeni Aragón Pastelera; Makeup: Luis Gonzalez; DJ: Xclusive DJs; Gown: Bella Lily Bridal; Men’s Attire: State & Liberty; Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie

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