There are some locations in Costa Rica that are more challenging than others – waaaay more challenging! The Osa Penninsula is one of the most remote parts of the country and has been called “Costa Rica’s Amazon”. Up until the past year, the road was a sloppy, bumpy, bone-jarring ride that was more pot-holes than pavement, taking upwards of nine hours to make the trek to the capital city. Thankfully, new pavement has been put down and the ride from San Jose is about six hours through some of the most stunning views in the world. Shira and Richie wanted to marry in Matapalo, famed for it’s remoteness, killer surf breaks and closeness to the famed Corcovado National Park. How remote is Matapalo? From Puerto Jimenez (the closest town), it’s another 45 minute drive on dirt roads, through creeks and rivers into the deep jungle. There is one little restaurant/bar, no power lines or phone lines and no stores. It’s pure jungle, baby. Here, jaguars, tapirs and pumas roam through the thick, dark forests while thundering surf pounds against the golden-sand beaches. It’s like the land that time forgot and a must-see for anyone who loves nature as half of all of Costa Rica’s wildlife is found here.
Shira had tried to plan the wedding from the States and was running into roadblocks, mainly from people who said an elegantly modern, 50 person wedding couldn’t be done. Luckily, she found us. I’ve dreamed of planning a wedding in the Osa for years but never had the right client or group who could embrace the wildness of the Osa. Remarkably, another couple of mine married in the same lodge only a couple of months before Shira and Richie’s wedding (Fate is so funny that way).
Logistically, it’s definitely a challenge to schlep rentals and flowers to the Osa. But then the ante was kicked up a few notches when Shira and Richie decided to hold the ceremony at the villa they were staying in, Tres Palmas. Incredible views but the scariest road I’ve ever driven on (and I don’t scare easily). Seriously – 10 minutes of white-knuckled 4 X 4 driving down a steep dirt road with a sheer drop off on either side. I still get cold sweats thinking about that drive! But the view – totally worth the grey hairs and minor heart attack.
And just to make things even more interesting, the day before Shira and Richie flew out of California, the groom tore his achilles tendon playing basketball. Ouch. But being the troopers they are, our intrepid couple wouldn’t let a cast get in the way of an awesome week of wedding festivities. Even rain couldn’t dampen their spirits.
Life always has a way of working out, I think, and minutes before the ceremony, the clouds cleared. Racing against light, we had mere minutes to reset the ceremony on the deck so Shira could realize her dream of marrying under the sky. Everyone pitched in, carrying their chairs, helping move the chuppah with true ‘we’re all in this together’ buoyancy. And within five minutes, we were off and away, the gorgeous chuppah against the green jungle and endless blue ocean.
After the ceremony, everyone made the harrowing ride back up the hill to the eco-lodge El Remanso up the road. Now, planning a wedding where there is limited power, no fans and no air conditioning makes the job a lot more interesting. For one thing, I had to consider how the flowers would hold up to the heat and humidity (and long, bumpy drive) without the benefit of AC during the set up. We decided to use dendrobium orchids, as they are not only so elegant but ridiculously hardy. Shira wanted a clean, modern look that had elements of the ocean interwoven throughout. We created an aqua blue palette with sheer overlays, blue glass votive holders and blue-tinted water (all those vases are clear glass, really!). Seashells were submerged in vases with floating candles and a chandelier covered in hundreds of seashells, lit with battery-operated votives, was the focal point (tip: we purchased a metal chandelier from Save-On Crafts and spent hours hot-glue gunning various seashells onto it). Since all the guests had been eating their meals in the same dining space during the week, we had to get creative as to how to transform the space into a ‘wow’ wedding venue and minimize the amount of electricity we needed. Our solution? Sheer fabric with lines of fairy lights streamed out from the chandelier, draping down the corners of the massive bamboo palapa. And lots of candles…
Antique-gold chargers, turquoise napkins and custom-made menus rounded out the table decor, creating a sophistication that seamlessly integrated into the rustic setting.
Shira had some wonderful DIY elements to the decor, such as the adorable banners for the cake table that read ‘Sweet Love’ and ‘Wishes’ for the guest book table. Rather than having guests sign a book, she made funky ornaments out of paper and ‘bricabrac’ that folks wrote their wishes on and then hung on the ‘wish’ tree that was anchored in a vase of seashells. And the adorable lips and mustaches on a stick were made by photographer and crafter extraordinaire, Julie Comfort, for the photo booth. Too cute!
And the cake – tiny but adorable! The LOVE atop was made of fondant and modeled after the famous Robert Indiana design. Since there was nowhere cool at the lodge to store the cake overnight, we had to fly it in the morning of the wedding to Puerto Jimenez and then drive it back to the lodge. Adventures in wedding planning, to be sure.
One of the most logistically challenging events I’ve planned but also one of the most lovely and gratifying. A few days after Shira and Richie had returned home, this touching note found its way into my in-box…
We just got home last night and I wanted to take a moment to thank you for an unbelievably incredible job. Everyone was blown away at your work. You truly know had to transform the jungle into a magical venue. Rumble in the jungle!?!!
Thank you for all of you planning over the last few months. You believed in our vision and made it a reality when others had doubts. You inspired me to keep dreaming and shared your expertise. It was amazing to work with someone that I had so much confidence in and the ultimate result was so much more than I could have even imagined. I cant believe how seamlessly the entire weekend went from start to finish, considering the venue, location etc.
You are incredible at what you do!!
Thank you again for everything from the bottom of our hearts!!!
Take care and stay in touch!
Shira and Richie
Much love and thanks to you both! We had an incredible time planning the ‘impossible wedding’ and are still smiling over how incredible it all turned out (and the dancing!! Did I mention the dancing?!).
Thanks to Comfort Studios for the fabulous shots!
Archives for March 2011
I was going through photos and realized I hadn’t blogged Jessica and Doug’s sweet wedding at Bahia del Sol. Their’s is a love story of letters and words – though there was a huge physical distance between them during their courtship, Doug’s beautiful poetry kept him close to Jessica’s heart. When they decided to marry on the sunny beaches of Potrero, I worked with them to weave in elements of Doug’s poetry into the celebrations.
We created a structure out of bamboo as pedestals and layers of colourful, tropical ginger, Birds of Paradise and leaves. So perfect for a bright, beach wedding!
The bride’s bouquet was a collection of cheerful tropical flowers, such as ginger, lluvia d’oro orchids and Birds of Paradise.
The ceremony was held on the lawn in front of the quiet beach. Mixed rose petals added a zip of colour to the aisle (tip: if having your ceremony on the beach or a lawn, consider some kind of color for the aisle as it adds visual oomph).
Attached to the fans, we included the engagement poem Doug wrote to ask Jessica for her hand. How romantic! At the dinner table, we included a poem as the backing for the menu and had table runners silk-screened with another.
To help guests keep their cool, we created a water bar. People could infuse their still or sparkling water with fresh limes, cucumbers, basil or thyme. Easy and interactive.
For the reception, we created a majestic Imperial table, with white linens, the custom-made runners, oodles of bright Birds of Paradise and candles. Set in the midst of Bahia del Sol’s seaside garden, it was warm, cozy celebration al fresco. Day or night, the table looked so inviting.
Congratulations again to Jessica and Doug – may your marriage continue to inspire words of beauty now and always.
Many thanks to the uber-talented Dan Power for the photos and Bahia del Sol for all their help.
Just returned from Tamarindo and workers are busily preparing Cala Luna to reopen sometime in December. Don’t have all the details quite yet but that’s the latest buzz. Things have really fallen into disrepair so will take some work to get the hotel back in ship-shape.
A group of local wedding planners – Tropical Occasions, Liquid Weddings and yours truly, Weddings Costa Rica – recently pitched in to repair the bridge and stairs leading from Cala Luna to the beach (a popular spot for weddings). A huge thanks to all and to Maria Eugenia Roldan of Costa Rica Destination Weddings for spear-heading the repairs.
Now, this is not a professional photo, as I took it on my iPhone (and there is a reason why I’m a wedding planner, NOT a wedding photographer) but I wanted to share how something as simple as those little Christmas lights can totally transform a space. Rows upon rows of little white lights suspended with fishing line give an ethereal look to an already incredible space. Great lighting can add oodles of decor ‘punch’ and great bang for your buck.
Are you incorporating some interesting lighting in your celebration?