When Molly first asked me about a wedding for 50 people in the Osa Penninsula, I nearly choked on my coffee. Firstly, because the logistics were daunting to say the least and secondly, I’d been wanting to take on such a challenge since putting up my ‘Wedding Planner’ shingle in Costa Rica many moons ago. A full-sized wedding in the midst of the jungle? Completely off the grid? Bring. It. On!! And just to up the challenge factor, Molly was in Germany and moving back to the US just before the wedding. Oh, did I mention we had three months to plan it all and the couple had never been to the Osa, so they were basing it on the groom’s sister’s suggestion?
Challenge…thou art my middle name.
Our decor was inspired by lamps and I wanted to create a ‘lamp’ out of orchids for the ceremony. We had to keep a few things in mind with flowers, namely the lack of fans/air-conditioning in the area and the long, arduous journey down to the Osa. We opted for dendrobium orchids are they are hardy, look beautiful and keep their shape in less than ideal conditions.
Being the end of April, we had the rain to contend with. The original plan was to host the ceremony on the lawn of a rental villa in Matapalo, then head over to El Remanso for cocktails and the reception. Weather was not cooperating so we implemented Plan B – the yoga dojo. Bamboo chairs, hand-woven fans and banana leaves filled with rose petals awaited guests.
The challenges continued with the reception set up. Being a lodge, the guests were all eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the giant palapa. We only had a few hours to transform the space into something that looked totally different for the wedding. As we were so remote, all electricity was via solar panels or a small generator. We had to be very conservative with our power usage, so oodles of lights were out. My idea was to create ‘lamps’ that would illuminate the room while creating a sophisticated dinner club feel, harkening back to the glam of the 1940s. Large cylinders, filled with water and stems of those hardy dendrobium orchids, had custom made lampshades sitting atop lit with votive candles in the shades.
To minimize the amount of rentals we needed, since all the chairs and tables had to hauled down the steep drive via tractor, we re-used the ceremony chairs and added a pop of green for the napkins. The bride sourced the menus, table numbers (via Vera Wang) and small boxes, in which we placed local sweets called alfajores. The result was elegant yet tropical.
For a seating plan, Molly had a ‘tree’ made, with family and friends on different ‘branches’, with orange leaves designating Groom’s connections and fuschia the Bride’s. What a super cute idea!! For more info, check out melangerienyc on Etsy. Makes a beautiful keepsake.
Now, the wedding cake was another challenge. No fans, no air-conditioning to keep it in until the reception so we had to fly in a mini-cake from San Jose the morning of the wedding and have it driven from Puerto Jimenez to the lodge (about an hour on very bumpy roads). To give the cake a bit of height, we had the florist create a cake stand covered in green button mums (another hardy flower).
Speaking of flowers, Molly had her heart set on roses. Now roses and the heat are not great friends, more like slightly hostile acquaintances. Lack of cool accommodations turns roses into droopy, sad little flowers. No problem – we had our florist in San Jose fly the bouquets along with the cake. These are the little solutions to challenges no one teaches you at Wedding Planning School and what makes this job in Costa Rica so darn interesting!
Groom’s cake was lovingly made by the bride’s aunt from a family recipe and carefully wrapped up in customized ribboning. A nice touch was the framed explanation behind the tradition and why it was included in the wedding.
A big thanks to Julie Comfort of Comfort Studio for her fab photography. Congratulations again to Molly and Gabe – nothing like overcoming a challenge to see a wedding come to beautiful fruition! It was truly wonderful and the little touches made it all the more fabulous.
Archives for July 2011
As mentioned here before, Cala Luna, in Playa Langosta, is slated to re-open on October 15.
Check out this 360 degree tour of the renovated villas for a sneak peek of what’s to come…
The beach is a short walk down a little path from the hotel’s gates. At low tide, the beach offers a huge expanse that dramatically edges onto a point of lava rock while at hightide, there is a clearing in the trees that is just beyond waves’ reach. It’s one of the most beautiful wedding spots on the North Pacific.
Wedding receptions can be held in the open-aired Cala Moresca restaurant or Caleta Lounge, both of which are pool side. Menus feature gourmet options and start as low as $35 per person for a served wedding dinner. Bar options include a flat open bar, consumption or bringing your own with a corkage fee of $21 per person (includes mixers).
A boutique hotel, accommodations range from Deluxe rooms ($220 per room) to villas, with 2 or 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living/dining room, terrace, backyard and private pool ($410 – $600). A small wedding group can easily host a very intimate reception in their own backyard at their villa!
With the recent announcement of JetBlue’s super affordable flights into Liberia airport from New York City, I foresee Cala Luna being a very popular wedding location.
Budget airline JetBlue announced new flights from New York’s JFK airport to the Daniel Oduber airport (LIR) in Liberia, in the northwest province of Guanacaste.
Starting November 17, 2011, flights will run Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Flight 1691 leaves New York at 9:40 AM and arrives in LIberia at 2:05 PM. Flights to New York leave Liberia at 3 PM, touching down at 9 PM.
Prices start at only $139 per way! What a deal!!
Crystal and Jarret’s destination wedding at Ocotal Beach, in northwestern Costa Rica, was intimate and filled with love – overflowing, great bunches of heart-singing love! Gorgeous bride, handsome groom (who was a former model), uber-cool family and friends, great location all equal a gem of a wedding. Add in the dreamy photos by El Velo and you have tropical wedding delight!
Look at the pure joy on Jarret’s face when he sees his bride for the first time! How adorable is that little flower girl? For music, we had a typical marimba band, which is the national instrument of Costa Rica and hails from the province of Guanacaste (where Ocotal is situated). Similar to a xylophone, the marimba gives off a lovely, light sound that is very musical and perfect for the beach. The sand ceremony featured glasses with their initial painted on each.
How dashing is Jarret? How breathtaking does Crystal look with her veil all windswept and sexy?
Yellow and white calas popped deliciously against the sapphire blue of the bridesmaids.
Bright tropical flowers, including ginger, birds of paradise, lluvia d’oro orchids, Karen orchids and dendrobium orchids, look so cheery against the ocean backdrop.
In lieu of favors, the couple made donations to the Diabetes and MS foundations, two organizations that hold a special place in their hearts due to health afflictions of close family.
Reception was back at Villa Cascada, with its commanding view of the Ocotal Beach and Gulf of Papagayo. We went for a relaxed, lounge vibe, with cocktail and bistro tables, white flowers, white pillar candles, white paper lanterns and floating candles in the pool.
Mmmm, cupcakes! How sweet love is!
Congratulations, Crystal and Jarret! It was a blast working with you and we wish you many years of happiness 🙂