For their first vacation as a couple, Lauren and Austen, traveled from their homes in Laguna Beach, California to Costa Rica. In between eating fresh fruit and surfing the breaks, they trekked through the lush jungles, sun bathed on the shores and dozed off in hammocks.
Three weeks in paradise and they fell in love with not just the country, but with each other. And how could they not? Austen asked Lauren to marry him in Sydney, Australia, while on another one of their globetrotting adventures together.
For a couple who has traveled the world, with friends and family scattered throughout the states, Australia, Europe and Asia, a destination wedding was inevitable for their upcoming March nuptials. They hoped to find a place where their 60 closest friends and family could feel like they were on vacation in a small exotic town with access to warm weather, beaches and excursions.
Narrowing down their list, Lauren and Austen, had one place on their minds and hearts – Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. As veteran explorers with a simple flare, this remote 3-mile surf village on the Nicoya Peninsula would host their most cherished memories.
Venue options and event suppliers are hard to come by in this remote part of Costa Rica, but not impossible. “We’re going all the way down to Costa Rica to do this. We might as well go all the way and do it right.” Lauren explains of their decision to use Florblanca Luxury Eco-Boutique Hotel as the venue for their ceremony and reception, where lush gardens, ocean views and tropical trees play as the perfect backdrop. “In our humble opinion, there is no better place. They’ve built a gorgeous hotel that seamlessly blends luxury and nature – it’s a fantastic experience. They catered to our every want and need, treated us like family and greeted us by our first names. We felt like we were at home.”
With a destination and venue selected, Lauren and Austen next sought out to find a local wedding planner who could blend their California style with the romance and magic of Costa Rica. With a few weddings at Florblanca under her belt, and Santa Teresa being her hometown, they knew they had struck bridal gold with Marianne of Bliss Weddings. From look and feel, fabrics, flowers, and everything in between, they collaborated 2,000 miles apart for two years. “She was incredibly helpful, patient and calming. She took care of every detail and I never felt overwhelmed.” Lauren raves of Marianne.
Now in expert hands, the rest of the details would fall into place, allowing for Lauren and Austen to celebrate with their closest friends and family, showing them where they first fell in love 8 years ago on that first Costa Rican vacation.
| All In The Details |
As the venue for the big event, Florblanca Luxury Eco-Boutique Hotel also provided guest accommodations in their 11 Eco-friendly Villas, oceanfront Surf House and Honeymoon House, which can host up to 35 guests. For those not staying on property, Florblanca assisted with accommodations at nearby hotels and private home rentals. Cody Dillon, General Manager of Florblanca and her tireless team attended to the entire wedding group, coordinating airport transfers, arranging surf lessons, and booking treatments at their award-winning Bambu Spa.
Florblanca’s Nectar Restaurant which hosted Lauren and Austen’s barefoot reception, takes a sustainable approach to their menus, sourcing from the local fisherman’s village and nearby organic farms. The restaurant’s chef worked with the couple to design a menu that highlighted the local flare and access to fresh ingredients.
Choosing a photographer would prove to be the hardest decision for Lauren and Austen. “My husband is a photographer and we are really picky. We do not like a lot of wedding photography. We were looking for someone with a lot of talent, that shoots in a photo-journalistic style.” Lauren expresses of their concern. Fortunately, they stumbled across Jonathon of Costa Vida Photography. “He put everyone at ease, was off doing his thing and took photographs without any of us noticing. It was like he wasn’t even there! He captured every moment naturally. It was such a lovely experience.”
Lauren’s ivory Francine Gown designed by Vatana Watters, available at Anthropologie’s BHLDN, is a romantic accent to this outdoor ceremony, complementing the venue’s natural environment and her glowing natural beauty. The light French Alencon lace, also known as “Queen of lace” suits the destination’s spring, yet warm sunsets. The a-line dress with a stunning scalloped hem and train allowed for the bride to glide barefoot down the white sand aisle.
“We can’t wait to come back every March and stay at the place that helped create one of our most beautiful memories.” Lauren and Austen
Alexandra Avila, Traveling in Heels