- Pelican Hill Wedding || Quan Quan & Hao || Photography by Z&Liverpool Studio
- Costa Rica Destination Wedding || Kei & Yusuke || Manuel Antonio
- Costa Rica Destination Wedding || The Wedding Week || Adventure Wedding
- Hollywood Glamour Wedding|| Jana & Andy
- Ladurée Inspired Wedding || Mona & Vince
- Pelican Hill Wedding || Candy & Hao’s Same Day Edit || by Elysium Productions
- Palm Springs Wedding || Featured in The Knot Southern California 2013 Magazine
- Montage Laguna Beach Wedding || Amy & Jeff || Photography by Gabriel Ryan
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If you haven’t seen the activities & adventure filled week to celebrate Kei & Yusuke’s wedding, please be sure to see it here. Kei & Yusuke chose Costa Rica for their destination wedding due to its central location between the U.S. East & West Coasts where their guests were traveling from, and for all the activities they wanted their guests to be able to enjoy including surfing, zip lining, white water rafting, hiking, beach, etc. They didn’t want a “beach” wedding, but a location with an ocean view would be perfect. Villa Vigia – a private estate overlooking Manuel Antonio and the Pacific, set the stage & backdrop for Kei & Yusuke’s Costa Rica destination wedding day. An intimate wedding ceremony & reception for 40 of their closest family and friends was exactly what the bride and groom had in mind.
Kei & Yusuke’s daughter, Mei-chan, who was the little flower girl.
We collaborated with the uber talented Elena Damy Designs to provide the beautiful florals & tablescapes.
Appetizers during the cocktail hour included 1. Costa Rican ceviche with coconut milk, ginger and bananas, 2. Patacones (fried green plantain) with refried black beans, 3. French live pate and onion jelly on baguette, 4. Carribean patties (Costa Rican spicy empanaditas) and 5. Trout tartare with berry caper on avocado toast.
Wine for the evening was provided by Vino d Vino, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carmenere, Malbec, and Merlot from Cumbres Andinas, Chile.
With a plethora of tropical fruits, we had a juice bar to serve passion fruit, pineapple and mango juices, as well as fresh mint lemonade. The bamboo straws are made locally in Costa Rica.
The evening’s menu included:
Salad: Fresh Hearts of Palm & Pineapple Salad, with Grilled Macadamia
Appetizer: Shrimp Tempura with Mango and Avocado Salsa
(photo by guest, Sona Terai)
Entrees: Seabass in a Passion Fruit & Miso Sauce with Braised BokChoy
Beef Tenderloin with Guava and Red Wine Sauce
(photo by guest, Sona Terai)
Then there was dancing… (we even had a salsa instructor to come in and teach guests how to salsa dance!)
And then… it’s not a party until someone goes into the pool (well, all the men ended up getting tossed into the pool)
See the highlights film (with the insanely gorgeous sunset time-lapse) by Elysium Productions
Venue: Villa Vigia
Photography: Slayleigh James – Alex Hill
Cinematography: Elysium Productions
Floral Design: Elena Damy Designs
Catering: Citrus Catering
Wine: Vino d Vino
Cake: Mariposa Bakery
DJ & Lighting: DJ Estif of Costa Rica Wedding DJ & Cabo Luna
Rentals: Costa Mesa
Linens: Wildflower Linens
Invitations & Stationary: Cherish Paperie
Officiant: Jim Mears
Hair & Makeup: Rachel with Costa Rica Hair & Makeup by Monica
A very special thank you to Jorge, Karen, Aimee, Cara, Leo, Schatzi, Esteban, Ariane, Anahi, and Kent – our friends from Costa Rica that provided invaluable help to us!
Kei & Yusuke being world travelers and adventurers themselves, it was important to them to have a wedding where their family and friends could come together to enjoy a new culture & country together. But the priority was having a location that offered a little bit of everything – for those with the more adventurous spirit several activities to choose from, to those that just wanted to relax at the beach. With guests that lived on both coasts of the U.S., as well as from Japan, Costa Rica was a nice central point being approximately 6 hours from either the West or East Coasts, and being on Central Standard Time, there wasn’t too much of a time adjustment, or jet lag. Manuel Antonio on the Central Pacific side of Costa Rica offered all the various activities and characteristics that Kei and Yusuke were looking for – from surfing, scuba diving, white water rafting, hiking, the beach, wildlife, and logistically not hard to get to, plus being one of the premier destinations in Costa Rica. It was an intimate group of about 40 guests, and we planned a multi-day itinerary of events and group activities so that guests could experience Manuel Antonio & Costa Rica at its best. Late November was just tapering off from the rainy season or “green season”, but before heading into their peak season. We handled all the planning and organization of each activity & event, the logistics, and provided detailed information via the wedding website, the invitations, and email communication regarding what to expect, the packing list, as well as arranged airport shuttle transportation to/from San Jose Airport down to Manuel Antonio for all guests, which the bride and groom hosted. Even for the casual lunches or dinners, we made the recommendations, handled the reservations, as well as the transportation. This was just a short list, as with all destination weddings we plan, we take care of every detail – we become the travel guide, the concierge, the tripadvisor guide, the consultant, the planner, the logistics coordinator, the translator – sometimes the baby sitter, the driver, the wardrobe stylist, the chef, the bartender, the sommelier, as well as having the positive encouraging attitude to hold a hand and jump in the water together! While there were many group lunches & dinners that we organized for the wedding week, we share here several of the different events and activities pre and post wedding day of Kei & Yusuke’s Costa Rica Destination Wedding:
(all images by Slayleigh James Photography – Alex Hill, unless otherwise noted)
WELCOME DINNER – Costa Rica Destination Wedding
Family & Friends started arriving on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of having traditional Thanksgiving style dinner with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, and fixings, we had one of the best local restaurants in Quepos/Manuel Antonio – La Esquina del Sabor cater the dinner, serving “tipico” Costa Rican cuisine and freshly made tropical juices.
MANUEL ANTONIO PARK HIKE & ZIP LINING
Costa Rica Destination Wedding
After breakfast at the hotel we took the group for a morning hike to Manuel Antonio National Park, a must see in the area, in which you will see wildlife, flora & fauna, and amazing views of the ocean from various lookout points. Then you can enjoy and swim in the warm ocean, with a picnic along the beautiful beach. Along the hike, we saw sloths, white faced monkeys, a raccoon, lots of iguanas, and a crocodile!
After the hike, in the afternoon for the more adventurous spirits, the guests went zip lining through the jungles.. exhilarating to fly atop and through the trees.
MANGROVE KAYAKING – Costa Rica Destination Wedding
The day after the wedding, instead of a post-wedding brunch, we started the day a little later (knowing the guests would have a lot of fun the night before at the wedding). Kayaking through the mangroves was a nice and relaxed activity. Here’s a description of the activity:
“Paddle through the smooth inland waterways of the Damas Island Estuary, one of the most unusual types of vegetation on the planet, and learn the importance of this delicate ecosystem. Mangroves thrive where the salt waters of the ocean meet the fresh waters of tropical rivers creating a periodically submerged forest of interlacing aerial roots. Your guide will show you the wealth of animal and bird life that lives in this unique habitat, such as mangrove wrens, swallows and an abundance of shore birds. On the banks of the estuary, you’ll see the main protagonists of the mangrove ecosystem; the Sally light foot crab, as well as boa constrictors tangled in the aerial roots, silky ant eaters and monkeys in the upper branches and crocodiles slipping in and out of the water.”
(Images Courtesy of H20 Adventures Costa Rica)
After a relaxing day paddling in the estuary, we headed back to the condos at Los Altos Resort and enjoyed time by the pool and watching the sunset which is one of the amazing scenes because the sky just lights up like fire…
WHITE WATER RAFTING – RIO SAVEGRE – Costa Rica Destination Wedding
One of the activities the bride & groom had on their must do list was white water rafting, which I was happy to oblige with being a white water enthusiast myself. Near Manuel Antonio the Rio Savegre is only about a 50 minute drive – one of the cleanest rivers in the country, with fun class 3 rapids. We took the adventure group for a fun day on the river, with a hike to the waterfalls. The drive to the river is scenic and beautiful as well. Rafting is a great team building & bonding exercise and definitely fun to do as a pre or post wedding activity. You don’t need any experience or need to swim to be able to go white water rafting!
The guides making sure our transportation is making it through the mud roads.
(Images Courtesy of H20 Adventures Costa Rica)
(Image Credit: Slayleigh James – Alex Hill)
MANUEL ANTONIO SUNSET CRUISE – Costa Rica Destination Wedding
A great way to end the week of fun, adventure, and a lifetime of memories on a sunset cruise around Manuel Antonio (this cruise is also a great welcome event if timing appropriate).
Stay tuned for our next post about Kei & Yusuke’s Wedding Day!
A special thank you to Jorge, our expert guide! Mil gracias a ustedes… Pura Vida!
Of course every couple is extremely important to us, but for Jana & Andy’s wedding, we were extremely ecstatic because Jana is one of our own. Jana was the first ever intern for The Special Day many many years ago when she was still attending Cornell University in the Hotel & Hospitality Mgmt School. Jana being a seasoned planner herself practically wanted her own walkie talkie & earpiece the day of their wedding. Here’s their story as told by Jana:
“When Andy proposed to me in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid, I immediately began planning our wedding in my head. Although no decisions had been finalized by this point, there was one thing I was certain of – I wanted to get married at a beautiful architectural complex like the Royal Palace. Luckily, Andy was on board with my idea.
And so our search began for the perfect wedding venue. We wanted to get married in a building filled with history and personality. We thought,“ What better place to search for such a building than the heart of LA – Downtown LA!” With the help of our fabulous wedding coordinator (Carolyn of The Special Day) and caterer (Nathaniel of Contemporary Catering), we discovered The Majestic Halls, the former Bank of America building. When we saw this architectural masterpiece, we immediately fell in love with its style and distinction from other venues in Los Angeles. Its timeless and regal historic value was perfect for what we were searching for.
Once the venue was secured, everything started to fall in place. The venue itself played a key role in determining our “look and feel” for our wedding. We wanted to highlight the Majestic Halls in its full glamour; therefore, we decided to go for a classic, timeless look just like the venue. With this in mind, we were able to finalize all the details from invitation design, cake design & flavors, lighting, flowers, rentals, etc.
The next 10 months went by in a flash. Every day was spent scrutinizing the guest list or finding the perfect shade of purple for our invitations or picking the perfect outfits for our engagement pictures. Basically, the whole wedding planning had come and gone in a blur and before I knew it, it was already November 17th – our special day. Like the planning process, our wedding went by too quickly. Don’t get me wrong, it was the best night of my life and one that I will never forget.
Was I relived that the planning had finally come to an end? Yes. Would I do it all over again? In a heart beat!!!!
Planning our wedding was quite an experience – one I would not have been able to do without my best friend, partner-in-crime and now husband. I’m so fortunate and blessed that Andy was so helpful throughout this journey. I honestly, couldn’t have done it without him. Without him, I’d probably have been way over our “budget” and I wouldn’t have been able to make any decisions because I tend to be a tad indecisive. So honey, if one day you fall upon this…thank you for your love, support, patience & for sealing all our invitation envelopes!
We asked Jana what were her favorite moments from the wedding:
The father-daughter dance – I gave my dad the song for our father/daughter dance very last minute — less than a week before our wedding. I was totally expecting to just wing it so I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal. But less than 5 days before the wedding, I got a text from my dad asking me for a couple hours of my time. Long story short, it turns out that my dad had been secretly taking dance lessons (even my mom didn’t know) for our dance! He said he didn’t want our dance to be “boring for the guests” and insisted that we practice together. So even though my first dance with Andy wasn’t choreographed – the father/daughter dance was! We didn’t have much time to practice and despite all our hiccups, I had so much fun dancing with my dad!
The after party!!! That’s when EVERYONE cut loose and was REALLY enjoying themselves. ”
Ceremony: First Congregational Church
Reception: Majestic Halls
Catering: Contemporary Catering
Photography by: Lin & Jirsa Photography
Cinematography by: Elysium Productions
Florals: Nisie’s Enchanted Florist
Rentals: Town & Country Rentals, Arriba L&H, chiavarichairrentals.com
Lighting: G2 Audio & Lighting
Cake: Nancy Kay’s Confections
Cake Pops: Mother of the Bride
Hair & Makeup: Joyce Luck Style
While Vince was in St. Louis, Mona in New Jersey, and myself in Los Angeles, we had many Skype sessions, and they had even hired me “over the phone”. We developed an amazing relationship where they put faith and trust in me as the professional to plan their wedding. Mona’s family and friends were all traveling from the East Coast since this is where she was from. The fun and personalized invitations by Posh Paperie reflected how their lives & their relationship were cross country and global, including St. Louis as where they met, New York as where Vince proposed, Pasadena for their wedding location, San Francisco for their new home, and Paris being their honeymoon spot. Paris as the honeymoon spot was so fitting considered their wedding theme was “Love”, and actually inspired by this one photo here: the colors of Ladurée
(Photo credit from Site NYC)
Nisie’s Enchanted Florist provided the ombre colored florals inspired by the Ladurée color palette. Sweet garden roses made up Mona’s bouquet which was so fitting with her princess like Lazaro wedding gown. Even the traditional Korean outfits “Han Boks” were in the colors of the wedding. Mona & Vince’s wedding took place at the elegant Langham Hotel - where they absolutely loved the carefully manicured Horseshoe Gardens and the classic beauty of the Georgian Ballroom.
Candy & Hao had an intimate wedding at The Resort at Pelican Hill, in which most of their guests traveled overseas from China to attend. The wedding style was Classic & Romantic, our bride’s Monique Lhuillier dress was simply elegant, while the florals by Nisie’s Enchanted were beautiful just as expected. We had an amazing time working with Liverpool’s photography team commissioned from Shanghai to shoot Candy & Hao’s wedding. We even got on the scissors lift to get amazing shots & footage of the Rotunda Lawn & Ceremony. Here is the Same Day Edit by none other than the always brilliant Elysium Productions:
So honored to be featured in the latest The Knot Southern California 2013 Magazine for Dana & Joel’s fresh, organic, contemporary wedding in Palm Springs, California with creative geniuses Fiori Fresco Special Events, photography by Samuel Lippke Studios, and videography by Elysium Productions, along with Classic Party Rentals and DJ Mike Soltani!
It was important to Amy & Jeff that their wedding reflected their history as individuals, and their history as a couple, which we did just that! Amy & Jeff decided on a color palette of orange and aqua. They had met while attending Oregon State (go Beavers!), and actually during their college football game, so they LOVE Orange! Amy & Jeff selected the Montage Laguna Beach as their wedding location, and fell in love with the pattern in the fence gates, proving you can find inspiration anywhere. This then inspired them to bring in the motif in their invitations and stationary designed by Amy’s brother in law, the wedding cake design. We brought in the motif through the custom pillows and napkin treatments as well. Amy grew up on the beach in the Oregon Coast where there is a lot of driftwood, so to pay homage we incorporated driftwood and grape wood elements in their ceremony & reception decor. It was a perfect day, full of sunshine for their Oregon guests. The beautiful photos were by Gabriel Ryan Photography and amazing floral design by Nisie’s Enchanted Florist.
My nephew just celebrated his 1st birthday on March 23rd, and his parents (my sister and brother in law) threw a fun filled birthday party for him. At the party, we premiered this year one film… produced by Elysium Productions. There are so many milestone moments in life, and your child’s 1st year birthday is certainly a major milestone. This film is such a beautiful way to capture this special time.
We were ecstatic to show the gorgeous feature of Cortnie & Donny’s wedding in Brides Magazine in our last post: (see here) , and here are the highlights from the wedding, so beautifully captured by Elysium Productions – and using film!