For you couples out there that are planning a destination wedding – THIS is the wedding to build your inspo board from! This Cali couple, along with 44 of their closest friends, escaped to Encanta la Vida, a Jungle Beach Lodge on the Wild Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, for an unforgettable wedding weekend. A DIY macrame-accented ceremony, subtle-yet-influential dress changes, fresh tropical greenery, and an ocean side view that is priceless. As you scroll through Nicole and Grayson's photos, you will find yourself smiling and sharing in the same pure exuberance that the guests felt as they celebrated a uniquely special event . The wonderful Zoe Steindl was there to capture all of the emotions & moments – from the rehearsal dinner, to the final splash in the pool on the wedding night!
How did you meet?
Grayson and I met in September of 2013 at a bar in Santa Barbara. We shared conversation through many laughs over margaritas and football and have been inseparable ever since.
What is your proposal story?
Grayson proposed to me on my 26th birthday at Sunstone Winery. On the way to the winery, I had spilt coffee on my dress. (This seems random, but this will come into play later). Once we arrived at Sunstone, I had Grayson take a quick look at my dress to see if he could spot where the stain was. Luckily, my dress had a floral pattern so we couldn't find it. We ordered a bottle of rose and picnicked out on the lawn with our dog, Coast. We spent hours chatting, laughing and soaking in the day. A few hours later, I went to the restroom and when I returned Grayson said, “Wait, don't sit down–let me see if I can find that coffee stain on your dress.” So I twirled around once or twice and then began to sit and he again said, “Wait, before you sit down…” And all the while he was saying this, I was glancing at the corner of the picnic blanket, thinking he was going to have me grab his hat or more wine for his glass. BUT INSTEAD, propped op on one knee, grabbed my hand and asked, “Will you marry me.” Best birthday yet!
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).
We pitched our wedding as a “Wedding Vacation.” We really wanted our guests to take the time to enjoy Costa Rica while celebrating with us in between. Visually, we wanted to have small elements of us incorporated in the space without taking away from the natural beauty of the venue. For the ceremony, Grayson's mom made us a beautiful macrame backdrop, which added a touch of that boho look that I really relate to without pulling away from the tropical scenery. We also found these colorful map petal-cones on Etsy that added a fun and vibrant element to the luscious green lawn. The reception had beautiful wooden tables that we lined with pale-pink gauze table runners. The florals were a variety of tall, simple arrangements with birds of paradise, palm fronds and other native tropical flowers.
Tell us about your attire choices.
I knew I wanted a dress that was timeless, but had a free spirit element to it and that is exactly what I found when I tried on my Rue De Seine dress. The overlay-wrap of my dress has a vintage-bohemian look with these beautiful bell sleeves that I instantly fell in love with! And the very sleek slip-reception dress was beautifully fitted, lightweight and perfect for dancing. For Grayson, we had a custom linen-gray suit made by Studio Suits. We knew it had to be light weight because of the weather and wanted a light color outfit for a beachy look. It ended up being too warm for the jacket, but he wore the suit pants with an off-white O'neil polo-short sleeve and brown leather sandals. His outfit pulled in the surfer-groom style which I loved and really thought tied into the tropical vibes.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important element was spending time with our friends and family. We had a small, 43-person event and we wanted to spend as much time as possible with each and every one of them. Second to that, was the food. Grayson and I love to eat so this was a high priority for us. Encanta LaVida was so wonderful with accommodating special requests and dietary restrictions. All of the meals went above and beyond all of our expectations and we are looking forward to the day that we can go back and eat from that magical kitchen!
What were your favorite parts of the day? (memories and stories)
So many parts of the day were our favorite! It was all wonderful. The ceremony stands out to us the most. We got married on a beautiful lawn, surrounded with palm trees, monkeys and our nearest and dearest friends and family. We had two local guitarists perform with Grayson's sister, who sang for my entrance and our friend Wyatt officiated the wedding. They both really brought us all in to the space and time of that moment. Another stand out part of the day was ending the night in the pool. Yes, in my wedding dress! A highlight for us was also from the night before the wedding. After our rehearsal dinner, Grayson and I jumped in the pool–fully clothed. Once we were in, our guests followed suit and jumped in too. Those who were watching on the sidelines were chanted by the group to join us. It was exciting and fun–so much so that my 77-year old papa got chanted in and cannon balled his way into the water. It was so much fun!
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We actually opted out of a cake and had churros and ice cream! It paired better with our meal and is definitely a dessert we enjoy more than cake. Also, I'm gluten free and they made the most delicious gluten free churros for me to enjoy!
What did you do for favors?
Himalayan Salt Shot Glasses that we used as our “Escort Cards” and macrame key chains that Grayson's mom made.
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
Our only DIY were the macrame pieces Grayson's mom made. She made our ceremony macrame backdrop, macrame chair backs for our Bride & Groom chairs and the macrame key chain party favors.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Things might not go exactly how you plan them on your big day. My hope for everyone, is that they do. But, in the event you get blindsided, my advice is to not lose focus on the big picture and get caught up in small details because the next day, you won’t forget all about it, but it absolutely won’t be a thought in your mind while your sitting next to the love of your life reminiscing on how beautiful your day was together.
The below wedding pros made this amazing event happen. See more of their work by visiting their website.