REAL WEDDINGS IN DREAM LOCATIONS Premiere Issue, Winter 2013
6 EDITOR’S NOTE
A destination wedding isn’t for the timid, but it’s an unforgettable way to start a marriage
Real Weddings in Dream Locations PREMIERE
Meet the editorial team behind Destination: W
From the Caribbean to Virginia, the latest on fun, cool spots to tie the knot
12 FORECAST: KAUAI
The Hawaiian isle of Kauai is our Pacific pick of the year—it might just become yours, too
14 FORECAST: TUSCANY
Italy, one of the world’s most romantic wedding spots, is having its year in the Tuscan sun
16 4 BEAUTY SECRETS
Celeb beauty expert Mally Roncal shares four essentials for DIYing your hair and makeup
18 A WEDDING IN NEW ORLEANS They could have named it the Big Easy for the simplicity with which you can plan a wedding. Follow a Texan girl and a Jersey boy as they discover what a Louisiana celebration is all about.
30 PACKING FOR NEW ORLEANS Perfect pieces for the sultry South, including romantic lace, Frenchinspired jewels, and a most sophisticated hair ornament.
32 NEW ORLEANS INSIDER
Wedding-friendly hotels (and one plantation!) for every type of couple, three planners we really like, plus other essentials.
& HONEYMOONS ANTIGUA
CHOOSE FROM ANY OF OUR AWARD WINNING, ALL-INCLUSIVE BEACHFRONT CARIBBEAN RESORTS A TRULY UNFORGETTABLE WEDDING EXPERIENCE GALLEY BAY RESORT & SPA • ST. JAMES’S CLUB & VILLAS THE VERANDAH RESORT & SPA • THE CLUB, BARBADOS ST. JAMES’S CLUB MORGAN BAY • PALM ISLAND RESORT
Ask About Our FREE Weddings! For Reservation (800) 858-4618 | eliteislandresorts.com
(Value of $1199)
Available for stays of 7 nights in higher room categories Ask about Wedding Packages at Long Bay Beach Resort & Villas.
contents 38 A WEDDING IN COSTA RICA
Real Weddings in Dream Locations PREMIERE
Costa Rica pretty much invented eco-tourism, but how does it fare as a wedding site? See how an L.A. couple relied on the locals—and their gut instinct—to create a truly unforgettable week in Central America’s garden spot.
50 PACKING FOR COSTA RICA
Beach-friendly frocks, outdoorsy accessories, and one fab pair of sandals. Swag!
52 COSTA RICA INSIDER
Wedding-friendly hotels for every budget, three planners we swear by, plus the nuts and bolts on weather, legalities, and assorted marital nitty-gritty
58 A WEDDING IN PORTUGAL
Destination weddings are often intimate parties, but for this couple a wedding in Lisbon was a chance to unite hundreds of friends and family from around the globe.
70 PACKING FOR PORTUGAL
An utterly romantic fit-and-flare gown, charming openwork accents, and the most beautiful bracelet of the year.
72 PORTUGAL INSIDER
When treading foreign soil, you’ll want an A-list of helpers. We’ve got top planners, info on geography and climate, and five hotels that make you feel like you’ve come home.
78 WANT SOME HELP?
No need to leave our site to start planning your destination wedding. We’ve partnered with the most reliable specialists we know to help you and your guests book the whole shebang, airline tickets to hotel rooms. (And it’s free!)
125 years of legendary romance. Only one setting holds all the history, grace and beauty that is Aspen. You feel it in the walls, the old-world attention, a singular ballroom with mountains, sky and starry nights for a backdrop. As if we knew you were coming, the hotel has been top to toe remodeled, its venerable past firmly intact. Stand apart, together, at The Jerome.
HotelJerome.AubergeResorts.com | 970.920.1000
Welcome to Destination: W
uring my years at Brides magazine, I learned that as exciting as destination weddings are, they can also be intimidating. Not only are you making a major commitment to another person, you’re doing it in a place where the geography, customs, and even language may be unfamiliar. Oh, and you’re bringing the people you care most about along for the ride. Destination weddings are not for the timid.
We hope to inspire your own amazing wedding with stories of other couples who’ve achieved their dream. And, accompanied by breathtaking images from some of the industry's most renowned photographers, we’ll help you get there with honest advice about locations, logistics, hotels, and vendors—insights we’ve gathered over years of experience. For now, three little words: Go for it.
Sally Kilbridge, Editor in Chief 6
PHOTO: TIMOTHY LAMPSON PHOTOGRAPHY
What they are, though, is unforgettable. Whether you’re gathering your families on a tropical island or inviting 100 of your nearest and dearest to celebrate on a mountainside, it’s hard to top all that love bouncing around a place that stirs your heart.
The Destination:W Staff SALLY KILBRIDGE | EDITOR IN CHIEF The country’s foremost expert on destination weddings and romantic travel, Sally spent much of her career directing the editorial team at Conde Nast’s Brides magazine. She is a regular contributor to CNTraveler.com, the website of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. KRISTINA JUZAITIS | CREATIVE DIRECTOR Heading up design departments at Architectural Digest, Details, and Esquire, Kris has created visual branding for some of the nation’s most prestigious magazines. Her style—the heart of Destination: W—is sophisticated, elegant, and fun. BOB PAYNE | TRAVEL EDITOR While he’s trekked across Greenland by dogsled and the Sahara by camel, our award-winning travel editor is no stranger to luxury hotels and tropical beaches. A contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler magazine, he has visited 141 countries and all seven continents. KRISTI DRAGO-PRICE | CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR After over a decade heading the photo department at Brides magazine, Kristi went from editing photos to taking them; she brings a fresh, naturalistic approach to wedding pictures and lifestyle sittings. SARAH H. LEINGANG | FASHION & BEAUTY EDITOR Sarah spent eight years in the beauty and accessories departments of Brides magazine, and now adds bridal fashion and ready-to-wear to her beat. She discovered her love of fashion during her competitive figure skating days, thus explaining her obsession with sheer illusion. BARRIE GILLIES | DEPUTY EDITOR Barrie started her career at Cosmopolitan magazine, where part of her job entailed interviewing America’s most eligible bachelors. Subsequent editorial positions found her chin-deep in beauty, childcare, and weddings at Fitness, Parents, and Brides. She loves interviewing our real couples. CRISTINA LOZITO | PHOTO EDITOR Our photo editor previously woked at Brides Local magazines, where she snagged real weddings for 16 regional editions. In addition to acquiring stunning weddings for Destination: W, Cristina loves taking taking her own pictures; her secret talent is an eye for arranging wedding flowers. 8
PHOTOS : SALLY: TIMOTHY LAMPSON, KRISTINA: JUSTIN DURONGSAENG, KRISTI: PERRY HAGOPIAN, SARAH: TERRENCE LEINGANG, BARRIE: BILL DRUMMY, CRISTINA: CHARLOTTE JENKS LEWIS
THE HEIGHT OF ROMANCE
At Primland, a rusticchic resort that brings hot stone massages to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the most jaw-dropping wedding spot sits on the edge of a cliff. The Treehouse, a cozy new guest suite, has a wraparound deck big enough for your vows; afterward they’ll set up twig rocking chairs so your guests can sip moonshine cocktails while hawks circle in the valley below. www.primland.com
MEX TO THE MAX
When TV’s sexiest woman—Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara—got engaged last summer on her 40th birthday, you’d better believe she was someplace fab: Rosewood Mayakoba, a Riviera Maya resort where she partied with 108 friends and family. For your own celeb-style wedding, invite 250 guests for tequila toasts under a beachside party palapa. Salut! www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya
The sublime shoreline and superlative staff have made family-friendly Beaches Turks & Caicos an insanely popular wedding spot for over a decade. And now the all-inclusive resort’s newest “village,” Key West,
EASIER IN THE ISLANDS
Pairs headed to Puerto Rico can now spend more time at the beach and less on paperwork. The on-island blood test requirement has been waived; just bring a certificate saying you’ve met all the required tests for marriage back home… www.seepuertorico.com Meanwhile, in the British Virgin Islands, the residency requirement has been cut in third; after just 24 hours here, you’re free to tie the knot. www.bvitourism.com
is getting in gear next door. A cool, contemporary take on the Caribbean, with ginormous four-bedroom suites that can accommodate several generations, we predict it becomes the compound’s go-to site when it’s fully open in late 2013. www.beaches.com
The greenest, possibly the most beautiful of the Hawaiian Islands is poised to become the go-to wedding locale for well-heeled nature-lovers. Here’s why:
PHOTOS: ©GETTY IMAGES
PHOTOS: ©GETTY IMAGES
New direct air service from the mainland means one flight and you’re here. The posh Princeville Resort area has a freshly organicchic look. (Bye-bye bling; hello floor-to-ceiling views of the Bali Hai mountains). Restaurants like Merriman’s Fish House (the chef is a three-times James Beard Award finalist), Red Salt at the Koa Kea Resort (outrageous seafood), and Dude Dogs (take a guess)
In addition to using Kauai locations for The Descendants and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean, Hollywood is heading here to film Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Oh, and Jessica Simpson—a woman who knows how to throw a wedding—is reportedly still eyeing the island as the site of her destination vow.
What could be more romantic than a wedding under the Tuscan sun? Think rolling countryside dotted with vineyards and olive groves. Maybe a ceremony amid the frescoes of a Renaissance palazzo. Wait, there’s more:
PHOTO: ©GETTY IMAGES
Getting hitched in the fairytale land, which used to involve a mountain of paperwork, is now almost effortless, thanks to a dozen Italian wedding-planning companies that cater to U.S. couples. One we love: www.italiacelebrations.com Seven fab new Italian hotels have made the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List. High-end hoteliers are taking particular notice of Tuscany’s hill towns, restoring centuriesold villas, palazzos, and castles. Italia is basking in a renewned glow of amore thanks in part to Woody Allen’s smooch of a film, To Rome with Love. Two words: Tuscan cuisine. Farm-to-table dining was part of the region’s identity long before the locavore trend. Fresh, delicious, flavorful, unfussy food—now that’s our idea of a marriage feast. Buon appetito!
DOUBLE UP. You don’t need a lot of makeup to look polished, but layering is key in the tropics. For a bulletproof seal, start with a cream formula and set it with a powder in a corresponding shade. Try this with eyeliner, eyeshadow, even blush. Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #13, $23; www.sephora.com
TRY FALSE LASHES. Today’s versions are soft and you can use a full strip or individual lashes. They make eyes pop and won’t wilt. Sephora False Eye Lashes in Showstopper, $8; www.sephora.com
4 Secrets from a Beauty Expert
THINK ABOUT A BRAIDED HAIRSTYLE. The look is huge now and there are so many variations. Go clean and sleek or totally boho. No worries about frizz! Hair by Fekkai’s Renato Campora
16 Destination: W
A destination wedding can be a beauty challenge—especially when you’re in tropical territory. The heat! The humidity! We asked makeup artist Mally Roncal, the pro behind Beyonce and J. Lo’s red carpet looks and founder of her own makeup line, to share four secrets to DIYing your biggest beauty day ever. —Barrie Gillies
IF WE WERE GOING TO PACK ONE OF MALLY’S PRODUCTS…. It would be her Face Defender Buildable Whipped Foundation ($45, www.qvc.com), a formula that offers amazing coverage with a modern matte—not dewy, not dry—finish.
WATERPROOF MASCARA IS A MUST. Obviously, you’ll need it to prevent raccoon eyes, but when you’re transitioning from day-to-night, instead of adding more eye makeup—which can get heavy-looking— just brush on another coat of mascara, concentrating at the lash base. Diorshow Iconic Extreme Waterproof Mascara, $28.50; www.dior.com
New Orlea 18
Jillian & Eric PHOTOGRAPHS BY
T R E N T B A I L E Y P H OTO G R A P H Y
hen a Texan falls in love with a Jersey boy, where do they tie the knot? In a city that resonates with both.
“My husband and I both love New Orleans,” says native daughter Jillian Hugele, who lived there before moving to Texas, and still has family in town. Eric Green and his college friends meet up at Jazz Fest every spring for a weekend. “It’s the one place in the world we have in common, and we realized right away that it was the perfect spot to celebrate our new life,” recalls Jillian. So a destination wedding was born, and New Orleans culture infused the day. The interfaith couple exchanged
vows beneath a 100-year-old oak tree dripping with Spanish moss at the New Orleans Museum of Art. After they were pronounced husband and wife, a brass band led the parade to cocktail hour, followed by the traditional second line of marching guests. “Eric and I walked in front with our umbrellas while everyone behind us waved white napkins. It was awesome to turn around and see our guests having so much fun!” In these parts, there’s no better wedding gift than that. Destination: W
LOCATION & VENDOR LIST
Trent Bailey Photography www.trentbailey.com
New Orleans Museum of Art Sculpture Garden; www.noma.org
New Orleans Museum of Art; www.noma.org
Amy Kuschel; www.amykuschel.com
J. Crew; www.jcrew.com
J. Crew; www.jcrew.com
Men's Wearhouse; www.menswearhouse.com
Michele Caswell-Adams of Unique Weddings; www.neworleansweddingplanners.com/ overview
Lion in The Sun; www.lioninthesunps.com
New Orleans Catering; www.nocatering.com
Royal Cakery; www.royalcakery.com
BRASS BAND Coolbone
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? “Long-distance planning. We took a couple of trips down, but I wasn’t able to meet with some of my vendors in person until the wedding day. It made explaining what I wanted a little harder. Towards the end of planning, I flew down for a final walk-through which helped me envision how the day was going to go and I realized that we were in good hands.”
“We’ve always loved New Orleans.
e didn’t want a super-formal or over-planned event W and it was the perfect setting for the relaxed celebration we envisioned. And since we were asking folks to jump on a plane, we wanted them to meet us somewhere fun!”
THE SWEETEST SURPRISE
“For months, everyone had been warning us that stuff would go wrong and that we had to just let it go. But our day was truly perfect. When the night was over, we felt as if it couldn’t have been more wonderful. I think that’s because everyone was having so much fun.” 28
ADVICE FROM JILLIAN & ERIC IF POSSIBLE, MEET YOUR VENDORS A COUPLE OF TIMES THROUGHOUT THE PLANNING. “I would have probably made one more trip in the middle of the process just to see for myself how things were going. And to calm my nerves!” ASK YOUR FLORIST TO PREPARE MOCKUPS OF THE BOUQUETS. “You can email and talk about flowers a lot, but nothing beats actually seeing how they look in person.” ADAPT TO THE CULTURE. “In New Orleans, it’s uncommon to have a seated meal at a wedding; typically there’s not even seating for every guest. I wasn’t willing to budge on the latter—I wanted everyone to have a seat—but I did give in and have a buffet. In New Orleans, the drinking, the dancing, and the fun are the focus. You’ve got to roll with it.”
New Orleans IRIS COMB
Jennifer Behr; $475 www.jenniferbehr.com
Clara Kasavina; $785 www.clarakasavina.com
PORTOBELLO FROST DUPIONI DRESS WITH STEEL HORSEHAIR BELT Watters Maids; $240 www.watters.com
PANAMA HAT J.Crew; $58 www.jcrew.com
FLORA BY GUCCI GLAMOROUS MAGNOLIA Gucci; $70 www.Sephora.com
WEIMAR LARGE DROP EARRINGS IN CRYSTAL Suzanna Dai, $225 www.suzannadai.com
CHAOS CUFF SANDAL IN SILVER Manolo Blahnik;$695 www.Nordstrom.com
STARLET MARBLE GRAY RESIN BANGLE Miriam Salat; $175 www.miriamsalat.com
LUXURY HAIR OIL Rodin by Recine; $65 www.oliolusso.com
LACE MIMOSA DRESS
Jenny Packham; $8,650 www.jennypackham.com
A NEW ORLEANS WEDDING MIGHT BE PERFECT IF YOU . . .
•B elieve dancing in a parade is an excellent way to leave your ceremony • Proclaim, “No canapés for us; bring on the beignets!” • Insist that wrought iron railings and river boat horns add to the romance • Plan to have music in every memory of the day
LAY OF THE LAND: NOLA as those in the know often refer to it, is a city made for walkers, or, more precisely, strutters, highsteppers, and locomoting dancers. Wherever your ceremony—a Central Business District ballroom, a hidden patio in the French Quarter, a terrace in the Garden District, even under
the oaks on a plantation outside of town—New Orleans tradition is to end it with a parade: You two, dancing with a brass band, at the head of the procession; everybody else “second lining” behind you, waving umbrellas, hats, canes, handkerchiefs, all of which, by the way, make great wedding favors. —Bob Payne
PLANTATION WEDDINGS Want to celebrate as a Southern belle? Oak Alley Plantation, a pre-Civil War mansion on the banks of the Mississippi, sits at the end of a quarter-mile drive of overhanging oaks. Itâ€™s about an hour from town, so youâ€™ll need transportation for up to 150 guests, but there are a few overnight cottages for those who have no desire to leave. www.oakalleyplantation.com
NEW ORLEANS WEDDING PLANNERS WE LOVE
• www.neworleansweddingplanners.com • www.neworleanscelebrations.com • www.allaboutevents.net
Windsor Court Hotel
CLIMATE If any part of the day will be spent outside (and who wants to disappoint the second liners?) ideal months are in spring and fall, with April perhaps perfect. MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS Applicants are supposed to wait 72 hours between receiving their license and getting married. But for out-of-staters, an officiant can issue a waiver at the time of the ceremony. For the license, one of you must appear at a clerk of court’s office on a weekday, bringing photo ID’s, certified copies of birth certificates, and previous divorce decrees or death certificates. No blood test is required. The fee is $2530, depending on which part of the city the office is in, and must be paid in cash.
Usually, the most convenient location is Benson Tower. GROUP HUGS What to do with the gang before the wedding: • Treat them to a powdered-sugar beignet feast at Café du Monde. • Mix in with the craziness on Bourbon Street after dark (make sure someone’s assigned to get the groomsmen home). • Cab it to Tipitinas, where they know their music. • Cruise past the Garden District mansions on the St. Charles Avenue street car. •C ollect Mardi Gras beads, which someone’s always throwing (often from wedding second lines).
THE FAB 5: OUR PICK OF NEW ORLEANS WEDDING HOTELS
IF YOU BELIEVE IN GRAND GESTURES: High society feels at home at the Windsor Court Hotel, whose guests frequently include celebs and whose décor is museum-quality. Celebrate with up to 500 of your own VIPs, who will be suitably impressed by views of the New Orleans skyline and Mississippi. Bridal teas are a tradition here. www.windsorcourthotel.com IF YOUR STYLE IS INTIMATE: In the quiet, residential part of the French Quarter, take over the 30 rooms and suites of the Soniat House, an elegant marriage of three Creolestyle townhouses, and have your ceremony beside the tiered fountain in the hidden courtyard. www.soniathouse.com IF YOU’VE GOT A FOODIE CROWD: Whatever type of wedding cake you imagine, the pastry chef at The Roosevelt (lower right), an historic NOLA hotel known for largerthan-life parties, can do it for you. Among the dining options here is Dominica, a deceptively casual Italian restaurant created by celeb chef and Louisiana native Josh Besh. www.therooseveltneworleans.com
IF YOUR BUDGET IS MODEST, BUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS AREN’T: Near Bourbon Street and the river, the Bienville House is a moderately priced hotel that feels like it ought to cost more, especially while you're celebrating with friends by the splash pool in the inner courtyard (above) or overlooking it from a wrought-iron balcony. www.bienvillehouse.com
International House Hotel
IF YOU WANT TO HANG WITH THE HIP: A haven for the art and fashion set, the French Quarter’s International House Hotel (top, right) isn’t on the usual lists of New Orleans destination wedding venues. But we like it because it is so casually cool you could gather your few real BFF’s for what you advertise as cocktails and vows. www.ihotel.com
MASAKO & CHRIS PHOTOGRAPHS BY
TEXT BY B A R RDREAM I E G I L L I E S LOCATIONS REAL WEDDINGS IN
s L.A. fashion exec Masako Konishi and cinematographer Chris Soule began planning their wedding, they realized what they really needed was a vacation. â€œOur friends were gung-ho,â€? says the bride, admitting she and Chris set their sights on Costa Rica without having visited the country.
It proved a fine choice for the couple, who brought their group to a resort in the Dominical area, where they hiked rainforests and mountains, ziplined through the jungle, and surfed off white-sand strands. But the highlight of the trip was the ceremony itself. The couple exchanged vows at a hidden beach as sunset tinted the sky and Pacific waves crashed on the rocks.
Months later, Masako says, “Chris and I are lucky to have very exciting careers, but our time in Dominical helped us regain the gratitude that is easy to lose in a big city.” Costa Rica’s unofficial motto is “Pura Vida,” the idea of enjoying life and appreciating the wonders around you, big and small. Not a bad philosophy for any couple starting a new journey together. Destination: W
LOCATION & VENDOR LIST PHOTOGRAPHER Julie Comfort of Comfort Studio
WEDDING PLANNER Randy Gritz of Weddings Costa Rica
Rocas Hermanos, at the northern tip of Dominicalito Beach 42
RECEPTION LOCATION Casa Ramon, Dominical www.casaramoncr.com
Jean-Luc Taulere of Mary Sol www.marysolflamingo.com
Cohymbra Saenz of Construcciones Dulce
Stylos y Flores
Roberto Viquez and Elvis Porras
Bride's Head Revisited, NYC www.bridesheadrevisited.net
GROOM’S SUIT Hugo Boss
GROOMSMEN’S SUITS Banana Republic
BRIDE’S FOOTWEAR K. Jacques
INVITATIONS Rifle Paper Co.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? “My hair!” says Masako. “There’s no predicting how your hair will react to the intense heat and humidity. I wanted an up-do but that was a no-go. Thankfully, I did a pre-wedding trial appointment to brainstorm a few iterations of a style that would work with my veil. I went for a more natural half-up, half-down look.”
â€œThere is a wonderful sense of spontaneity in Costa Rica. We loved how the best moments, whether spotting a troop of Capuchin monkeys on the beach or eating the most delicious sea bass ceviche at a local hangout, occured spur of the moment.â€? Destination: W
THE NICEST SURPRISE?
“Our parents had never met before this trip, so we invited our immediate family to stay with us at the home we rented for the wedding weekend, which also served as the venue for our wedding reception. It was wonderful to see how naturally and comfortably everyone came together under one roof. We spent a lot of time at Casa Ramon lounging by the pool, cooking, and enjoying each other’s company.”
ADVICE FROM MASAKO & CHRIS INVEST IN A WEDDING PLANNER. “We couldn’t have pulled off our wedding without her, especially because of the language barrier with local vendors.”
GET RECOMMENDATIONS FROM LOCALS. “We really felt like we got to enjoy our destination in an authentic way because of all of the insider tips. For instance, a surf instructor told us about the beach we used for our ceremony. And we hired our classical guitarist thanks to a hotel owner we befriended.” IF YOUR WEDDING IS IN A PRIVATE HOME, MAKE SURE THAT THE KITCHEN IS IN WORKING ORDER. “We had some initial hiccups with the dinner service because of a non-functioning oven.” Destination: W
TERRA SOLEIA TAN ENHANCING BRONZER
Guerlain; $69 www.saksfifthavenue.com
PHANTOM QUARTZ AND DIAMOND EARRINGS Kimberly McDonald; $11,000 www.kimberlymcdonald.com
GOLD LEAF CUFF
Wendy Mink; $240 www.charmandchain.com
50 Destination: W
FIONA SANDAL IN CHAMPAGNE GLITTER
Jimmy Choo; $445 www.nordstrom.com
SILK CHIFFON ROMINA GOWN J.Crew Retail price: $750 www.jcrew.com
ALEXIA DRESS IN SANGRIA SILK CRINKLE CHIFFON
Jenny Yoo Collection; from $298 www.jennyyoo.com
HANDMADE SLICED AGATE NECKLACE
Chan Luu; $170 www.chanluu.com
WOOD OSWALD SUNGLASSES
Shwood; $250 www.shwoodshop.com
REBEL FRILL BIKINI
Zimmermann; $185 www.us.zimmermannstore.com
KATHERINE SHELL CLUTCH
Kayu; $569 www.kayudesign.com
A COSTA RICAN WEDDING MIGHT BE PERFECT IF YOU… • Consider a zipline a great way to make your entrance • Find hairspray and updos highly overrated • Think surfing is one of life’s greater callings • Believe the bumpier the road, the better the adventure
LAY OF THE LAND: Sitting between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America, Costa Rica has two coasts: the Caribbean (east) coast, with its mangrove waterways, and the far more popular Pacific (west) coast, known for its beach towns and, up north, rare “dry” tropical forest. Going north to south, popular spots in the west include Playa Tamarindo, in the Guanacaste province, Manuel Antonio, the original go-to tourist spot, Playa Dominical, a surfing hub, and Corcovado, on the Osa Peninsula. A central spine of rainforest-clad moun-
tains runs through the center, with the capital, San Jose, lying among them in a central basin. Base yourself here for scouting the Arenal volcano. —Bob Payne
PHOTO: COMFORT STUDIO
MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS There are no blood tests or residency requirements, and red tape is minimal. You’ll fill out documents at home and submit them with copies of your passport pages; you’ll also need a couple of witnesses (not family members) and a lawyer, usually provided by your wedding planner. One toughie: Catholics wanting to marry in a church ceremony must jump through quite a few hoops. You might want to do a religious ceremony at home and have a blessing in Costa Rica. GROUP HUGS What to do with with the gang before the wedding: •Z ipline rides through the cloud forests •C anopy walks past monkeys and tree frogs • Hot springs evenings with cocktails •S urf lessons (YouTube alert: make sure you get it on video) •W hite-water rafting with a riverside picnic
54 Destination: W
COSTA RICA WEDDING PLANNERS WE LOVE • www.weddingscostarica.com • www.tropicaloccasions.com • www.perennialweddings.com
TOP LEFT : TROPICAL OCCASIONS; BOTTOM LEFT COURTESY OF FOUR SEASONS; RIGHT : COMFORT STUDIO
CLIMATE Aside from the Caribbean coast, where it’s wet and tropical yearround, there are two basic seasons: rainy (May through November) and dry (December through April).
FEEL-GOOD FAVORS Rather than spending money on gifts that may get thrown out or left behind, why not give back to the community? Kids Saving the Rainforest (www.kidssavingtherainforest.org) is a local non-profit organization that helps build and maintain monkey bridges so that the endangered Titi monkeys cross highways safely.
Four Seasons Resort
THE FAB 5: OUR PICK OF COSTA RICA WEDDING RESORTS
IF MONEY IS NO OBJECT: Robinson Crusoe meets Donald Trump at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica (right, top and below) the ultimate Pacific playground in northern Guanacaste. Have the rehearsal dinner on an 85-foot catamaran, marry at one of two beaches, and invite 300 of your besties to party in a pavilion shaped like an armadillo. www.fourseasonsresorts.com IF YOU WANT AN ALL-INCLUSIVE: Since everything from yoga classes to cocktails is included at the Westin Playa Conchal, also in Guanacaste, you wonâ€™t be laying out cash for pre- and post-wedding gatherings. The Pacific beach is lovely, but most guests at the village-like compound spend their days sprawled around the massive pool. www.westinplayaconchal.com
Four Seasons Resort
IF YOU WANT TO BE NEAR A VOLCANO: Exchanging vows in front of a live volcano is certainly dramatic; what’s surprising about the Arenal Kioro hotel (below, right) is how comfy and family-friendly it feels. The pool may be tiny, but you’re in a prime launching spot for excursions. www.hotelarenalkioro.com IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THINGS GREEN: Hotel Si Como No, overlooking the premiere beach in Manuel Antonio, combines a Hollywood sensibility with a serious devotion to the environment. One of the world’s first ecohotels, it’s small enough to feel cozy, large enough to accommodate a diverse group (and they love kids). www.sicomono.com IF YOU WANT TO TAKE OVER THE JOINT: With just 22 rooms and a few bungalows, Capitan Hotel Suizo could be the ultimate house party. Close to the bustle of town, it sits on a quiet end of the Pacific’s Playa Tamarindo. Inviting just a few of your nearest and dearest? Even in high season, the four-bedroom cottage is a great value. www.hotelcapitansuizo.com
Arenal Kioro Hotel
Portugal D’JAMILA & JOSÉ photographs by text by
S A L LY K I L B R I D G E
any couples plan a destination wedding for the romance of going foreign. But in the case of D’jamila Pisoeiro and José Carlos, it was about going home. The London-based couple have deep roots in Portugal—he was born there; she summered there as a child; both have family in Lisbon. So when considering a spot where their guests from Angola, Brazil, Britain, the Czech Republic, Israel, and the U.S. would be treated to great weather and amazing food, they didn’t have to think twice. Over the course of a year, D’jamila shuttled between London and Lisbon five times; even working with “the best wedding planners a person could hire,” she wanted to “see, feel,
and hear every detail.” A year to the day after the engagement, she took her father’s arm, and, blowing kisses and waving her bouquet, made her way to José, standing under a tree at Quinta da Bella Vista, an estate outside of the capital with views of the river Tejo. Afterward, 400 guests sipped cocktails, dined among peacock-colored finery, and watched D’jamila and José dance to a Brazilian-Portuguese duo. And in typical Iberian disregard for sleep, everyone partied under a disco ball until 8 o’clock in the morning. Destination: W
LOCATION & VENDOR LIST
PHOTOGRAPHER Melanie Nashan www.nashan.com
The Wedding Company www.theweddingcompany.pt
Quinta da Bella Vista Lisbon (private home) 62
Quinta das Lรกgrimas www.lagrimascatering.com/ pt/catering.html
Le Gateau Rouge www.legateaurouge.pt
Elie Saab for Pronovias www.pronovias.com
BRIDE’S HEADPIECE Louis Mariette www.louismariette.com
Ozwald Boateng www.ozwaldboateng.co.uk
BRIDE’S FOOTWEAR Gina; www.gina.com
INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS
LINEN RENTALS Festaluga www.festaluga.pt
Castelbel candles www.castelbel.com
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? “We hired Sandra Janeiro and Jasmine Lazzari of The Wedding Company, two of the most talented, creative, and dedicated people I have ever met,” says D'jamila. “Still, it was hard to have to make some decisions by e-mail or by phone, because even if I wanted to, there was no way I could be physically present for every single decision.”
“Although we had 400 guests, it didn’t feel like one of those really big weddings
where the bride and the groom don't know most of the people. These were people we knew—our family, our friends, our parents' friends. They were there because they really cared for us.” Destination: W
ADVICE FROM D’JAMILA & JOSÉ
BE A LITTLE STUBBORN If it is something you really want, don’t give up just because it might be more of a challenge to plan your wedding from afar.
GET THE BEST HELP Hire wedding planners, their help is priceless.
STAY POSITIVE The whole process can be a little daunting sometimes, but always have the big picture in your mind. It’s your wedding day—you should enjoy every single minute!
THE NICEST SURPRISE
“I had promised myself that I would be calm, enjoy every single minute, and not let anything ruin such a beautiful day. I actually managed to do so! There was not a single moment where I felt stressed or worried with anything. I was so happy for us, for having our families and friends there to share such a precious moment. I really could feel the love in every single corner.”
DON’T BLOW YOUR BUDGET Even if you have a healthy amount of money to spend, decide how much you think the wedding should cost and stick with it.
KILEY SUNGLASSES IN TEAL Oliver Peoples; $310 www.oliverpeoples.com
Portugal LABRADORITE SHEHERIZADE EARRINGS
Julie Collection; $225 www.juliecollection.com
GLADIA METALLIC SANDAL
Oscar de la Renta; $895 www.bergdorfgoodman.com
SILK FAILLE GOWN WITH BUGLES Nicole Miller; $2,200 www.nicolemiller.com
22K GOLD LEAF POMPEII CUFF
Évocateur; $338 www.evocateurstyle.com
CORAL, SMOKY QUARTZ AND ROCK CRYSTAL NECKLACE Azaara; $665 www.azaara.com
STELLA EAU DE PARFUM Tocca; $68 www.tocca.com
IRIDIUM CLUTCH Serpui Marie; $230 www.BHLDN.com
FULL-LENGTH OASIS MATTE SATIN DRESS WITH LACE BODICE
Lela Rose Bridesmaid; $310 www.dessy.com
LIP BUTTER IN QUINCE
Korres; $12 www.Sephora.com
A PORTUGUESE WEDDING MIGHT BE PERFECT FOR YOU IF….
•P rince or no prince, you always figured you’d get married in a castle • Lace is a staple of your personal wardrobe • You like your fish fresh, your olive oil fragrant, and your wine plentiful •W alking the cobblestone streets of medieval neighborhoods is your idea of a dream vacation LAY OF THE LAND Row upon row of beach umbrellas line the Algarve, welcoming a flood of sun-seekers in spring and summer. But for Americans—especially those contemplating a wedding—Portugal’s lure may be less about its Atlantic shore and more about its medieval towns and bumper crop of castles, monasteries, and palaces that have been turned into hotels—and great wedding sites! The capital, Lisbon, boasts ornate monuments, excellent
nightlife, and the Alfama, a neighborhood of tangled cobblestoned streets. For 700 years, Portuguese kings and their courts holidayed in Sintra, 20 miles away; the walled town of Obidos was given as a wedding gift to Queen Isabel de Aragon in the 13th century; Evora is known for its palatial hotels and Roman ruins. If you’d like an even quieter setting, head north to the Douro Valley wine region, known for its country hotels. —Bob Payne
Sintraâ€™s storybook castle skyline
CLIMATE Sun-lovers, this is your kind of Europe. Summer, the busiest season, is dry and hot. Spring and fall bring fewer crowds, moderate temperatures, and kinder hotel rates. Rainy season runs from November to March. MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS Although both civil and religious marriages are valid here, it’s not easy for an American couple to marry legally in Portugal. To start with, one of you has to live in the country for at least 30 days. Second, you’ll need an armful of documents, all of which must be translated into Portuguese and authenticated by a Notary Public. Our advice: Head to city hall for a quickie at home, celebrate in Portugal with a blessing rather than an official wedding, and use the extra time for tile shopping. GROUP HUGS What do with with the gang before the wedding: •W ine tasting excursions to the Alentejo countryside • Fado performances in Lisbon’s Alfama district, introducing you to the country’s soul-wrenching music •G olf days on some of the world’s top courses • Walking tours of Lisbon—by trolley, Segway, or on foot—with history and tapas
Pousada de Obidos
PORTUGUESE WEDDING PLANNERS WE LOVE
• www.theweddingcompany.pt • www.portugalweddingplanners.com • www.yourportugalwedding.com
Palacio de Seteais
THE FAB 5: OUR PICK OF PORTUGUESE WEDDING HOTELS
IF YOU WANT TO MARRY IN A CASTLE: One of Portugal’s great treasures is its pousada system of historic buildings that have been transformed into luxury hotels. The Pousada de Obidos (far right, bottom) in a former castle within easy driving distance of Lisbon, is one of the most romantic. www.pousadas.pt IF YOU WANT TO WOW THE WHOLE FAMILY: Just south of the Spanish border, Vidago Palace (top), may not look like a familyfriendly resort, but don’t let the grand Belle Epoque edifice fool you. Extravagantly renovated two years ago, the Douro Valley jewel lures with a world-class spa and quirky-cool design, but it also offers a kids program (magic shows, nature walks) and a family pool. www.vidagopalace.com/en Pousada de Evora
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING AFFORDABLE IN TOWN: Artists, journalists, and intellectuals have gathered at Lisbon’s York House for decades. The crisply updated 17th-century structure boasts a garden surrounded by ivy-covered walls—perfect for cocktails, if the weather’s fine—and a series of ballrooms with vaulted stone ceilings and hefty pillars. www.yorkhouselisboa.com
Palacio de Seteais
IF YOU WANT A BOUTIQUE HOTEL: The 30 rooms at Tivoli Palacio de Seteais, an 18th-century palace in the hills above the mansion-sprinkled town of Sintra (a terrace breakfast, left), are outfitted with enviable antiques and to-die-for linens. Weddings here tend to be flawless, whether by the lawn-girdled pool, on a garden terrace, or in an Old World salon; guests can taxi here from Lisbon’s airport. www.tivolihotels.com IF YOU WANT TO BE CHIN-DEEP IN HISTORY: While the guest rooms are small (they were once monks’ cells), the Pousada de Evora may be the most charming staying place in Portugal, right next to the famous Roman ruins. In addition to poolside cocktails (lower left), the former monastery can accommodate small weddings in its vaulted cloisters. www.pousadas.pt
Pousada de Obidos
WANT EXPERT HELP WITH YOUR PLANNING? IT’S FREE! If you’re interested in one of the locations in this issue, or if you want to explore other options for a destination wedding anywhere in the world, get in touch with our partners at Coastline Travel Advisors (www.coastlinetravel.com). This team of top travel insiders, with extensive experience in destination weddings, is genius at:
• Booking air travel • Negotiating group hotel prices • Organizing ground transportation
• Administering bridal and honeymoon travel registries
They'll hold your hand every step of the way and will coordinate your guests’ travel without charging anyone an extra fee. (If you want them to help with the wedding itself, they’re happy to do that for an additional cost.) This way you can spend less time sweating the details and more time enjoying your engagement. E-mail them at email@example.com or call 800-345-2483.
C O S TA R I C A
FROM TOP: TRENT BAILEY PHOTOGRAPHY, MELANIE NASHAN, COMFORT STUDIO
• Arranging travel insurance