One Couple's Colorful, Intimate Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

Real Weddings

Karina Timmel and Josh Antenucci's relationship is all about making the most out of life. They first started dating in 2009, after meeting at a friend's birthday party in Atlanta, and have logged more than 40 trips since then, traveling from Thailand and Montana to Napa Valley (where Josh proposed during a hike in Mendocino!) and Costa Rica. It's no surprise, then, that they headed back to Costa Rica, where "pura vida" and living life to the fullest are national mottos, to get hitched at the boutique Cala Luna resort near the surfer town of Tamarindo. "We were hoping guests would use the wedding as a jumping-off point for a trip through Costa Rica, and many of them did," says Karina.

Keep reading to see how this couple planned their colorful, relaxed beachfront wedding, planned by Tropical Occasions and photographed by Comfort Studio.

The bride's goal was to find a wedding dress that was light enough for dancing and the beach-y setting, but also glamorous enough. "It was my wedding, after all!" she says. She found the perfect combination in this Jenny Packham gown, with a soft slip, delicate gauze overlay with cap sleeves, cowl neck, and shimmering beading and sequins.

She accented the soft gown with a vibrant bouquet of roses, calla lilies, and bright green succulents.

The ceremony took place on the beach, beneath a tree draped with an antique shawl and strands of white orchids. Though Karina and Josh wrote their own vows, they chose to exchange them privately the morning of the wedding, then use traditional vows during the ceremony.

After the couple said "I do," guests sipped tropical mojitos and did shots of tequila as they took in the views. "Before we came down to Tamarindo, we had friends in Atlanta who are DJs help us put together a playlist of island music to play during cocktail hour," says Karina. "That way we didn't have to have the DJ for additional time or hire an extra musician."

The reception took place in the hotel's restaurant, allowing for ocean breezes but also protecting the tables in case of rain. Guests were seated at long wooden tables topped with ombre arrangements of roses and bright greenery that faded from white to vibrant coral. Each guest's place featured a matching ombre menu, highlighting courses of ahi tuna tar tar, mahi mahi with ginger-tamarindo sauce, and grilled beef tenderloin.

As Atlanta residents, Karina and Josh wanted to bring some Southern flare to their tropical celebration, so they served mason jars filled with layers of red velvet cake with vanilla buttercream and yellow cake with passion fruit. "They even made an incredible replica for Josh, who is dairy- and gluten-free," says Karina. "And our guests loved them!"

Later that night, guests headed to the hotel bar for more dancing, but the party still ended at midnight. "We started the day early, so it didn't feel like we cut it short at all," says the bride. The newlyweds stayed in the area for their honeymoon, heading to Nicaragua and adding another destination to their list. "Keeping the wedding to only 46 guests was so amazing," says Karina. "Everyone there was either family or a best friend, which made the memories so intimate and special."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Cala Luna Boutique Hotel || Wedding Planner: Tropical Occasions || Bride's Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham || Jewelry: BHLDN || Hair & Makeup: Hair & Makeup Fernando Hidalgo || Maid of Honor's Dress: Amsale || Groom's Attire: Sid Mashburn || Wedding Bands: bride - D Muscio, groom - Brown & Co. Jewelers || Florist: Tropical Occasions, Stylos Y Flores || Invitations: Jen Simpson Design || Menus & Place Cards: JP Stationery || Music: Stephen Denton || Catering: Cala Luna Boutique Hotel || Cake: Victoria Zoch || Rentals: Eventos Artesanos, Oceano Rentals, Cabo Luna Event Rentals || Videography: Matt Agan || Photography: Comfort Studio

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