Karina Timmel and Josh Antenucci's relationship is all about making the most out of life. Since they first started dating in 2009, they've logged more than 40 trips, traveling from Thailand and Montana to Napa Valley (where Josh proposed!) 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 outside of Tamarindo, planned by Tropical Occasions and photographed by Comfort Studio.
Keep reading to get great destination wedding tips, straight from the source.
Keep the venue in mind
When dress shopping, Karina knew that she wanted some glamour — "It was my wedding, after all," she says — but also wanted something light that would work well for a hot afternoon and lots of dancing. Her Jenny Packham gown's soft slip, embellished tulle overlay, and cowl neckline combined for a silhouette that was perfect for the beach, and still unmistakably bridal.
Make it extra personal
The couple wrote their own vows, but decided to say them to one another in private the morning of their wedding day, then used traditional vows during their beach ceremony.
Ask talented friends for help
During cocktail hour, the bride and groom played an island-inspired playlist created by a DJ friend in their hometown of Atlanta.
Bring it with you
Karina and Josh wanted to serve premium alcohol like Veuve Cliquot and Patron, but didn't want to pay the high Costa Rican prices that result from importing it into the country, so they purchased bottles stateside and had some close friends and family members bring some in their checked luggage on their way down.
Think through your timeline
"The day started pretty early, so we didn't feel badly about ending the reception at 10 p.m.," says Karina. Then guests went back to their rooms, changed out of their wedding attire, and regrouped at the bar for another hour or two of drinks and sliders — and the bride and groom were still off to their suite at midnight.