Real Weddings

Real Wedding: John & Robert’s Personalized Day in Costa Rica

Couple: John and Robert

Wedding Date: May 15, 2015

Resort Name & Destination: Westin Playa Conchal, Costa Rica


The brief story of how you met/fell in love:

John – Robert and his friend went to a club called The Cuff in Seattle. Robert was dancing next to a speaker and was so cute.  His friend grabbed my shoulders, turned me around and said I should meet him.  Which I did. After that it was clear, I was “All In”.

Robert – I was living in San Francisco and John was living in Settle when we met. I went to Seattle for a cruise to Alaska for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. A few nights before the cruise, I went out with friend to get a little crazy in Seattle. At our last stop of the night, I met John and the rest is history. We went back to the same spot on the dance floor 5 years later and exchanged rings. It sounds cheesy, but it was very sweet.


The destination wedding decision: something you’ve always wanted or came to love?

Robert – I had always wanted to get married either on the beach or on a mountain out of the country. We figured a beach would attract more people. We liked the idea of a destination wedding because we could have more than just one day celebrating with our guests and we love to travel!


What made you choose your resort/destination?

John – We had visited the Westin Playa Conchal two years prior. On that visit we both remarked it would make a great place for a family trip at some point.


How did you personalize your wedding and ceremony?

John – It was all personalized.  The wedding week itself was filled with fun activities meant to help people meet each other as well as explore the resort.  We had a beach volleyball day, a scavenger hunt and nightly cocktail party hour where the guests were asked to host with a signature cocktail.  The wedding day was also personal as the ceremony itself was written to highlight what was most meaningful to us. It too included our guests as they blessed the rings and had an opportunity to speak words of encouragement to us.  The chairs were arranged in a spiral and gave everyone a great vantage point.  The cocktail party and dinner were organized so that people could connect and have fun.  The music was a mix of local music plus our favorite songs.

Robert – We planned the wedding based on the motto “love is in the details”. We tried to have personal touches and surprises throughout the whole stay. It was a blast to plan and everyone seemed to really like the special effort.


The funniest or most memorable moment was when…

John – Every night at the resort a group of people would join us at one of the lovely bars on the resort; we would laugh and have a great time until the bar closed.  Often, on our way back to our rooms we would jump in the pool to cool off because it was so warm and humid.

Robert – There were so many special moments throughout our stay it is hard to choose. One memorable moment for me was when a monkey climbed out and sat on a tree branch directly above the spot where the ceremony was taking place. That was definitely a destination wedding moment! Also, we took a catamaran out one afternoon and got caught in a downpour. It was so much fun, and after it stopped, the sun came out and lit up the sky with a huge rainbow.  That was pretty special.


Three words that sum up your destination wedding experience are:

John – Loving, Energizing, Inspiring.’

Robert – Love, Joy, Unforgettable.


Besides the wedding itself, what was your favorite part of your trip? Did you do any activities with your guests?

John – Although the activities we planned were absolutely amazing, I have to say the days where we simply hung out at the pool, had cocktails and talked were my absolute favorite times.

Robert – I agree. We did plan a lot of activities both on and off the resort, but just relaxing at the resort connecting with our loved ones (cocktail in hand of course) was the best part! Also, meeting for happy hour every night was a nice time to bring everyone together once a day as a group.

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If you could travel anywhere for your one year anniversary, it would be to:

John – I would want to go back, stay at the resort but take time for longer excursions deeper into Costa Rica.

Robert – I agree. We love Costa Rica. The people there are incredible and we have a lot to learn from them about living “pura vida”. We want to see more of the country on our next trip. Another option would be to head to our runner-up resort, the Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita on the Riviera Maya. This time it will be just the two of us, with no schedule, and lots of pool time.


Your biggest piece of advice to couples planning a destination wedding would be:

John – Be super clear about what you want. The clearer you are with your vision the better you can stay on track and not get distracted.  You can also make better decisions about what you REALLY want vs. what would be nice to have.

Robert – John was my north star for redirecting the planning process to what was really important – deciding to commit to each other in front of our loved ones. My advice is to always remember why you are there in the first place.


Photography by Javier Castaneda, Art Wedding Memories

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