We found a destination wedding gem in Jaco, Costa Rica. This video will clue you in on planning an all-inclusive destination wedding experience for under $15,000 at the beautiful Vista Guapa Surf Camp.
This is not an advertisement y’all. I just went here on vacation, and the wedding coordinator in me couldn’t help but imagine a wedding happening there.
Resort Cookie Cutter Experience?
If this were a cookie-cutter experience, reproduced over and over for any interested couple, I wouldn’t take the time to share it with you. My motivation to write this blog comes from the authentic and relaxing experience I had there. Destination weddings that match the couple’s lifestyle and bring their guests closer to who they are as a couple are the best.
Who This Is Not For
If you’re the nature-loving, adventure-seeking, sunset gazing type, give this place some attention, it might be the perfect fit. If you want something classic, feel better when things are 100% predictable, or if you already have a Pinterest board with exactly what you want, this may not be the best bet. If you have imagined a ballroom or a big guest list, I think you can find other places that will fit your vibe, we’ve got several in NOLA. This is more for those looking for an organic, immersive wedding experience.
Local Expert: Kandice Wisco
My husband and I purchased an all-inclusive trip here and the director, Kandice Wisco, planned a custom experience for us, complete with surf lessons, excursions, local fare, transportation, yoga, and one of the most beautiful views out there. Over a few dinners with Kandice, we started to explore how amazing a Vista Guapa wedding could be. Through her relationships with local professionals in Jaco, she created this one-of-a-kind destination wedding package. It’s a steal, and you, our Uncommon Camellia readers are the very first to even know about it. Exciting right?
$15,000 Destination Wedding Package for 24 Guests
So let’s talk about what exactly this package includes. For simplicity, I asked Kandice for an estimate based on a guest count of 24. Of course, this can be modified and your actual cost depends on the choices and specifications you make. So if you want upgrades or more guests, or additional items, well you’d need to add those things to your budget.
1st Look Location
Your first included items are your actual venues. Vista Guapa is within minutes from the beautiful secluded beach, the ideal location for a first look, and/or pre-ceremony portraits. The package includes transportation will be provided for the couple, up to 6 guests, photographer and coordinator to the 1st look location. We actually biked there, but you can’t do that in a suit or dress. So they’ve got you covered.
The second included venue is your ceremony location. Brace yourself, is gorgeous. This is the picturesque yoga pavilion. You can see the rainforest and mountains on both sides and the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. Chairs will be included for up to 24 guests.
The third venue included is the Welcome Lodge for your reception. The lodge is used regularly as the reception office, restaurant and meeting place, but can be easily transformed into an open-air, intimate and inviting reception space. Furniture and linens are included in this package.
Do you need your own photographer?
Photography is included with this package. Your photographer will start at your bridal bungalow with getting ready pictures and will stay until the end of the reception. Of course, you can choose to bring along your own photographer. If you go that route, you’d need to factor those additional costs into your overall budget. Keep in mind, if you bring a photographer from home, you’d need to factor in her airfare, lodging, meals, and transportation. But still, if you have a photographer you really love, that might be worth the added expense. It just depends on your priorities.
The package includes your floral too, this estimate is for (1) Bride’s Bouquet, (1) Groom’s Boutonniere, (2) additionals Boutonnieres and (2) Corsages, a floral installment for yoga deck, and (3) centerpieces for reception space.
I can’t say enough for live music at both the ceremony and the reception. So, I’m thrilled that Kandice included a ceremony musician as well as a local band for the reception. In addition, you’ll have a DJ onsite for the final hour so you can go total dance party too!
A 2 tier wedding cake is included, as well as a choice between desserts or favors for guests from the local bakery. And for you coffee lovers, your guests will all have Costa Rican coffee with their cake!
Food and Drink
Catering and bar are covered. With this package, the evening begins with a cocktail hour. Your guests will have access to an open bar as well as hot & cold hors d’ oeuvres. Then you’d begin the reception where your guests are served a plated dinner. The bar would, of course, remain open. Your menu will be designed by the on-site chef at Vista Guapa, with your input of course. The food is heavenly. My husband and I have been trying to recreate the meals that the chef made for us. So far it has been a total fail, but I haven’t given up!
Even if you want the organic, rainforest, adventure wedding, it doesn’t mean you can’t have amazing hair and makeup. Kandice has arranged for a hair and makeup trial for the bride, as well as bridal hair and makeup onsite at the Bridal Bungalow on wedding day.
Officiant and Marriage License
Even for my couples that come to New Orleans for a destination wedding, getting the marriage license seems to be a pain point. As part of this package, you’ll not only receive the services of an officiant, you also get some assistance with securing your marriage license.
So what about the vacation itself? With the wedding package, the couple receives an all-inclusive 3 night Newlywed Vacation Package. That includes all meals, 2 massages, daily surf lessons, 1 adventure tour, photography, 1 yoga session, bike rental & airport transfers.
Resort Fees and Taxes?
Vista Guapa is not a resort, so not extra fees there. Also, the sales tax in Costa Rica is 13%, but Kandice already factored that in, so no worries there.
All that is under $15,000. $14,125 to be exact. A pretty amazing package at a fraction of the cost to do anything similar in the U.S.
What is Not Included
I do want you to think it through and realize there are other expenses that aren’t included.
You’ll need to figure out what airfare will run you to get to San Jose, Costa Rica. Current round trip rates from New Orleans are approximately $400 per person last I checked. You and your fiance’s airfare are not included in this quote.
Also, I may be biased, but you may want to work with a wedding coordinator from home to develop your timeline and coordinate with Kandice and the professional team. Then, you’d want to bring her with you to run the rehearsal and orchestrate the actual wedding day. That’s around $1500 for the service itself, and you’ve got to consider her airfare, lodging, and transportation. However, if your coordinator is preapproved by Vista Guapa, they’ll cover her room, meals and local transportation. If that is a priority for you, it could add a couple grand to your overall budget.
What does Uncommon Camellia get out of it?
If you watched our video on kickbacks you know our company policy is that we don’t take payment for referrals. I’m telling you about this place because it’s amazing. I mean come on, look at it, maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just in love with Vista Guapa. But, I feel like I’m sharing a massive secret and as soon as people read this blog, its gonna be completely booked for weddings for the foreseeable future. The only way we directly get something out of this is if you choose to hire us as your coordinator for the wedding. Indirectly, I’d love to see Vista Guapa continue to flourish and for more people to experience the beauty and tranquility of this place.
Vibe and Budget
Point is, if this fits your vibe and your budget, shoot me an email at email@example.com! You can also send Kandice an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is an easy to read summary of what is included in this package:
Photo Shoot – Transportation for the couple, up to 6 guests, photographer and coordinator to the 1st look location.
Ceremony – Use of the yoga deck for the ceremony. Chairs for up to 24 guests.
Reception – Use of the Welcome Lodge for the reception. Seating, tables, and linens for 26 people.
Floral installment for ceremony
(3) centerpieces for reception space
Local band for the reception
Wedding cake (2 tiers)
After dinner deserts or favors
Catering and Bar:
Cocktail hour including hot & cold hors d’oeuvres
Plated dinner or buffet for 26 people
3 hour open bar
1 hour coffee service
Hair and Makeup:
Hair and makeup trial for the bride
Wedding day hair and makeup for the bride onsite at Vista Guapa
Services of an officiant
Assistance with securing a marriage license
4 airport transfers
3 Night All-Inclusive Newlywed Package
Daily surf lesson
1 Yoga session
20% Off Packages booked from guests
Total Package Cost $ 12,500
+ 13%($1,625) Costa Rica Service Tax.
TOTAL PACKAGE PRICE: $14, 125
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