Get Married in Costa Rica on the Beach

I was never the type of child to dream about her wedding. I never dressed up as a bride, or cut out pictures of flowers and dresses. When I was 25, I worked at a museum that had a lovely viewing space, which was used for weddings.

Since the wedding planner at our building ironically didn't work weekends, I had the lovely job of using her notes to make sure the weddings were pulled off according to plan. After an entire summer of suffering through brides, the mothers of the bride, and drunken grooms and guests, I HATED weddings.

Enjoying the view during our wedding lunch.

I just wanted to get married on a beach. No guests. No music playlist. No table centerpieces. Just my fiance Joey, and I and a Justice of the Peace.

As luck would have it, my fiance's father purchased a house in Costa Rica. Billy, Joey's father, and his mother, Marni, had been going to Costa Rica for years, staying in a rental condo unit while there. They had fallen in love with the country, and had decided to make the leap and buy a house in a beautiful area called Playa Carillo, near the surfing village of Samara on the Pacific Coast side of the country in the province of Guanacaste.

So when my then boyfriend, Joey, asked me to marry him, we made plans to elope. At first, both of our families didn't want us to leave to get married, then wanted to come with us, then starting planning the wedding for us... so we threatened to not get married at all!

Eventually, it was settled and we were going to Costa Rica for Spring Break of 2009 for a wonderful vacation, and, oh yeah, a wedding.

Costa Rica is paradise on earth - I could stay there forever!

We flew into Liberia, and immediately I felt the wonderful cloak of humidity wrapping around me, making my hair curl at the neck and my skin start to glow. I think I was born for tropical climates! I breathed in the rich air and knew that we had made the right choice for our wedding destination. 

After a two-hour taxi ride to Playa Carillo, we arrived at the house - a beautiful yellow bungalow with terracotta tiling and a rich, green lawn surrounding it, ginger bushes gating the front doors.

We found a beautiful old church in Nicoya, Costa Rica.

We spent the first three days exploring the beaches of Playa Carillo and Samara. The most notable difference was that Playa Carillo was much less busy, being a hidden gem in a little populated area, and that Samara's gorgeous white sand was unfortunately riddled with sharp pieces of broken coral from the reef just beyond the cove. Otherwise, both beaches were peaceful, beautiful, and wonderful to just lie on in the hot sun.

The gorgeous white-sand beach at Samara.

We were also told about a hidden, private beach not far from the house in Carillo - just a mere 15-minute walk, Billy told us. Unfortunately, both Joey and I are absolutely useless when it comes to directions, and our 15 minute walk turned into a 3 hour trek, with no water or sunscreen.

Needless to say, I was getting a bit cranky by the end of it - especially when the trail we'd been hopefully following ended in a cliff, so we had to turn around and go back the way we'd come. We hiked through that sweltering jungle, the ocean always within view but only accessible down a steep cliff that neither of us were willing to traverse, and finally found the right path and made it to the private beach.

In the end, it was worth it and we got some gorgeous cliff top photos as a result of our trek!

Me Tarzan!  Loving the swinging vines in the jungle.

On the fourth day of our trip, we were married on the beach in Playa Carillo, on some stunning black rocks sitting mid-point on the crescent-shaped strip of glistening sand. I felt like a princess, with my prince perched beside me in bare feet, the roar of the crashing waves virtually drowning out the Spanish wedding ceremony being recited by our very pregnant J.P.

It was perfect in every way, with total strangers as our witnesses and people we'd only met the day before showing up to gift us with a bottle of champagne. It was the most stress-free wedding I'm sure has ever been performed on this planet, and it was perfect.

I did miss having my family there, but ultimately the wedding was about Joey and I, and we did everything our way with no worries or strains.

Enjoying some 'sombra' (shade) during our wedding photo shoot

We took our small, impromptu wedding party out for lunch, then went off to do our own thing... I'll discuss that afternoon in a later post. It was something unique and extremely fun as part of our wedding 'ceremony'!

The rest of our time in Costa Rica, we went boogie boarding in the swells of Samara, ventured up to a beautiful Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Resort for some amazing scenery and a high-class dinner, relaxed on the beach of Carillo, visited the city of Nicoya to pay our photographer, J.P., and my hairdresser, and just enjoyed the relaxed pace of life that Costa Rica offers.

We ate very well, also, and my favorite dish was the traditional Tiko chicken, rice, and beans platter. It doesn't sound very glamorous, but it was delicious. As well, I really enjoyed the arroz con pollo.

Joey enjoying the beach at Carillo in his sexy sun hat. Ha ha!

We are hoping to go to Costa Rica again, and next time I am determined to take Billy's Jeep, Snowball, out for a cruise to the volcano of Arenal, to the Cloud Forest in the middle of the country, and turtle beach on the Atlantic side of the country.


  1. Beautiful! Love your posts!! I could read them all day. I sadly have only done 2 things on your list, but one of them you have not done, haha! I went on a greek cruise in April and toured the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Patmos and Kusidasi(Turkey). THEY ARE INCREDIBLE. If you can, add in Mykonos and Kusidasi to your greek excursion! They were my favorite islands, as well as Santorini. When you go to Crete, Find a "foot fish" spa... lets just say your feet are the fish food ;) These tiny fish actually nibble the dead skin off of your feet (Sounds crazy i know) but when you take your foot out of the fish tanks, they feel as smooth as a baby's bottom! Definitely would do it again. In mykonos there is something for everyone. I went with my classmates, a few teachers and some parents (Including my mom). Us teens went shopping at the very chic-fashioned, white washed stores they had to offer or went and nibbled on some delicious delacacies. The parents and teachers either went off to the tropical bars, or read a book at one of the many water front cafe's. Soooo relaxing and spectacular for everyone! The beaches were best in Mykonos as well, though you would have to do some hiking, you can find your own little beach paradise. I plan to move to Mykonos and stay there for a year after I graduate from University. This trip changed my perspective on life and made me realize how much more there is to see in the world. Hope this made sense and makes you want to travel to Greece even more :)))) -Jessa D.

    1. Yes, this all made excellent sense and now I will present it to my husband in the hopes it makes perfect sense to him as well, and then we book a cruise through the Grecian islands. ;) Your trip sounds amazing! I will say I am slightly (extremely) envious, but happy that you had the chance to go on a dream vacation. I'm flattered that you like my blog, and look forward to hearing your thoughts! What are you taking in university? Good luck with your studies! :)