Ali + Michael

ali and michael wedding tamarindo diria morning

This is a true fell for the boy next door love story. Ali and Michael met at a "meet your neighbors" party because their apartments were from the same leasing agency. Ali went out to the patio and met Michael with his two friends from Arkansas at the party. They stayed in touch and shortly after the party Ali got a puppy and Michael offered to dog-sit. Once Dash the dog had approved, Ali fell head over heels.

bridal details in costa rica resort

They loved being silly together and quickly learned of each other's love for cartoon comedies and other goofy movies. They were always making up songs about the dog or taking it to the next level by wearing a spandex green suit at a cousin's wedding for additional entertainment. The rest of their love story is filled with Sunday walks to the local coffee shop and dog park or planning their next big adventure. They love exploring new restaurants, doing yoga together, and having carefree dance parties in the living room. They have traveled all over together from Mexico, Iceland, Italy, and, Croatia where they celebrated their engagement.

hotel diria resort in tamarindo costa rica

Michael wanted to propose on vacation to Croatia, but he couldn't contain himself. 2 weeks before the trip and after a few drinks at had their favorite watering hole, the Green Eye, Michael and Ali were sitting in the living room with Dasher and Michael dropped to one knee and spilled his heart out.

During their trip to Croatia, everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong. This didn't phase the couple, they even joked that they were on a game show called "engaged and enraged" because if you can survive a stressful trip, you can survive the relationship! This is such an important note for couples who travel all over! One thing that they did take from this trip was the song Sunday Candy by Chance the Rapper because it played every time they plugged Michael's phone in while traveling and it made them laugh. The song is about love in its purest form and quickly became their love story theme song and then became their ceremony song!

grooms attire diria hotel costa rica

Ali and Michael decided on a natural sentimental style for their wedding. They wanted a classic authentic style that really represented them. Their home is decorated with warm woods, cozy candles, with a really natural feel. They love going to antique shops for glassware and filling their home with things they have collected from their travels. They wanted to do the same for their wedding design. They said "We want their guests to feel that the wedding is reflective of our relationship, so while it's nice and beautifully decorated to compliment beautiful Costa Rica, that there are some quirky elements that make people say, oh yeah this is so Michael and Ali. Kind of bright and sparkly in a special way that makes you feel excited." We wanted to make sure to incorporate their silly, laidback personalities everywhere we could!

Ali and Michael came for a site visit the year before and checked out venues in several parts of Costa Rica, in the Central Pacific region, and in Guanacaste. They loved Tamarindo. They had an engagement shoot with their photographers, Rawshoots, during the site visit as well as a hair and makeup trial so they were friendly and comfortable with several of their vendors before their wedding day! They instantly fell in love with the Pangas wedding venue because of the food and the view. The rest of the planning was so fun! We made sure to get everything organized and on a timeline because Ali took a 6 week sabbatical around southeast Asia during planning. We didn't have any contact for 2 months but we planned tasks before and after so we were able to pick up when she returned!

ceremony details beachfront in costa rica tamarindo

The main thing they wanted was for their guests to walk into a calm relaxed environment from the moment they stepped off the plane. We made sure to plan every detail. All of the guests arrived at the Liberia airport with transportation waiting for them. They took the hour drive to town and settled into their resort rooms. Most of the guests stayed at the Hotel Diria Tamarindo Resort in the heart of Playa Tamarindo where the couple stayed. To give the guests another option we also had a room block at the Hotel Pasatiempo, another great choice located just a 5-minute walk to the beach with a garden bed and breakfast vibe. After everyone spent the morning soaking in the Pura Vida atmosphere, Ali and Michael planned a laid back gathering at Volcano Brewing Company to welcome their guests.

The day before the wedding we planned a coastal catamaran cruise with snorkeling through coastal waters. Everyone enjoyed sunbathing and relaxation as they headed out to sea to begin the adventure. After working up an appetite, fresh Bocas and cold drinks were served as they set sail to seek more marine life. After a fun boat day and beautiful sunset, they came back to shore to have a beach BBQ welcome party at a beachfront bar. There was live music and fire dancers for entertainment. It was the perfect way to spend their last day as an engaged couple.

ceremony in pangas tamarindo cr wedding

The morning of the wedding was a sunny day and everyone's spirits were high. The girls were sipping mimosas and giggling as they got dressed for the big moment. The guys were relaxed and soaked in the stunning views from their resort room. We asked the couple what they loved most about their future spouse and their answers were adorable!

Michael said "I love that I can be myself without any judgment. Ali knows me better than any other person, even than myself sometimes, and makes sure I'm being true to who I am. I love how she pushes me to want to do better and helps me believe that I can achieve my goals. I love being able to come home and not having anything planned, but we always laugh and have fun. The thing I love most about Ali is just her unapologetic sense of being herself and how we mutually inspire each other."

Ali said "I love that Michael can make anyone feel comfortable. He can talk to anyone and uses this talent to make the people around him feel important and loved. I love that I never doubt how much love me and Dasher more than anything, and even though our family is small it feels like the whole world sometimes. I love that he makes me feel strong and smart more often than he reassures me I am beautiful, even though he still does that a lot. He makes me feel that I have a companion in life at my worst, and very importantly, at my best. He cares about the people around him more than anyone I've ever meant, and he inspires me every day to be more compassionate and empathetic, something I believe takes such strength to continually put out into the universe regardless of circumstance."

post ceremony pangas drinks and cocktails

After a fun-filled morning, it was time to head to the ceremony. The design for the ceremony complimented local nature but with a beautiful pop of orange to stand out against the soft tones of the sand and ocean. We created a unique look for these love birds to exchange vows under, with a bird of paradise chandelier hanging from the tree.

Tropical Beachfront Wedding Playlist

Processional Song: Past Dives by Digster Sessions
Bride's Entrance Song: Sunday Candy by Cenji
Recessional Song: Sunday Candy by Chance the Rapper
Entrance Song: Mine by Third Eye Blind
First Dance Song: Senorita by Camila Cabello
Last song of the night Song: Doses and Mimosas

playa tamarindo costa rica photoshoot bride and groom

After the big kiss, everyone headed to the beach for cocktail hour and photos. We set up a greenery wall with a neon Pura Vida sign for everyone to take photos with. There were signature drinks with a muppets sign which paid an ode to an inside joke with the couple - Rizzo holding a drink and Beaker holding a beaker.  Servers came around with hors d’oeuvres including pulled pork empanadas with tamarindo glaze, chicken skewers served in a coconut with a coconut curry sauce, fried local goat cheese with mango chutney, and ceviche shots. As everyone headed to sit down for dinner they first started by checking out the unique seating chart. From the beginning, the couple wanted a lego seating chart. They made a custom lego figure for every one of their guests made a cute sign that said "take a shot and lego." This kicked off the fun vibe for the reception.

lego seating chart

The reception was designed in a laidback style. Teak Guanacaste tables were decorated with palm leaves, local florals, and candles. We decided on bamboo chairs with white cushions which gave an elegant beachy feel. There were mirrored plates layered with black napkins and beautiful blue glasses for the dinnerware. The tables surrounded a wooden dance floor with paper lanterns that swayed in the wind. The buffet-style dinner made everything really relaxed and kept everyone mingling all night long.

reception dinner decor tamarindo guanacaste tables

After toasts, Ali and Michael had a surprise for everyone! Ali changed into a gorgeous shimmering salsa dress and Michael spun her around the dance floor in a beautifully choreographed dance. They absolutely killed it! This really brought everyone to the dance floor. Add in a few light-up accessories and the party was a night to remember! The night didn't just end at Pangas, everyone headed down to the beach bars to close out the late-night party.

dinner and desserts in costa rica catering

The day after the wedding, everyone enjoyed a relaxing beach day exploring the beautiful beaches of Tamarindo. This area is famous for white sand, palm-studded beaches, and endless activities. Some of the guests went to explore Playa Grande to surf and watch the turtle nesting. Other guests wandered around the busy town of Tamarindo and visited the shops and fun tourist geared activities.

We asked Ali and Michael what they were looking forward to most about marriage. They said "Pretty much to continue the lives we have already built together. We consider each other our main support systems, so as we grow and think about what we want for the future, we look forward to helping each other achieve our individual goals and also our mutual goals in life. We think marriage is something strong we will share that will contribute to making us that much more capable of reaching what we want in our lives. We look forward to the strength of the unity between two individuals who want their partner's success as much as their own." How sweet! We know the rest of this love story will be filled with so many giggles, inside jokes, adventures, and never-ending songs to Dash. Congrats you two!

bride and groom salsa dance floor in costa rica