The Truth About Having Your Wedding at Villa Punto de Vista
So you’re thinking about hosting your wedding at Punto de Vista. Congratulations! This is an exciting, yet overwhelming time, as suddenly, you’re thrust into the middle of having to plan all. the. things!
Not to worry, as I’ve got your back. My name is Larissa Banting and I’ve been planning weddings in Costa Rica since 2003, making me the longest-serving destination wedding planner living full-time in the land of Pura Vida. I’ve been named to the A-List Top 30 Destination Wedding Planners in the World by Destination Weddings and Honeymoons Magazine, wrote Costa Rica – The Bradt Guide and have planned more than 600 weddings all over the country. I’d say I know a few things about weddings in Costa Rica 😉
More importantly, I know a lot about weddings at Villa Punto de Vista, as we’ve created over 50 celebrations at the Estate, including David Konwiser’s stellar wedding (he is the architect and one of the owners). Now I’m spilling all the tea about what you need to know if you’re considering the Villa for your celebration because I want to make sure you’re making the best decision possible.
Ready? Let’s dig in…
Shooting at Villa Punto de Vista is a Photographer’s Dream
The stunning architecture of Punto de Vista makes the estate a photographer’s dream come true. Every balcony features a gorgeous view of the rainforest and ocean. The infinity pool at Villa La Isla seems to melt into the Pacific Ocean, making it a stunning spot for photos. Most brides opt to get ready in Punto de Vista’s 4th-floor bedroom due to its spacious bathroom, makeup nook and large walk-in closet that even has a special hook to hang long wedding dresses to release travel wrinkles and make last-minute touch-ups with the provided professional steamer easy-peasy. Another reason this bedroom is so popular for brides is the triangular balcony with its sweeping vista of the ocean, the perfect spot for pre-ceremony portraits or a First Look session.
If the ceremony is hosted on the 5th floor, it’s an easy operation to take group photos in front of the altar area before the crowd disperses. And with the 180-degree view of the beach below, it’s one of the prime spots in the country for photos that will ‘wow’ for years to come.
If the unthinkable happens and the Rain Gods show up on the wedding day, not to fear, as the Villa has numerous covered and dry spots for photos, including sweeping staircases, dramatically lit hallways, cozy alcoves and various art pieces scattered throughout that make for enticing backdrops.
Manuel Antonio beach has been named one of the 25 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World by TripAdvisor and with its soft sands fringed by palm trees, it’s no wonder! If your dream is to marry next to the sea, I offer a few suggestions to keep in mind.
There is a beach down the road from the Villa named Playitas and while it’s a great spot to spend a day, there are a few considerations to keep in mind if using it for a ceremony spot. Check the tide charts as the beach disappears at high tide (true for most beaches in Costa Rica), which means your ceremony could get washed away. It’s a bit too far to walk comfortably in wedding gear, so you’ll definitely want transportation. The Villa does have a 4 x 4 and a Gator, but for larger weddings, you’ll want to look into hiring additional vehicles.
One thing to keep in mind is how hot it is on the beach! This is the tropics, after all, and the sun is very strong right up until around 4:30 pm when it starts to soften for sundown, which can occur between 5:30 and 6 PM, depending on the time of year. Standing on sand that’s been baking for hours while dressed to the nines as the sun beats down on as you try to not squint in the strong light isn’t something most people think about when imagining their perfect day.
If you’re wanting a larger wedding at the beach, my recommendation is to consider one of the hotels or beach clubs closer to the National Park with cleared areas under palm trees, making for a shaded spot that also has more privacy. The added bonus is that they offer washrooms as well as bar and food services, making the segue from the ceremony into the photo session and cocktail hour seamless as guests enjoy the beach in comfort, waiting for that magic moment when the sun disappears into the ocean.
If you prefer to not deal with sand in everyone’s shoes and moving guests to and fro, you can opt to have the ceremony at the Villa and then head down to the beach for an intimate photo session during the sunset whilst their guests enjoy cocktail hour.
Wedding Time, Rain or Shine
No one wants to think about the possibility of rain on the wedding day but Mother Nature plays by her own rules so it’s important to have a Plan B, especially if your date is during the Green Season that runs from May through to December. Villa Punto de Vista is in a Rainforest, afterall, and it’s precipitation that keeps the surroundings so lush. The good news is that the Villa is built for sun or rain, thanks to a custom-made awning covering the top floor, keeping the sweeping 180-degree vista of the ocean and rainforest below unencumbered. No matter the weather, your wedding ceremony will go on without a hitch.
Costa Rica has two seasons – the Dry Season (January – April) and the Green Season (May – December). Typically, the Green Season has sunny days with short, intense showers rolling in late afternoon or during the evening. I’ve had weddings where the heavens opened at the beginning of the ceremony and by “kiss” time, the sun was out, that’s how short the showers can be! The rains do get heavier during September, October and early November, yet the mornings are typically sunny and dry, which is why you’ll find tours are normally run only in the mornings at this time of year. What we’ve found to be the perfect solution for weddings during these months when the afternoons are likely to see rain is to host a morning wedding, starting the ceremony no later than 9 AM in order to avoid the sun getting too bright for photos. After the ceremony and photos, guests enjoy a delicious brunch and then have the rest of the day to relax or enjoy a tour. Everyone reconvenes for cocktails around 5 PM followed by dinner and dancing. Mixing up the day adds a whole new dimension to the celebrations and having two meals offers the opportunity for a unique culinary experience.
If you have an afternoon ceremony, discuss the possibility of having a morning-after photo session with your photographer, just in case your outdoor photo session gets rained out on the wedding day. We’ve seen some amazing photo shoots done the day after because the couples are more relaxed, having fun traveling around Manuel Antonio and Quepos for unique shots they wouldn’t have had time for on the wedding day.
Villa Punto de Vista is Your One-Stop Shop
The great thing about hosting your wedding at Villa Punto de Vista is enjoying the world-class amenities in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth. Many couples opt to take full advantage of the different spaces around the Villa for their welcome parties, BBQs, rehearsal dinners and the wedding day celebrations. Let’s explore the different options:
The air-conditioned ballroom is the logical spot for cocktail hour and then dancing after the wedding dinner. Its adjoining patio space by the pool offers seating for folks who want to enjoy the night air while taking a break from the excitement happening on the dancefloor. It’s also the perfect spot for a sit-down dinner of 30 or less guests. Want a relaxed BBQ or taco party? Opening the ballroom’s sliding glass doors creates a seamless space to the pool and terrace while the front area by the entrance allows the caterers to set up the grilling away from the crowd. The long credenza in the entryway is a natural spot to set up a buffet or food stations. The Mezzanine overlooking the ballroom is where bands and DJs often set up to leave more space for dancing down below.
The main dining table sits just outside of the kitchen and the air-conditioned multi-media room, which is the perfect space to create a makeshift nursery or kid’s playroom where professional babysitters can keep the little ones entertained while Mom and Dad enjoy the party. With its amazing views of the ocean and handy bar next to the kitchen, the dining area is popular for smaller rehearsal dinners of under 25 people.
The creme de la creme for a Villa wedding in Costa Rica, the fifth floor has a jacuzzi area that serves as a focal point for ceremonies, thanks to its built-in archway framing the incredible view of the Pacific Ocean. With a large bar area, the fifth floor is the preferred ceremony area that can be easily turned over during cocktail hour into the dining space. The effect of walking back onto the terrace, now filled with tables adorned with flowers as candlelight gives an other-worldly glow in the darkness of night, is always breathtaking for the couple and guests alike.
A Few Final Tips
Stocking the Bar
While the Villa’s concierge will ensure the pantry and bar is stocked with whatever you’d like, I do recommend bringing in hard liquor via Duty Free, as imported alcohol is highly taxed here. Each adult traveler can import up to 5 Litres of alcohol and you can purchase more as you exit customs in San Jose airport, which conveniently has you walk right through the local Duty-Free shop.
Parking at the Villas is limited and the road is steep with a sharp drop off, making it a drive you really don’t want to have guests trying to navigate at night, especially after a few drinks. If you have guests staying off property at one of the many hotels and rental houses a short drive away from Punto de Vista, consider hiring vans to provide door-to-door service to make your celebrations worry-free for all.
Timing is Everything
Manuel Antonio has magnificent sunsets so you’ll want to take advantage of the celestial show Mother Nature provides every day. Aim to start your ceremony no later than 4:30 PM so you’ll have time for the ceremony (usually takes no more than 15 – 20 minutes) then photos with guests and family before the Villa’s driver takes you down to the beach for photos around 5:15 PM. Guests can enjoy cocktail hour with passed apps during the photos and by the time the sun has set around 6 PM, you can move into the dinner portion of the evening.
Food, Wonderful Food
Hosting your celebration at Punto de Vista gives you the opportunity to have some of the best chefs in the country dishing out their signature flavours for you. Time and again, our clients rave about how incredibly fresh and tasty everything is. Costa Rica is a veritable cornucopia, with two oceans filled with a wide range of fish and seafood as well as fertile farmland, growing rice, potatoes, pineapples, coffee, mangos and everything in between.
Insider tip – appetites tend to be smaller when you’re in the tropics so I recommend 4 – 5 passed apps during cocktail hour, a light first course such as a salad, the main course and then move to the ballroom for dancing. Set out dessert on the credenza so guests have a chance to let their meals settle before enjoying some sweets as the party continues on through the night.
Taste of the Tropics
Every party needs refreshments and what better way to incorporate Costa Rica than by including some local drinks. There’s been a recent explosion of micro-breweries you might want to try if you’re beer aficionados and the local mainstream brews- Imperial, Pilsen and Bavaria – are all crowd pleasers. Sugar cane is one of the main crops in the country, giving us Centenario Rum and the local clear alcohol with a kick called Guaro (like Cachaca from Brazil), the main ingredient for Guaro Sours. You might want to consider having fresh green coconuts (Pipas) or mature coconuts served for a local and festive touch.
Manuel Antonio is a great spot for a vacation but…it’s not NYC or LA so nightclubbing isn’t really a thing. What to do if you want to keep the party going after the DJ wraps up? Pool party! After a long day of fancy clothes and dancing up a storm, people are ready to slip into a bathing suit and hit the pool. The Villa’s built-in iPads with the ballroom’s sound system are ready to keep the fun going all night long!
Knowing all the wedding locations around Costa Rica, I can honestly say that nowhere else comes close to what Punto de Vista has to offer. It’s simply a breathtaking experience made incredibly warm and human by a staff with hearts as big as the moon. Welcome home – you’re going to love it here!