Real Wedding – Nina and Gorka, Mal Pais

I’m not one for hyperbole but this was definitely the wedding of the year here. Epic. Imagine 160 people from all corners of the globe – China, Spain, England, USA, Costa Rica – diverging on the remote surfing village of Mal Pais for an affair oozing details.We’re very proud that this was the first Costa Rican wedding to be featured on Style Me Pretty, the blog for stylish weddings. While the link features more photos, I’ve chosen to focus on detail shots for this posting.

Nina is a designer and a former creative director for a huge advertising firm so she had a very strong vision for the wedding. I’d met Nina five years ago when I planned her sister’s wedding so I was honoured when I was hired to helm the second wedding for this family.

Gorka, the groom,  may work in international banking but this fun-loving Spaniard is no slouch in the stylezone. He and Nina wanted to infuse their celebration with touches of their cultures – Costa Rica, Spain and their current home, Hong Kong – whilst including some rock ‘n roll edginess. Result? Not your typical beachfront wedding.

Ceremony was on the beach with a ‘less is more’ approach. Wood and white was the theme with zaps of colour coming from Chinese parasols. Sandlewood fans were held in place by black riverstones and a handmade sign stood sentry. Ceremony was held under a wooden gazebo bedecked with branches and white dendrobium orchid buds flanked by vases of white flowers.

Guests were met with a water bar – vases filled with spring water infused with cucumber or lime – and a guest book table with an 80-year old typewriter and red paper, rather than the typical guest book. An antique suitcase, with a 40-year old travel tag for San Jose airport still attached (did I do a happy dance when we found that at the antique store!), held washcloths scented with lemongrass essence to help keep folks cool.

For the reception, rather than the usual buffet or sit down dinner, we opted for hors d’ouerves – 1500 of them to be exact, deliciously made by a chef who was Giselle Bundchen’s private caterer (did I mention the word epic?)! We had four food stations – custom designed and built – in bright red with Chinese lanterns strung overhead. Two Asian stations, one Spanish and one Costa Rican, anchored by a sweets station with mini-cupcakes and a candybar. An old Chinese medicine chest was filled with different goodies for folks to fill up mini-take out boxes with.

The backyard of The March House (a private villa) was transformed into a giant lounge surrounding a massive dancefloor with white lights and red lanterns strung overhead. There were four lounge areas and each one featured a different ‘riff’ on the table arrangements. Working with red and black, each custom designed and crafted oversized coffee table/ottoman was slightly different and featured a photo of the couple along with a blurb about where they were in the picture and the importance of that moment in their relationship. The idea was to encourage people to mingle throughout the night, rather than plunk down in one spot for hours on end.

Sofas were reupholstered in black and white damask fabric with custom-made silk brocade pillows adding a colour punch to the mix. Giant black and red candles were grouped around the perimeters.

Here’s how it all looked at night, lit up with everyone shakin’ a tailfeather, first to a smokin’ band and then to a DJ flown in from Columbia (did I mention this was epic?).

And the attention to detail…we had acrylic bars made with Norka’s (as they call themselves) wedding logo. Hello scrumptious detaily goodness!

And, to round all this out, we had a custom made photobooth, featuring photos of the couple and their families over the years. A basket of props got the wackiness factor cranked to 11.

Whew! All I can say is thank goodness for Skype as Nina, Gorka and I had many long chats and the phone bill for Hong Kong-Costa Rica would have been ginormous!

Huge thanks to the talented Julie Comfort of Comfort Studios for capturing the day with such vivid detail. And a big congratulations again to Norka – you two know how to throw an epic and stylish event!

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