Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Rustic Charm in a Tropical Wedding..!

Having a rustic wedding is a wonderful challenge. There are many fantastic decorations and ideas to put together, often inspired by the country and forage from nature.

Therefore, essential rustic decorations can often pile up a lot of greens, yellows, and brownish colors along the arbor structure. But what if you chose to print your very own personal touch to pair these rustic options?

A superb way is to fill it with dazed splashes of your favorite color and play off with all the options that the beach and summer has to offer.

Create your bouquet between a playful mix of wildflowers, hydrangeas, and peonies, wrapped up with jute scarps, colorful ribbons, burlap fabric or a clean and fresh lace that matches other fabrics used for the set-up decoration.

Outdoor summer venues have endless possibilities when it comes to rustic decorations: garlands and candle-filled mason jars in jute hangers, suspended from tree branches fill the environment with charm and romance. 

Tree branches can hold mason jars with flowers as aisle decorations complemented by tiki torches. Another way to use mason jars is in center pieces: filled with sand, sea shells, as chandeliers with wire handles or water tinted filled with seasonal flowers. Pair them up with the seating cards decorated with a few elegant marine essentials such as sailboats, sailor’s heart knot ties and maps.

One or two theme pieces that enlighten the set-up will be enough to avoid going overboard with these kinds of details!

Learn more of our Rustic Charm decoration package for 2014, contact us at

Stay tune for more great Tips!

Warm regards from Papagayo, Costa Rica.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vintage Weddings: less is more!

The vintage wedding trend is an excellent option that incorporates a little bit of fancy, romance and charm, while also expressing the couple’s personal touch.

Vintage inspiration can be found in a number of places. Many couples opt to include family heirlooms and antiques into their decoration; others have a way of romanticizing through colors and small details, whether you decide to do one or the other it is important to keep in mind that not every aspect of vintage should have the same intensity, make sure you don’t overcharge the scene with decorations! 

We’ve put together a couple of ideas to give your celebration an old-fashioned flair!

·         Check out all time favorite romance movies for inspiration: Casablanca, The Notebook or Meet me in St. Louis and use your favorite quotes on invitations and reception tables. You can create a touch of nostalgia by using letterpress printing and tea-stained papers.

·         Accessories are a great accent to dreamy ceremonies, but make sure you pick the right ones so that they compliment the tropical surroundings and climate. Feathers, and Art Deco jewelry or cute parasols make adorable summer accessories that will be a perfect match with beach surroundings.

·         Take bride and groom’s favorite pictures as children from family albums, and place them inside mason jars to create personalized center pieces. Painting them with dust blue and gray colors, plus adding white flowers is a simple yet elegant idea that will make the arrangements be near and dear to the guests’ hearts.

·         Soft color handmade ribbon streamers are a great element for vintage decoration. Tied around chairs, flowers or spread out on tables for guests to wave throughout the reception toasts.

Keep always in mind that when it comes to vintage wedding decor, less is more. Be sure the elements included are well balanced for your big day. A smart distribution of antique items and soft color balance is what will add character and visual elegance to this romantic style!

Stay Tuned!....

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Your love's soundtracks...

Music fits into our lives in the most various ways, every special occasion, every memory; every mood has its very own soundtrack that flips memories onto our heads whenever played again.

Music will indeed play a big role during your big day. Whether you are considering a playlist that includes the songs you love or a DJ or band that takes the lead on what to perform, here are some tips for you to consider:

  • It’s always a romantic idea to personalize your walk down the aisle with a song that has a special meaning for the couple, consider one song for the beginning and another one for your walk back up the aisle, this will help you feel confident and release your anxiety!
  • If you chose to create a playlist make yourself a big list of everything you'd love to hear at your wedding for every step of the way — check back every few days in order to make sure the list of songs fits for what you expect for yourselves and the wedding guests.
  • Include a good set of instrumental tunes or slow music to play in the background during cocktail hour and/or dinner, this works as a nice transition for your loved ones to prepare before raving about the music!
  • Wedding waltz was considered the symbolic first presentation of a young couple as “husband and wife’. As times have changed, it is now considered as a First Dance, often with the couple’s favorite song. You can always add a little touch of fun by starting traditional and then switching to your own style.
  • Friends and relatives are always in the mood to participate in unorthodox fun entrances and surprise first dances or flash mobs, this is a perfect ice-breaker for people to get together on the days previous to the wedding, and a viewing pleasure for those who rather watch from their seats.
  • If you chose to hire a DJ or band instead of using a playlist make sure you previously give them an idea on what style you are expecting. Have a 10-list must play songs, that should be performed and then they can take it from there, or explain they should focus on songs that will make it fun for everyone.
  •  When choosing destination weddings, liven up the venue with local music bands from the country you are visiting, this is always a great way to celebrate in a creative manner.

Finally, for a little inspiration, here are 
some of the most popular songs newlywed couples have selected for their first dance at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
  1. “Love and Some Verses” by Iron and Wine
  2. “How Deep is Your Love” by The Bird and the Bee
  3. “All I Want Is You” by Barry Louis Polisar
  4. “Better together” by Jack Johnson
  5. “I want to marry you” by Bruno Mars

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lifetime memories… Tips for great wedding photos!

Having the perfect wedding is definitely every bride’s dream; like most life-changing moments there are no do overs and those magical moments tend to be gone much too soon in the midst of nerves and excitement.

We understand getting truly great photos of your wedding ceremony and reception is crucial. You’ve planned every detail, read every single one of our blog posts and become best friends with your wedding planner; it is now time to make sure your special day is photographed to perfection.

We decided to get some great advice from the experts. These tips from our close friends at El Velo Photography ( will help you plan ahead and make smart decisions to ensure your only job is to look joyful on your special day.

v  If your ceremony is outdoors, make sure you have an indoor backup location just in case, the last call should be take at least 4 hours before the event (this will depend on the wedding location).
v  It’s always a good idea to check the 10-day forecast to avoid any surprises on your wedding day.  If your location and season pose a serious risk of rain, try to have umbrellas handy, they can serve as a great accessory for a session with a light drizzle. You may even find some playful designs that match your wedding theme and could also be used as parasols in tropical locations.
v  Don't be afraid to express if you have an idea for a photograph, you’re always welcome to add your personal style to the session. Communicate with your photographer, they are very creative and will provide great technical knowledge to improve your suggestions.
v  For any pre-wedding outdoor activities (attention beach brides!), remember and remind your bridal party to wear sun block to avoid tan lines on your wedding day pictures.
v  If you have a makeup artist with you, make sure they coordinate with your photographer as well. Keep your photographer involved during your makeup test so that you can get a preview and make any changes. If any decisions you’ve made don’t photograph well, you’ll want to know in advance. 
v  No makeup artist? Not a problem! Just carry an emergency kit for a retouch every now and then so you look fresh at all times.
v  Unlike other countries, Costa Rica does not have daylight savings time. It gets dark between 5:10 and 6:10 depending on the time of the year. Check for estimated sunset times around your wedding day if you’re counting on daylight for your ceremony.
v  To take advantage of the sunset for your pictures, calculate walking down the aisle at least 75 minutes before sunset, here’s why:

Ceremony (Legal)
15 – 20 minutes
Guest congratulations
10 minutes
Photos with family,
25 minutes (depending on # of family members)
Couple’s photo session
20 minutes

As you can read above, having a photo session at Costa Rica (specially at a Tropical Beach) will definitely change the picture and conditions, which is why it’s so important to cover all details with the professional, just like we would do here at Hilton Papagayo…

We hope these tips will give you a usefull extra hand when it comes to the Photo Session.

Keep Tuned!
Warm Regards!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Choosing your Dream Wedding Cake

As if planning a wedding is not hard enough… selecting the wedding cake will join your endless list! Not to worry. We want to provide you with an extra hand and a couple of ideas when choosing your wedding cake!
Here are 5 great tips:
1.       Budget: Set your initial and very realistic budget before you start planning; this will avoid going through a lot of ideas that due to the money factor you will not be able to reach. This is a very common mistake and we mention it in most of our articles.  Present your ideas and expectations to your wedding planner or Pastry Chef so that they can plan according to your expectations and possibilities. A great money-saving tip: serve the wedding cake as dessert on your reception dinner.
2.       Flavor: no matter how beautiful, tall or colorful your wedding cake is, its main role is to taste great. Do not overlook this aspect when you’re being dazzled by cake designs. Make sure you arrange a cake tasting before you make your final decision.  Even all-time favorites like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry will taste different depending on the preparation, pastry chef and even how long the cake has been sitting out prior to cutting and eating it. Don’t make assumptions. It’s very likely that you know exactly what you want your cake to look, taste and smell like, so try it out first and scratch that concern off your list.
3.       Theme:  the wedding theme will be all over the ceremony and reception: flowers, color of tables and linens, and of course, your wedding cake. Making sure it will match with your dress color, your bridesmaids dresses and the atmosphere overall it’s a big trend this season. Some little tips for selecting the shape: round is traditional, square is modern and fun, but an oval-shaped cake draws a lot of attention and allows the pastry chef more room upon which to create a masterpiece.
4.       Weather and Temperature: keep the temperature and location of your wedding in mind so you can make a good call on your cakes frosting; whether it’s a classic icing, fondant or butter cream you need to keep in mind if your reception will be indoors or outdoors, if the temperature will be cold or hot, windy, sunny, humid, etc. For example: if you’re having your wedding in a  tropical destination you can expect heat and humidity, so fondant is the best way to go to keep your cake looking great until it’s time to dig in.
5.       The Don’ts:
a.       Wait until the last minute to starting working on your cake’s details. Most bakeries work their agendas and calendars with weeks in advance.
b.      Ask your entire wedding party what they want the cake to look or taste like. Just as you should with the menu, location and honeymoon destination, choose your wedding cake with your and you future spouse’s preference in mind… after all, it’s you two who’ll be standing on top!

We truly hope that this will help you during the crazy but magical wedding planning chapter of your life. Don’t hesitate to contact our team at Hilton Papagayo for more information.
Warm Regards!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Menu Selection for your Wedding

During our last post we provided you with a list of key points to consider as you begin planning your wedding. Although all the details and steps are important to make this a perfect day, the menu selection is definitely a brainteaser… trying to decide on items that you and your future spouse, your parents, your family and your guests will love is almost impossible, so start off by deciding to prioritize who’s taste buds are most relevant.
Our most common tip to our couples is to focus first and foremost on what they like. This unforgettable day should be ALL about you: the location, music, decoration, timing and specially food and beverage selection must fulfill your expectations. Work on what will make you and your bride or groom happy, and trust that seeing you enjoy your day will also please your guests.
Find support in your Wedding Planner and caterer or Chef for selecting appetizers, entrées and desserts that match the venue and destination, explore the possibilities of new local products for a unique menu selection. Whoever you’ve selected to be the creative mastermind of your menu, consult with them prior to making any final decisions and ask all the questions you can think of regarding how your menu and the food services will be affected by the location, weather , distance from kitchen to reception, time of the day, etc. Also, be aware of any food allergies, dietary needs and preferences of your guests so that you can plan ahead and avoid emergencies or one of your guests being hungry during the reception or waiting too long for their meal. Finally, talk to your planner to get guidance on the timing and service flow of your reception. How long will people spend eating, dancing, toasting and any other activities you may envision for that day? If you’re planning an overnight celebration, have you considered the midnight snacks? Maybe even breakfast? Share your ideas with the experts you trust to plan your day and allow them to assist you in organizing the timing of food and drinks so that your guests are energized during the entire event. 
And, as a little treat, we’d like to share some tropical ideas from our Wedding Menu at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, by Executive Chef, Nicolas Piatti (Check out his photo album)

A refreshing and light appetizer: Trout Salad with Seasonal Artichokes.
Absolutely delicious Grilled Lobster Tail with Costa Rican Vegetables
Passion Fruit Parfait

Chef Piatti is recommending a nice, balanced and tropical selection, to match our atmosphere. We encourage you to use all the information from your research and your suppliers to create your own menu, one that reflects you and your significant other’s personalities and history. Overall, feel free to let your imagination run wild, after all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and you deserve to have it all.  
As always, more to come….
Warm Regards from Sunny Papagayo, Costa Rica.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

You’re engaged, congratulations! Now what?

It’s very common for us to get contacted by couples who just got engaged and are eager to start planning the big day; so what’s the next step?. Whether you want a small and intimate wedding or a large-scale celebration, there are several key aspects to cover before you can start looking into the little details.

Wondering where to begin? The most effective way to star planning your wedding is by having a checklist including all the necessary items you must cover in order to design your ideal wedding day!

Sit down with your future spouse and write down your responses to the following questions. Then, let your answers guide you through the planning process, from deciding on a venue to choosing a unique wedding favor.

DSTINATION / VENUE: name, address and website (we all know this decision will be extremely easy once you check out our beautiful, Hilton Papagayo Resort & Spa… wink, wink!)

CONTACT: name, phone and email

VENDORS – have you selected a…:
1.     Lawyer (officiant), contact. Are the documents and vows complete?
2.     Florist, contact, package select, additional flowers?
3.     Photographer: contact, package, schedule?

1.     Is our preferred day available?
2.     How many other weddings or events will be booked that day?
3.     Are there any planned constructions or renovation at the venue or surrounding areas that may affect your event?
4.     What are the site’s fees, deposits and payment schedules?
5.     Do costs vary by day or time (Saturday, Sunday / afternoon, evening)?
6.     Are there any surcharges? Service charges and gratuities, cleaning fees, overtime rates, cake cutting, space rental fee, MC service.
7.     What’s the cancellation policy? Is the deposit refundable?

1.     Can we use an outside caterer or weeding planner?
2.     Does the site have a liquor license?
3.     Can we bring in our own toast liquor? If so, how is it charged?
4.     Is there room for a band, DJ and/or dance floor? Cost?
5.     Can we modify the existing décor options in any way?
6.     Are candles, sky lanterns, fireworks and/or confetti permitted?

1.       Who on staff will be our point person throughout the event?
2.       Does the venue have insurance or do we need to get it?
3.       Do we need any permits?
4.       What are the restrictions? Minimum and maximum capacity, handicap accessibility, noise/timing, photography/flash/video.
5.    What time can our vendors start setting up? What time do they need to leave?

This list is just a beginning to start building your perfect day. We will elaborate more on how to select the perfect venue and destination for your wedding on our next blog, so stay tuned!  

Don’t forget you can always count on the professional, efficient and friendly hand that you will get from our wedding coordinator here at Hilton Papagayo.

To be continued…

Warm Regards!!!