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Wedding Review At Hotel El Parador Resort And Spa In Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
I got married recently in Costa Rica at a wonderful hotel called Hotel Parador Resort and Spa in Manuel Antonio, on the Pacific side of the country. I never in a million years would have guessed I'd get married in Costa Rica, much less to a Costa Rican man. However, life sure throws you some surprises along the way. I'm lucky to have met my husband and lucky to be able to love him so much.
About the wedding
My now husband planned most of the wedding with a friend who works in the travel industry in Costa Rica. To be honest, I mostly just showed up and was blown away by the presentation and the entire event. Actually, my parents and sister flew down for the wedding and all of us - my then fiancee included - traveled to the hotel the day before from San Jose and settled in first.
I loved my wedding because it was so small and intimate. I don't know what other venues the hotel has available - I assume many - but mine was just perfect for our guest list of only 15 people.
As you can see in the picture I put up, it was directly overlooking the ocean and my husband planned it to begin at 5pm so it was right around sunset. Once my dad walked me down the "aisle" (they were actually stairs in this case), everything was so private and unless you were part of the wedding, you would not be able to see.
We got married by a lawyer from Costa Rica and the whole thing took about 30 minutes. There was a beautiful arbor set up for us with flowing fabric and flowers. Rose petals were scattered on the ground between us.
Once we were married and took pictures (I wish we had hired a professional photographer for $500 instead of getting family to do it but memories are in the heart, not in photographs), we went immediately to our reception area. We had a whole entire balcony to ourselves, again, overlooking the ocean.
At the last minute, my husband's dad decided to book us some music and I'm so glad that he did. For I think around $150, we had a 3 person live band for an hour or two. They played Spanish music but a lot of it was recognizable to me and the stuff that wasn't sounded good anyway and was professionally done. Unfortunately I don't know who these guys are, but I would recommend them!
The food was absolutely perfect too. For $55 a person, you could have buffet but we chose off the menu for $33 a person which I thought was a bit pricey, but we only had 15 people to pay for so it wasn't too bad. There were several menus to choose from such as: Costa Rica, Mediterranean, Italian, etc.
Since my husband is from Costa Rica and a lot of his family would be there, we chose Costa Rican! For our appetizer, we had avacado salad and since I'm a fan of anything avacado, I loved it. Our main dish was mahi mahi fish (dorado) and as someone who never eats fish, I was pleasantly surprised. It was absolutely scrumptious and did not have any taste of a fishey taste, thank goodness!
For dessert, we had tres leches (3 milks) which is a kind of cake. It was also just perfect and was much better than our wedding cake which from a food point of view, was the only disappointment as it was a bit dry.
All in all, I would absolutely recommend El Parador as a place to get married in Costa Rica. There's a beautiful beach you can walk to inside Manuel Antonio National Park and there are many local restaurants with a lot of character to keep you busy.
How much did it cost? For our guest list of 15 and at a discounted rate because my husband works in tourism, it cost about $3000 including rooms (a few of us stayed for 2 nights, the rest just 1 night) which I don't think was that bad for a wedding like I had.
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