The Art of a ‘Pura Vida Wedding’

Graham Swindell Photography

photo by Graham Swindell

“Pura Vida!” You’ll hear it in response to saying ‘Adios’, in response to ‘Gracias’, or even as a greeting when you meet someone for the first time. Here in Costa Rica, ‘Pura Vida’ means ‘the pure life’. It is a mantra, a motto, a way of being. It is a constant and daily reminder that life here in Costa Rica moves to its own rhythm. It does not adhere to the constraints of the North American, go-go-go lifestyle. It is a laid back way of life that appreciates the reality of living in the wild, natural habitat of a jungle that sits beside a beach.

Let’s be honest… planning a wedding can be a stressful life-event. Most of us have a vision in mind. Perhaps this vision has been something we have been constructing for a very long time. But perhaps the stress arises from having no vision at all or a very blurry one at best. In any case, the thousands of small details involved in creating a beautiful event that runs seamlessly can feel stressful if there is no continuity between the attitudes of those planning and attending the event and the culture of the land where the event is taking place. Think of planning boozy wedding with loud music and all night dancing in a Catholic Church, or an Orthrodox Jewish Wedding in a rooftop nightclub in Vegas. The point is that the vision of the couple must meld well with the location of the event. And ultimately, flexibility in that initial vision and the ability to flow with the choices and options presented, are crucial to an overall wonderful experience.


The Art of A Pura Vida Wedding is understanding the culture and the energy of the place that is opening itself up for your special event to take place. It is knowing that even though the ice-sculpture you dreamed about when you were six years old will not be an option in this hot tropical environment, a lush, green backdrop sprinkled with tropical flowers and hummingbirds will be there instead. It is trusting that as you walk down the isle, dance your first dance, pose for pictures, and laugh with your loved ones, the only thing you will be thinking about how this is the best night of your life.

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