Laurel & Bradley | Jaco, Costa Rica Wedding Photographer | Hotel Villa Caletas

 

I am so excited to finally be able to share this highlight reel of Laurel and Bradley's wedding. It was such an honor to get to travel and be a part of this moment in their lives and I will forever be grateful for their willingness to trust me with documenting it. 

Rachel, my second shooter and go-to travel buddy, and I boarded the plane with Laurel and Bradley's families on Saturday the 10th. I documented a lot of the first half of the travel but after we arrived to Costa Rica, we faced challenge after challenge and the main goal was simply to get to the hotel. Don't worry- we made it. And there will be a blog coming of all of the things I learned about traveling to Costa Rica, what to expect, and what not to do. Ha! We all used this first night to unpack, order room service, and rest before a day full of wedding business the next day. 

2018-02-26_0044.jpg

Sunday morning came quickly and Laurel and Bradley and their families held a brunch overlooking the ocean and mountainside. Laurel's grandfather gave a devotional while everyone ate and then the families all went to begin their Costa Rican Excursions! 

2018-02-26_0045.jpg

Cheree and Bryan of Lifehouse Films arrived at brunch and once the families went on their way, we jumped right in to mapping out the timeline and scouting locations for the wedding. We spent hours finding hidden trails throughout the hotel property, taking note of when the Sun was hitting each spot, and determining what our BEST options were because we had so many to choose from. 

2018-02-26_0047.jpg
2018-02-26_0049.jpg

We all went for a late lunch in downtown Jaco (pronounced "Ha-kO" and ran into Laurel & Bradley and a group of their friends at this really cool restaurant called "The Taco Bar". It features a bar of side item and a build your own style of tacos, burritos, and entrees. The bar area seating is also made out of rope swings! 

Bryan, Cheree, Rachel, and I took sometime to explore downtown Jaco before heading back to the Hotel to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to see their BTS video of all of our ridiculousness. It's going to be pretty great! Ha! 

2018-02-26_0051.jpg

The rehearsal dinner began at 6:30 that evening and was filled with laughter and tears as those who gathered began to speak about the love they have for Laurel and Bradley and talked about the legacy that they are beginning. Once the dinner was done, we parted ways for the evening to get our gear prepped and rest before the big day. 

Monday, February 12th, 2018, began with birds chirping outside of our hotel room, beautiful blue skies, and we had just enough time to eat breakfast with a view before heading over to Zephir Palace which is a private venue located on the property of Hotel Villa Caletas. 

We met Laurel and her bridesmaids in the African Suite, which was soon-to-be the honeymoon suite. It was filled with hustle and bustle of everyone getting their hair and makeup done but still, there was a sense of peace in the room. Laurel's gown, which she purchased from Something New Bridal Boutique in Mobile, Alabama, was one of the most beautiful gowns I have seen to date. It was delicate and elegant, and had the most beautiful beading and detail that sparkled in the light as she moved. 

We began photographing & videoing the details and then when Laurel was done with her hair, she pulled all of her bridesmaids into the room and had them stand in a line and she went down the line sharing a special moment that she had shared with each of them and told them how much she loved and appreciated them. It was so incredibly heartwarming and definitely evoked some emotion. 

Laurel continued to finish Hair and Make Up and then her soon-to-be step-daughter, Kleighton, entered the room with a letter from Bradley. She handed it to Laurel and told her how beautiful she was and how much she loved her. "With my WHOLE HEART!" -she exclaimed. Kleighton is known to be so encouraging and kind. I can't wait to watch her grow in the care of two incredible parents who I know will instill a strong work ethic and passion for loving others in her. 

Laurel got dressed and then had Kleighton bring her the letter and they read it together. Bradley's words to Laurel were filled with gratitude and appreciation to God and her for the kind of woman that she is and how much she loves Kleighton. We got Laurel dressed, went out to do some photos of her, her bridesmaids, and Kleighton, and soon it would be time for Laurel and Bradley to see one another for the first time. 

While I was working with Laurel, Rachel was photographing Bradley as he got dressed and read his letter from Laurel. One thing that stood out to all of us was how Laurel and Bradley both said some of the exact same things to one another. Wording and all. These two were MEANT to be together. 
 

We stationed Laurel out at the spot we had selected for their first look which had gorgeous florals cascading down a stone wall and the most beautiful pillars. It overlooked all of the countryside of Jaco and the beaches and had a huge stone arch leading down to the next building. Laurel hid in a laundry room just past the stone arch while we got Bradley set up. The lady working in the laundry room was so honored to help Laurel and, while she spoke no English, she managed to communicate to Laurel all about her life & how she ended up in Jaco and how beautiful Laurel was! 

Once Bradley was stationed in front of the pillars, Laurel and I walked up and fluffed her gown. She then walked to meet the man she would soon be spending the rest of her life with. Seeing him for the first time. She met Bradley and wrapped her arms up into his as he turned to see her. He instantly became overwhelmed with emotions and it was one of the best moments of my career. 

We continued with formal photos of Laurel and Bradley and the wedding party until it was time to get the bride hidden away and allow the guests to enter the property. It was finally ceremony time! The sun was setting beautifully and the ceremony location was absolutely stunning. It was an infinity pool overlooking the coast with huge pillars, a gorgeous crystal chandelier, and ivory linens. 

The guests began to sit and the music started playing. Bradley and the groomsmen entered and the processional began. Laurel and her father, Mr. Calvin, walked down the stairs and met Bradley at the aisle as her grandfather began the ceremony. 

Once they had exchanged their vows & rings, Laurel surprised Bradley by pulling Kleighton up front and sharing vows with her. Telling her how happy she was to get to be a mother to Kleighton and that she would always love and protect her just like she would always love her daddy. She gave her a delicate pearl necklace. If you look closely during the prayer after Laurel gave Kleighton her necklace, she was holding it and playing with it as if it was the most treasured possession she would ever own. 

They were officially pronounced husband and wife at 4:36pm. 

The guests went inside while Bradley and Laurel hung out by the pool getting some incredible drone shots. We all sat down for a four course meal dinner- YES, even the vendors! How awesome of them!- and then the first dances began and the party got started! It went until about 10:30pm and at some point, we finally put the cameras down and had some fun with everyone. We couldn't stay late though because we were scheduled to be up and out at the beach by 9am the next morning to get a few more shots of the bride & groom in their wedding attire on the beaches of Costa Rica. We just couldn't have a coastal wedding and NOT have shots on the beach! 

Rachel and I stayed in Costa Rica until the 15th and we took PLENTY of photos outside of wedding activities but those will be shared another day! 

Mr. and Mrs. Flowers- thank you SO MUCH again for allowing us the priveldge of documenting this and letting us spend such quality time with you and your families. We will treasure you always!

 

and now- the moment you've all been waiting for.... the PHOTOS! <3

VENDORS: 

Videography: Lifehouse Films // Second Shooter: Rachel Graham Photography // Venue: Hotel Villa Caletas and Zephyr Palace // Wedding Planner:    // Floral Design:   // Hair:  // MakeUp: Kimberly Coleman  // Gown: Something New Bridal Boutique // Shoes: Nina Shoes  

 

Abigail Wellinghurst

Abigail Wellinghurst Photography, Spanish Fort , USA