Our chartered helicopter whizzed through the sky, its shadow barely discernible on the emerald green land below. The view was incredible, but the sensation of traveling through the air lifted by one giant propeller was unlike any I had felt before. This was my first time on a helicopter and I couldn’t think of a better place or time to have the experience. I glanced over at my fiancé and smiled as he squeezed my hand. We were on our way to elope at The Red Palm Villas in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. It was all so exciting and romantic.
When we arrived at The Red Palm Villas, the gracious staff took us on a path through the lush jungle gardens and over a cute little stone bridge to the Honeymoon Villa. I gasped when I stepped over the threshold; everything was so elegant, but also so comfortable and welcoming. The huge windows opening out onto the jungle and the beach made it seem as though we were actually part of the paradise around us. The “real world” felt so far away; it felt like we had found our own little secret elopement hideaway!
I could have stayed in the Honeymoon Villa all day, but the beauty of the beach called to us. We quickly put on our swimsuits and raced each other out to the sublimely gorgeous private beach just in front of our new digs. The sand was so soft and white underfoot that it didn’t seem possible. Laying out on my towel, soaking in the sun and gazing out onto the glittering ocean while the cool breeze ruffled my hair, I couldn’t think of anywhere else in the world I would rather be than sitting in this little piece of heaven with my soon-to-be-husband.
That night we watched the sunset from the porch of our villa while The Red Palm Villas chef prepared us a private candlelit meal for two. It was all so divine. The view was like something out of a movie and the meal was one of the best I have ever had in my life. Everything was so fresh, perfectly cooked, and beautifully presented. The most wonderful thing about our “rehearsal dinner,” though, was that it was just the two of us. We didn’t have to worry about guests getting their food, or whether our mothers were getting along, and the only “speech” was to toast our good fortune.
The Day of Our Elopement at The Red Palm Villas
I woke up on the day of my wedding to the sounds of birds chirping and the waves crashing onto the shore. When I opened my eyes and saw the beauty of the world around me, I knew that today was going to be the best day of my life. Rousing my sleepyhead fiancé, we dressed and headed next door for a delicious breakfast of made-to-order omelets and melt-in-your-mouth delicious fruit. The pineapple was so sweet and juicy that I just knew I would never be able to enjoy the tasteless fruit from home ever again.
After breakfast, we headed back to our elopement hideaway for a private couples massage. I swear that the masseuse’s hands were magical. She expertly worked out the knots in my shoulders and kneaded my back with unmatched strength and gentleness. My mind cleared of everything and I nearly fell asleep, except that I did not want to miss one second of what I decided was pure bliss. When I finally rose from the table, my relaxation was so complete that I was afraid to take a step for fear of melting into a puddle on the floor.
The rest of the day was no less relaxing and wonderful. My fiancé and I parted ways until the ceremony. He went surfing and lounged on the beach before pulling on his beach wedding attire, while I spent the afternoon beautifying. I got both a pedicure and a manicure at the Bamboo Spa, and then went back to the Honeymoon Villa to have my hair and makeup done. It was all so deliciously luxurious and fun. Finally it was time to pull on my flowing white sundress and go to the gardens for the “first look.” I felt a little silly, but I actually had butterflies in my stomach.
My fiancé and I were both led to the garden so that we stood a few feet away from each other with our eyes closed. When we opened them, it really was like we were seeing each other for the first time. Looking into his eyes, I experienced the fireworks all over again. The photographers snapped a few pictures and then we took each other’s hand and slowly walked down to the beach.
When we broke out of the jungle and onto the sand, the world around us was instantly transformed. The setting sun painted everything in hues of pink, orange, red, and purple. The sky was a Monet painting and the sparkling ocean beneath it was awash with shimmering streaks of color. Even the sand took on a pinkish color. Still hand and hand, we followed a path of rose petals in the sand to the wedding trellis dripping in tropical flowers. There, with just a few members of The Red Palm Villas staff acting as witnesses, my fiancé and I became husband and wife.
Giddy with joy, we were then led to a little table for two nestled in an alcove on the beach. A guitarist serenaded us as we poured the champagne and toasted our newly minted marriage. The sun was dipping deeper below the horizon so that the sky had taken on a deep shade of orangey red. The soft light was made even more romantic by the candles flickering on our gorgeously laid out little table.
As evening turning into night, our waiter brought out course after course of a divine meal that we enjoyed while looking out onto the waves crashing in the semi-darkness, lit by a million stars and the glowing moon. When it came time for the guitarist to play his last song, my husband took my hand and led me out to the cool sand. There we swayed to the strums of the guitar, the moonlight softly illuminating our faces, and the breeze gently caressing our bodies – a perfect first dance.