Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blake and Shelly's Wedding {Santa Teresa, Costa Rica}

When I found out Blake and Shelly were getting married in Costa Rica I was beyond excited. I have been friends with the two of them for about 6 years now. I first met Shelly working as a nurse in the ICU at UCSD. Shelly is one of those people you can't help but admire. In fact, I absolutely adore her. She is caring & compassionate and one of the most selfless people I know. Blake is an extremely lucky man!!

Shelly and I share many travel memories. Our first trip and real bonding experience began in Haiti where we provided nursing care after the 2011 earthquake. Extreme circumstances and life changing experiences brought our friendship to another level. In Thailand we explored villages and immersed ourselves in a totally foreign culture. We slept in mosquito tents filled with termites and dodged moths as large as our heads. We spent countless hours on the beach, rode motorbikes and surfed terrifying waves in Bali. We've definitely had our share of travel experiences and good times, but this trip was different… Shelly was getting married!!! I couldn't have been happier for her. 

Shelly and Blake chose Casa Capitan in Santa Teresa as their wedding destination. Santa Teresa is a laid-back beach town located near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The town is neighbored by Mal Pais, Playa Carmen and Playa Hermosa. Getting to Santa Teresa is difficult, but if you have the chance to go it is well worth the trip. Getting there from San Diego involves a full day of flying, a night in San Jose, a ferry ride and hours in the car. If you've ever driven in Costa Rica you know what that means… dirt roads, lots of potholes and absolutely no signs to let you know where you're going! When you finally do arrive in Santa Teresa you'll find the perfect blend of white sandy beaches, surf and jungle. You'll find paradise. 

A bit about the surf… (I know this is about Blake and Shelly but the surf was too good not to mention, plus if you follow my blog you know I love surfing!!)

Santa Teresa itself is a stretch of beach mixed with sand and lava rock outcroppings that extend out about 100 meters or more into the ocean. At the right tide and swell these ledges can make for some heavy barreling rights and lefts. The first day we were there it rained heavily and the surf was a bit messy, but after that we enjoyed some pretty perfect waves. I would consider the break itself a heavy beach break. Due to the size, the strong current and the lack of a real channel, the paddle out at times could be brutal. We were lucky enough to have days with set waves well overhead. The best part… no crowds!!

Ok enough about the surf… here is my attempt to tell the story of their wedding day through my lens. It was really hard to pick a few… I wish I could share them all!!

Shelly joked around that she is a "tomboy bride". There would be no florist, no cake and not much in the way of "formal" decorations. For her table decorations she had friends and family gather driftwood from along the beach. This driftwood, along with the votives she collected from around Casa Capitan would serve as her table decorations. Her centerpiece was a unique wood carving found at Casa Dewa (one of the homes on the property). Instead of a fancy florist Katie picked beautiful flowers from around the house and made bouquets for both Shelly and her sister. With the touch of a few lanterns and the umbrellas she brought from the states she created an absolutely beautiful wedding. It was simple. It was perfect. It was Shelly.

the reception was held at Casa Dewa 

I had so much fun photographing the girls getting ready. There is always so much emotion and energy in the moments leading up to a wedding, so much anticipation and excitement. This day was no different. Shelly was truly in her element, surrounded by her girlfriends and just as beautiful and as sweet as ever. 

And so their story begins...

The night before the wedding a bonfire was held and paper lanterns were released into the sky. In Asian countries paper lanterns are thought to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The longer the lantern floats, the better the luck. During festivals and celebrations the lanterns are a means of sending wishes and prayers into the sky towards the heavens where they might be heard.

I know that night everyone was wishing Shelly and Blake a lifetime of happiness. Two very special people that deserve all that life has to offer. Congratulations!! I couldn't be happier for you two!! 

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