Daniel Moffo enrolled in Drawing 101 in his last semester of college simply because he was an art credit shy of fulfilling his graduation requirement. On the first day of class, Amanda Craig – a fellow student who was taking the course for precisely the same reason – caught his attention, and he initiated a conversation with the striking co-ed. “He said my drawing of a conch shell looked ‘angry,’ and I told him his mouse looked like a goat,” laughs Amanda. “Three weeks later, we said, ‘I love you.’”
Though their careers as artists were short lived, their passion for one another blossomed, culminating in a marriage proposal that took place on Dan’s 26th birthday. The ocean-loving couple selected Costa Rica as the perfect location for their destination wedding, as it fulfilled Dan’s desire for a beach ceremony and allowed the couple to keep their guest list intimate. “We wanted to be able to enjoy all the elements of our day, and really know everyone in our wedding photos,” explains the bride. For the groom, the abundance of activities in the region provided an additional bonus. “I was excited to go surfing and golfing with my groomsmen and other guests,” he confesses.
The tropical landscape dictated the tone for the wedding décor. Decoration was kept to a minimum so as not to detract from the natural scenery, while the color palette was inspired by the hues of the rainforest. Wedding stationery, signature drinks, and other embellishments such as lanterns, parasols, and drinking straws infused the setting with splashes of color. In addition, each of the six bridesmaids chose a dress in a different hue, contributing to the vibrant spectrum.
The ceremony took place against the melodic sound of steel drums from a calypso band. Guests rested on long wooden benches, enjoying a perfect view of the altar and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. In response to loving requests from their children, Amanda’s mother served as maid of honor, while Dan’s father acted as best man. The groom wore a handsome seersucker suit with a vivid handkerchief and matching bow tie. His six groomsmen donned similar attire, though each wore a vest in lieu of a jacket. In keeping with the setting, flip-flops were designated the official footwear of the wedding party.
The bride glided down the sandy aisle in a strapless ball gown that featured a full tulle skirt and an embroidered sash. “I was so excited to see my wife for the first time in her wedding dress,” states Dan, “and the moment did not disappoint.” She carried a striking arrangement of flowers with wild textures and brilliant hues. “I was simply in love with my bouquet,” says Amanda. “I wish I could have had it preserved so I could be amazed by it every day.”
The service was filled with cherished moments that symbolized the harmonious blending of two families. A sand ceremony merged grains from the beach they were on with samples taken from various seashores that were meaningful to the bride and groom in their youth. As part of a tradition known as the “blessing of the rings,” the couple’s wedding bands were passed around in a small pouch for each attendee to hold and honor. “Our guests loved being a part of the ceremony!” effuses the bride.
The reception was held at a private estate that offered breathtaking views of the coastline from a vantage point high in the mountains. Dinner tables were decorated with artfully designed plantain leaves as well as exotic floral arrangements that were gathered straight from the jungle – not a single flower was purchased. Festive orange napkins popped against woven wooden charger plates at each place setting. Guests feasted upon a selection of delicious local cuisines and beverages. “The seafood was all caught, prepared, and served the same day,” says the groom.
Many personalized touches were integrated into the reception, contributing to the uniqueness of the day. Rather than having a traditional guestbook, each attendee was asked to paint one square of a gridded canvas as a nod to the art class in which the couple’s love affair began. Miniature burlap bags stamped with the phrase “Pura Vida” and filled with Costa Rican chocolates were presented as wedding favors. These complemented the welcome bags guests received upon arrival, each of which was handmade from a recycled Costa Rican coffee sack by the mother-of-the-bride. “The endeavor actually spawned a new business for her,” boasts the bride.
The most memorable part of the evening was an unplanned event that occurred just as the party was getting underway: The majority of wedding guests, including the bride, went for an impromptu dip in the estate’s large swimming pool. “Everyone ended up in the water,” exclaims the groom. “It was truly unforgettable.”
Both Amanda and Dan are ecstatic that friends and family were able to enjoy the event as much as the couple themselves did. “Our greatest hope was that our guests would know how important and amazing they all are!” says the bride. Surrounded by loved ones, the couple was able to relax and relish their one-of-a-kind event even more. “I really got to experience my wedding for the celebration it was,” says the groom. “It was the best time of my life.”