“She plucked my vision out of my head, made it real, and added to it, until it was more perfect than I had imagined it could be.”
She is a dream-maker, and she is the kind of person you wish you could have coffee with every Sunday morning.
My fiancé and I met Ana about a year before our wedding, when we visited Costa Rica looking for venues. Ana’s glow of warmth was immediately palpable, and we felt comfortable with her from the first moment. I was incredibly apprehensive about working with a planner because, as a wedding industry professional myself, I have an aversion to repeating the same trends I see over and over again in my line of work. I was worried that any planner would push a cookie-cutter wedding on me, and that was not at all what I wanted. Instead, Ana listened to our unique vision for our wedding and offered her advise, without steering us away from the goal. She put me at ease and helped me to put my vision into perspective with a healthy dose of reality-checking.
Job One was to find us a venue. And we were not easy shoppers when it came to our wedding location. We needed a family-style estate with epic views, and a jungle area both easy to get to, and out of eye-shot of any sign of civilization. She knew right away that we would love Villa Mayana, and although it involved some manuevering she managed to find a time to show us the property between guest reservations. We loved the home but weren’t sure where to put our ceremony. Ana showed us at least half a dozen possible locations on the property which would make perfectly lovely ceremony spots, but we weren’t sold until we saw “the monkey spot”. It was just the perfect distance from the house, out of eyeshot of the driveway, and covered with gorgeous tall trees and hanging vines. We went back to California feeling accomplished in having found an amazing venue for our wedding, and after just a few weeks of deliberation we enlisted Ana as our planner and put in a deposit on Villa Mayana.
In the months that lead up to our wedding, Ana thought of everything. She followed a timeline that did not feel rushed, nor did it move too slowly. She kept everything on track perfectly. I was not an easy bride to work with. I could not find the table and chairs I wanted from the same rental company as the plates and cutlery. I wanted everything open air (no coverage) in a place that rains every day. When Ana convinced me a tent would be needed, I only liked the tents from yet another rental company. I needed a musician who didn’t not use any pre-recorded backgound music. I needed a makeup artist with an international resume. I refused to have artificial light used at our reception dinner, even though candles would likely be blown out if there was any wind at the hillside dinner location. Ana found everything I asked for, from the exact styling of lanterns and candleholders I liked, to the perfect plates and gold cutlery, to the ideal musician. She thought of things I didn’t, like having an assistant go to the beach with us for family photos, and how to make sure our photo team was fed. She kept her eye on the budget, kept us in the loop on every decision, and shared documentation with us that made me feel relaxed, knowing everything was under Ana’s supervision.
I was fortunate that Ana lives on the same property as Villa Mayana, so she was easy to access during the days leading up to the wedding, but also our whole family was totally taken with her. She is a delight. In Ana’s presence you feel at home. In fact, we wanted to take her home. She is smart, she is on top of her game, she is organized, and she is funny, kind, and interesting. Every time we saw Ana during our wedding week it was a high point.
Our wedding was truly better than I imagined it would be. I can honestly say that. And, maybe this is a little weird, but when I saw how stunning our ceremony space was and how stellar our dinner setting was, it was a love and appreciation for Ana that welled up in me. She nailed it. There’s no other way to describe it. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the work she did, and I couldn’t help but think “Thank you Ana”, like a mantra, at least a couple dozen times during our wedding day. She plucked my vision out of my head, made it real, and added to it, until it was more perfect than I had imagined it could be.
We’d had a lot of back and forth about rain and wind, how much to prepare, and what that preparation would entail. Ana the realist, and me the idealist. Boy was I happy I had listened to her advice when it rained on our wedding day. Because of Ana’s preparation there was literally no downside to the rain. We were able to enjoy every aspect of our day amid the changing sky and intermittent sprinkles and showers.
Ana approached me before we left Villa Mayana at the end of the week and told me how much she loved creating our wedding, and how this unique, intimate, and creative event was exactly what she wanted to be doing. As a unique bride with an unconventional style, it was wonderful to know that she loved the process of creating this experience together. It was a collaboration that I will always hold dear to my heart. I went home from our wedding week with a pang in my heart that I wouldn’t get to be working with Ana anymore. I miss her. That’s how good she is.
Jillian & Eric, 10 July 2018