Planning a wedding, in general, is a bit of a gamble. Never are the stakes higher than when you're hosting one of the most important days of your life away from home. Sure, a destination wedding seem glamorous from afar, but what do you do when something goes wrong? To whom do you turn when you're a foreigner in a foreign land? Would you believe: your travel agent?...
Sirleny Zuñiga Vargas, Travel Agent - Anywhere Costa Rica
“My nerves were on edge,” said Anywhere Agent Sirleny Zuñiga Vargas, “[I] had an emotional bride ready to give up. She had been planning an amazing trip to Costa Rica for several months. [Despite] all of the experience I gained at Anywhere over the past 6 years, it was difficult to get everything sorted out on time.”
When Tropical Storm Nate prevented anyone from getting in or out of Monteverde, Costa Rica the natural disaster also left a devastated bride to be named Sophia, and 55 of her guests, in its wake. Her destination wedding would have to be cancelled. Only a miracle worker could cobble together a dream wedding in a matter of days.
The lovely and talented Sirleny Zuñiga Vargas, Costa Rica travel agent, and exceptional amateur wedding planner. Pictured here with the beautiful bride, Sophia.
“I have attended many [weddings], and witnessed how small changes can impact the entire event. I never thought I would be the one to save the day!” Sirleny proclaimed.
Ms. Zuñiga Vargas is not exaggerating when she describes her part in this ordeal. Arranging accommodations in Arenal, Costa Rica for nearly 60 people in less than 24 hours, and then planning a ceremony and reception in 4 days is a feat that even veteran destination wedding planners would struggle to accomplish.
With the assistance of in-office teammates supporting her with day-to-day tasks, Sirleny was able to work remotely and focus exclusively on redoing the wedding itinerary. After several days of hard work and sleepless nights, she secured accommodations, found a gorgeous wedding venue at Arenal Springs Resort, and managed to finesse discount rates. Yes, you read that last part correctly — a rapidly assembled dream wedding that did not break the budget of a bride and groom already suffering from broken spirits.
When Monteverde's weather risked ruining this story's fairy-tale wedding, the diligence of Anywhere's Sirleny Zuñiga Vargas coupled with the compassion of Arenal Springs Resort made sure the story continued. This is why building relationships and working with local vendors is crucial to travel success. If ever there were a time when you want and need to be surrounded by people willing to go above and beyond, it's when you're holding an event abroad.
Will this little butterfly carry the hopes and dreams of our bride and groom?
Our story ending here would be too simple; with one crisis down, another arose. Sophia dreamed of releasing butterflies when she and her fiancé exchanged their vows, but her official wedding planner told her this wouldn’t be possible. The wedding planner had also been trying to relocate the destination wedding to San José, Costa Rica to make it easier on herself.
Meanwhile, Anywhere’s “amateur wedding planner” helped move the event to a beautiful rainforest, and managed to procure butterflies. The icing on the wedding cake? Not only did Sirleny get two butterflies (one each for the bride and her groom), she obtained four—just in case. Then she had a friend craft custom boxes with the couple’s initials.
One hour before the wedding, the butterflies arrived. When Sophia and her groom released them into the jungle, much to her delight, Sirleny found a way to top herself—the butterflies were blue morphos, and blue was the bride's favorite color.
“As an ‘amateur wedding planner,’ I felt satisfied being able to assist with all of the last minute changes. I knew this was the most important day of their lives, and they deserved a wedding they would never forget.” said Sirleny.
The moral of the story? When you go abroad, it is imperative that you have someone in your corner who is willing to go above and beyond for you. People travel the world for all kinds of reasons: fun, work, and in this instance, one of the most important days in a couple's shared life. Supreme travel experts aren't just itinerary planners, they are lifelines with connections that you (and even your professional wedding planner) lack.
Whatever your situation may be, treat this destination wedding as something of a case study. Ask yourself: If our blushing bride had booked everything separately through major web portals, to whom would she have turned once she paid her money? To whom will you turn should something go awry on your dream vacation or event? Ideally, the travel agency prepared to help you Anywhere you are.