Bride of the Week: Livia Pope
New Year, New Life
Horns, feathered boas and party hats aren’t usual wedding attire. Except when you marry on a beach in Costa Rica on New Year’s Eve as Livia Gross and Colin Pope did.
Their destination wedding was the pinnacle of a journey the two began in July 2009 when they met at a pool party in their hometown of Austin, Texas. On December 31, 2011, 64 guests traveled from all over the world to witness these two exchange their vows and ring in 2012.
“I wanted my guests to come away with the best vacation imaginable and a real sense of Costa Rica," shares the bride. "I also wanted it to be the most amazing New Years that most of them will ever have. I wanted them to take away a feeling of gratitude and awe of our world, life, and love in union.”
“The style of my wedding was adventurous and celebratory,” says the bride of the high expectations she put on her wedding planning: “I wanted my guests to come away with the best vacation imaginable and a real sense of Costa Rica. I also wanted it to be the most amazing New Years that most of them will ever have. I wanted them to take away a feeling of gratitude and awe of our world, life, and love in union.”
Livia’s zest for life and love for Colin developed long-distance at first. After meeting in Austin, the bride-to-be jet set off to Hawaii. The couple’s first conversations took place on the phone, an ocean apart. By the time she returned to Texas, Colin was waiting for her at the airport. It was the last time they were ever really apart.
And when it was time to plan their destination wedding, she threw herself into the research and gave herself ample time—one year and four months from the night she said “yes” to Colin’s proposal, to be exact—to get it right.
The result was a 4 p.m. ceremony on a crescent-shaped beach in the coastal Costa Rican town of Manuel Antonio, set about a half-mile from a lush national forest. The lovely Hotel Karahe hosted the couple and their nearest and dearest. “It was my fairy-tale dream tropical wedding,” recalls the bride, who chose a classic silk Maggie Sottero gown for the affair.
Livia made sure her guests had plenty of opportunities to soak up what the local culture had to offer. For the week leading up to the Big Day, Livia arranged many private tours for her guests. Then during the cocktail hour of her reception, the bride offered snow cones filled with fresh local ceviche and signature drinks made with guanábanas (soursop), the unofficial “national beverage” of Costa Rica.
Then there were the homey touches the bride exported for the occasion. There were the party hats and horns for the Auld Lang Syne portion of the evening. And the central flowers used in the centerpieces (that included white calla lilies, hydrangeas, orange-red fire sparks and local palms) were tiger lilies. Colin gave these special flowers to Livia on two important occasions: on their first date and the night he proposed to her in the Austin Art Museum.
The officiant was not only a close family friend of Livia’s but also the midwife who delivered the bride 30 years ago. The lemon yellow BCBG gowns on Livia’s four bridesmaids also held significance. “I was actually wearing that dress when I got engaged,” says the bride.