Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen
KRISTIN CALLAHAN/ACE pictures; AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN
04/03/2009 at 09:00 AM EDT
Before the party really kicks into high gear, Thursday night brought the rehearsal dinner for Gisele Bündchen
and Tom Brady's upcoming Costa Rican weekend wedding
for friends, family, Brady's New England Patriots teammates and Bündchen's modeling-world pals.
The festivities in the Central American country follow the intimate Feb. 26 nuptials
at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, Calif., which featured Brady's 1½-year-old-son (with former girlfriend
Bridget Moynahan) and only a few other guests to witness Brady, 31, and Bündchen, 28, tie the knot.
Thursday's gathering for about 25 people took place at the Milarepa beachfront hotel and restaurant. According to the resort's Web site
, this is "a small hotel of luxurious simplicity" with "miles of perfect pale gold beaches, fringed to the high tide mark by lush trees and flowers with outcroppings of rock where tide pools form."
It's also well off the beaten path. To enter Milarepa, guests drive downhill off the main road that runs out of Santa Teresa. To reach the party destination, they then had to walk through a wooded area to an outdoor dining room under a wooden roof.
Of the party guests, a source says, "They are a fun group. They seem so easygoing and laidback … a lot of fun. They're cool people."
On their menu were various kinds of tempura fish and octopus – the destination specializes in seafood – as well as salads with blue cheese. The full bar, known for its Caipirinhas and mojitos, was also fully stocked with San Pellegrino water and white wine.
From the wooden tables set up for the Brady-Bündchen party, guests could walk several hundred yards past a lounge area with a small, shallow pool and down to the beach, described in hotel literature as "the Hawaii of Latin America."
With CHARLOTTE TRIGGS