Getting married is already a once-in-a-lifetime occasion… why not make it even more memorable by staging your nuptials in a tropical locale? Costa Rica continues to be a sought-after location for destination weddings, and for good reason. The country has a gorgeous landscape, with sprawling beaches that give way to lush rainforests — these natural features make for the perfect wedding-day backdrop.
But it’s not as simple as choosing a beautiful spot and saying “I do” there. Planning a destination wedding anywhere requires a bit of extra planning on your end, and Costa Rica is no different. Here’s what you should know before you dive into the process:
1. The Wedding Will Be Legal Back Home
In many destination-wedding locales, the nuptials aren’t exactly binding. Instead, you get your marriage license beforehand, or you make things legally official once you get home. That’s not necessary in Costa Rica, so long as you bring with you the proper documentation.
Of course, you will have to bring your passports and provide your addresses, parents’ addresses, your occupations and dates of birth. You will need two witnesses to verify the wedding, too — if you elope with just your partner in tow, then the venue will likely provide witnesses for you.
Next, you need to find a legal officiant for your nuptials — quite literally. In Costa Rica, foreigners have to have a lawyer officiate their wedding, as they can legally register the wedding. This step also ensures that you can get a marriage certificate certified by the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry and sent to you through your country’s consulate.
If you or your partner are saying “I do” for the second time, you will need additional documentation to prove that your divorce has been finalized. Bring an official copy of the divorce decree so that you can get married legally in Costa Rica.
photo by Bajan Wed Member Asia Pimentel
2. There’s a Green Season and a High Season
You should certainly plan your Costa Rican wedding around the weather, especially if you want your ceremony to take place outdoors. Therefore, familiarize yourself with the country’s seasons – high and green.
In high season, which spans from the end of November until May, conditions tend to be drier. This, of course, means that you can expect a rain-free ceremony during this stretch. However, if you want to marry in the country’s Northern area, you might find yourself faced with dusty and dry conditions. Other areas of the country will still be lush and green, though, so ask around before settling on a venue.
Green season, as you can imagine, tends to be wetter and rainier than high season, although September and October typically see the most rain. Even if you want to get married in green season, you will probably be able to get some sunshine — the morning and early afternoon tends to be sunnier than the rest of the day. And, of course, you can always find a covered venue if your potential dates limit you to the green season.
3. Find a Venue to Make Planning Simpler
Once you know when you want to get married, you should suss out where you’ll walk down the aisle. Because Costa Rica has become such a popular spot for destination weddings, you’ll find that the country has many gorgeous wedding venues. To that end, they’ll have experienced planners on hand who can take care of the details for you, turning your vision into reality even if you’re not there to make every decision in person.
On top of that, a seasoned venue will be able to connect you with local vendors, who can provide flowers, food, decor, hair and makeup, photography and videography, etc., to complete your big day. And, if you choose to stage your wedding in a hotel, you’ve made another step of the planning process simpler — your wedding guests can book into the same accommodation and attend your nuptials with ease.
Of course, not everyone wants to get married on a resort or in a boutique hotel. If that’s you, don’t worry — you can still find the perfect venue and plan your dream wedding on your own. Some couples have rented villas or Airbnbs to host their ceremonies and receptions. These options provide you with places to sleep and celebrate, just as a hotel wedding would. Just make sure you can find vendors in the local area to provide the services you need before settling on a place for your wedding. Otherwise, you might struggle to find them, leaving you to bring someone along who can do the job or forcing you to go without a vendor or creative on your big day.
photo by Bajan Wed Member Asia Pimentel
Get Married, Costa Rican Style
The rest of what you need to know about getting married in Costa Rica is probably what drew you to consider it in the first place. The country has all of the beauty you could want in a wedding location. Plus, there’s plenty to do and see, making it a fun destination for your guests, too. And, you and your new spouse can easily jet off to a honeymoon-ready locale — you’ll already be in Costa Rica.
Has this convinced you to get married in this lush, tropical country? If so, you’re already on the right track, as you know the most essential information for planning your big day. Now, it’s time to get started on your planning to make your Costa Rican dream wedding a stunning reality.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!