Planning a Costa Rica Wedding

  1. Getting Married in Costa Rica - The Basics
  2. Major Hotels with Wedding Planners
  3. Costa Rica Wedding Planners
  4. Wedding Photographers in Costa Rica
  5. Costa Rica Wedding Customs and Traditions
  6. Weddings in Tamarindo Costa Rica
  7. More useful information

GETTING MARRIED IN COSTA RICA - THE BASICS

Wedding in Costa Rica

Getting married in Costa Rica is a great idea and can be a wonderful experience that will last you a lifetime...provided you carefully plan everything in advance.  In light of this we have done some of the work for you and prepared a list of options for you.  Below you will find a list of wedding venues, wedding planners, wedding photographers, legal information and more.

In our humble opinion it is best to work with a Costa Rica based professional wedding planner.  Some who have friends in Costa Rica have trusted them to prepare everything, only to find out theyr left some important document or piece of information back home.  Don't let this happen to you.  Get the advice of a professional BEFORE you leave home.

Don't discount the possibility of having the entire affair managed by one of the top Costa Rica hotels. Many have on staff experienced wedding planners who can do an excellent job of getting all the legal and ceremonial arrangements finalized to your satisfaction.

THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

Costa Rica Wedding

Typically a lawyer will be appointed to handle all the legal matters to ensure your marriage will be recognized both in Costa Rica and your country of residence.  Costa Rica wedding planners can be invaluable in ensuring all the details are covered.

Here is a list we have compiled of the legal documents and information you will need to get married in Costa Rica.  Although we consider this list to be accurate and complete, remember that in any country the requirements may change at any time.  We have noted variances in the web site recommendations made by wedding planners, however these seem minor and the basic requirements are the same across the board.  Most of the variances relate to optional issues such as using your own witnesses for the wedding ceremony (identification documents required) and so on.

Documents and Information you will need

  • Full name of both bride and groom (no initials if you are sending this in advance - must be full name)
  • Passport numbers and nationality - be sure the passport is signed by the bearer (faxed copies of key pages will suffice prior to your arrival - this is used in the preparation of the legal documents).
  • Place of birth
  • Date of Birth
  • Foreign address
  • Occupation/Profession (both Bride and Groom)
  • Marital Status - seems like a silly question doesn't it?  In Costa Rican legal documents the prior marital history is stated (example:  twice divorced).  If you are divorced you must bring a copy of the divorce decree.  It must indicate the date, city, state and the name of the court that issued the decree.  If the Bride has been divorced for less than 12 months she will have to present a negative pregnancy test to the nearest Costa Rica embassy or consulate to have it authenticated.
  • Fathers full name and nationality
  • Mothers full name and nationality
  • Parents address
  • Two witnesses - if you are bringing the witnesses with you a copy of their passport will be required.  If you don't have witnesses the wedding service provider will usually find a couple for you.
  • Street address where the finalized documents may be sent by courier to you in your home country (include a phone number just in case the courier has trouble delivering the package).

WEDDING RELATED RESOURCES

Costa Rica Wedding

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the wedding related venures and services available in Costa Rica.  However it's a great place to start.  We have researched this carefully and we feel confident in the options presented herein.  In other words:  these are the places and services we would recommend to our friends.  As we discover new information we will update this page.

MAJOR HOTELS WITH WEDDING PLANNERS

Costa Rica Four Seasons Hotel Guanacaste - Imagine a ballroom in the tropics and you may begin to get an idea of the beautiful setting you can enjoy at the Four Seasons.  No doubt this will be a costly option, but an unforgettable experience.  Nestled on an outcropping surrounding the Gulf of Papagayo in northern Guanacaste, this resort is already known as one of the best in Central America.

Ocotal Resort - Ocotal Beach is a great location.  The resort has wedding planners and can provide you with a beach wedding followed by a sunset reception on a deck overlooking the ocean.

Marriott Los Suenos - Located in Herradura just a 2 hour drive from San Jose, the Marriott Los Suenos is a great place to celebrate the beginning of your life together.  They have on staff certified wedding planners that can help plan a small intimate wedding or a large event.  Lots of indoor and outdoor spaces to take advantage of views and beautiful weather.

Si Como No - this beautiful little hotel located in Manuela Antonio was featured in Modern Bride Magazine as the perfect place to have your memorable wedding event.  They have a bridal consultant on hand to help you figure out all the details.  Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, nestled right up against the National Park.

Hotel Cala Luna - Tamarindo, in northern Guanacaste Province, is one of the most popular places to get married in Costa Rica and the Cala Luna Boutique Hotel is by far the best we can recommend for an intimate and beautiful experience.  They have staff to help you plan the wedding, including the legal issues involved.

COSTA RICA WEDDING PLANNERS

Costa Rica Weddings

Weddings Costa Rica

Costa Rica Wedding Paradise

Pura Vida Weddings

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COSTA RICA WEDDING OFFICIATORS

Marcello Galli - An attorney and notary, Marcello has performed over 500 ceremonies for couples all over Costa Rica.

COSTA RICA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS

This list represents some of the better known wedding photographers in Costa Rica.  Some of these listings also provide wedding video services.

CRW Photography Studio

Pronto Photo

Richard May Photography

Bruno Debreuil

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COSTA RICA WEDDING CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

Costa Rica Wedding

Costa Rica wedding customs are based on their 'campesino' traditions.  Each wedding may have one or all of these traditional features included:

The night before the wedding

The groom arrives in the evening with his friends and a group of Mariachis who will sing traditional romantic songs while the Bride and her girlfriends stay inside the house listening.  If the house is two stories this will typically be done much like you might imagine in a romantic novel where the groom and his friends stand under the balcony.  This tradition is called a "Serenata'.

The day of the wedding

  • In the morning before the wedding the lawyer will arrive and the couple will sign all the appropriate documents and be legally married under Costa Rican law before the ceremony.
  • The Bride may arrive in a traditional 'Carreta' or Ox Cart.
  • All the family will be there from the oldest to the youngest as weddings are considered a big family event
  • At the reception traditional Costa Rican food will be served, including dishes such as:  Arroz con Pollo, Picadillos, Platanos, Rice, beans and corn tortillas.
  • The father of the bride will dance a waltz with his daughter and then everyone will dance to an array of latin music such as salsa and merengue.

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WEDDINGS IN TAMARINDO

We have set aside this special section for Tamarindo as it has become one of the most popular destinations for weddings in Costa Rica.  Once you visit Tamarindo you will understand why.  It has one of the most beautiful beaches in the north Pacific and many beautiful hotels nearby.  Many of the finer hotels in the area and/or wedding planners can help you arrange your most special event.

Here are some wedding plan resources specific to Tamarindo:

Tamarindo Beach Info - Information on weddings in Tamarindo.

Tamarindo.net - Great listing of all the wedding resources in the area, including hotels, wedding planners, photographers and lawyers.

MORE USEFUL INFORMATION

About.com information about weddings in Costa Rica

How to get married in Costa Rica