What You Need to Know About Getting Married in Costa Rica

A wedding in Costa Rica is a wedding in paradise. Tropical flowers, pristine beaches, crystal blue water and glorious green mountains — and you and your partner holding hands, affirming your life-long commitment to each other in one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse places on Earth. What’s not to love?

A destination wedding in Costa Rica is memorable, relatively simple and refreshingly affordable.

In this comprehensive how-to guide for a Costa Rica wedding, you’ll learn what to do, what not to do, what you’ll need, some unique locations Costa Rica has to offer and what it will cost. 

You may be surprised to learn how affordable a destination wedding in Costa Rica can be.  You’ll want to shout, “I do!”

Perks of a Costa Rica Wedding

One of the best parts of getting married in Costa Rica is the marvellous natural scenery that you can find and use for your wedding. The rainforest and the beaches are just two examples of great places that could be used for the wedding venue and the honeymoon. Costa Rica is a tropical country and the climate guarantees many sunny, warm days – especially wonderful when it’s cold, grey and miserable back home!

Playa Lagartillo, Guanacaste
Playa Lagartillo, Guanacaste

Costa Rica weddings also offer a safe destination for international guests. The country is stable politically and economically. There are two international airports (San Jose and Liberia) that easily accessible with direct flights from major centers around the world. There are also domestic flights that can give your guests a final lift to the wedding venue.

There’s also a monetary advantage. You can couple your Costa Rica wedding with a honeymoon. Two love-birds with one stone! And Costa Rica wedding venues and vendors tend to be less expensive than in the United States, Canada or Europe.

Getting Married in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the more developed countries in Central America. Wedding ceremonies in Costa Rica aren’t that much different from what you would find in North America or Europe. There are two types of weddings in Costa Rica: a civil, non-religious ceremony and a church ceremony – predominantly Catholic. Beach wedding in Costa Rica

Civil Wedding

  • First thing you need is your identification card. This can be your cedula if you are from Costa Rica or a passport if you are a foreigner. If you are going to be using your passport, you need to have a valid permit or stamp to be in the country.
  • If you are applying for residency, it will be compulsory to have your birth certificate and other official documents related to residency.
  • It is also necessary to prove that neither the groom nor the bride are already married. A sworn statement notarized in Costa Rica is necessary if the person is single. Divorce papers or death certificates may be necessary to prove the same.
  • Two witnesses and a lawyer will also be necessary to perform the act. The day of the event all the information will be written in the civil registry books and it will take  3 months to have the certificate of official marriage ready. 
  • There is also an express fee that can be paid and it will speed up the process. It will take less than 15 business days to be ready.

Church Wedding

In a Costa Rica wedding, Catholic Church Ceremonies are taken very seriously and there are several rituals and training to be completed months before the actual wedding. Make sure you and your spouse are willing to follow the sacred steps to fulfill these religious requirements:

  • You and your future spouse must take premarital classes that can take up to 8 weeks. The fact of having these classes when getting married in Costa Rica should be taken as a time for reflection and union that have to be used to grow as a couple and be prepared for marital challenges.
  • Both groom and bride have to present their sacraments such as Baptism and Eucharist, and they have to confess before the wedding, to be on good terms with God before this important event takes place.
  • The church has to be booked in advance. Some churches are very popular and have to be booked 6 months in advance. 
  • A month before the date, there is an interview with the people you have selected as witnesses (best man and maid of honor). Both the groom and bride have to also present at the interview.

After the ceremony is over and you have your marriage certificate ready, it is necessary to translate and authenticate the papers so that they are also valid in your home country.

The Best Wedding Venues in Costa Rica

There are many different options to choose from when planning your Costa Rica wedding. Each offers a range of activities and surroundings to suit your specific needs. You want your wedding to be unique, memorable and an embodiment of your personal tastes and style, so it’s important to be clear with the vendors and planners about what you want for your wedding. From decorations to food and activities, there’s a lot to customize in a wedding. A piece of advice: keep it simple and enjoy being pampered. 

Resort Wedding Venues

This is a safe option for being at ease with preparations. Costa Rica resorts have a lot of wedding event experience and have everything planned and ready to serve guests. The staff is trained to solve any inconvenience and make sure your ceremony goes according to plan.

Haciendas and Villa Wedding Venues 

These are great options if you prefer the countryside away from the hustle and bustle of the city. In a Costa Rica destination wedding, many farm-like hotels in rural settings can give you the rustic and natural touch you may be looking for. Stunning indoor and outdoor areas with gorgeous mountain views can be at your disposal for that special day.

Eco-Friendly Venues

There is also the possibility of having a wedding that sets you in direct contact with nature. Eco-resorts and eco-lodges offer organic gardens, nature reserves, forest walks, and waterfalls.

Drift Away Eco Lodge aerial 0030 e1585772599186 - Drift Away LodgeSome eco-lodges offer wedding ceremonies on a picturesque beach. Sustainability, wellness, and environmental impact are important features of tourism in Costa Rica. An eco-wedding can have all the perks and features you desire, while minimizing your impact on the local environment.

READ MORE: Guide to Costa Rica Wedding Venues

How to Plan Your Wedding: Consider a Wedding Planner

Costa Rica wedding planners know the process and know the available vendors available. They are the experts to guide your decisions and make sure all the aspects of the wedding are covered.

Sometimes we think that a wedding is just like a birthday party and we want to do everything ourselves.

The truth is that planning a wedding is not an easy task, especially overseas. 

Weddings involve a lot of people, staff, guests and relatives that may have specific needs and requests. There is menu planning, decorations, people to serve, locations, invitations, rehearsals, and the list goes on and on. It is a ceremony that the groom and the bride should be able to enjoy and cherish, with the stress and responsibility on someone else’s shoulders.

In a Costa Rica destination wedding, there are professional teams and planners ready to listen to your needs and make your dream come true. They can also help you stay on budget, avoid unnecessary costs and handle the regular drama associated with the planning of big events.

READ MORE: 7 Best Costa Rica Wedding Planners 

Wedding Suppliers: Costa Rica Has It All

You won’t have to search very hard to find a vast array of tropical flowers for your special day. And Costa Rica chefs offer a wide variety of delicious food. When it comes to wedding suppliers and professional, Costa Rica has it all: floral design studios, suit and tuxedo rental companies, and professional wedding photographers ready to capture each moment.

There are also musicians to entertain your guests with music from different genres: classical, folk, and pop – American or Latino. The perfect playlist is waiting to be created according to your musical taste. You can hire a company to customize your invitations and make your guests feel special.

Costa Rica Wedding Costs

The cost of your Costa Rica wedding will vary according to the type of services you want. If there is going to be alcohol in the reception, prices will undoubtedly go up.

A beautiful ceremony and reception for 40 people can cost under USD $6,000 depending on the season. You can budget less than $4,000 for a small intimate wedding with 20 people. Rental of the venue can go from $1,500 to $2,000 and don’t forget to ask if chairs and tables are going to be included. A good figure to keep in your head is to budget between $100 to $400 for every person on your guest list.

micheile henderson y4FGI6wm4g unsplash scaled - Drift Away LodgeFor those who are going and want to stay a few more days, a week of holidays here can cost between $800 and $1,500 for mid-price hotels and standard tours and excursions. If the budget is more flexible, you can spend up to $2,500 with luxurious accommodation and activities. 

Next Steps

We hope we’ve convinced you to make Costa Rica your wedding destination. Now, let your imagination run wild. What do you want your special day to look like? Will it be simple and romantic? Adventurous and edgy? How much money is available for the ceremony? 

Let’s chat and let one of our dedicated Wedding Planners help you plan the wedding of your dreams at the Blue Zone Resort.