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When it comes to locations for the best destination wedding, Costa Rica is one of the most popular places in the world. And for good reason. Natural beauty, professional services and affordable pricing all combine to make Costa Rica an attractive wedding location for couples from across the globe.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Costa Rica in 2020, making it the first Central American country to recognize gay marriage. It means that progressive Costa Rica is becoming an ever more popular destination wedding location.
Singers, movie stars and elite athletes have all chosen Costa Rica wedding locations. The list includes such names as:
- Victoria’s Secret model Gisele Bündchen and NFL star quarterback Tom Brady tied the knot in Costa Rica. The venue was the couple’s house in Santa Teresa.
- Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland and her manager and boyfriend Tim Weatherspoon got married in Costa Rica in 2014. Guests included Solange and Beyonce!
- “Spartacus” star Katrina Law got married at the Costa Rica wedding resort called the DoceLunas hotel, one of the more popular wedding spots in the beach town of Jaco.
- Singer Pink and motocross racer Carey Hart had a destination wedding in Costa Rica at the Four Seasons Papagayo.
Of course, you don’t have to be a millionaire celebrity to enjoy a dream wedding in Costa Rica. Costa Rica destination weddings can be a simple elopement beach ceremony or an elaborate all-inclusive event for hundreds of guests. The choice is yours.
Why get married in Costa Rica?
Getting married in Costa Rica is a great idea for many reasons:
Natural beauty of wedding venues
When it comes to destination wedding locations in Costa Rica, there are many beautiful natural venues that you and your guests will remember forever. Imagine the backdrop of your nuptials being the green, lush jungles of the rainforest. Or say “I do” with a sun-drenched Costa Rica beach wedding with waves lapping at your toes and palms swaying in the sea breeze. You will find wedding packages in Costa Rica that cover any and all types of wedding ceremonies for any number of guests.
Can you legally get married in Costa Rica?
A common question is, can foreigners get married in Costa Rica? The answer is yes. Weddings in Costa Rica are popular because the country’s marriage laws make it easy for foreign couples to have their wedding legally recognized in their home countries. Not all countries do that.
What are the requirements to get married in Costa Rica?
You don’t have to have blood tests or police checks or other complicated paperwork or documents. However, you and your spouse-to-be will need:
- A lawyer to oversee or officiate your ceremony. In Costa Rica, only lawyers, judges and Catholic priests can legally perform ceremonies. If you would like a friend, rabbi or another minister to perform the ceremony, a lawyer must be present.
- Your passport information, birth certificates, the names of your parents and information on any previous marriages.
- Two witnesses to attend the ceremony. They will need to give their passport or ID numbers to your officiant.
After your wedding, the lawyer will register your marriage in Costa Rica’s National Registry. This can take a few weeks. Then you will need to get a certified translator to translate your marriage certificate from Spanish into English, and authenticate the certificate with the Costa Rica Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also your home country’s embassy in Costa Rica.
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Where to get married in Costa Rica
There are far too many breathtaking Costa Rica wedding venues to list in one place. Areas such as Lake Arenal and the Caribbean coast offer stunning wedding backdrops.
However, if you want a perfect mix of jungle and beach for your wedding, look no further than the beautiful Pacific Coast beaches of Guanacaste. Guanacaste is in the northwest corner of Costa Rica and is home to many wedding venues and big hotels/resorts.
How much will it cost?
Upscale Costa Rica resorts offer wedding packages that cater to large, all-inclusive weddings and usually charge North American and/or European prices. However, there are many smaller, boutique venues and private villas that are perfect for small to medium-sized weddings that are more affordable. Some we would recommend are located in Flamingo, one of the most exclusive beach towns in all of Costa Rica.
Recommended wedding venues
These properties are gorgeous luxury mansions that sleep between nine and 14 people, with bedrooms with private terraces and common areas with stunning ocean/beach views. Swimming pools, easy beach access and ensuite bathrooms add to guest comfort and enjoyment. They also feature housekeeping services and 24/7 security.
You can learn more about these best Costa Rica destination wedding locations on the Special Places of Costa Rica website, where you can also make your reservation.
- Villa La Sata: A five-bedroom mansion on a hilltop with breathtaking ocean views, courtyard fountain and baby grand piano.
- Hacienda del Arbol: A stone’s throw away from the sea, with soaring cane ceilings, an infinity pool, and a unique antique coffee table made from ship parts.
- Hacienda Casa Amarilla: A Mediterranean-style beachfront mansion with a professional gourmet kitchen.
- Hacienda Paraiso: A six-bedroom palace on the beach with a hot tub and espresso machines in every bedroom.
Wedding weather in Costa Rica
Of course, you don’t want your beautiful outdoor wedding affected by rain. Between December and April, Guanacaste is the driest area of Costa Rica, with minimal rain and sunny skies every day. On the other hand, it can get pretty hot, so you may want to schedule your wedding ceremony to take place in the morning or the evening to avoid the midday heat.
You may want to avoid September and October, as it gets pretty rainy – sometimes for several days at a stretch. May-August can have a great mix of sun, cloud, some rain and lush greenery. During the rainy season, or green season (May-November), rains tend to begin in the afternoons after several hours of sunshine in the mornings.
Wedding planners in Costa Rica
If you do want to get married in Costa Rica, a wedding planner may be a good investment. Professional wedding planners can take a lot of the stress away from planning your wedding.
It may add to your total wedding cost, but an experienced wedding planner in Costa Rica can actually save you money. How? A wedding planner already has working relationships with photographers, florists and venues and can probably negotiate a competitive price. If you don’t speak Spanish, having someone who speaks the native language is also helpful.
A destination wedding in Costa Rica can be beautiful, simple and affordable. Besides being legally recognized in your home country, it will also certainly be a memorable occasion, as your guests will look back on your destination wedding with tropical fondness!