Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

Take your pick for Costa Rica transportation; plane, train, or automobile? Just kidding, you probably won’t be taking the train in Costa Rica.

Although, there actually is a train, but it is only located in San Jose.

Instead, you will likely use a rental car, public bus, or private shuttles to get around.

Should I Get Married in Costa Rica?

We think that getting married in Costa Rica is amazing BUT it can be difficult if you have aging relatives or friends and family that can’t afford to travel. Sometimes it is just better to have your wedding near all your people. 

However, a destination wedding in Costa Rica is so fun! You can get married on a pristine white sand beach, in the jungle next to a waterfall etc.

We created a complete guide to deciding on if a destination wedding in Costa Rica is the right choice for you

Can I Legally Get Married in Costa Rica?

It can be difficult and expensive to conduct a legal wedding ceremony in Costa Rica. If you would like a legal ceremony you will have to hire a lawyer to officiate your ceremony and file all of the paperwork in your home country. 

Instead, most people get legally married in their home country ahead of time and then conduct a symbolic ceremony in Costa Rica.

You can then hire anyone to conduct the ceremony or have one of your guests be the officiant for your special day. 🙂

What Area of the Country Should I chose for my Wedding?

With so many jungle and beach destinations it can be difficult to select the perfect wedding location.

When planning your wedding it is important to consider how close your wedding location is to an international airport, how easy will it be for guests to travel to other places after, how easy will it be for you to find vendors, and more!

Here are our top choices for you…

Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio is a popular beach town located about four hours from the San Jose International Airport.

We suggest it because it is easy to get to, has many great resorts and villas, and is a popular destination so you will have no problem finding vendors.

Beach front and cliff view weddings are popular here. 

With your guests we suggest taking a sunset catamaran tour and exploring Manuel Antonio National Park

manuel antonio from drone
playa langosta

Tamarindo

This is where we got married.

There are plenty of wedding venue options here including beach front restaurants, all inclusive resorts, and private villas directly on white sand beaches.

This is a good option because your guests can fly into Liberia International Airport and will have a short drive to Tamarindo.

We suggest enjoying a sunset catamaran ride, going on a morning deep sea fishing trip, or renting ATV’s with your guests. 

Papagayo Peninsula

The Papagayo Peninsula is home to some of the nicest resorts and villas in the country. 

Just be warned, things tend to be a bit more expensive here than in other parts of the country.

This area is easy to get to from the Liberia International Airport. 

papagayo
arenal

La Fortuna

If you are looking for a jungle vibe instead of beach, we suggest La Fortuna.

This area can easily be accessed from Liberia or San Jose Airport and is filled with nice hot spring resorts and plenty of adventure activities. 

What are my venue options?

There are so many venue options in Costa Rica! In fact, when we planned our wedding it took us about two months to just decide that we wanted to get married in a villa. Here are just some of your choices….

Villa – With a villa, you will have complete control over everything. You can select all your vendors individually. 

Check out our guide to villas in Costa Rica for more tips. 

Restaurant – There are many delicious restaurants and beach bars that could be a great spot for your destination wedding. 

Resort – Resorts often have a designated wedding planner as well as wedding packages. This will take a lot of stress off of you.

Check out our resort guide for places at all price points and interests. 

Other Places – Some interesting ideas are coffee plantations, animal sanctuaries, waterfall parks etc.

Check out our guide to all your venue options for more ideas. 

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner?

It is definitely not the easiest to plan a wedding while living in a different country. Sometimes the best thing to do is to hire a wedding planner.

We personally did not hire a wedding planner (to save costs) but, there is also something called a day of the wedding coordinator. A wedding coordinator is hired just for your wedding day. This person will ensure that everything runs smoothly.

We also did not hire a day of coordinator, but I really wish we had. This would have taken a lot of stress off of us and given us more of an opportunity to really enjoy our day as bride and groom.

If you opt for a resort wedding, most resorts will provide a wedding planner in their wedding package. 

Check out our guide to organizing all your wedding details for more ideas. 

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costa rica wedding

How do I organize a Caterer?

There are many catering companies in Costa Rica but it is often usually possible to get a restaurant to cater your wedding as well.

How do I organize a DJ?

Do you want to hire a DJ or do all the music yourself? We hired a DJ for the reception and it was such a good decision!

dj costa rica

How do I organize a florist?

The cheapest floral option here is tropical local flowers.

You can hire a wedding florist to arrange your flowers or just contact a local florist.

In our experience, it was way cheaper to contact a florist directly in the area we got married in rather than go through a specialized wedding florist. 

And I loved our flowers!

How do I organize an officiant?

Ask at your venue to see if they have a person they recommend.

Alternatively, you can ask one of your friends or family attending your wedding to officiate for you.

This will be by far the most afordable option and you will get a much more personalized speech. 

costa rica wedding

How do I organize rentals?

We suggest asking at your venue to confirm exactly what they have and what you will need to rent.

For example, our wedding was at a villa so we needed to rent chairs, tables, plates, silverwear, and a tent (but it luckily didn’t rain). 

How Can I help my Guests organize their trip?

When planning your wedding you also need to consider your guests guests. Costa Rica is probably a new destination for a lot of your guests. The probably have a lot of questions.

We dealt with this by sending them straight to our website. We linked to our site through our wedding website (you can create one for free on The Knot). This worked our perfect!

If you would like to make your planning process a bit easier we suggest that you also just send your guests to our site. They will probably like our destination guides, our step by step guide to planning a trip in Costa Rica, and our rental car discount

FIND OUT HOW TO GET UP TO 10% OFF YOUR CAR RENTAL IN COSTA RICA!

What About my honeymoon after?

Not only is Costa Rica a great wedding destination but it is also a great place to have your honeymoon.

There are plenty of adult only resorts throughout the country or you could have a honeymoon of hopping around the country to see all the sights. 

For more info, check out our Costa Rica honeymoon planning guide

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