A 12-Month Checklist to Planning a Hassle-free Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

February 23, 2023
Bex Smith Bex Smith
A 12-Month Checklist to Planning a Hassle-free Destination Wedding in Costa Rica

Getting married in Costa Rica can be a dream come true, with its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and exotic biodiversity. However, planning a destination wedding requires careful consideration and organization. For a stress-free and memorable experience, it is crucial to start planning well in advance. This is where a wedding planning checklist comes in. A wedding planning checklist is essential for keeping track of all the crucial tasks and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.   

This blog presents the ultimate 12-month wedding-planning checklist and timeline for a Costa Rican wedding, covering all the essential aspects from budgeting, venue selection, catering, entertainment, legal requirements, and more. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive guide to help make your big day seamless, enjoyable, and unforgettable. With this checklist as your guide, you can feel confident in your planning process and focus on enjoying your wedding.     

A 12-Month Guide to a Stress-Free Wedding Planning  

Planning a wedding can be a long, complicated process, but by breaking it down into smaller, manageable tasks, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. That’s why we’ve created a monthly task checklist to help you stay on track and ensure nothing is left behind.  

By following these monthly milestones, you can ensure a well-organized and seamless wedding planning process. 

12 Months Before the Wedding   

  • Set the budget: Determine the total budget for your Costa Rican destination wedding and allocate funds for each event, like renting a venue, catering, wedding attire, travel arrangements, music, and entertainment.  
  • Research and visit potential venues: Start exploring different wedding venues in Costa Rica for your destination wedding, including outdoor locations and indoor spaces. Scheduling visits to your top venue choices and evaluating their facilities, capacity, and available amenities are essential to finding the perfect place for your special day, ensuring they align with your vision and needs. 

11 Months Before the Wedding   

  • Finalize the guest list: Confirm the total number of guests you will invite to your Costa Rican wedding and ensure that you have accurate contact information for each guest.  
  • Begin planning travel arrangements: If you have guests coming from out of town, start making travel arrangements for them. These arrangements may include booking hotels, transportation, and other travel-related expenses. Also, consider travel logistics to and from Costa Rica and communicate all necessary information to your guests beforehand.  

10 Months Before the Wedding    

  • Start looking for your wedding attire: Begin shopping for or ordering your wedding attire, including dresses and suits for the bride, groom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen. Consider light and comfortable fabrics suitable for the tropical climate of Costa Rica.   
  • Begin catering and menu planning: Start researching and considering catering options for your destination wedding in Costa Rica. Consider the tropical setting and cuisine options available in the country while planning your wedding menu. 

9 Months Before the Wedding   

  • Finalize the catering and menu: Make final decisions on catering options, menu items, and service styles that suit the tropical setting of Costa Rica. Nine months before your D-day is the ideal time to contact the catering company and confirm all details for the wedding day.  
  • Research and select music and entertainment: Start exploring different options for music and entertainment that fit the relaxed, tropical vibe of your destination wedding in Costa Rica. Consider local musicians, bands, and other entertainment options for that finest touch of Costa Rican traditions and culture. Schedule consultations with musicians and entertainers if necessary and make final decisions.  

8 Months Before the Wedding   

  • Research and select photographers and videographers: Start exploring different photographers and videographers in Costa Rica when there are only eight months left in your wedding. Look at portfolios of each and consider their style, approach, and pricing before shortlisting anyone. Schedule consultations and make a decision based on your budget and desired aesthetic.  
  • Obtain marriage license: Research the requirements for obtaining a marriage license in Costa Rica. You may need to provide documentation such as birth certificates, passport copies, and a sworn statement of single status. Starting this process eight months prior will ensure everything falls in order before the big day.   

7 Months Before the Wedding    

  • Hire a local wedding planner: Hiring a local wedding planner for your wedding can be a valuable investment. A wedding planner will help you understand the local culture, customs, and laws and find the best vendors in the area. With their expertise and support, you can ensure that every detail of your wedding is taken care of, resulting in a seamless and stress-free experience. Start your search for a wedding planner seven months prior, so you have plenty of time to find the right person for every job.  
  • Decide wedding theme and decoration: Once you have a wedding planner in place, it’s time to start planning further, like deciding on a wedding theme, selecting a color scheme, choosing the flowers and decorations, and working with your planner to finalize the menu and other details. The more time you have to plan, the more organized and stress-free the process will be.  
Wedding Planning Checklist

6 Months Before the Wedding     

  • Finalize details with vendors: Six months before the big day is the ideal time to finalize the details with your vendors, including confirming the dates, times, and details of your ceremony and reception, as well as any other related events. Work closely with your wedding planner and vendors to ensure everything is in order and that you are on track to have the wedding of your dreams.  
  • Confirm travel arrangements for guests: As your destination wedding in Costa Rica approaches, it’s crucial to start confirming travel arrangements for your guests, starting from booking flights, arranging transportation to and from the airport, and reserving accommodations. Consider providing guests with a detailed itinerary of the events and activities surrounding your wedding so they know what to expect and how to prepare.  

5 Months Before the Wedding    

  • Finalize wedding attire: Five months before the big day is the time to finalize your wedding attire. You can start the process by choosing your outfit and then dresses for bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other family members. When selecting the dresses, consider the climate and local traditions of Costa Rica. Light and breathable fabrics will be best for tropical weather.  
  • Start planning the rehearsal dinner: The rehearsal dinner is an important pre-wedding event that allows you to spend quality time with your loved ones before the big day. Start planning the rehearsal dinner by choosing a venue, menu, and activities that fit your style, budget, and preferences. Consider the traditions of Costa Rica and incorporate elements that reflect the local culture and cuisine, such as traditional Costa Rican dishes, local music, and cultural customs.  

4 Months Before the Wedding    

  • Finalize details with photographers and videographers: Four months before your wedding, you should finalize details with your photographers and videographers. Work with them to ensure they clearly understand your vision and style. Consider the unique beauty and landscapes of the country and collaborate with the team to incorporate these elements into your wedding photos and videos.  
  • Finalize details with bands and musicians: Music and entertainment play a crucial role in setting the mood and atmosphere of your wedding. It’s time to consider the research you did before and choose the bands or musicians according to your taste, wedding theme, and tropical Costa Rican setting. 

3 Months Before the Wedding    

  • Finalize the guest list: By this time, you should have a clear idea of the final number of guests attending your wedding. Confirm the final headcount with your catering team and ensure the venue you have selected has enough room to accommodate all the guests.  
  • Finalize transportation and accommodation arrangements: If you have guests from different cities and countries, finalizing their transportation and accommodation arrangements is crucial to ensure they have no problem traveling for your wedding. Research and book local transportation options such as shuttle services or car rentals and confirm reservations for your guests’ accommodation three months before to avoid any last-minute hassles.  

2 Months Before the Wedding   

  • Finalize the rehearsal dinner plans: Consider incorporating local flavors and customs into your rehearsal dinner. Costa Rica offers a range of delicious cuisines, so hiring a local caterer or collaborating with a restaurant specialized in traditional dishes will help you add flavors of Costa Rica to your wedding.   
  • Finalize flower and decoration arrangements: Whether you wish your wedding to be tropical or more of a rustic, elegant theme, decoration plays a prominent role. As it’s only two months to your big day, finalizing which flowers will be a part of your wedding decoration is essential. Also, consider centerpieces, seating arrangements, sound, lighting, and other decor-related stuff when discussing your wedding theme with vendors and planners. 

1 Month Before the Wedding   

Confirm final details and arrangements with each vendor to ensure a seamless and stress-free wedding day. A month before is ideal for addressing any last-minute changes or concerns before the big day. Having a final walkthrough with all vendors also gives you peace of mind and confidence in knowing everyone is on the same page.  

The Wedding Week    

  • Enjoy the rehearsal dinner: A rehearsal dinner with your partner, guests, and family is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with them, unwind in the tropical setting of Costa Rica, and relax before the hectic wedding schedule starts. Costa Rica offers the perfect ambiance for your rehearsal dinner, with breathtaking ocean views, stunning sunset views, and tropical landscapes.   
  • Final preparations: A week before your wedding is the time to finalize all the last-minute details, check in with all the vendors and ensure everything is running smoothly. Confirming your transportation, hair & makeup appointments, and other vital details is also good.  
Wedding Venue in Costa Rica


Here, we have summarized a few tips for you to help you plan a destination wedding in Costa Rica smoothly and hassle-freely:  

  • Choosing a reputable planner. 
  • Considering the best time of year to get married. 
  • Booking your venue and vendors in advance. 
  • Incorporating the natural beauty of Costa Rica into your decor. 
  • Remember to relax and enjoy the day with your loved ones.  

Our step-by-step wedding planning checklist will help ensure everything is in place for your special day. 

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