Frequently Asked Questions When Planning a Destination Wedding in Costa Rica 

February 05, 2024
Bex Smith Bex Smith
Frequently Asked Questions When Planning a Destination Wedding in Costa Rica 

Imagine exchanging vows beneath the lush canopy of a tropical rainforest, with waves crashing in the background, or on a pristine beach as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.  

Costa Rica has become a coveted destination for couples seeking the wedding of their dreams with its breathtaking natural beauty and romantic allure.  

Planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica opens up a world of possibilities and experiences beyond the ordinary. But it has its questions and intricacies. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the frequently asked questions that arise when couples begin on this beautiful journey. 

In this blog, we’ll address everything you need to know about planning your perfect tropical wedding, from the legalities of getting married in Costa Rica as tourists to the most popular wedding traditions in the country.  

So, if you’ve ever wondered about the legal requirements for marriage in Costa Rica, the best time to tie the knot in this tropical paradise, or the average cost of a destination wedding here, you’re in the right place. Let’s have a look at the questions for the Costa Rica wedding.

Costa Rica Wedding

Q. Can tourists get married in Costa Rica? 

Yes, tourists can get married in Costa Rica, and the process is relatively straightforward. However, there are some important legalities and requirements to be aware of: 

Legal Requirements: 

  • Age: Both parties must be at least 18 to marry legally in Costa Rica. 
  • Residency: Tourists have no residency requirement; you can arrive in Costa Rica and get married on the same day. 
  • Marital Status: If previously married, you must provide proof of your single status or divorce decree.  
  • Witnesses: You’ll need two witnesses who can be friends or family members. They must be at least 18 years old and have valid passports. 
  • Parental Consent: If either party is 16 or 17, they can marry with parental consent. This consent must be notarized and presented. 
  • Waiting Period: No waiting period is required; you can schedule your wedding as soon as you have the necessary documentation. 
  • Blood Tests: Unlike some countries, Costa Rica does not require blood tests for marriage. 
  • Fees: Fees are associated with obtaining a marriage license and registering the marriage. These fees can vary depending on the location and local regulations. 

Documentation and Processes: 

  1. Affidavit of Marital Status: Before the wedding, you’ll need to provide an Affidavit of Marital Status, also known as a Single Status Affidavit, issued by your home country’s embassy or consulate in Costa Rica. This document attests that you are free to marry. 
  1. Valid Passports: Ensure you have valid passports for the next six months. 
  1. Witnesses: You’ll need two witnesses who can be friends or family members. They must also have valid passports. 
  1. Legal Ceremony: A licensed lawyer or civil judge should conduct your wedding ceremony to ensure legal validity. 
  1. Registration: The marriage certificate must be registered with the Civil Registry in Costa Rica. This is typically handled by the lawyer or judge who officiated your wedding. 

Remember to consult with a local wedding planner or legal expert to ensure you meet all requirements and navigate the process smoothly.  

Q. What are the rules for marriage in Costa Rica? 

Costa Rica has specific rules and regulations governing marriages to ensure the legal validity of your union: 

  1. Age and Documentation: Both partners must be at least 18 years old. Foreigners need a valid passport (minimum six months validity), and locals require an identity card and single status certificate. 
  1. Witnesses and Legal Process: Two non-family witnesses are needed. The marriage is registered with the National Registry post-wedding, and a certificate is issued within 4 to 6 weeks. 
  1. Global Recognition and Types of Weddings: Marriages in Costa Rica are globally recognized. Legal marriages can be civil or through the Roman Catholic Church; other religious ceremonies require a legal officiant. 
  1. Same-Sex Marriage: Legal since May 2020, offering similar rights and benefits as opposite-sex marriages. 

It’s essential to consult with your wedding planner, lawyer, or local authorities in Costa Rica to ensure you meet all the specific requirements.  

Q. What are some wedding traditions in Costa Rica? 

Some traditional wedding customs in Costa Rica include: 

  1. Serenade: The night before the wedding, the groom may serenade his bride-to-be, often with a mariachi band. 
  1. Bridal Gown: Costa Rican brides typically wear white gowns, similar to Western culture. 
  1. Thirteen Gold Coins (Las Arras): During the ceremony, the groom gives the bride thirteen gold coins, symbolizing his commitment to support her. 
  1. Wedding Reception: Wedding receptions here are known for their lively and festive atmosphere, often with live music and dancing. 
  1. Rice Throwing: After the ceremony, guests throw rice at the newlyweds, symbolizing good fortune and prosperity. 

Q. Is Costa Rica a good place for a wedding? 

Yes, Costa Rica is considered an excellent location for a wedding. Its appeal lies in its breathtaking natural beauty, ranging from pristine beaches to lush rainforests and majestic mountains. This variety offers a multitude of picturesque backdrops for a wedding. Costa Rica is known for its warm climate and rich biodiversity, providing unique experiences for couples and guests. The country’s well-developed tourism infrastructure also supports a range of themes, from intimate beach ceremonies to grand celebrations in luxury resorts to exotic tropical wedding themes.   

Q. What is the most popular month for weddings in Costa Rica?   

Here’s a monthly breakdown of wedding popularity in Costa Rica based on the country’s weather patterns and tourist seasons: 

  • December: The holiday season, particularly around Christmas and New Year’s, is the most preferred Costa Rica wedding season. The weather is generally pleasant, and many couples choose this festive time for their celebrations. 
  • January: January continues to be a popular month for weddings, as it offers weather conditions similar to those in December. It’s especially appealing for couples seeking a tropical destination wedding. 
  • February: Dry season is in full swing, making it another favored month for tropical weddings. Couples often take advantage of the warm, sunny days for outdoor ceremonies and celebrations. 
  • March: As the dry season continues, March remains a popular wedding choice. The lush green landscapes and comfortable temperatures make it an attractive option. 
  • April: April marks the end of the dry season, and while it can still be a popular choice for weddings, some couples may prefer the earlier months for more predictable weather. 
  • May: May marks the beginning of the rainy season in Costa Rica, so weddings during this month may be rare. However, some couples who appreciate the lower prices and fewer crowds may opt for May weddings. 
  • June to November: These months constitute the rainy season in Costa Rica, and while weddings are less frequent during this period, they are not unheard of. Couples less concerned about potential rain may find more affordable options and less crowded venues.
Wedding in Costa Rica

Q. What is the average cost of a destination wedding in Costa Rica?   

The average cost of a destination wedding in Costa Rica in 2024 can vary based on several factors, including the number of guests, location, and personal preferences. Generally, the costs break down as follows: 

  1. Ceremony Costs: The ceremony typically costs around USD 5,000, which covers venue rental, decorations, floral arrangements, music, and necessary permits or licenses. 
  1. Reception Costs: For the reception, expect to spend between USD 200 to 400 per person, which includes food, beverages, cake, rentals, decor, and entertainment. 
  1. Marriage License Costs: A marriage license in Costa Rica can range from USD 1,500 to 2,000, covering legal fees, paperwork processing, and required translations. If you are in Jaco, the lawyer paperwork will cost you around $300.   
  1. Total Budget for a Wedding with 50 Guests: Combining these costs, a destination wedding in Costa Rica for 50 people can range from USD 17,550 to 27,550, encompassing the ceremony, reception, and marriage license fees. 

These estimates do not include other expenses like accommodations, transportation, wedding attire, photography/videography, and additional activities. Remember, these are average estimates, and actual costs can vary depending on individual choices and the customization desired for the wedding. You can choose customized wedding packages in Costa Rica to cut all the hassles.  

Q. Where can you get married in Costa Rica?  

You get various wedding venues in Costa Rica, including luxury villas, that cater to different styles and preferences. Here are some notable options: 

  1. Luxury Villas: Luxury villas, like Villa Firenze, are ideal for an intimate and exclusive experience. They offer privacy, bespoke services, and stunning settings, often with beachfront or rainforest views.  
  1. Beach Resorts: Costa Rica’s coastline has beautiful resorts perfect for beach weddings. These venues often provide comprehensive wedding packages.  
  1. Eco-Lodges: For couples who prioritize sustainability, eco-lodges offer unique experiences in harmony with nature. 
  1. Botanical Gardens: Such venues provide a lush, floral setting for a romantic ceremony amidst nature. 
  1. Historical Haciendas: Hacienda-style venues set in beautiful rural landscapes offer a blend of luxury and cultural heritage. 
  1. Mountain Retreats: For a cooler climate and mountain views, these venues offer a serene and scenic backdrop. 

Q. Will our marriage in Costa Rica be legally recognized worldwide? 

Marriages conducted in Costa Rica are generally recognized worldwide, provided they comply with all legal requirements in Costa Rica and the laws of the country where recognition is sought. After the wedding, your lawyer or officiant will register the marriage with Costa Rica’s National Registry. The Registry then issues a marriage certificate, usually ready within 4 to 6 weeks. Once you receive this certificate, it should be translated (if necessary) and authenticated for international recognition.  

It’s always advisable to check with the authorities in your home country to confirm any additional steps needed for the marriage to be legally recognized there. 

Q. What does a lawyer in Costa Rica know about wedding ceremonies? 

In Costa Rica, a lawyer plays a crucial role in civil wedding ceremonies. They are authorized to officiate weddings and know the legal requirements and process of marriage registration. This includes preparing and submitting the necessary documentation, ensuring all legal criteria are met, and conducting the marriage ceremony according to Costa Rican law.  

Hiring a lawyer who specializes in matrimonial law or has experience in handling weddings for foreigners is recommended to ensure smooth legal proceedings for your wedding in Costa Rica. 

Q. Best locations for a wedding in Costa Rica   

Costa Rica offers a variety of stunning locations for weddings, each with its unique charm and beauty. Here are some of the best places to consider: 

  1. Los Sueños Resort & Marina: Los Sueños Resort & Marina is the ultimate choice for a Costa Rican wedding. Its stunning Pacific Coast location, luxurious accommodations, and impeccable service provide an idyllic setting for a memorable wedding celebration.   
  1. Arenal Volcano: Known for its majestic volcano and hot springs, Arenal provides a picturesque backdrop for a wedding. The natural beauty and adventure activities here also make it a great spot. 
  1. Manuel Antonio: This coastal town is famous for its national park and beautiful beaches, making it an ideal setting for a beach wedding with lush rainforest surroundings. 
  1. Monteverde: For those who love mountains and cloud forests, Monteverde provides a unique and intimate setting. Its cool climate and misty forests offer a magical ambiance. 
  1. Santa Teresa: A laid-back beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa is known for its surf culture, stunning sunsets, and boutique hotels, ideal for a more relaxed and intimate wedding. 
  1. Tamarindo: A popular beach destination for weddings, Tamarindo offers a vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and a variety of venues, from luxurious resorts to private villas.

When choosing a location, consider factors like the type of scenery you want, accessibility for guests, and the range of activities available in the area.

Costa Rican Wedding

As we wrap up Costa Rica wedding FAQs, it is clear that this destination is perfect for those seeking a unique and memorable wedding experience.  

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