Weddings in Costa Rica

Weddings in Costa Rica

Imagine exchanging vows amidst the whispers of the rainforest, the serenade of exotic birds, and the backdrop of stunning coastlines or mystical volcanoes. Welcome to Costa Rica, a lover’s paradise filled with breathtaking venues to say “I do.” Planning a wedding in Costa Rica, however, goes beyond just selecting a picturesque location. From understanding the best times to plan your celebration, considering the climate, and navigating tourist seasons to avoid potential hiccups, to the essential legal requirements for getting married in Costa Rica, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make your special day as seamless and memorable as possible. 

Whether you’re envisioning an intimate beach ceremony at sunset or a lavish affair in a luxurious rainforest resort, let’s embark on this journey together, where the Pura Vida spirit ensures your wedding isn’t just an event, but the adventure of a lifetime.

Attractive Factors to saying ‘I Do’ in Costa Rica

Fodor’s has named Costa Rica to be one of the best locations for a destination wedding, and for good reason. There are many attractive factors to making that life-long commitment in this tropical paradise, from its breathtaking venues, favourable climate, chilled ‘Pura Vida’ atmosphere and much more. Let’s explore some of the perks newly engaged couples can expect when planning their dream Costa Rica wedding.

Photo by Juliana Barquero on Unsplash

Favourable Climate

Costa Rica’s year-round inviting climate is a dream come true for couples planning their wedding. With its tropical warmth, the country offers a diverse weather palette, from the sun-drenched beaches of the Pacific and Caribbean coasts to the cooler, misty ambiance of the cloud forests. While the dry season, from December to April, promises clear blue skies perfect for sunset ceremonies, the green season, from May to November, brings the landscape to life with lush greenery and dramatic skies, ideal for those seeking a vibrant, natural backdrop. 

This climatic versatility gives couples great freedom in planning their nuptials, no matter the month they wish to tie the knot, they’re almost guaranteed favourable weather.

Laid Back Pure Vida Atmosphere

Embracing the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle in Costa Rica is like saying “I do” to a lifetime of serenity—perfect for couples planning their nuptials amidst its laid-back vibes. Imagine a place so relaxed that even the most jittery of brides and the most hesitant of grooms find themselves too chilled to entertain cold feet—unless they’re dipping them into the crystal-clear ocean. Against the backdrop of a beachside paradise or the seclusion of a rainforest retreat, the biggest worry of the day will be choosing to have your first kiss as a married couple at sunset or under a canopy of stars. So, if you’re looking to step away from the fast-paced wedding planning, Costa Rica’s ‘Pura Vida’ vibe is your dream come true.

Photo by carlos manich on Unsplash

Activities for Guests

If you have guests coming from afar, they will most likely want to make a holiday out of the big day. Luckily, Costa Rica has a range of activities suitable for every traveler. Golf, sport fishing and surfing are all available. Catamaran cruises, spas and wellness centers, yoga studios, and shopping are all available. There are national park excursions, canopy zip lines, ATV adventures, mountain biking, and, of course, relaxing on the beach! Of course the wedding will be the main event, but with so many activities to choose from, your Costa Rican wedding will be the best vacation your friends and family have ever had.

Food is Love

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

– Virginia Woolf 

Costa Rica’s culinary scene is a love letter to food enthusiasts, adding to this tropical paradise’s attraction as a wedding destination. With an abundance of restaurants ranging from luxurious fine dining to charming local eateries, the country offers a diverse palette of flavors to satisfy every taste. Imagine indulging in a pre-wedding dinner under the stars with views of the Pacific, or a rehearsal dinner in a cozy restaurant nestled in the heart of a lush rainforest. 

The emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients ensures that every meal is a celebration of Costa Rica’s rich agricultural heritage. This wide variety of dining options ensures that not only the couple but also their guests have memorable gastronomic experiences throughout their stay, turning every meal into an opportunity for joy and celebration.

When to Have Your Costa Rica Wedding?

The best time to plan a wedding in Costa Rica largely depends on your preferences for weather, scenery, and your tolerance for crowds. Costa Rica has two primary seasons: the dry season and the green (or rainy) season, each offering unique advantages and challenges for weddings.

Dry Season

From December to April:

The dry season, also known as the high season for tourism, boasts sunny days and clear skies, ideal for beach weddings and outdoor celebrations. This period ensures almost guaranteed beautiful weather, making it easier to plan outdoor events without the worry of rain.Being peak tourist season, you’ll find that popular venues and accommodations may be more expensive and booked well in advance. Beaches and tourist hotspots can be crowded, which might affect the privacy and intimacy of your ceremony.

Green Season

From May to November:

The green season brings the landscape to life with lush greenery and fewer tourists, offering a more private and intimate setting for your wedding. This season also typically sees lower prices for venues and accommodations. The afternoons are often sunny, with rain usually in the late afternoon or evening, which can make for dramatic wedding photos and cooler temperatures.Planning an outdoor wedding can be risky due to unpredictable weather, including potential afternoon showers. Some rural areas may be harder to access due to rain, and outdoor activities for guests might be limited on rainy days.

Peak Tourist Times

  • The weeks around Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter (Semana Santa) are particularly busy. Planning a wedding during these times requires early booking and preparation due to the influx of tourists.

Off-Peak Times

  • May and November, the transitional months between the dry and green seasons, offer a good balance with fewer tourists, moderate weather, and the beauty of either the blooming or waning lush landscapes.

Magical Wedding Venues in Costa Rica

1. The Beach At Sunset!

Wedding Venues in Tamarindo
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Let’s start with the obvious choice first! Tamarindo Beach is absolutely gorgeous. Without spending a dime on decorations or reservations, you can have a small beach wedding, right as the sun goes down and lights up the sky with pinks, oranges and purples. You cannot beat the backdrop for the price.

​​The ocean recedes at low tide at Tamarindo, leaving a broad length of the beach with lava rock outcroppings that makes a beautiful backdrop for a tropical sunset wedding. What could be more romantic than that? We can’t come up with anything.

Beach weddings at high tide are also lovely, with the sea lapping at your toes and the sound of breaking waves providing music. If you don’t want to have your wedding right on the sand, there are plenty of coastal settings where Tamarindo Beach may serve as the backdrop for images you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

2. Tamarindo Diria

Tamarindo Diria wedding reception
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Tamarindo Diria is the largest resort in Tamarindo and will undoubtedly offer you your dream wedding experience. If you wish, they will take care of all the details for you, like ordering flowers, decor, music, they’ll even get an officiant.

This luxurious resort offers a variety of wedding packages to suit any taste and budget. Choose from a beachfront ceremony, a garden wedding, or a rooftop celebration with panoramic ocean views. Whatever you choose, the Tamarindo Diria team will ensure that every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy your special day.

3. Villa Paraiso

wedding reception in Villa Paraiso

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Villa Paraiso may not be on the beach, but its location perfectly overlooks the ocean. This venue is a luxury villa designed for destination weddings. Perfect for small gatherings up to groups of 150, this ocean-front villa has everything you need to exchange those important vows.

Villa Paraiso has a private swimming pool, an in-house concierge, a spacious living space, an attractively decorated dining area, and a fully equipped state-of-the-art kitchen. The rooms are perfectly furnished with great attention to detail and a devotion to extravagance. They have all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay like luxury entertainment systems and Wi-Fi.

We understand the wedding won’t take up the entire vacation, so why not leave the villa for some adventure. There are a variety of activities offered to keep everyone entertained, like world-class surfing, yoga, fishing, horseback riding, sailing, snorkeling, world-class spas, ocean-front golf, and tropical adventures. Like Diria, Villa Paraiso can help you figure out each element of your special day, ensuring you have the perfect wedding fitted to you and your partner’s specific wants and needs.

4. Pangas Beach Club

Pangas Beach Club for wedding

Photo credit: Pangas Beach Club

Pangas Beach Club is the ideal spot to get lost in Tamarindo’s laid-back tropical lifestyle, with rustic driftwood beach chairs, fresh gourmet cuisine, and scenic ocean views. Pangas is a breezy beach club by day and a casual restaurant and bar by night, located right on the sands of north Tamarindo Beach. 

Though the area is open to the public, Pangas will reserve a private area for your destination wedding right on the beach. You can have your ceremony near crashing waves, then you and your guests can take a couple of steps up to your table and enjoy the celebrations.

5. Capitan Suizo

Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo

Right next door to Tamarindo’s exciting beach, you will find Langosta Beach. This quieter, serene beach offers two great wedding venues as well. Capitan Suizo offers lovely romantic beach weddings. With a ceremony by the waves and a candlelight dinner under the stars, you cannot go wrong. Capitan Suizo also offers wedding packages to help prep for your day.

Getting married in Costa Rica is relatively straightforward for international couples, but there are some legal requirements and steps you need to follow:

  1. Valid Passports: Both parties must have valid passports. The passports must be presented to the officiant before the ceremony.
  2. Witnesses: You will need two witnesses who are not family members to attend the ceremony and sign the marriage document. If your witnesses are not Costa Rican, they will also need to provide copies of their passports.
  3. Lawyer or Notary Public: The marriage must be officiated by a Costa Rican lawyer or notary public who is authorized to perform weddings. They will prepare and submit the necessary documentation to ensure your marriage is legal and recognized both in Costa Rica and internationally.
  4. Marriage Statement: Couples must provide a sworn statement (sometimes done before the officiant) detailing their current marital status, occupation, level of education, and addresses, as well as the same information for their parents.
  5. Birth Certificates and Divorce Decrees: Although not always required, some officiants may ask for birth certificates and, if applicable, divorce decrees. It’s best to have these documents just in case and ensure they are translated into Spanish by an official translator and apostilled (certified for legal use in another country) in your home country.
  6. Registration: After the wedding, the lawyer or notary public will register your marriage with the Costa Rican Civil Registry. The process can take a few months (around 3 months) to be completed and for the marriage certificate to be issued. Once issued, the marriage certificate needs to be apostilled by the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and translated into English (or your home country’s language) if necessary.
  7. Legalization in Your Home Country: Once you have your marriage certificate, you might need to take further steps to have the marriage recognized in your home country. This process varies by country but often involves submitting the apostilled and translated marriage certificate to the relevant authority in your home country.

Wedding Officiation in Costa Rica – Who’s Eligable?

In Costa Rica, the privilege of legally officiating a marriage ceremony is reserved for judges, lawyers, and Catholic priests, given that Catholicism holds the status of the official religion. But what if you envision a ceremony that aligns with a different faith? Fortunately, Costa Rica offers flexible solutions. Your first option is to engage a judge or a lawyer who is also ordained to conduct marriage ceremonies, seamlessly blending legal and spiritual elements. For those with specific religious preferences beyond Catholicism, a popular approach involves combining ceremonies: conducting your chosen religious ceremony alongside the presence of a legal officiant, such as a judge or lawyer, to ensure your union is officially recognized. 

Alternatively, some couples opt to legalize their marriage in their home country before celebrating their ideal wedding in the scenic landscapes of Costa Rica, free from any legal bindings. This approach allows for a focus on the celebration and personal significance of the event, leaving bureaucratic concerns behind.

Start Your Forever in Paradise

At VIP Tamarindo, we hope these recommendations for wedding venues in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, will help you in the planning of your most special day and the start of your happy ending.  Also, remember that you can check our complete list of vacation rentals available in Tamarindo, or even find the perfect luxury villa with breathtaking ocean views and lush gardens. So, gather your loved ones, pack your bags, and get ready to start your forever in the heart of paradise. Pura Vida!