Costa Rica weddings are rapidly gaining popularity for all kinds of great reasons. First of all, getting married in Costa Rica is easy. Many major hotels and travel agencies have wedding planners already on staff who will arrange for all necessary licensing and paperwork well in advance of the wedding, so the guesswork and mystery of local ordinances is removed and the bride and groom can just enjoy the process.
Secondly, Costa Rica is a gorgeous place, so once the wedding is over the honeymoon can start right away. Again, many Costa Rican hotels and travel agencies specialize in wedding and honeymoon planning, and packages and plans are available to fit any budget. Costa Rica weddings can be as simple as a private ceremony on the beach with witnesses provided by the hotel, or as lavish as any big wedding in the U.S. Wedding planners on staff at Costa Rica hotels and travel agencies will take care of everything right down to the cake and the reception décor, or the prospective newlyweds can take over some or all of the planning. It’s totally up to the bride and groom and the budget.
Some of the more popular destinations for Costa Rica weddings are the Arenal Volcano Park, the beaches on the Northwest coast, and the Nicoya Peninsula and the many small islands that surround it. Cost Rica weddings are usually performed by an officiant instead of clergy (Costa Rica is heavily Catholic, so prospective newlyweds of that faith can probably be married by a priest), and some of the marriage laws are a bit different than in the U.S. For instance, a woman who is divorced will have to have been divorced for 300 days before she can remarry in Costa Rica. (This also applies to widows.)
Getting the marriage paperwork completed can take up to three months (most agencies offer a rush option for a fee) so it is best to start the planning process at least six months in advance. Costa Rica weddings are also binding. Getting married in Costa Rica means the bride and groom are married anywhere else on the globe once the ceremony is complete, so although Costa Rica weddings might take a bit more advance preparation than conventional weddings, they are definitely the real deal.
Costa Rica weddings are best planned with the help of a licensed travel agent. For engaged couples who already have a destination in mind, contacting the hotel of choice is another good way to go. Have a budget and a location in mind, and make sure to get started with the planning as soon as possible to insure the best possible experience. Many great packages are available, many including honeymoon destinations.