Getting married in Costa Rica is simple and straightforward. You’ll have to provide some basic information, including a copy of each passport, your dates of birth, your occupations, your current addresses, and the names and addresses of your parents. Two witnesses are required to be present at the ceremony. If the two of you are traveling alone, your hotel or wedding consultant will provide the required witnesses.
Things are slightly more complicated if one or both partners were previously married. In such a case, the previously married partner must provide an official copy of the divorce decree.
Most travelers who get married in Costa Rica do so in a civil ceremony officiated by a local lawyer. After the ceremony, the lawyer records the marriage with Costa Rica’s National Registry, which issues an official marriage certificate. This process generally takes between 4 and 6 weeks. Most lawyers or wedding coordinators then have the document translated and certified by the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry and at the embassy or consulate of your home country before mailing it to you. From here, it’s a matter of bringing this document to your local civil or religious authorities, if necessary.
Because Costa Rica is predominantly Roman Catholic, arranging for a church wedding is usually easy in all but the most isolated and remote locations. To a lesser extent, a variety of denominational Christian churches and priests are often available to perform or host the ceremony. If you’re Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or a follower of some other religion, bringing your own officiant is a good idea.
Tip: Officially, the lawyer must read all or parts of the Costa Rican civil code on marriage during your ceremony. This is a rather uninspired and somewhat dated legal code that, at some weddings, can take as much as 20 minutes to slog through. Most lawyers and wedding coordinators are quite flexible and can work with you to design a ceremony and text that fits your needs and desires. Insist on this.
Most of the higher-end and romantic hotels in Costa Rica have ample experience in hosting weddings. Many have an in-house wedding planner. Narrowing the list is tough, but the top choices include Hotel Punta Islita, Villa Caletas, Los Sueños Resort & Marina, Florblanca Resort, and the Four Seasons Resort. If you want a remote yet luxurious rainforest lodge, try La Paloma Lodge, Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge, or Lapa Ríos.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.