Destination Wedding Location Series: Costa Rica Destination Wedding
Are you ready for another fun location? Today we’re taking you to Costa Rica for a Costa Rica destination wedding.
To many, Costa Rica is paradise. Costa Rica is blessed with beautiful beaches, enticing rain forests, volcanoes and an abundant host of native animals. Not only is the varied landscape impressive, but also how well the Ticos (Costa Ricans) have taken to keep it protected and preserved. It is truly an exciting location for a destination wedding.
Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America on a strip of land sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Costa Rica is sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of Central America for its natural beauty, comfortable lifestyle and peaceful democracy. This plays a big role in the culture of the people and their way of life. Costa Rica is peaceful and calm yet full of adventure. I think this gives couples a nice combination of relaxation and thrilling outdoor activities for their Costa Rica destination wedding.
Getting married in Costa Rica is relatively easy, but there is some information you will need to provide (name, phone number, address, occupation, marital status, date of birth, place of birth, parent names, passport numbers) along with passport scans ideally, at least, a month before the ceremony. You will need to sign a sworn statement that all your provided information is correct and after the ceremony you will sign the marriage certificate which will be filed in Costa Rica, sent to your country’s consulate and then provided to you. Two witnesses are required and they cannot be family up to the third degree, so friends usually work best as witnesses. You will need to provide some basic information for your witnesses as well.
In terms of weather, Costa Rica has a dry season (Dec-April) and a rainy season (May-November). This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t rain in the dry season, but it rains less. Because of the weather, the tourist season runs in conjunction with the dry season, so keep that in the back of your mind when planning. Similar to Hawaii, Costa Rica also has it’s own microclimates just depending on the area you are in, so keep that in mind as well when choosing an area.
Couples that are attracted to a Costa Rica destination wedding really enjoy nature and being outdoors. The best part of Costa Rica is the environment that surrounds you, so those who like Costa Rica tend to be nature lovers. I could go on about Costa Rica, but I’ll let my fabulous friend, Jessica Hill of A Brit & A Blonde share with you, her thoughts (and some great photos) on Costa Rica.
Jamie: Hi Jessica! I’m so happy to have you be a part of this. So, to start off, what do you love about Costa Rica? What is your favorite thing about Costa Rica?
Jess: Costa Rica is a paradise. We love it all! We love the food, the weather, the people, the animals, and the “pura vida” lifestyle. Pura Vida is essentially a mantra or motto that permeates Costa Rican culture. The direct translation is pure life, but it means much more than that – full of life, this is living, real living, its going great, cool, awesome and is also used as a greeting to say hello or goodbye. “A Brit” and I both lived in Toronto working wild and crazy hours in advertising agencies – we wanted to make a significant change – and we had totally fallen in love with Costa Rica while traveling on an adventure vacation. It truly felt like our home away from home.
I want to share a few little-known facts about Costa Rica:
- Costa Rica has not had an army for over 60 years. They are very peaceful people. It makes them quite different from their neighbors Panama, Nicaragua, and Mexico.
- You can drink the water here – which is amazing! Seems like a small thing but it is not to be taken for granted.
- The literacy rate here is close to 97%, which is huge. Costa Ricans (Ticos as they refer to themselves) take education very seriously.
- Costa Rica has one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates at 77 years.
- A quarter of Costa Rica is made up of National parks and Environmental Protection Areas.
- There are a dozen active volcanoes in Costa Rica.
- A huge host of animals – more than 500,000 species are found here in this small country.
It is really difficult to choose a favorite thing about Costa Rica. But we have really truly been blown away by the kindness and generosity of the people.
Jamie: Why do you think a couple should consider a Costa Rica destination wedding?
Jess: Costa Rica is an amazing place for a destination wedding. We have shot many, many weddings here and have yet to come across a couple who has not fallen head over heels for it. It is truly magical. When planning a destination wedding, generally your guest list will be made up of a very varied group of people: young, old, adventure seekers, beach lovers and those who want to just kick back and relax and everyone in between. Costa Rica really has something to offer everyone no matter the age or thrill-seeking level.
If you are looking for the anti-all-inclusive resort destination wedding – Costa Rica is it in my books. It is off the beaten path but still very accessible. There is nothing cookie-cutter about it. Plus there are some absolutely positively stunning private villas that you can rent out to house your guests and also have the wedding at the same place. These villas are drop dead gorgeous. You will feel like a queen and may never want to leave! You’ll have your very own piece of paradise. The villas are an amazing option for those who can’t stand all-inclusive resorts but want their guests to be taken care of. The villas can arrange all your tours, adventures and even bring in fantastic chefs to cook for you and your guests! How amazing. Just imagine, swimming in your infinity pool overlooking an amazing rainforest backdrop, listening to howler monkeys, sipping a margarita while your private chef cooks your custom menu. Divine!
Jamie: Tell me about some of the areas of Costa Rica that you particularly like.
Jess: Being Costa Rica wedding photographers – as part of our job we get to travel all over this stunning country. Of course, Costa Rica has super amazing beaches – and for those lovebird surfers out there some fantastic waves too. Some of our faves are: Santa Teresa, Malpais, Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Flamingo and Portrero. But even if you are not a beach lover and never saw yourself barefoot in the sand exchanging your “I do’s” – there are plenty of amazing places for a stunning destination wedding without the beach backdrop. Arenal is like no other place on earth. There are natural hot springs all over, an incredible volcano that is still active and no shortage of activities from white water rafting to rappelling to hiking and bird watching. For eco-conscious couples who want to have a green wedding – you cannot beat Costa Rica. Imagine having your wedding in a cloud forest! Check out Monteverde and San Ramon. By far a unique experience that will leave your guests talking about the wedding for years to come. For very adventurous couples who want to be extremely off the beaten path – the Osa peninsula will be right up your alley. National Geographic has called in “one of the most biologically intense places on earth”. It is quite secluded but is a true natural wonderland.
Jamie: What types of couples do you think are attracted to a Costa Rica destination wedding?
Jess: Bridezillas need not apply! Costa Rica is perfect for fun loving, go with the flow couples. It’s for brides and grooms who want something different and want their guests to share in a very unique experience. Eco lovers, nature lovers, beach lovers, animal lovers, bird lovers, adventure lovers and surf lovers will be in heaven and may never want to leave!
Jamie: Name one thing a couple should know before choosing to have a Costa Rica destination wedding.
Jess: Costa Rica is very close to the equator. Which means that the sun sets relatively early all year long. We do not have long summer nights where the sun stays out till 8 or 9pm. Generally, the sun sets between 5 and 6pm. The proximity to the equator also means that once the sun sets, it sets pretty darn quickly. We do not have a “magic hour” here in Costa Rica – we joke that we have a “magic 5 minutes!”. Couples who will only see each other at the ceremony – should not plan their ceremony time for sunset since that will unfortunately, mean their couples portraits will all take place in the dark with flash….not why they came all the way to Costa Rica! We always work with our couples to plan out the perfect schedule to take full advantage of the natural light. Best to have the sun setting during cocktail hour so you can enjoy the amazing sky with all your guests and drink in hand!
(Photo credit for all photos: A Brit & A Blonde)
Sigh…I could use an amazing sunset with a drink in hand, couldn’t you? I think you’d have a wonderful time with your Costa Rica destination wedding, but if it doesn’t seem quite up your alley, stay tuned for another exciting location coming soon!