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Costa Rica Destination Wedding Planning

Once you have decided upon a Costa Rica destination wedding, there are several more decisions that you need to make, like...

What Time of Year is best for a Costa Rica Destination Wedding?

Costa Rica Destination Wedding Planning: Get Married on a Pacific or Caribbean BeachUnless you're from Seattle and love precipitation, you probably want to avoid getting married in the rainy season. On the Pacific coast the dry season generally lasts from December to April.

In Arenal, the dry season is April to November. On the Caribbean side the dry months are February, March, September and October - though there is always a chance of rain on this side of the country.

Wedding Planners and Resort Wedding Packages

There are many wedding planners or wedding planning companies in Costa Rica that can help you with organizing your Costa Rica destination wedding. Alternatively, many larger resorts like the Four Seasons or Allegro Papagayo have staff able to help make arrangements and they obviously can provide the venue. Both of these options are a better idea than trying to pull everything together yourself. I speak pretty decent Spanish but I still wouldn't plan a wedding without local help.

By hiring a wedding planner you are saving yourself a great deal of time by not having to hunt down photographers, a lawyer to draw up documents, music, flowers, someone to conduct the ceremony, etc. Many of the wedding planners offer packages ranging from $500-1000 for a basic ceremony and documents, up to $2000-4000 for packages including photography, videography, flowers, massages, a sailing cruise and more.

Packages at all inclusive resorts range about the same, from $1000-4000 for around 16-20 guests. The Allegro Papagayo has a basic wedding package for $1050 and a premium package for $1650, both are good for up to 16 guests - and the basic package is free with fifteen standard rooms for seven nights. There's even a vow renewal package for $1050. Other hotels offer quotes to use for planning your wedding.

Prices obviously range according to the quality of the resort, with the Four Seasons, Los Suenos Marriott and other five star resorts costing a few thousand more for similar services. Another benefit is that resort weddings are already staffed for catering.

First though, you need to decide what type of wedding you want to have. Do you envision an isolated beach with just those few people closest to you and your fiance? Or, do you see a wild party with flowing drinks and everyone you have ever met?

The next question is: what type of scenery do you have in mind? Are you a beach person? Do you long to say your vows just as the sun is sinking into a suddenly iridescent Pacific Ocean? In this case the Nicoya Peninsula is your best bet. Or, perhaps you long to begin your new life just as the sun rises gloriously from the Caribbean? Puerto Viejo suits this dream, though luxurious accommodations will be in shorter supply here.

Costa Rica destination weddings can take place in a number of locales, including the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, in the midst of the rainforest, upon a mountain wreathed in clouds, in a colonial church (there's a pretty one in La Fortuna) or, slightly more riskily, from the top of an active volcano.

Another great option is to have your wedding on one of the many catamarans that are for hire on the Pacific coast. These can be booked independently or through resorts that often have partner companies offering sailboat cruises. In Playas del Coco I worked on a giant, double-decker power catamaran that could accommodate 80 people. Let me tell you, sunrise and sunset from a sailboat is nothing short of spectacular.

Getting to Your Costa Rica Destination Wedding

Airfare to Costa Rica is cheapest if you plan ahead. Buy tickets at the very least six weeks prior to your departure date, preferably two months or more. Flights are more expensive during the dry season so this makes buying early important for getting a good rate. Flights during the green or rainy season are generally cheaper, and there are actually parts of the country that are dry during this time: namely Arenal from April to September and the Caribbean in September and October. In sum, plan well ahead of time.

Unless, of course, you are eloping. ;-).

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