How to plan a destination wedding in Puerto Rico

Do you dream about a beautiful beach wedding or do you prefer to get married in a city full of historical architecture? Or is it a countryside wedding the perfect scenario for you? No matter what is your choice, Puerto Rico has options for all kinds of tastes. See some tips to plan a destination wedding in Puerto Rico:

How to get started?

destination wedding puerto rico

Photo: 1313 Photography

So you are all happy with your engagement and dreaming about the big day, you’re decided about doing a destination wedding in Puerto Rico, but you don’t have the slightest idea about how to plan it all. According to the wedding planner Maribel Ramirez, it is strongly recommended to hire a wedding planner to help with everything. “Even if at the beginning they don’t know if they can afford a planner, they should take a consultation before taking any other step. They should also get information about costs and options that match their taste before starting to book vendors. That way, the happy couple can enjoy the planning journey without breaking the bank or sacrificing their dream. It is also important to know how many guests they are planning to invite so the planner can provide a realistic budget”, she says.

According to the wedding planner Krizia Dias, it is also important to hire a wedding planner for destination weddings in Puerto Rico because they know about the vendors, the prices, and logistics. These professionals can also help couples with a checklist before traveling to the country. “It’s essential to make sure that they will bring everything we need -, from the paperwork and requirements to a big sunblock”, explains Krizia.

The wedding planner Dora Thillet also recommends trying to imagine your dream wedding: “will you be barefoot on the beach? Do you envision classical music in an intimate setting?”.

Best places to get married in Puerto Rico

best places to get married in puerto rico

Photo: Jose Ruiz Photography

Puerto Rico has a great variety of places to get married – luxury hotels, amazing outdoor venues, restaurants, or even a private mansion by the sea. “When people celebrate their wedding in Puerto Rico, they are not stuck in a resort for the entirety of their stay. They have a whole Island to explore and activities to enjoy, not to mention amazing restaurants, adventures among nature and escape the hustle and bustle of their everyday working life”, suggests Maribel.

See some suggestions of places to get married in Puerto Rico:

Old San Juan: it is the capital of the country. “There are plenty of options and many historical places to get married,” tells Krizia. “Old San Juan is well known for its colonial and historical architecture. Wedding pictures in this area are always beautiful and colorful”, says Maribel.  In San Juan, the wedding planner Dora recommends venues like Hotel El Convento, Antiguo Casino de Puerto Rico, and Casa de España.

Beach wedding: for surfers and beach lovers, the wedding planners suggest Vieques, Dorado, Culebra, and Rincon.

Country wedding: Dora recommends Hacienda Siesta Alegre and Hacienda El Jibarito.

Wedding traditions in Puerto Rico

Photo: 1313 Photography

Dora says that some traditions related to religions are very popular in Puerto Rico:

Catholic Ceremony: Arras are 13 coins representing Christ and the 12 disciples.  They are used to represent your blessings.  The groom places the coins in the bride’s hands and makes a vow to share his blessings with her.  Then, she does the same.

Christian Ceremony: a Bible is also given which is meant to be the copy the family will share and abide by.

“Local weddings continue the tradition of hiding the bride from the groom until she walks down the aisle. Having the bride to wear something new, something borrowed, something old and something blue is still a tradition in local weddings. Most of the destination weddings I plan prefer to have the American tradition of the first look, which is great to release the nerves and to take fresh pictures with good lighting.  The magic of Destination Weddings is that, even though they are celebrating the wedding in a different country, they can incorporate the meaningful traditions that are part of them while making sure that their traveler guests will feel at home”, suggests Maribel.

Best times of the year

wedding puerto rico
Photo: 1313 Photography

According to Krizia, the weather in Puerto Rico is the same all year around – it’s hot through all the year.

“In terms of availability and traffic, the high season starts with the Thanksgiving celebrations and lasts all the way to Spring Break.  The mid-season lasts from April to July and the lowest from August to the beginning of November”, explains Maribel.

How much will I spend on a destination wedding in Puerto Rico?

puerto rico wedding cost

Photo: Jose Ruiz Photography

Since Puerto Rico has so many different options of venues and places to get married, the price will depend on the numbers of guests you have, the dinner you want and the style (decor/flowers).

According to Krizia, the average is USD 30.000 for a 125 guest. “The destinations weddings in Puerto Rico usually have less guests, obviously, this is an average. But most of all we always work with our client budget, before the start we do a budget and logistic meeting, which helps a lot the client and us to know where to start and what are the correct vendors for our clients. We receive a lot of USD 15.000 budget, but obviously it is for smaller weddings”, says Krizia.

“Our market is very comprehensive. The cost of a wedding in Puerto Rico will depend on the type of event that the couple prefers. Our average customer spends between USD 45.000 and USD 50.000 in the event”, tells Maribel.

Legal paperwork

getting married in puerto rico

Photo: 1313 Photography

“The process for obtaining the marriage license in Puerto Rico is easy yet very specific. No blood test needed for destination weddings. Passport is not required for US visitors”, says Maribel.

Dora describes all the documents needed for a destination wedding in Puerto Rico:

  1. Medical Certificate: Each of you must provide a medical certificate that shows you have complied with tests required for marriage in your place of residence.  Be aware that this certification is only valid for ten (10) days from the date of issuance.  After ten days, you would have to get a new certificate to get married.
  2. Residency Requirements: There is no residency requirements order to be married in Puerto Rico, but non-residents must submit an affidavit or sworn statement that the sole purpose of their visit is to get married.  Non-U.S. citizens must include in this affidavit that they will not be staying in Puerto Rico longer than established in the visa or federal entrance permit to US territory.  If the affidavit is not written by a lawyer, it must be accompanied by the certificate of the County Clerk of the state to certify that she/he is qualified to notarize documents in your state and have the embossed seal.  If it is issued in a foreign country, it must be accompanied by the Apostille seal.
  3. Photo ID: There are not passports required for US citizens in Puerto Rico. However, the bride and groom should have a valid photo ID, which can be a passport, state-issued ID, a visa, or green card.
  4. Birth Certificate: To record your official name, be sure to bring copies of both birth certificates.
  5. Other Documents: If you are divorced or widowed, a copy of the corresponding official documents is necessary.
  6. Internal Revenue Stamp: Purchase an internal revenue stamp at the Demographic Registry Office.  This will be affixed to the license to authenticate the document.
  7. Once the proper documents are submitted to the Demographic Registry and revised for compliance by the registrar, the marriage certificate will be issued and signed.  It’s crucial you bring the license to the wedding ceremony.
  8. The Officiant at the wedding must deliver the certificate, marriage license and all other documents to the Demographic Registry of the municipality where the ceremony took place no more than ten days after the marriage.  Within two weeks of filing, the couple will be issued the marriage certificate.
  9. Keep in mind that a Wedding Planner can make all these arrangements.

Do you have any tips about planning a wedding in Puerto Rico? Tell us in the comments!

*First photo credit:1313 Photography

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