10 Reasons To Marry in Costa Rica

Getting married in Costa Rica has never been easier! Here are 10 reasons why Costa Rica is the hot spot for destination weddings in Latin America!

10 reasons to marry in Costa Rica

Thinking of marrying abroad in a beautiful, tropical location? There’s never been a better time than now to have your wedding celebration in Costa Rica. Here are 10 great reasons why the Land of Pura Vida is an excellent choice for an unforgettable wedding:

1.Safety – While other countries are experiencing extreme violence due to drug cartels and having travel bans issued, Costa Rica remains a safe country for tourists to visit. You don’t need to worry about walking around a beach town on your own or leaving the hotel property. Of course, you still need to use common sense and not leave personal items unattended at the beach or in your rental car (just as you wouldn’t at home). Having no army since 1949, Costa Rica places a high value on peace.

2. You Can drink the Water – That’s right, it’s fine to drink the water and eat the salads without fear of Montezuma’s Revenge. Water is potable in all but the most remote areas of the country. If you have a sensitive stomach, it’s best to use bottled water but nothing to fear when order fruits or vegetables that have been washed in tap water.

3. No Visa – Visitors with passports from most countries (including the USA, Canada, the UK and the EU) will not need a visa (for a complete list, please check here http://www.costarica-embassy.org/index.php?q=node/51). You will be issued a 90-Day Tourist visa in your passport when you enter Costa Rica, allowing you to freely travel the country for those three months. Just be sure your passport doesn’t expire for six months from your entry date into Costa Rica (ie if you’re entering Costa Rica on January 1, your passport cannot expire prior to July 1). And you’ll need proof of an on-ward air ticket.

4. Choices – Marrying in Costa Rica doesn’t mean your wedding will be relegated to the white chair cover with the pink or the blue sash. There are a number of rental shops in the country with everything from custom made teak dining tables and chairs to sequined tablecloths rivaling the swankiest shops in LA, usually at prices far below what you’d pay in your home country.  Whether your vision is Boho chic by the beach or an elegant affair in a luxury hotel on a rainforest mountain top or a sleek modern villa overlooking the ocean or a rustic lodge nestled under the shadow of a volcano, you’ll find the perfect setting in one of the 13 microclimates of Costa Rica. And our amazing rental shops have all you need to bring your vision to life.

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5. Zika Isn’t A Huge Concern – Yes, we have Zika in Costa Rica, just as the USA does. Texas and South Florida both have the virus transmitted via mosquito and most of the USA has cases. In Costa Rica, the cases have been on the Caribbean coast, some in the Central Pacific (barrios in the Jaco area) and near Nosara in Guanacaste. To date, only one tourist has contracted Zika,  while on a yoga retreat in Nosara in 2016. The Costa Rican government has been very aggressive in combatting Zika by identifying and fumigating hundreds of thousands of mosquito breeding grounds. There is also an on-going educational campaign in all the schools.

Costa Rica has the highest population of birds and bats in the Western Hemisphere, keeping the mosquito population in check. One bat can eat upwards of 10,000 mosquitos in a night. Having lived in Costa Rica for 15 years, I can honestly say I’ve had more problems with mosquitos in my former hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada than I’ve ever had here.

For more information: http://www.premiodmc.com/update-zika-virus-costa-rica-march-24th-2017/

https://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/domestic-guidance.html

6. Ticos Love Gringos – Costa Ricans, or “Ticos” as they are affectionately known, love visitors! They are very proud of their beautiful country and are warm, hospitable hosts. Costa Rica has had a long and positive relationship with the USA (and Canada and Europe) so all “Gringos” are welcome. Here, the term Gringo is not a derogatory one – they simply use it for anyone who looks like they aren’t Latino. Try to speak a few words in broken Spanish and you’ll endear yourself to your hosts even more. And don’t worry if  no hable espanol , as English is spoken by everyone working in tourism. Since English is taught in the school system, most Costa Ricans have some basic knowledge of the language. And if they don’t, they’ll do their best to find someone who does speak English or, failing that, help you out with hand signals and smiles.

7. No Shots – Travelers from most countries will not require any vaccinations before entering Costa Rica. Thanks to a high standard of living and universal healthcare, Costa Rica has a healthy population and low risk of infection. If you are traveling from or have been traveling in any of these countries that are experiencing a Yellow Fever outbreak, you will need a Yellow Fever vaccination 10 days prior to entering Costa Rica: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Venezuela.

The CDC recommends travellers have the Hepatitis A vaccine, as there is a low risk of contamination via food or water. For more information, see: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/costa-rica

8. So Many Flights – Traveling to Costa Rica has never been easier or more affordable! Every month it seems another airline is announcing direct flights to the capital of San Jose (SJO) or the northern Pacific airport in Liberia (LIR). Flights are available from all over North America, England, Spain, Germany and France.

Flower Arrangement

9. Flower Power – Costa Rica is one of the major growers and exporters of flowers in the world! Orchids, hydrangeas, cala lillis, roses, freesias, birds of paradise, ginger – thanks to microclimates ranging from chilly mountain tops to humid rainforests, there is a wide range of flowers to choose from, all locally grown.

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10. World-Class Locations & Services – Imagine having a triple-Grammy award-winning duo perform for your wedding ceremony or one of the top fireworks companies in the world set off an explosion of color and lights into the night sky to finish your wedding with a bang. Imagine white-gloved waiters serving fresh, locally-grown vegetables alongside a delicious red snapper filet that was caught out of the ocean that morning. There is incredible talent and stunning locations throughout the country, all more affordable than you’d think. And a fresh, never frozen wedding feast can be had for as little as $40 a person.

With so much to offer, do and see, Costa Rica has something for every age and activity level. No matter what your wedding vision is or your budget, you’ll find a dream location for a incredible wedding celebration.

Want more information on how to create your dream wedding in Paradise? Drop us an email at info@weddingscostarica.com

For more ideas on why Costa Rica is an amazing wedding spot, check out our article in Huffington Post!

Emma & David – Zephyr Palace

Orchid bouquet

Emma and David love to have fun and their wedding day was infused with their joyous spirit at every turn, starting with Emma’s cheerful bouquet of orchids and hydrangeas.

letter press wedding invitations

As the wedding was at the beach, in the beautiful Zephyr Palace, we went with an ocean theme but in a very subtle way. The letterpressed invitations were in the signature wedding colours of coral and aquamarine blue, with a coral motif.

 

Coral was the focal colour, as featured in the chairs and on the letterpressed tags for the fans.

 

The mahogany chuppah was adorned by a lace topper, coral roses, white dendrobium orchids and hydrangeas, encircled by the white and coral chairs.

kids toys at wedding

Children played an important role in the wedding and were honoured with backpacks filled with toys to keep them entertained throughout the evening.

 

Rather than on a pillow, the rings were nestled on a handmade ceramic ring bowl from Paloma’s Nest. As you can see, the ring bearer took his job very seriously!

child with wedding sign

And the sign bearer was super excited to announce the bride!

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Emma circled her groom seven times, as is tradition.

candles with hydrangeas

Ivory wax candles on a bed of hydrangeas, brought an elegant touch to the terrace stairs.

 

Could these two get any cuter together?!

ketubah

Their ketubah, the traditional wedding contract, was truly a work of art.

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Zephyr Palace is such an luxurious space to work in and the wedding’s soft colour scheme.

glass charger

Custom napkins were made using fabric with a modern take on a coral motif, echoing the more classic take on coral featured on the menus. Coral rose petals under the glass chargers added a pop of colour against the aquamarine sheer overlays.

orchid rose hydrangea centerpiece

Table arrangements were created with hydrangeas, coral roses and a variety of stunning orchids, all grown in Costa Rica.

Seating card table with flowers

Calligraphied seating cards were placed in mahogany holders with a collection of large floral arrangements and smaller glass sea anemone vases with coral Mokara orchids.

orchids in shell vase

 

A self-serve bar was set up for guests to create their own unique libations, with letterpressed coasters scattered about the tables.

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Lighting really does create an entirely different atmosphere!

Hikers wedding cake

Emma and David are avid hikers, as reflected in their adorable wedding cake.

lighting menorah at wedding

As the wedding fell on the last night of Chanukah, a menorah was lit just before the guests moved from the cocktail hour to the reception.

groom playing ukele

A man of many surprises, David had taught himself to play the ukulele, unbeknownst to Emma. He jammed with the band to play “Home” to the backing of all the wedding guests singing the chorus. Needless to say, it was the highlight of this incredibly fun day!

wedding couple with gracias sign

Mazel tov you two and a massive gracias for the opportunity to be part of your special day! All the incredible photos are the work of the incomparable duo A Brit & A Blonde.

Real Wedding – Zephyr Palace & Rancho Caletas

Did you know that Villa Caletas has a few magical spots for weddings on the grounds? Today, we’re featuring the first wedding at their Rancho, which is an open-aired thatched-roof space that can easily accommodate 250 people. It’s located between Zephyr Palace and the main section of the hotel (near the ampitheater) and features the same breathtaking views.

As this wedding was in November, we had the tenting over the terrace in case it rained (being in a rainforest area, we can expect rain mid-April to December).  The view is still stunning! We enhanced the look with lush florals.

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White rose petals in an intricate design were the finishing touch.

 

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Roses, orchids, freesia and lisianthus created a romantic, dreamy look. So pretty!

 

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After the ceremony at the Terrace, guests were whisked over to the Rancho. Although the space is very large, we used fabric and lighting to make it feel a bit cozier.

 

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How romantic is the sweetheart table? Branches create an arch filled with lights and lanterns hanging from strings of orchids.

 

Tables featured beaded deluxe overlays that sparkled in the candlelight. Mercury vases were paired with candle holders and vases with touches of bling for an uber-luxe look.

 

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A mirrored -runner on the head table reflected all the various lights for an even dreamier look.

 

Sliver chargers had grey napkins wrapped with a wine-coloured ribbon, topped off with a single orchid bud for an elegant look. Floral vases were wrapped in fabric of the wedding colors to bring an unexpected touch to the tables.

 

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How flower-licious is this head table? So colouful and elegant!

 

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There were a number of kids at the wedding so we had a special table just for them, filled with a ton of different sweets aka Sugar High Central.

 

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How majestic is this cake? Silver with scroll work, with punches of color from the purple orchids scattered in the table. Unfortunately, we had a grey, rainy day so the incredible view of the ocean was obscured in this photo but a little rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, as the partied the night away.

Huge thanks to John Williamson for the photos.

 

 

Real Wedding – Lindsay & Michael, Zephyr Palace

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Talk about a stunning wedding! Lindsay and Michael married at the incomparable Zephyr Palace just outside of Jaco beach. How gorgeous is this bouquet of lisianthus, roses, hydrangeas and eucalyptus?

 

 

LOVE LOVE LOVE the back of Lindsay’s dress! And that photo of her with a flower girl? Totally adorbs!

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Zephyr Palace is filled with antiques, such as this handcrafted chair that is a perfect backdrop for the bride’s bouquet and robe.

And that view of the Pacific Ocean? Almost as breathtaking as Lindsay.

white and pink ceremony, white and pink ceremony canopy, Villa Caletas wedding, zephyr Palace wedding, Weddings Costa rica, Costa Rica wedding

 

Is there a dreamier spot than this to marry at? The sky and ocean melding into one behind the infinity pool, giving the impression you’re floating. We dressed out the terrace with flowing white chiffon, pink roses, white orchids, hydrangeas and eucalyptus.

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Aisle chairs were dressed with perfectly pink balls of roses. They’re so perfect that they almost don’t look real!

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Cuteness factor was cranked up to 11 when their daughter rode into the wedding in a decorated wagon. Too cute!!

rustic ring boxes, wedding rings, cute wedding ring boxes, Villa Caletas wedding, zephyr Palace wedding, Weddings Costa rica, Costa Rica wedding

I love these ring boxes! So cute and functional!

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Instead of typical seating cards, we attached names and table numbers to these blinged-out paper straws.

pink and white wedding reception, silver charger, siver menu, pink napkin, Villa Caletas wedding, zephyr Palace wedding, Weddings Costa rica, Costa Rica wedding

Pink white and silver were the colors of the day. Against a white flocked tablecloth, we placed silver chargers, a pink napkin and a silver menu.

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The table featured large balls of roses, lisianthus, hydrangeas and eucalytpus surrounded by smaller arrangements of the same flowers and candles. Strings of Christmas tree lights and uplighting in the hallway created a magical setting.

pink and white wedding reception, wedding lighting, silver charger, silver menu, pink napkin, Villa Caletas wedding, zephyr Palace wedding, Weddings Costa rica, Costa Rica weddingbraunstein-wedding-photos-629

How delicious does this cake look? Edible sugar beading around the base of each layer with real flowers cascading downwards, topped with a custom-made cake topper (with all the bling!). Gorgeous!

sunset Villa Caletas, sunset wedding couple, Villa Caletas wedding, zephyr Palace wedding, Weddings Costa rica, Costa Rica wedding

If there’s a more beautiful spot for a sunset, I haven’t found it! Congratulations again to Lindsay and Michael! Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of your celebration. Massive thanks to Jennifer Alyse Weddings for the fabulous photos!

8 Tips to Save Money on Your Flight

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Having a destination wedding means you’ll be buying airline tickets so why not spend as little as possible for those tickets to fly? We’ve put together our top 8 tips on saving big bucks on your trip.

#1 Be flexible with the airline. If you MUST fly the Friendly Skies to get points, you could miss out on a bargain with another carrier. Saving money is not about brand loyalty.

#2 – be an outlier. Be the traveler who is willing to fly when no one else wants to. That means the crack of dawn, the middle of the night, at lunch or dinner. Hungry, tired and cranky gets the lowest ticket price.

#3- opt for flying on a Tuesday (the cheapest day of the week to fly), Wednesday or Saturday. Avoid Fridays and Sundays as they are the most expensive travel days. Even if you have to fly a Friday or Sunday on one leg, try for one of the cheaper days the other leg as you’ll still save.

#4 – set your buying clock for 3 PM on a Tuesday. By this time, the cheapest airfares for the week have been released and all the carriers have price-matched.

#5 – it’s all in the timing. Book too early or too late and you could end up paying more. You want the timing to be juuuuuust right. For domestic flights in the US, that’s between 3 months and 30 days from your departure date. For international, you’re looking at 5.5 months to 90 days. If you’re traveling during the peak months of June, July, August or the December holidays, book 60 days in advance.

#6 – look for flights out of larger hubs, as they are cheaper than flying out of smaller airports.

#7 – look for layovers. Direct flights are more convenient but multiple stops can save you up to 50%.

BONUS SNEAKY TIP- when looking for a flight, do it as single passengers. Thanks to a weird and little known algorithm of the travel Powers That Be, multiple tickets sold in a single transaction must all be at the same price point. Say you find one ticket at $100 and the rest are $200. If you book two, you’ll pay $400. But if you book with two separate transactions, purchasing one at a time, you’ll pay $300.

And there you have it! Follow these tips and save some greenbacks (which always come in handy for your wedding or honeymoon). What tips do you have for making the most of your travel budget?

Real Wedding – Heather & Steven, Punto de Vista

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Recipe for a successful wedding…

Take one stunning location (ie Manuel Antonio beach).

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Add one couple who LOVE each other and having fun together.

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Include a healthy dash of friends and family…

Spice to taste…

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Add a dash of sweetness..

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A dash of loveliness…

A sprinkle of humour…

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And voila! A perfect day of love, laughter and happily ever after! Huge props to El Velo Photography for the great photos and Villa Punto de Vista for providing such a spectacular venue!

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Real Wedding – Alex & Kevin at Zephyr Palace

bride and groom sunset, weddings costa rica, bride and groom ocean view, newlyweds sunset, destination weddingAlex and Kevin chose one of the most spectacular places in the country (if not the world) to marry – Zephyr Palace at Villa Caletas. High atop a mountain, overlooking the rainforest and Pacific Ocean, it is home to lush gardens, infinity pools and architecture that harkens back to another time. Simply magical!

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Villa Caletas view, ocean view, costa rica ocean view, weddings costa rica, destination weddingWhat an amazing view!!

Wedding dress and bouquet, white rose bouquet, bride with bouquet, weddings costa ricaWhite hydrangeas, orchids and roses create a gorgeous, lush bouquet.

bride and white rose bouquet, wedding preparations, wedding dress, bridal suite, weddings costa rica, destination weddingAlex was such a fun, relaxed bride!

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Groom, tan suit, teal tie, weddings costa ricaKevin was oh so dapper in his tan suit, accented by a turquoise tie and pocket square. Tan is always a great color for the guys at a beach wedding.

wedding petals, basket with bow, blue and white bow, white petals, weddings costa rica

Villa Caletas, Zephyr Palace, Weddings Costa Rica, Wedding arch, altar, ocean view wedding, ceremony site, destination weddingThe terrace at Zephyr is so stunning, it doesn’t need much to make it even more spectacular. Here, we incorporated clear chairs, white rose petals and draping topped with white florals against the jaw-dropping view.

Villa Caletas, Zephyr Palace, Weddings Costa Rica, Wedding Arch white flowers, tropical wedding, weddings costa ricaTaking cues from Alex’s bouquet, we used hydrangeas, roses, orchids and lisianthus in the altar decor.

Zephyr Palace, Bride and Parents, Weddings Costa Rica, destination weddingAlex and her parents moments before she made her grand entrance. Such an exciting moment for a bride and her family!

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Zephyr Palace, Villa Caletas, bride and groom, wedding garden, weddings costa rica, destination weddingZephyr Palace has fabulous photo spots throughout, like this river rock wall with the artfully placed terracotta urns and lush greenery.

wedding place cards, wedding favors, luxury wedding Zephyr Palace, weddings costa ricaUnexpected touches are what make a wedding personal and memorable. Here, we created custom boxes with each guest’s name and table number, filled with gourmet chocolate truffles. Wedding favor and escort cards in one little package – smart!

white and teal table setting, calla lilies, zephyr palace, luxury wedding, weddings costa rica, destination weddingAlex and Kevin’s reception featured a colour palette of white, gold and turquoise. Glass cylinders, in various sizes, held bunches of roses, orchids and long stemmed calas to create a contemporary and elegant table setting. Napkins brought just the right touch of colour to the setting.

zephyr palace, wedding reception, white and teal reception, luxury reception, weddings costa ricaStrings of twinkle lights in the ceiling and uplighting on the fountains in the passageway created a dramatic atmosphere to the room.

table number, white hydrangeas, wedding reception, floating candles, table decor, weddings costa ricaIs there anything more romantic that dinner by candlelight?

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bride and groom dancing, wedding reception, zephyr palace wedding, wedding celebration, weddings costa rica, destination weddingDid I mention the dancing? Soon as the first dance was done, this group got down, got funky and got back up all over again. Too much fun!!

wedding cake, white and gold wedding cake, classic wedding cake, art deko wedding cake, weddings costa ricaWhat a cute cake they opted for! Cut flowers in fondant added a cheery touch to the top layer while the lower layer had classic scrolls. And yes, it tasted as delicious as it looked!

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bride and groom dancing, wedding reception, ceiling painting, fresco, luxury wedding, weddings costa ricaCongratulations to Alex and Kevin! Thank you so much for entrusting your celebration to the team at Weddings Costa Rica. Many years of happiness in Club Wed!