Costa Rica, a country in Central America, is known for its breathtaking volcanoes, stunning beaches, and rich biodiversity. With its vibrant culture and welcoming people, Costa Rica is becoming a popular destination for couples looking to get married overseas.
If you are one of those couples, you might be asking yourself, “How much does it cost to get married in Costa Rica?” On average, a wedding in Costa Rica costs $10,000 to $30,000 (₡5,404,046–₡16,212,138). This figure, however, excludes plane tickets.
Below is a more detailed breakdown of the cost of a wedding in Costa Rica, discussing each aspect and why it costs that much. Some tips and things to remember are also provided.
How Much Does a Wedding in Costa Rica Cost? Answered
|Aspect||Average Range of Cost|
|Wedding Venue||$2,000 to $6,000|
|Accommodation||$100 to $400 per night|
|Catering||$70 to $150 per guest (full meal)
$15 to $45 per guest (alcohol)
|Decorations and Flowers||$1,500 to $5,000|
|Photography and Videography||$2,000 to $4,000 (photography)
$1,500 to $3,000 (videography)
|Coordination and Planning||$600 to $1,500|
|Wedding Attire and Styling||$1,500 to $5,000|
|Legalities||$500 to $1,300|
|Entertainment||$500 to $2,000|
|Miscellaneous||An additional ~10% of your budget|
|Wedding Insurance||$150 to $1,500|
Wedding Venue in Paradise
When planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica, the venue is probably one of the most meticulously researched aspects. You might even have Pinterest boards dedicated to finding and creating your dream venue.
Whether you are looking for a beachfront celebration, a forest fairytale, or something in between, you will find it in Costa Rica.
On average, you might spend around $2,000–$6,000 (₡1,080,809–₡3,242,428) on a wedding venue in Costa Rica. However, the price will vary depending on site policies, inclusions, how far in advance you book, and so on.
Accommodation: Home Away From Home
Your Costa Rica wedding expenses for personal accommodation will range from $100–$400 (₡54,040–₡216,162) per night. From quaint rooms to luxury resorts, you have plenty of options.
Catering: Providing a Culinary Experience
Food is one of the most important aspects of any wedding. Besides keeping your guests well-fed, your wedding menu will make the event more memorable. The right choice of food and drinks will make for an unforgettable experience.
As such, catering is a major factor in Costa Rica wedding costs. Every venue, along with every catering service, offers different packages. As a general range, expect to pay around $70–$150 (₡37,828–₡81,061) per guest—potentially inclusive of taxes, servers, and other fees.
The figure above will cover a buffet-style or plated service with complete meals. An additional $5–$10 (₡2,702–₡5,404) per guest will get you hors d’oeuvres. Cakes or dessert bars will also incur another $5–$20 (₡2,702–₡10,808) per guest.
Meanwhile, providing alcohol to your guests will cost at least $15–$45 (₡8,106–₡24,318) per guest. If you want an open bar instead, you might need to prepare a minimum of $70 (₡37,828) per guest to ensure everyone gets their fill.
Decorations and Flowers: Aesthetic Appeal
Decorations, which include flowers and floral arrangements, also contribute to the final cost of a Costa Rica wedding. You might think that a scenic venue has no need for embellishments, but the right touches can take your gorgeous location to a whole new level.
To have an Instagram- and Pinterest-worthy ceremony, you may have to spend around $1,500–$5,000 (₡810,607–₡2,702,023) on decor and flowers. Expenses in this category include a wedding arch, rentals, linens, centerpieces, stationery, and bridal flowers.
Photography and Videography: Capturing Memories
Another major contributor to a Costa Rica wedding cost is photography and videography. As much as possible, couples are advised not to skimp on these wedding vendors.
The right team—armed with expertise and experience—will ensure that the beauty of your venue and all the day’s emotions will translate beautifully in images and videos.
Four-hour photography coverage for a wedding usually goes for $2,000–$4,000 (₡1,080,809–₡2,161,618). Additional hours can cost $300–$600 (₡162,121–₡324,243) each.
As for videography, the most affordable packages start at $1,500 (₡810,607). The higher range begins at $3,000 (₡1,621,214).
Coordination and Planning: Ensuring a Smooth Day
Planning and executing a local wedding is stressful enough on its own. A destination wedding will add unique challenges—language barriers, cultural differences, and so on. Without proper help and guidance, you might find the cost of your Costa Rica wedding ballooning.
It might be in your best interest to hire a wedding planner or coordinator, which may add $600–$1,500 (₡324,243–₡810,607) to the cost of a Costa Rica wedding.
Rest assured that the added costs will be worth it. A reliable wedding planner or coordinator will take the stress out of your special day.
Wedding Attire and Styling of Your Dreams
Undoubtedly, you have put a lot of thought into your outfit for one of the most important days of your life. You might have Pinterest boards dedicated to your dream dress or how you want to coordinate with your partner.
Generally, couples allocate $1,500–$5,000 (₡810,607–₡2,702,023) of their wedding budget on wedding attire—including accessories and alterations.
If you want to hire a professional makeup artist and hairstylist, prepare at least $150 (₡81,061) per head.
However, it is also common to save money by renting instead of buying, wearing something passed down, or incorporating garments they already own.
Legalities: Marriage Certificate and Celebrant
Planning a destination wedding, especially in a foreign country, comes with some extra logistical considerations. For one, requirements to make your union legal in the eyes of the law will vary per nation.
The cost of these legal aspects varies depending on the type of ceremony you will have. For a symbolic wedding, an officiant will cost around $500–$1,000 (₡270,202–₡540,405).
Meanwhile, if you need a legally binding ceremony, an officiant—along with the necessary documents and processes—may cost $900–$1,300 (₡486,364–₡702,526).
Entertainment: Adding Touches of Magic
While a destination wedding is memorable enough by itself, adding entertainment can elevate your guests’ experience. This can come in the form of a DJ, live musicians, or other artists and gimmicks.
Setting aside $500–$2,000 (₡270,202–₡1,080,809) of your wedding budget for entertainment will be enough. You can hire a DJ, live musicians, bands of specific genres, dancers, magicians, or whatever you and your guests will enjoy.
Miscellaneous Fund: Stay Prepared
No matter how meticulously you planned your destination wedding, unexpected things will pop up. Stay prepared to address these contingencies by adding a ‘miscellaneous’ category to your Costa Rica wedding budget.
To be safe, bring an additional 10% of your entire budget as miscellaneous funds. For instance, if your wedding in Costa Rica costs $30,000, bring around $3,000 as pocket money. This will be handy for transportation, extra decorations, tips, emergency purchases, and whatnot.
Wedding Insurance: Another Layer of Protection
Regardless of how much you spend for your destination wedding in Costa Rica, it is a prudent decision to get insured.
Wedding insurance protects you from unexpected and unfortunate events, such as extreme weather, vendor cancellations, venue issues, and so on.
Wedding insurance with basic coverage may cost anywhere between $150–$600 (₡81,061–₡324,243). Extensive coverage, meanwhile, can cost between $600–$1,500 (₡81,061–₡810,607).
Consult a trusted event insurance company. They can help you determine how much coverage your special day needs.
Costa Rica Wedding Cost: Tips and Things to Remember
Take Note of Other Expenses
As you plan your budget for your wedding in Costa Rica, you must also factor in the often unnoticed aspects of planning a destination ceremony. Here are some of these aspects:
- Plane tickets
- Transportation (e.g., from the airport to your venue and vice versa)
- Gifts for the bridal party
- Invitation suite (e.g., save-the-dates, RSVP)
Be Mindful of Guests’ Expenses
You are not expected to cover your guests’ expenses to get to your destination wedding, such as their transportation and accommodation. This can understandably put a financial strain on you and your partner.
With that said, be upfront about your decision regarding their expenses. Clarify the financial arrangement you and your partner have decided on—for example, that you will not be paying for their plane tickets and accommodation, but that you will provide transportation to and from the venue.
Read the Fine Print
As you plan a Costa Rica destination wedding, pay attention to every detail. Read contracts thoroughly and ask any question that comes to your mind.
Reading the fine print is especially crucial to prevent superfluous expenses. Your venue might have ceremony packages that include various services and rentals; without paying attention, you might make unnecessary purchases.
You must also take note of every policy at your wedding venue. Obeying their rules and regulations not only ensures a smooth event for everyone involved but also prevents any fines you have to pay.
Handle Your Wedding Attire With Care
Traveling with delicate wedding attire can understandably be stressful. Here are some tips to make sure that your gown, suit, and other garments stay in good shape as you make your way to Costa Rica:
- When traveling by plane, use a garment bag for your wedding attire and bring it as carry-on luggage. Check with the staff if they have closet space in the cabin so you can hang the bag. Otherwise, try to lay the garment bag on the overhead bin as flat as possible.
- When traveling by car, lay your garment bags flat on the backseat. Alternatively, hang the bags using hanger bars or car hooks.
- When traveling by boat, hang your garment bags in your cabin’s closet. If they do not fit, find somewhere you can lay the bags flat and protect them from moisture and movement.
You might find yourself overwhelmed with all the numbers above—especially with the upper limit of $30,000 as the average cost of a wedding in Costa Rica.
However, that is only an average. You and your partner can decide what aspects you want to spend on, what you do not need at your ceremony, and so on. Moreover, there are plenty of ways to save money.
At the end of the day, you do not need to break the bank to have an unforgettable wedding. What matters more is your happiness and the memories you create with the people you love.