Weddings in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an ideal wedding location

Photo credit: © Lars Christensen |

Having a Wedding in the Dominican Republic

Romance.  Breathtaking scenery.  Tropical atmosphere.  These are just a few things that come to mind when one imagines a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic.

Although many couples dream of hosting their big day in an island paradise, too often the idea is dismissed due to the thought that it will be too expensive, or too hard to pull off.  True, the prospect of planning a wedding in another country can be a daunting one, but a little research and a lot of careful planning makes pulling off a ceremony in the Dominican Republic easier than you think. 

Pros and Cons

Some couples find that preparing for a wedding can be very stressful, particularly when you have to give all your trust to an event manager in an overseas nation.  While a Caribbean wedding is not for everyone, the following list of pros and cons will allow you to decide if having a wedding in the Dominican Republic is the best choice for you.


  • Cost. While many people envision a wedding away from home as being quite costly, a Caribbean wedding might actually save you money - including the price of air travel. This is due to the fact that destination weddings are inclined to be smaller affairs that fewer guests attend, therefore costing you less in table settings and food. Many resorts also feature wedding and honeymoon package discounts, thus enhancing your savings even more.
  • Weather. The average temperature in the Dominican Republic is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Rain showers do occur, but they are often over before they begin.
  • Planning. To help with planning a destination wedding, couples typically utilize an event planner (or one is designated to you by your resort when you buy a wedding package through them). This guarantees that every detail of your wedding event is attentively taken into consideration by an expert.
  • Friends and Family. Deciding to get married in the Dominican Republic means that you can trim down your guest list - you don't need to feel obligated to invite a cousin you aren't that close to, or your fiancé's supervisor.


  • Cost. Given the traveling involved with a Caribbean wedding, many people feel that they are responsible to cover all expenses for their entire guest list. If this is you, a Caribbean wedding will undoubtedly require a larger budget.
  • Weather. Due to the Dominican Republic's position within the hurricane belt, it is important to consider that, organizing a wedding event during hurricane season (from the beginning of June until the end of November) presents a slight risk.
  • Planning. Because you are not on location to physically observe and choose wedding products for much of the time leading up to your wedding day, you may feel stressed and out of control.
  • Legal issues. Legislation concerning marriage licenses might be different than what you would confront back home. Acquiring a marriage license in the Dominican Republic takes time, so a swiftly prepared wedding may not be practical.
  • Family and friends. Reasons like financial situations and various other commitments may prevent some of the guests you want to have in attendance at your wedding from being able to make it to a destination wedding.

Why Choose the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic is the ideal wedding locale for a number of reasons.  First on most couple's list is affordability.  When you factor in the cost of the hotel, transportation, and attractions you may be interested in visiting, the Dominican Republic is one of the least expensive islands in the Caribbean to visit.  Next is the varied landscape.  Whether you envision a beach side service, a mountainous background, or a lush garden as the setting of your ceremony, you'll find it on the island.  Another reason to choose the Dominican Republic is the wide variety of activities and attractions for you and your guests to explore during wedding down-time.  Beaches, golf courses, casinos, historic buildings, and natural sites are so in abundance that boredom is not an option.

Local Wedding Customs

Spanish traditions are truly the stars of a Dominican Republic wedding, and the ceremony in particular differs than what American couples are used to seeing.  The first notable difference is that it is not bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding.  This is good news, since it is customary for the couple to meet for family portraits several hours before the ceremony.  During the actual ceremony, couples in the Dominican Republic skip the large bridal parties, and opt to have only three children and the padrinos (or God parents of the wedding) stand at the alter alongside the couple.

If incorporating some of the island's customs into your wedding is important to you, consider doing so with food.  Arroz con pollo, chivo, and crab are all great options.

Types of Ceremonies

There are two types of ceremonies that can legally be held in the Dominican Republic.  The first is the canonical ceremony.  This is a ceremony held in the Roman Catholic church, and performed by a priest.  Although marriages of all denominations are recognized in the Dominican Republic, the Roman Catholic church is the only religious organization that can legally register a marriage.  All other marriages must be civil services.  In this instance, it is the couple-to-be that registers their marriage with the government.  A government official, such as a notary public will then perform the ceremony.


Although a Caribbean wedding generally costs less than an extravagant celebration held in your home town, it is still vital that you take a few moments to create an appropriate budget for your big day. To do this, set aside some time with your fiancée and develop a list of everything you believe you will be investing funds on.  Order this list by which things will be most important to your wedding. Some typical ideas include the food, venue, professional photographer, and attire, among countless other things. After doing some quick research, designate an estimated price to each item on your list, then total everything up. This will supply you with a rough idea of how much money you can anticipate spending. Remember that this total will change as you plan your big day, and the ordered list of important items will assist you in instantly knowing what things you can trim back on and which items you can't live without.


One of the great things about a wedding in the Dominican Republic is that couples can host their ceremony the very day that they arrive on the island - providing they have contacted the American Consulate in Santo Domingo at least two weeks in advance and received permission.  Upon arriving on the island, the couple will then bring certified prints of birth certificates, death certificates, divorce certificates, adoption certificates, affidavits certifying that each person is single, passports, and photo identification to the Oficial de Estado Civil.  After submitting this paperwork, the couple will be issued their marriage license for a fee of $20(USD). 

Does planning a wedding in the Dominican Republic require a lot of work?  Yes; but what wedding doesn't?  Make your efforts count.  The low cost, breathtaking scenery, and lively atmosphere are certainly enticing reasons to make the Dominican Republic your destination of choice. 


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