Weddings in Puerto Rico

A Puerto Rico Wedding can be especially memorable and beautiful -- yet your guests won't need passports

Photo credit: © Beach wedding ceremony

Puerto Rico Wedding

Picture this: unbelievable beach side vistas, exotic cuisine, optimal weather conditions and a built-in honey moon. These are among the countless reasons that men and women choose to plan their wedding in Puerto Rico.

Have you always dreamed of saying "I do," as waves gently lapped onto the shore behind you, but thought it would be out of your budget to do so? It's time to change your thinking. A little exploration and heaps of thorough organization will enable you to experience the wedding you have always dreamed of.

Pros and Cons

Planning a wedding can be stressful, specifically one in which you have no choice but to place all your confidence in an event coordinator in an overseas country.  Regardless, many couples feel the beauty of their special day makes the hassle worth it.  This does not mean, however, that a Caribbean wedding is for everyone. The following list of pros and cons will allow you to determine if getting married in Puerto Rico is the right choice for you.

Advantages of a Wedding in Puerto Rico

  • Cost. Believe it or not, a destination wedding could actually save you money - airfare included. This is due to the fact that destination weddings are inclined to be smaller events that fewer guests attend, thus costing you less funds in table settings and food. Many resorts also feature wedding and honeymoon package discount rates, thus increasing your savings even more.
  • Weather. In Puerto Rico, the average temperature remains at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Rain showers do occur, but they are generally over before they begin.
  • Planning. When you plan a destination wedding, you typically choose an event planner (or one is designated to you by your resort when you buy a wedding package through them). This assures that an expert attentively contemplates every single detail of your big day.
  • Friends and Family. Arranging a destination wedding means that you can reduce your guest list - you don't need to feel compelled to invite an uncle you aren't that close to, or your fiancé's manager.

Disadvantages of a Wedding in Puerto Rico

  • Cost. Many people feel burdened with the responsibility to pay for airfare and lodging for all their wedding guests. If this is you, a destination wedding will definitely be more expensive.
  • Weather. Puerto Rico does lie in the hurricane belt, so it is critical to keep in mind that organizing a wedding event during hurricane season (from the beginning of June through the end of November) is a slight gamble.
  • Planning. Because you are not on site to physically see and select wedding products for much of the time leading up to your big day, you may become stressed because you feel everything is out of your control.
  • Legal issues. Laws regarding marriage licenses may differ from those you would encounter at home. Procuring a marriage license in Puerto Rico demands time, so a hastily prepared wedding might not be practical.
  • Family and friends. Given financial situations and other commitments, some of the individuals you hope to share your big day with may not be able to attend a destination wedding.

Why Choose Puerto Rico

The entry requirements alone are enough to tempt Americans to plan their destination wedding in Puerto Rico.  Because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, passports are not necessary - meaning family and friends won't be left out of a quickly planned wedding because they don't have time to obtain a passport. 

Another reason to choose Puerto Rico is that you and your guests will have numerous activities to do and attractions to visit during wedding downtime.  If you are going to be on the island, you may as well explore it!  Some sites to see include El Yunque Rainsorest, Fort San Cristobal, and Vieques .  There are also a large number of casinos, and the nightlife is full of energy.

Local Wedding Customs

There is a lot of tradition surrounding a Puerto Rican wedding, many that may seem outdated to a modern bride.  However, there are a few that you may feel will enhance your wedding day as you pay homage to the island.

The easiest customs for you to mimic is putting out Puerto Rican fare at your reception.  Options include habichuelas, lechón asado, and asopao de pollo.  The bride and groom are known to drink cafe con leche from coconut cups, while guests sip on mixed drinks from an open bar.  For dessert, dish out a wedding cake decorated with seashells and pineapples, as is customary on the island.

Another simple way to share Puerto Rican tradition with your guests is by offering them boutonnières called copias as they leave the reception.  These copias have ribbons tied to them with the names of the bride and groom, as well as the date of the wedding written on them, and are given out as a thank you to wedding guests.

Types of Ceremonies

As you start the process of wedding planning, you can cultivate an event that is perfect for your desires by choosing a venue in which you will feel most comfortable in. Those with strong religious values should think about planning a traditional wedding event at an island church, or perhaps a historic landmark may work best for you. If you're a dreamer and a romantic at heart, imagine an outdoor wedding on the beach, in a garden, or at the foot of a waterfall. Those who are feeling adventurous, however, may opt for nuptials underwater or at the top of a mountain.

Some of the most popular sites for destination weddings in Puerto Rico include the Botanical Gardens at the University of Puerto Rico, Camuy Caves, and El Yunque; not to mention resorts such as Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort and Golf Club, and Bravo Beach Hotel.


Although a destination wedding often carries a smaller price tag than an extravagant wedding thrown in your home town, it is still important that you take the time to create a budget. To accomplish this, plan with your future spouse and generate a summary of everything you imagine you will find yourself spending money on.  Base the order of the items upon which are the most significant to you. Common items include the food, location, photography, and wedding dress, among numerous others. After doing some quick research, assign an estimated price to each item on your list, then total everything up. This will supply you with a rough idea of how much you can expect to be spending. Remember that this projected budget will probably change as you plan your special day, and the organized list of key items will enable you to know instantly what things you can trim back on and which items you will want to splurge on.


Getting a marriage license in Puerto Rico is not a quick process.  Though it does require a bit of forethought, the process can be done in a timely manor if you keep your paperwork in order and create a checklist of the steps you need to take.  You may get married in Puerto Rico only after having a physical exam, then submitting certified copies of birth certificates, death certificates, divorce certificates, adoption certificates, and photo identification to the Marriage License Bureau.

It may seem like a lot of work to plan a destination wedding, but the same can be said of any wedding.  Channeling your energy into planning a wedding on a beautiful island in the Caribbean will produce a ceremony in a picturesque setting and a built-in honeymoon.  Whatever type of wedding you decide to have, choosing Puerto Rico as your location is sure to provide you with memories that will sustain your marriage. 


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