Budgeting for a Wedding in Puerto Rico

When creating your dream Puerto Rico wedding, a little planning can go a long way

Photo credit: © Jerry Liebowitz

Simply deciding to have your destination wedding in Puerto Rico is not enough to ensure that your day will be fantastic and memorable.  Planning everything down to the last detail is time consuming, but when you look back on your Puerto Rican wedding and vividly remember how the color of your bouquet so beautifully complimented the color of the sky as it became the sea, you will be glad that you made the effort.

What is the biggest secret to achieving a great wedding in Puerto Rico? The key is to begin your planning process as quickly as possible.  A good system of time management should be developed because it allows you to save time when researching choices, making reservations, and coping with any complications that may arise. Beginning early also gives you time to take advantage of any possible deals that could become available.

Hired Help

Many couples who are planning a wedding in Puerto Rico find that the most significant obstacle is making the arrangements from afar.  This is why so many couples hire a wedding or event planner to do what they do best - make the planning of your wedding as stress free and simple as possible. You can hire someone local, someone in Puerto Rico, or choose to buy a resort wedding package.

If you choose to hire a wedding planner local to you, make sure he or she has previous experience planning a destination wedding and references available. Connections in the area and  knowledge of the local language and customs will help guarantee that your experience is exactly what you want and expect.  Remember, if you want your wedding planner to be on site the day of your wedding, be prepared to to pay for her airfare and hotel stay.

You may discover that choosing an event planner in Puerto Rico is a great option if you're looking for someone on the island to be your eyes and ears. This person will be able to handle every detail of your wedding, and most importantly analyze venues and vendors in person.

Puerto Rico Wedding Planners
Name Phone Number
A Wedding for You 800-929-4198
AMK Events 787-721-1285
AMR Weddings and Event Coordination 787-298-8546
Caribbean Planning 571-970-4434
Dream Events and Wedding Planner 787-360-3860
Gloria's Caribbean Weddings 787-517-6129
Ideia Events Planner 787-640-6815
MC Coordinators 787-717-1808
Momentous Special Events and More 787-391-1366
Ocasiones Event Planning and Business Services 787-431-1334
Vivianne Inc 877-239-8236

Wedding packages offered by local resorts are most common and often the most reliable. Accommodations, venue, officiant, catering, adornments, and more are usually included in one flat rate. Read our guide to Puerto Rico Wedding Locations and Venues for more information on resort weddings.

How to Plan a Puerto Rico Wedding Yourself

Preparing a Puerto Rico wedding may seem stressful but many find it a fun challenge and have successfully achieved their dream event. Come prepared, make lists, and keep notes of every phone call and transaction you make.

Step One: Structure Your Budget

Developing a sensible budget is essential to any successful wedding. On average, couples in the United States spend between $20,000 and $30,000 on their big day, while a destination wedding in Puerto Rico can cost you as little as $2,000.  Numerous major resorts and hotels have wedding planning services that can prepare your big event down to the very last detail, and charge a single set fee for the entire package. If you decide to arrange the entire wedding yourself, consider the expenses you may encounter.

Estimated Puerto Rico Wedding Costs
Item Expected Cost
Marriage License $30(USD)
Officiant $50 to $250(USD)
Photography $500 to $3000(USD)
Flowers $300 to $1500(USD)
Decorations $300 to $1500(USD)
Venue $0 to $1000(USD)
Food $25 to $50(USD) per person
Lodging $100+(USD) per night

The chart above merely addresses wedding basics, and estimates are based upon average costs of the individual items. Consider other fundamentals such as the bride's gown, the groom's tuxedo, and the wedding rings. Overall, wedding costs will change drastically depending on which items you decide are the most important.  You need to stay within a reasonable budget that is based upon your financial situation.  List items commonly associated with a wedding from maximum value to lowest value and allocate a price estimate to each item.  Items ranked in order of importance will allow you to see exactly where you may be willing to trim back and where you aren't willing to compromise.

Step Two:  Select a Theme

By this point you will have determined what style of wedding you would love to host, and the type of venue you would like to have it in. These selections will quickly trim down your list of potential vendors. Keep in mind that there are numerous islands that make up Puerto Rico, and that you should determine upon which island you would like to get married early on.  Consult our guide to Puerto Rico Wedding Locations and Venues for for more information about the types of weddings available.

Step Three: Do Your Research

Every location, vendor, resort, decoration, and method of transportation should be evaluated. Contact companies for price estimates and inform them that you are arranging your nuptials from abroad, and that they should expect mainly long distance phone calls and e-mail communications.  When you  contract with vendors sight unseen, ask for references from those who have previously used their services.

Also give consideration to the time of year in which you wish to get married, and the type of events that may occur during that time. If you want you and your guests to vacation in a party environment, getting married in Puerto Rico during Carnival, for example, may be desired. However, if you would rather host an intimate, discreet event, you should make other arrangements. Additionally, the weather can have a significant impact on your wedding experience, especially if you are looking to host an outdoor celebration.

Now is definitely the time when you will want to begin planning the process in which you will obtain your marriage license.  In Puerto Rico, foreigners are required to submit to health exams before they can even apply for their marriage license, so you will want to plan to spend a few extra days on the island with your fiancée getting all of these affairs in order.  Learn exactly what is required of you by reading our guide to Puerto Rico Wedding Requirements and Traditions.

The Puerto Rican hibiscus is Puerto Rico's state flower.  This bright pink or red cup-shaped bloom would make the perfect accessory to the wedding attire - be it tucked behind the bride's ear, as a boutonnière, or in the bouquet.  You might also consider having the flower girl sprinkle hibiscus flower petals as she walks down the aisle.  The simple act of using the official flower of Puerto Rico is a great way to honor the island on your wedding day. Take details such as this into consideration as you research table settings, caterers, and florists.

Step Four: Book Your Vendors

The vendors you select will essentially make or break your wedding event.  When you make your final decisions and book your vendors, explain precisely what you are looking for, and the dates you have chosen. Get all of your price quotes in writing (have them send you a quote through the post office, by e-mail, or by fax). Keep duplicates of everything including invoices of all items that are included  the price. Some businesses require a deposit. Do not send anyone payments until you have received a paper statement so as to protect yourself from any possible misunderstandings.

Step Five: Take Care of At Home Projects

Many couples wish to bring a bit of personal flair to their Puerto Rico wedding. If you are creating or purchasing any of your wedding decorations at home, there is no better time than now to start working on this project. This may also be the time to  purchase the wedding dress and/or make arrangements to rent a tuxedo. List everything you plan on taking care of at home, and the estimated  time it will take you to accomplish it.

Step Six: Follow Up

Although you may think your arrangements are finalized, it is still important to talk to your vendors periodically to review their progress, or to discuss any changes that need to be made. Don't worry about calling too often as they are working for you, and you are paying them to provide these services.

Listed below are a few additional tips that will assist you in planning your Puerto Rico wedding.

  • Consider the weather. If you are planning a wedding at an outdoor venue, make alternative arrangements in case of stormy conditions.  Typical weather conditions for that time of year should be considered when choosing your wedding attire. If you plan to marry on the beach in the middle of a hot afternoon, plan accordingly.
  • Send wedding supplies ahead of time. If you are bringing any wedding items with you from home, consider shipping them ahead to your resort or venue so that you can avoid airport hassles and restrictions.  Be sure to arrange for insurance on these items in case they are lost or damaged during shipment.

Rather than feeling tense and anxious during the days leading up to your wedding celebration, make organization your ally. Whether you choose to plan your Puerto Rico wedding on your own, or enlist the help of specialists, browsing the steps listed above will make sure you keep your planning done in an tidy, timely, and stress-free fashion.



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