If you're the type of bride who loves sun and sand, but can't stand the idea of total seclusion, San Juan, Puerto Rico is the ideal destination wedding spot for you. With both pristine beaches perfect for a barefoot celebration and a vibrant restaurant scene and nightlife, Puerto Rico offers some of the best scenery and amenities the Caribbean has to offer.
Set your sights on Old San Juan to marvel at (and maybe take some wedding shots in front of) some of the most beautiful and well-preserved colonial buildings in the Americas, then stay in the old part of the city for happy hour and treat yourselves to cocktails at Cafe Hijos de Borinquen or The Mezzanine at St. Germain, both of which take the art mixology seriously (hey, this is country that invented the piña colada afterall!)
Within an hour's drive from San Juan you'll find lush rainforest and one of the world's most stunning bioluminscent bays, which you can explore at night on a kayak tour.
When it comes time to tie the knot, host your celebration at the beautiful beachfront San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in San Juan's Condado neighbourhood where you'll be walking distance to some of the country's best shopping as well as its top culinary destinations.
Here we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know to plan your dream destination wedding in Puerto Rico, from the laws and customs to the best time to plan a wedding and the costs involved with doing so.
The best time to go: If you're counting on tying the knot outdoors, consider a trip during the sun-filled summer months of June and July. If escaping the crowds is top of mind, book your destination wedding in January or February when whether is slightly cooler and many local beaches are deserted. Steer clear of September, which is hurricane season in most of the Caribbean.
The flight: Both Air Canada and Westjet offer direct flights from Toronto to San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The flight duration is roughly four and a half hours. Travellers from elsewhere in Canada will need to connect in Toronto or elsewhere in the United States.
The legal paperwork: In order to get married in Puerto Rico you'll need to schedule an appointment at the Demographic Registry located in the Plaza Las Americas shopping centre. You'll need to bring along blood tests done within 10 days of your wedding date, your birth certificates and your passports. To authenticate your marriage license you'll need two stamps from the Internal Revenue Office (located within the Demographic Registry). Cost for these stamps is $30. For more info and help planning your wedding abroad contact the wedding planning team at the San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino.
The local customs: As with many Caribbean destinations, music is a huge part of the culture. However, cuatro music played on a lute-like guitar is particularly unique to Puerto Rico. Consider having a cuatro player serenade your guests as you walk down the aisle. As far as signature drinks go, you can't go wrong with the rum-based piña colada, which is said to have been invented in Puerto Rico in 1963.
The budget: Wedding ceremony packages at the San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino start at $3000, which includes an outdoor ceremony venue, officiant, consultation with an onsite wedding planner, a ceremony rehearsal time, bouquets for you and your maid of honour, up to four boutonnieres, a floral arrangement for the ceremony table, sparkling wine as well as help organizing all necessary legal documentation.
The venue: For a picture-perfect sunset ceremony we recommend the San Juan Marriott's Condado Terrace, a private, palm-fringed patio just steps from the sand and the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
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