Getting Married in Costa Rica on a Budget
Planning to get married in Tamarindo doesn't have to be stressful or all that expensive. If you don't have the budget to hire a wedding planner, it's not that hard to plan a fairly inexpensive DIY elopement in Costa Rica. You just have to think about what kinds of details you want, and then find dependable (and talented) people to take care of them for you.
Wedding officiants in Costa Rica range in price from about $250-1200+ depending on your needs and the time of year. Is your ceremony a symbolic one, or will your officiant be filing the legal paperwork for your union in addition to reading the vows? If it’s the latter, the officiant will need to be a lawyer and will cost more than an officiant for a symbolic ceremony. For an official wedding, you’ll also need two witnesses to seal the deal (my photo assistant and I usually serve as the witnesses for Tamarindo Family Photos’ elopements). I work with several bilingual, reliable and affordable officiants in the area. Feel free to email me for contacts and reccomendations.
TIME OF DAY
You want to get married during the “golden hour” about 60-90 minutes before the sun sets. Trust me on this. Costa Rica’s sunset light is the most flattering around sunset, and temperatures are much cooler than during midday. 100% of my elopements begin about an hour before sunset. The light is so good at this “golden hour” that I pretty much refuse to shoot at any other time of day
LOCATION & TIDES
At high tide, the water rises and beaches get smaller. This isn’t a problem for beaches that are large to begin with, but some beaches (like Playa Danta, for example) are only suited for weddings at low tide.
Luckily, tides are highly predictable and can be forecast months and even years out. The basic rule of thumb is high tide = more water and less beach (and also the illusion of more people on the beach, since there is less sand to spread out on).
Bottom line? If you're going to get married at high tide you want to choose a spacious part of beach as your location. I take a lot of time to plan and talk on the phone with my clients to pick the perfect spot for each couple.
Always imagined yourself holding a bouquet of flowers on your wedding day? Or wearing a flower crown, perhaps? Your man with a boutonniere? I work with several flower providers in Tamarindo. Prices range from $40-100+ depending on what you’re after.
Do you envision a wedding cake for your big day? Some people eloping to Costa Rica really want one, others don't think it's that important. For those that do want a cake, I highly recommend Victoria Zoch.
I have been following her beautiful creations on Facebook for a while now. She does a fantastic job, and has had her cakes featured in loads of swanky wedding magazines. She's even baked for the president of Costa Rica. Her prices for small cakes run between $80-140+ depending on how fancy.
Obviously the photographer you choose for your Tamarindo elopement is the most important part of the ceremony. And I'm not just saying that because I'm biased – I'm saying it because photos are really the only way you can involve your friends and family back home. Everyone that couldn't be a part of your big day is going to want to see pictures of what they missed.
You always want to talk to your photographer on the phone to make sure that you connect, as people. If they don’t seem like someone you’d want to spend several hours with, move on. You don’t have to be best friends, but you at least need to have a friendly repertoire. I always speak to my clients on the phone before booking a date to make sure our personalities are compatible. To be perfectly blunt: if you can't connect with your photographer on a basic human level...then they aren’t going to be able to take good pictures of you.
Luckily, I’m a pretty outgoing person and am able to connect with most people. Check out my testimonials page to read from my happy customers.
HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
If you have it in the budget and this seems like a lot of work, at the end of the day sometimes it's easier to just hire a wedding planner to take care of all these details for you. Often times it's not all that much more expensive -- it's defintitely worth asking around if you don't want to mess with planning and sending out emails. I work with several AWESOME wedding planners in and around the Tamarindo area, so don't hestitate to email me for recommendations.