Dreaming of a destination wedding that combines tropical beauty, vibrant culture, and convenience? Look no further than Puerto Rico.
In the heart of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is the ideal spot for an island wedding. While the white sand beaches and lush rainforests might seem a world away, it’s just a four-hour flight from New York. Plus, as an American territory, Puerto Rico is easy to access — no need to renew your passport or exchange currency.
Intrigued? Keep reading. In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about planning a destination wedding in Puerto Rico, including different regions to check out, our top wedding venue picks, and answers to your most asked questions about getting married in Puerto Rico.
If you’re already sure about a Puerto Rico wedding, feel free to skip to the next section, but for those on the fence, listen up. Once you discover what a Puerto Rico wedding can entail, we’re confident your initial hesitation will disappear.
Let’s start with the practical considerations first. Planning a wedding far from home often involves logistics and red tape. That’s not the case in Puerto Rico. Because Puerto Rico is an American territory, Americans don’t need a passport to get there. Furthermore, there’s no need to change money or purchase a new cell phone plan.
In addition to ease and accessibility, Puerto Rico offers a wide variety of incredible scenery. From white sand beaches and lush rainforests to craggy cliffs and verdant mountains, there’s no shortage of natural beauty on this 3,360-square-mile island. While the terrain varies, the climate is decidedly tropical. The thermometer stays around 80 degrees Fahrenheit most days and rarely dips below 70 degrees.
As if the convenience, landscapes, and perfect weather weren’t enough, Puerto Ricans are known for being outgoing, friendly, and social. It’s not uncommon for locals to invite you into their homes for a refreshing drink on a hot day. It’s also worth noting that Puerto Rico is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the Caribbean. Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, and San Juan boasts a lively gay scene.
When it comes to picturesque landscapes and incredible outdoor spaces for weddings, Puerto Rico offers abundant options. In fact, choosing the perfect location for your special day may be the most challenging decision you make during the planning process.
To help you narrow your options, we’ve curated a list of five excellent places in Puerto Rico to say “I do.” For each destination, we’ve also included a local restaurant worth checking out for your rehearsal dinner.
On the eastern part of the island, Farjado is a popular destination for sailing, snorkeling, and jet-skiing. In addition to water sports, Farjado is famous for its bioluminescent bay, colonial-era lighthouse, and walking trails. Check out Pasión Por El Fogón, an upscale restaurant serving local dishes, for your rehearsal dinner.
Just 30 minutes from Farjado, Humacao is a coastal destination renowned for the Humacao Nature Reserve, the Punta Santiago beach, and Palmas del Mar, the island’s largest resort. Gather your friends, family, and wedding party at Daniel’s Seafood for some of the best locally caught fish.
Surf’s up in this coastal town in western Puerto Rico, known for its gnarly waves and laid-back atmosphere. It’s also one of the best spots on the island to catch the sunset. Our top pick for a rehearsal dinner is The Beach House, a local spot with fresh seafood and homemade desserts.
Puerto Rico’s capital is packed with beaches, bars, nightclubs, and casinos. If you’re looking for a bit more culture, head to Old San Juan. Here, you’ll find cobblestone streets, rainbow-colored homes, and massive colonial-era fortresses. If you’re lucky enough to get a reservation, head to La Casita Blanca for some of the most authentic dishes the capital area offers.
If you want to get off the grid, head to this tiny island off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast. The island is known for its secluded beaches, free-roaming horses, and unbelievable bioluminescent bay. We recommend El Quenepo, an upscale restaurant with vegan options.
Puerto Rico wedding venues are incredible. From ultra-modern wedding facilities to historic haciendas, you’ll have no trouble finding a spot that matches your taste and budget.
Here are just a few of the amazing venues available to host Puerto Rico destination weddings.
Once you’ve settled on a location and venue, it’s time to sort out smaller details, like hiring a local wedding planner.
While hiring a wedding planner isn’t essential, it will make your life 100% easier. From handling the intricacies of obtaining a marriage license to coordinating with vendors, a wedding planner works tirelessly to ensure your big day runs smoothly. Depending on the level of service you opt for, a wedding planner costs anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500.
Costs for a wedding in Puerto Rico vary depending on the venue, season, and number of guests. On average, venue fees range from $150 to $250 per guest. Hiring a wedding photographer can cost approximately $2,000. A wedding planner will be another few thousand dollars.
Americans can get married in Puerto Rico without any additional hoops to jump through. Citizens of other countries can also get married in Puerto Rico without much trouble. Regardless of your nationality, you must obtain a marriage license before the wedding ceremony.
Whether you’re planning to elope or just can’t bear the thought of being without your special someone a minute longer, there’s good news. Puerto Rico doesn’t have a waiting period for weddings. That said, you’ll have to wait about three days to receive your marriage license after submitting the paperwork.
Gather all necessary documents, including ID, birth certificates, and a medical certificate if you’re a non-resident, before heading to Puerto Rico. Submit these with a $150 IRS stamp and a certified affidavit of intent at a Demographic Registrar’s office upon arrival. Post-wedding, ensure your officiant files the papers promptly, then request your official marriage certificate online or in person.
Residents require blood tests, while non-residents must present a medical certificate from their home country or state verifying completed health tests. If arriving without this, non-residents need to undergo testing in Puerto Rico. All health documentation should be current and issued within 10 days before the marriage.
Not to brag, but we know a thing or two about destination weddings. From choosing a date and selecting a destination to setting a budget and choosing an outfit, our destination wedding resources will help you every step of the way. So, feel free to dream big and travel far. The Groom Club has you covered.