How to Plan Your Beach Wedding in Puerto Rico
Beach weddings in Puerto Rico are remarkably laid-back, fun, and can be very affordable.
The most popular image of a beach wedding that many couples have seems to be mainly white sand, turquoise water, and towering palm trees. They dream of magical sunsets surrounded by great friends and family. You’ve found the perfect place for your beach wedding: It’s Puerto Rico!
Tropical flowers of every color surround your wedding party. Sea turtles swim in surrounding ponds while birds sing in the trees around your pristine reception site. The food is exquisite, prompting a flood of compliments. Now just imagine the honeymoon.
Puerto Rico has such a gorgeous backdrop of sand and surf that a beach wedding here is a no-brainer. And in case you want to skip the beach for the day, this U.S. territory also offers a fantastic blend of relaxation and cultural and historic sights for you and your guests to wander around both before and after the wedding.
Puerto Rico has 270 miles of coastline and most of its glorious beaches and sandy coves are readily accessible. Close to 4 million people live on this “Island of Enchantment,” with more than a million in the greater San Juan metropolitan area alone. It is a vibrant, modern, bilingual, multicultural society.
A rustic island in your dreams? Culebra is the choice. On Vieques Island you can get a bit more lavish with your plans. Either way, you get an island that combines untamed vegetation and unspoiled beaches. Plus, you get a different vibe altogether, one that leaves the bustle of San Juan behind.
Luquillo Beach is the most popular place in Puerto Rico for a beach wedding. You may have to put up with some sunbathers for your nuptial stretch of sand, but the sight of the El Yunque rainforest in the background is well worth it. If you want to try out one of the hottest new destinations in the Caribbean, go to the island of Vieques, just seven miles east of the big island of Puerto Rico.
You will get tons of additional free info about these options when you visit the links that I display below in my “Location. Location. Location” panel.
In considering which of hundreds of potential beaches to site your wedding ceremony, keep in mind the nearest airports, accommodations and “civilization” (caterers, wedding cake bakers, musicians, photographers, and restaurants to provide for your guests before and after the wedding itself). Also, think about whether it is important to be on the beach at particular times of the day (such as sunset) and where the sun is likely to be at that time.
Huge beach houses can often be rented more affordably than putting up most people in a resort hotel. They also often offer large decks or entertaining areas that would be great for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding reception, and even the post-wedding breakfast.
So, explore! Enjoy! And relax!
All the best,
Check out these links to the fabulous beaches that Puerto Rico for beach weddings.
The fabulous white sand beaches and turquoise seas of your dreams are in Vieques, Culebra and the islands near Icacos, but mainland Puerto Rico has its share of interesting beaches as well.
The beaches around the scenic Cabo Rojo lighthouse are white sand.
Rincon has its great surfing waves in the winter and yellow calm sands in the summer. It’s famous for beach weddings in Puerto Rico.
You may request marriage license papers from the Dept. of Health, Demographic Registry Office, Box 11854, Fernandez Juncos Station, Santurce, PR 00910 (allow 2 months) or call (787) 728-7980, but both of you must appear in person to actually purchase the license.
Blood tests are required.
If either of you were previously married, you must provide (as appropriate) a certified copy of the final divorce decree or a certified copy of a death certificate.
With the above hand you need to obtain a medical certificate from a physician in Puerto Rico (VDRL blood test required), which will expire in 14 days.
The final step is to visit the Marriage License Bureau to have all the documents authenticated.
Once your documents are in order you may be married at the free weekly Judicial Center ceremony or at a $150-200 private ceremony (your hotel can set this up for you).
Planning so far in advance for a beach wedding means that you need to equip yourself with facts about the weather (temperature and possibility of precipitation) for the beach location that you have in mind.
Although there certainly are exceptions, when it comes to weather, the past is a pretty good predictor of the future. and it will almost always be better than a wild guess. This link provides historical weather data over nearly 50 years for thousands of locations in the world.
You won’t want to have the bridal party standing at the water’s edge for the ceremony if the tide’s coming in. But when will that be? Find the time of the high tide for your beach location for any day in 2009 with this link.
What if a major storm occurs or the groom has an accident that requires the wedding to be postponed or even canceled? What if an important vendor goes out of business before the wedding and you can’t get back your deposit for the cake or the music?
Consider wedding cancellation insurance. It is available online for as little as 1 cent for every dollar of insurance, and it can cover the honeymoon, too.
Here’s one site that has designed a special insurance policy just for coverning wedding -related events: http://www.wedsafe.com/
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