Are you thinking about having or are you already planning an Indian wedding or South Asian wedding in Costa Rica? Western destination weddings can already be a handful to plan. Planning an Indian wedding in a foreign country from afar can make it that much more complicated. Depending on how much you want to hold to tradition, you are talking about at least three days full of ceremonies and cultural and religious rituals. Then there’s the logistics of flying many, many people to Costa Rica and finding suitable accommodations that are close to the venue where it will all happen. Oh, and the food for each day!!! We’ve written this article to help you simplify that which can be complicated.
1. Choose a Venue Suited for Indian and South Asian Weddings
Not all wedding venues in Costa Rica can accommodate the unique needs of South Asian and Hindu weddings. Some are too small. Some are too big and touristy. Some are just right. Does it have sufficient accommodations for the bride’s family and groom’s family that are far enough apart? Can you rent the entire property for utter privacy? Does it have enough locations for all of your wedding day events that are comfortable and inviting? Can they make the foods and drinks needed for a traditional Hindu and South Asian weddings? You can find some great venues for your wedding in our Luxury Costa Rica Wedding Venues page.
2. When to Have Your Wedding Day Events
In Costa Rica, the sun rises and sets early. By 5:45 p.m., the sun has pretty much set. This is good to know when planning the events for each day of your wedding. If you want to have ample natural light for specific wedding ceremonies, it’s best to have them before 4:00 p.m. Also take into consideration how large or small the venue is and if it’s necessary to go off site to have an event at a certain location, such as a couple’s session or First Looks before the start of the wedding ceremony Traveling to and from these locations takes time, especially if the venue does not have direct access to a beach. Visit our Best Time for Wedding Ceremonies in Costa Rica for more details on when and how fast the sun sets in Costa Rica.
3. Choose the Right Photographer
Photographing a Hindu or South Asian wedding is not something just any wedding photographer can do. Your wedding photography company should include at minimum two photographers and have assistants, and be well-versed in all the cultural aspects of Hindu wedding so they know what’s important and know how to photograph it. It’s a very important moment in your life, and your wedding photos should reflect it. Our How to Chose a Wedding Photographer page is an indispensable guide.
4. Choose the Right Wedding Planner
A wedding planner can make or break your wedding day. Make sure they have lots of experience with South Asian and Indian weddings and are very familiar with the venue you’ve chosen. Some venues have in-house wedding planners. If the venue frequently has South Asian weddings, their wedding planner should be up to the task. Other wedding venues have independent wedding planners they frequently work with and can make appropriate recommendations. Our How to Choose a Wedding Planner page has helpful insights.
5. Choose Your Wedding Officiant Wisely
If not bringing your own officiant (what is the name of the person who does Hindu weddings?) and you are having a legal wedding ceremony in Costa Rica, make sure the officiant is well aware of your needs. Costa Rica is a Catholic country, and for some people, it’s difficult to separate their religious beliefs from their professional obligations. For example, Lindsay and I wanted a secular ceremony and expressed this to the officiant verbally and in written from on various occasions. Nevertheless, during our ceremony, the officiant spent quite a bit of time injecting his religious beliefs. For information on the requirements for getting married in Costa Rica, see our Costa Rica Marriage Requirements page. Most venues can recommend an officiant as well.
6. Have a Valid Passport
To enter the country, your passport must not only be valid, it also must have at minimum three months left before it expires. You will also need your passport if having a legal marriage in Costa Rica, as it is the identification document that will be used for all legal documents pertaining to your marriage.
7. Make Arrangements Far in Advance
This goes for all weddings. Even more so for South Asian weddings. Western weddings can range from 30 minutes to 12 hours. That’s not the case with Hindu weddings. We’re talking about three to five days full of wedding-day events and many meals, treats, pastries, drinks and other things. As such, it’s a very good idea to hammer out all the details as much as possible as far in advance as is possible.
8. Be Patient
In Costa Rica, things move at their own pace. It may take days or weeks for your email to be answered, if it ever is. You should not experience this with regards to luxury wedding venues, but it is a possibility. If arranging activities whose vendors are not associated with your wedding venue, for example, it’s a good possible this will be the case. Visit our Tips for An Amazing Costa Rica Wedding page for additional advice that will help you plan your wedding.
9. Get Everything in Writing and Sign Contracts
If it’s not in writing, it simply does not exist. Let’s say you talked to Pablo – the concierge manager – at such and such resort about the requirements of brining an independent wedding photography company to the resort to photograph your wedding. Pablo said there’s no extra charge. On the first day of your wedding, Pablo’s no longer an employee at that venue. When your photographers arrive, the new guy tells you it’s $300.00 per person and there are two photographers and two assistants – that’s $1,200 extra per day for three days!! But, you say, Pablo said . . . The new guy doesn’t care. This does happen. It’s happened to us. Get it in writing!
10. Read The Fine Print & Ask Many Questions
Some venues charge clean up fees per event. Some don’t allow children. Some don’t permit music after 9:00. Some charge additional fees to take you and your guests to different locations on their property – for example, to go to the beach wedding ceremony location. If any important information is not in a brochure or on your wedding venue’s website, get it in writing.
Our Tips for an Amazing Wedding in Costa Rica page has many more tips for getting married in Costa Rica that you might find helpful.