Between the white sand beaches and pristine water, it’s easy to see why the Dominican Republic consistently tops the list of most-visited Caribbean nations. Not only does this idyllic setting provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway, it’s well situated for couples hoping to tie the knot in paradise.
While the end product can be picture-perfect, it takes a little planning to pull off the ideal Dominican Republic wedding. Whether you’re looking to throw a symbolic wedding or seal the deal with an official ceremony, you’ll want to tackle the process strategically to ensure that every detail is addressed in advance.
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How to Get Married in the Dominican Republic
The process of preparing for and getting married in the Dominican Republic is multi-faceted. In addition to finding a resort, choosing a venue, and booking accommodations, you’ll also want to look closely at legal considerations. Your Certified Destination Wedding Specialist can assist you throughout this process. The following steps are especially essential:
Choose a Destination
Your wedding style will depend largely on where you get married and under what circumstances. Significant regional differences exist in the Dominican Republic, so you’ll want to at least narrow your options down to a preferred city.
Punta Cana is a top option; it’s home to the most beautiful stretches of beach and the most luxurious resorts – perfect for couples who desire a quintessential experience. Santo Domingo is prized for its vibrant culture and colorful architecture, while Puerto Plata appeals to outdoorsy types, who appreciate the gorgeous scenery and exciting activities.
Check Local Marriage Requirements
Most couples decide to hold a symbolic celebration abroad in lieu of a legal ceremony in your destination. Symbolic ceremonies allow you to exchange vows in paradise and take care of the legal formalities at home (either before or after your trip).
If you want your marriage to become official while you and your sweetheart are in the Dominican Republic, you’ll need to take into account these basic requirements:
- Meet the minimum age limit (16 for men and 15 for women)
- Provide a passport and a tourist card
- Provide a copy of your birth certificate
- If necessary, provide a copy of your divorce certificate
- Declare before a notary public that you are single and eligible for marriage
Your Certified Destination Wedding Specialist can help guide you through these steps in further detail, so you are confident you go home legally married!
Consider Your Budget
Budget is a chief consideration for most couples when getting married, and for good reason: weddings can be prohibitively expensive. The good news? Destination weddings are, on average, far more affordable than traditional nuptials. What’s more, the Dominican Republic is home to a variety of resorts that offer reasonably-priced destination wedding packages.
Before you select a resort and venue, it may help to outline your basic budget. How much are you willing to spend in total? How much do you anticipate your guests will be willing to spend? In 2019, couples spent an average of $2,574 on their Dominican Republic wedding accommodations and $3,500 on their wedding package. Guests spent an average of $1,427 on accommodations to a Dominican Republic wedding.
Notably affordable wedding resorts in the Dominican Republic include Iberostar Bavaro Suites, Sunscape Bavaro Beach Punta Cana and Majestic Colonial Punta Cana.
Choose a Resort and Package
You’ve explored your options thoroughly and have a good idea of what various resorts will provide — and how much you’ll pay. Now, it’s time to narrow down your list and make a final decision. If you’re like most couples, chief factors will include the venue options, amenities, and overall cost. Ultimately, you’ll want to wed at the resort that best conforms to your personality and priorities while allowing you to remain within budget.
Here are a few resorts and all-inclusive wedding packages worth considering:
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana – A celebrity-worthy wedding experience awaits at this family-friendly gem, which encourages you to live like a rock star as you enjoy gorgeous beach views.
- Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa – Experience true serenity at this adults-only hideaway. Share your vows in a beautiful gazebo or on the white sand beach. Afterwards, the fun continues on the beach, on a terrace, or in a sophisticated ballroom with an unforgettable reception.
- Excellence El Carmen – This newly-opened, picturesque Punta Cana resort offers an undeniably romantic wedding experience, complete with the most beautiful beach backdrop imaginable.
Choose a Date
High season in the Dominican Republic typically extends from December to April. This is when you’ll find the best weather, but also the biggest crowds. If you intend to get married during high season, you’ll want to book your ceremony and reception well in advance.
If you’re less picky about dates and more interested in scoring a good deal, aim to book your trip during the off-season. Many resorts offer significant discounts during this time. But keep in mind these savings could be accompanied by rainier weather (especially during the month of October), but this risk may be worthwhile if you’re working with an extra-restricted budget.
Make Arrangements for Flights and Accommodations
Most Dominican Republic resorts are easily accessible from at least one airport, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble booking a flight. Still, you’ll want to book airfare well in advance to ensure the best rates and flight schedules.
Book strategically, and your flight could prove surprisingly affordable. Those staying in all-inclusive resorts typically fly into Punta Cana International Airport, although flights arriving at the Gregorio Luperón International Airport (commonly referred to as the Puerto Plata International Airport) are also common. Don’t forget about transportation to and from the airport; some — but not all — resorts cover this important consideration in the cost of your stay.
As you book your flight, keep your plans for transporting your gown and any other wedding attire in mind. Many brides book additional seats to ensure that their dresses remain in pristine condition. Others book first-class seats in hopes of enjoying access to exclusive closets or additional overhead space. Do not plan to check your dress — there’s no guarantee that it will arrive in the Dominican Republic on time for your big day.
Finalize Details with a Destination Wedding Specialist
Your Certified Destination Wedding Specialist can guide you through every step of the wedding planning process, helping you to book the best possible accommodations at the most reasonable prices. Be sure to take advantage of free room upgrades and other specials offered in all-inclusive wedding and honeymoon packages. Depending on your selected resort, you and your sweetheart could stay in an upgraded suite or enjoy special spa treatments leading up to the big day.
Once your venue, accommodations, and flights are booked, it’s easy sailing — for the most part. Between now and your big day, you may need to finalize a few details such as guest count or onsite preparation of wedding attire. As new concerns pop up, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Specialist and onsite resort wedding coordinator.
The Dominican Republic could be the site of the most romantic and scenic wedding imaginable — and with the right all-inclusive package and Wedding Specialist helping along the way, the process of preparing for your big day can be surprisingly low-stress. You’ll never regret saying ‘I do’ in the sun and the sand! If you are interested in getting married in the Dominican Republic, start planning today.