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Hacienda Pinilla weddings happen on the beach, in the Chapel, or wherever you please. | Photo by Adri Mendez Photography

The kiss of warm sun on your shoulders, the lap of the sea, powder-soft sand between your toes – these are the moments that make us dream about a destination wedding in Costa Rica. These are the dreams that come true during Hacienda Pinilla weddings.

First, a heartfelt congratulations! Whether you’re newly engaged or long-betrothed, you’re finally ready to plan your dream wedding. And you think it’ll take place on the beach. In Costa Rica. Under the warm, tropical sun.

Hacienda Pinilla is the perfect choice. Close to Tamarindo and a hub for Costa Rica’s top wedding venues, planners, and other professionals, our luxury beachfront community is a wonderful choice for your destination wedding.

We’re here to make it a little easier, with most of what you need to know and much of what you’d like to know about everything from validating your marriage back home and when to book your venue, to how to hire an officiant and where to host your reception.

And with that, happy planning! If you have any questions, please get in touch. We’re just an email away.

Legal Requirements for a Wedding in Costa Rica

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All you’ll need is your passport. | Photo by Adri Mendez Photography

The internet can’t quite seem to agree on the requirements to get married in Costa Rica. But, bottom line: If you have a good wedding officiant (see below) and you’re not marrying a Costa Rican citizen, then you need only your valid passports.

In Costa Rica, the only legal wedding officiant (outside the Catholic church) is a lawyer. To comply with local laws, your officiant-also-lawyer will ask you a few perfunctory, required questions: Have you ever been married before? If so, are you legally divorced? Where was your divorce finalized?

That’s all. With your bethrothed and your passport, you’re now legally cleared to say your I dos!

Who Can Officiate Your Ceremony at Hacienda Pinilla?

Per Costa Rican law, only Catholic priests, lawyers and judges may legally officiate a wedding ceremony. (Same-sex marriage will also be officially recognized this year, in 2020.)

At Hacienda Pinilla, we delight in accommodating your ceremony preferences. Here are a few of the most popular ways to say your vows, simultaneously pursuant to Costa Rican law (and, thus, validate your legal marriage):

  • For a secular or non-religious ceremony, you’d simply hire a local officiant – again, a Costa Rican lawyer or judge – to officiate your ceremony.
  • If you’re Catholic, your wedding planner may be able to arrange a Costa Rican priest as your officiant.
  • For a non-Catholic religious ceremony, you may choose to hire a Costa Rican legal officiant who is also ordained by the church of your choice, to officiate your marriage ceremony.
  • If you’d like to have your own pastor, rabbi, religious leader, or even an ordained friend/family member officiate a religious wedding ceremony, you may do so, as long as you also contract a local lawyer/judge to legally validate your marriage.
  • Finally, for a zero-stress ceremony, you could get legally married back home, then come to Costa Rica to host your dream ceremony and reception – no legal considerations required!

Planning a ceremony we haven’t detailed here? Please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you make arrangements.

Validating Your Marriage at Home: The How?

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Weddings at Hacienda Pinilla lend themselves to lovely photo ops. | Photo by Adri Mendez Photography

Before we get into the Costa Rican side of things, know that marriage validation requirements will vary, based on your country of residence. So, as a first step, please inquire at your local government office – National Registrar, City Hall, or other – regarding requirements for registering a marriage officiated abroad.

Now, back to our end: Once you are legally married in Costa Rica, your ceremony officiant-also-lawyer can issue a Notary Certification of your marriage, upon request. Beyond this provisional proof of marriage, within 8-12 weeks of your ceremony, the National Registry of Costa Rica will issue your offical Certification of Marriage – the document required by most countries to validate your marriage.

You may also ask your Costa Rican officiant to help you have your marriage certificate offically translatedvalidated and/or apostilled, and notorized in-country, for submission in your home country, province or state.

Hacienda Pinilla Weddings: The Why?

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As for the why? Well, the photos speak for themselves. | Photo by Adri Mendez Photography

With more than 800 miles of eye-catching coastline, Costa Rica is a country tailor-made for memorable beach weddings.

And, while on paper (map paper!) we have a lot of competition, Hacienda Pinilla continually ranks as one of Costa Rica’s most popular destination wedding locales. And not just for the reasons that immediately come to mind – scenic beauty, year-round sun, and honeymoon potential – because, if we’re frank, all of Costa Rica is scenic, sunny, and romantic.

No, the truth behind the popularity of Hacienda Pinilla weddings: infrastructure. The truth is, if you’re committing to anything more than an intimate elopement, you require a certain depth of wedding talent. We’re talking not only spacious (and luxury) venues and expert wedding planners, but also the caterers, florists, photographers, and videographers who truly understand your vision. Not to mention, guest accommodations that guarantee more yes RSVPs.

And in all this, Hacienda Pinilla weddings deliver: luxury vacation rentals that serve as both memorable accommodations and private event venue, plus a varied field of talented wedding professionals to help realize your wedding vision.

Hacienda Pinilla Weddings: The Where (And Why This Where)?

Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club

The Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club is one of our most popular wedding venues.

Hacienda Pinilla is located on the northwestern coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Guanacaste and a region known affectionately (and accurately) as the Gold Coast, a nod to our sun-kissed beaches.

When it comes to your wedding, where? can be a complicated question. For the sake of brevity, we will assume that Costa Rica has made your short list and that you’re focused on Guanacaste, one of the country’s most popular destination wedding choices.

In that case, your where? is more about what part of Guanacaste – and, later, what part of Hacienda Pinilla – and why?

The answer to this question is largely personal. Your wedding, your priorities, your choices – they are all wrapped up in your vision for this day, this weekend, this celebration. And so, with the understanding that your decision will be uniquely your own, we’ll simply say that Hacienda Pinilla weddings are a delicate and perfect balance.

Here, you are close to the airport (80 minutes) yet surrounded by spectacular scenery. You have access to Costa Rica’s top wedding professionals, while reserving your privacy. At Hacienda Pinilla, you don’t have to sacrifice what you dream – whatever you dream – for what you need, in terms of support and logistics.

Beyond the why Hacienda Pinilla? question, your where? will also come down to the difficult decision of Hacienda Pinilla wedding venues. And again, that’s all about you: Are you a casual couple who plans to get married barefoot on the sand. Do you dream of an exclusive venue and lavish reception?

Or, do you plan on both? Because here, you can absolutely get married with your toes in the sand, and then retire to the Beach Club or private venue for the reception-of-a-lifetime. We guess you could say we’re a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of place.

As far as Hacienda Pinilla venues go, you’ll have several options:

    • The Beach Club: Hacienda Pinilla’s spectacular Beach Club has a full suite of facilities, including an infinith pool, restaurant, and full bar. Catering is avilable on-site.
    • Mandarina Lounge: Located on the second floor of the Beach Club, this intimate space offers all the amenities of our Beach Club but on a smaller scale.
    • Las Palapas: Located inside one of our private communities, Palapas offers a private and more intimate take on your reception. Catering and other services are offered via third-party.
    • JW Marriott Resort and Spa: Located onsite at Hacienda Pinilla, the JW Marriott offers four exquisite event spaces to accommodate both indoor and outdoor weddings.
    • The Chapel: As an alternative to beachfront on the sand, Hacienda Pinilla weddings are welcome at our onsite Chapel, which has no permanent religious symbols in place and adapts to any faith or decorations meaningful to you.

Additionally, we offer several private venues at Hacienda Pinilla vacation homes, including:

Casa Costa Blanca

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As far as a private venue for Hacienda Pinilla weddings, Casa Costa Blanca is a perennial favorite for its beachfront location and spacious entertainment areas.

A stunning beachfront mansion, Casa Costa Blanca is newly renovated and absolutely spectacular. Sitting right on the sand, this 7-bedroom estate sprawls over a main villa, guest house, and expansive pool deck, sleeping 24 guests and hosting even more as your wedding venue.

Villa Tranquila

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An expert staff and spacious grounds make 13,000 square-foot Villa Tranquila a favorite venue for Hacienda Pinilla weddings.

Our largest venue option, 13,000 square-foot Villa Tranquila accommodates up to 30 guests as a self-contained mini-resort, complete with full-time managers and staff, an experienced culinary team, and other details to perfect your wedding celebration.

Hacienda Pinilla Weddings: The When? 

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During high wedding season, venues and wedding service providers can book up quickly. | Photo by Adri Mendez Photography

Of course, for many couples, your when? comes down to your own timing and logistics. If your date is already set, you’ll be happy to know that every day is a perfect day for Hacienda Pinilla weddings.

That said, if you have a bit more flexibility, you’ll be interested to know that there are four distinct wedding seasons at Hacienda Pinilla – and each has its own distinct advantages:

High Season (Christmas through Easter; July)

Advantage: This is Costa Rica’s highest peak in high season, thanks to the picture-perfect weather. From mid-December through March, you’ll come as close to a clear-skies guarantee as Mother Nature can provide: the skies are almost always cerulean, the clouds (if any) are wispy, and the nightly sunsets are the dictionary-definition of unbelievable.

What to Know: High season comes at a price – literally. This is the most expensive time of year to visit Costa Rica, which means you’ll also pay a premium for your venue and wedding services. Additionally, due to sheer popularity, our most popular venues and providers can book up early. And by early, we mean sometimes years in advance.

Our best advice for high-season Hacienda Pinilla weddings? Books as early as possible and be prepared to pay top dollar. Your backdrops and wedding photos are worth it!

Mid-Season (Post-Easter through June; November to mid-December)

Advantage: Truth be told, mid-season is the sweet spot and one of our favorite times of year to host a wedding. The reason is simple: You have better negotiating power and a very good chance of perfect weather – blue skies, saturated sunsets, and just a few showers to green up the scenery and streak rainbows through the sky – without the high-season price tag. An additional bonus? Open dates are easier to find.

What to Know: Mid-season comes with no guarantee. While sunshine is still the norm, when you book mid-season weddings at Hacienda Pinilla must assume that it could rain. (Pro tip: The close to the beginning/end of mid-season you book – Easter or early December – the greater your chance of sun.) Stay on the safe side with a covered venue or backup tent rental.

Green Season (August through October)

Advantage: First, let’s begin with the obvious: Costa Rica’s green season is wonderfully scenic, with hills and valleys swathed in green. It not only makes for beautiful photos but also for memorable travels, post-nuptials. Beyond that, green season is our low season, which means you’ll have solid negotiating power: lower competition for wedding venues, professionals, and other providers.

Another bonus? If you’re on a tight schedule, you’re more likely to find open dates. And, of course, green season offers more for your money, including no or lower event fees for your venues.

What to Know: In Costa Rica, green comes at the expense of rain. Hacienda Pinilla weddings during green season absolutely require a covered venue and an in-case-it-rains contingency plan. Because, during green season, it rains. Often, every day. Sometimes, with thunderstorms. Let’s call it ambiance?

Whatever your approach to the rain (we love it, personally!), a wedding planner is a must during green season, to make provisions for the rain and handle other details.

Questions about Hacienda Pinilla Weddings? We Have Answers!

We know there’s much to consider when it comes to your wedding. We would be delighted to help! Please get in touch, and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions about Hacienda Pinilla wedding venues, as well as to put you in touch with trusted wedding planners, photographers and videographers, and other professionals who serve the Hacienda Pinilla wedding community.