One of the greatest charms of the Dominican Republic is the diversity of its landscape. This is a country where you will find everything from mountains, to desert-looking scrublands, tropical gardens, pristine beaches and sparkling azure waters. It is a gorgeous place for a destination wedding or honeymoon and there are a number of amazing resorts scattered throughout the island to chose from. Punta Cana is definitely the most trafficked area for destination weddings and there are a host of resorts offering incredible destination wedding packages—some start as low at $1,500! If you want something more exclusive, the country offers that too with one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive properties located just a five minutes from La Romana airport.
Here we’ll give you all the facts you need to know about planning a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic, from the laws and customs to the best time to plan a wedding and the costs involved with doing so.
The best time to go: Since May to October is hurricane season, the best time of the year to book your wedding would be from November to April. The average temperature during this period is a high of 29 degrees Celsius during the day and a low of 19 degrees Celsius at night. This allows for perfect wedding conditions: a hot sunny day for the ceremony and a not-so-humid reception at night.
The flight: The capital city of Santo Domingo is a four-hour flight from Toronto and seven to seven and a half hour flight from Vancouver and Calgary.
The legal paperwork: In order to get married in the Dominican Republic, the first of many important things you’ll need on hand are two witnesses with valid passports. You will also need your original birth certificates and valid signed passports, and you must send photocopies of these to the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic. Along with these, you’ll need Notarized Statutory Declarations of Single Status. If either party was previously married, you’ll need to send in an original divorce certificate or death certificate or a notarized photocopy. Keep in mind, the birth certificates, Statutory Declaration of Single Status, divorce certificate and death certificate are required to be translated into Spanish, and must be legalized by a Dominican Republic Consulate or Embassy; fees of $100 per legalized document and $40 per translated document will apply.
The local customs: One Spanish tradition in the Dominican Republic called “The Arras” involves the exchanging of 13 coins. First, a young guest passes the coins to the priest, who then passes them to the groom. Finally, the groom gives the coins to his wife, which symbolizes the couple’s willingness to share material things and promise to provide for one another throughout their marriage.
The budget (for 25 guests) : $3,000 is a solid starting budget and would cover venue, drinks, dinner, music, the officiant, flowers and a cake. As there is a range of resort properties to choose from (everything from modest, to moderate and luxury), costs can differ dramatically depending on what you choose.
The venue: Our pick for an unforgettable and luxurious wedding location is Casa de Campo (pictured above). Located just a five-minute drive from La Romana airport, Casa de Campo is a sprawling 7,000 acre resorts bordering the Caribbean Sea that combines lush tropical landscapes with romantic private beaches. The hotel has 185 guest rooms and suites, and 50 villa homes, which are perfect places to host your party. The property is home to the beautiful Altos de Chavon a cultural area that was built to resemble a 16th-century Mediterranean village complete with winding cobblestone streets. The St. Stanislaus Catholic Church is a charming and romantic wedding venue option as is the Grecian-style amphitheater, which plays host to epic concert productions, which have included Frank Sinatra, Sting and Andrea Bocelli. For you honeymoon, the resort is a veritable playground for adults, offering everything you could want in a destination and more. There is horseback riding, tennis, golf (four courses including the renown Teeth of the Dog), skeet shooting, shopping, a spa, a marina and seven amazing restaurants.