As a general rule, it is recommended that you budget $500 per guest for a destination wedding in Costa Rica. Every couple is unique and each wedding is different which is why it is difficult to pinpoint an exact number. The amount of money you’ll need to budget depends on a variety of things such as the time of year, the area of the country, and how elaborate you want the wedding to be.
What is the biggest misconception about getting married in Costa Rica?
That Costa Rica is cheap. Yes, Central America as a whole is inexpensive but Costa Rica is the most $$$ of them all.
Be realistic about what the costs of the wedding are going to be from the beginning and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.
Costa Rica might be expensive but you pay for what you get! The country is safe, easy to travel, the people are super friendly, there are quality wedding venues and vendors, and in my humble opinion, it is the most beautiful in Central America.
Keep in mind that the country is a hotspot for tourism and weddings so you aren’t going to see discounts and be able to wheel and deal like you would in Mexico. Plan for the costs to be on par with what you would see in your hometown in the USA.
Unsure if Costa Rica is the right fit for you? Check out The Pros and Cons of Getting Married in Costa Rica.
The Cost Of A Costa Rica Wedding
Let’s discuss numbers. Now, when I give these #’s I’m talking about the wedding day budget. This includes things like the venue rental, officiant, passed appetizers during cocktail hour, dinner, cake, an open bar (which you HAVE to have, no excuses y’all), musicians, flowers, and event rentals like lounge setups, dining chairs, tables, and seating.
What does the wedding day budget NOT include? Your dress, hotel, flight, hair and makeup, gifts for the wedding party, you get the idea…
As an absolute minimum, you’ve gotta budget $250 per person.
I like to keep it real though and I’m all about being transparent, so let’s be realistic because this is a big decision. You should really aim for $500 per person, because what is the point in making your friends and family fly alllll the way down to Costa Rica just to give them a so-so wedding. At a destination wedding, the venue, the food, the music, the floral and decor need to be totally on point because you did all that hard work for a year+ just to have your guests feel underwhelmed.
But let’s get REALLY real, you know those epic inspiration images you’ve been pinning? You need $1,000-2,000+ per person to achieve that look.
I’m so sorry to break the bad news to you. Pinterest is unfortunately flooded with unrealistic images of styled shoots and million dollar weddings.
So, what do individual items cost? Let’s dive in.
I’m giving you a range because everything is going to depend on the location, quality of the provider, etc, etc.
Costa Rica Wedding Costs Breakdown:
- Every venue has a distinct way of pricing since they have distinct policies, rules, and food and beverage minimums. Site fees usually range from $1,500 to $5,500.
Food & Beverage
- Passed hors d’oeuvres: $4 to $9 per person
- Plated dinner or buffet: $70 to $165
- 5-hour open bar: $80 to $110+ per person
- Cake: $5 to 10+ per person plus delivery and cake stand rental
- Dessert bar: $10 to 18+ per person
*Tax applying to food and beverage is on average 23% (13% sales tax and 10% service fee). Venues may have an additional service fee or banquet fee. Providers such as caterers may include sales tax in their prices but could possibly have a higher service fee. It is always good to verify the taxes and fees before this before signing the contract.
- Cocktail tables: $20 to 40+per table
- Bar setup for cocktail station: starting at $150
- Lounge with blankets, a low table, and cushions: $250 per lounge
- Ceremony chairs: $3.50 to $10 per chair (pricing will vary depending on the provider and style of seating chosen)
- Benches: $15 to $25 per bench (each seat 2-3 people)
- Altar, arch, or chuppah: $400 – $1,000
**Ceremony seating can be repurposed for small groups but a mid-event move fee of $50 to $100+ will apply. So keep in mind that the detail shots of your reception before the guests arrive won’t have the chairs in the photos which will look off. For large groups, this option won’t be available because the move will cause too much commotion during cocktail hour.
- Round or rectangular banquet tables (require tablecloths): $10 to $12
- Basic tablecloths: $10 to $15
- Specialty tablecloths and/or overlays: $20 to $25 each
- Exposed wood rectangular tables: $80 to $130 per table
- Chairs $4 to $10 each
- Benches $15 to $25 (typically seat 2-3 people each)
- Charger plates $2 to $3
- Napkins $0.50 to $1
**Also keep in mind that transportation fees will apply for rentals. The transportation fee can be anywhere from $150 to $600 depending on how far the company’s warehouse is located from your venue.
- Bride’s bouquet: $150 to $250
- Bridesmaid bouquets: $80 to $150
- Boutonnieres: $25
- Corsages: $25
- Floral crowns: $60 to $150
- Bridal hair flowers: $25 to $50
- Flower girl petals: $45+ each
- Altar design: $300 to $2,000+ depending on design and size
- Aisle petals: $300 to $700+
- Aisle chair décor: $30+ each
- Cocktail table centerpiece: $65+ each
- Dinner table centerpiece: $150+ each
- Buffet table flowers: starting at $150+
- Cake table arrangement: starting at $100
- Wedding cake floral design: $30 to $60 for styling
- Floral delivery, setup, and breakdown: $75 to $350 depending on florist and location
Decor & Lighting
- Cafe lighting: $200+ per line and $100 to $300+ for installation
- Twinkle Lighting: $150+ per line and $100 to $300+ for installation
- Tiki torches: $10 to 25+ each
- Metal lanterns: $10 to $35 each (includes candle)
- Pillar candles in glass cylinders: $5 to $10
- Votives with tea lights: $2 to $8 each
- Placecards: $.50 to $3 each
- Programs and/or menus: $2 to $5 + each
- Favors: depends on items
- Gift bag: varies depending on items
- Custom chalkboard: $75 to $400+
Hair & Makeup
- Hair $75 to 125+ per person
- Makeup $60 to 95+ per person
*Travel fees typically apply and vary.
- Symbolic (non-legal): $400 to $900+
- Legal Officiant: $800 to $1,250 on average (includes all documentation and processing)
- Ceremony speaker with microphone for the ceremony and toasts $150 (some officiants provide their own sound system for the ceremony)
- Prices range dramatically for a photographer but we recommend putting as much as possible towards this area. These are the memories you will share with everyone and they last a lifetime! For an elopement, the cost is about $1,500 for two hours. For a wedding, the cost is around $2,500 for four hours, which is the minimum amount of coverage you will need. Adding additional time will cost between $400 and $600 per hour.
- Packages start at $1,500 but can increase up to $6,000+ depending on the package you select.
Pricing for live music depends on the number of musicians and the style of music. The typical minimum package time is 2 hours.
- DJ with 4-hour base package: $1,200 to $2,200+
- Latin guitar: anywhere from $400 to $1,200 for 2 hours
- Latin band: $1,500 to 3,000+ for a 4-hour package
- Reggae band: starting at $500 per hour
- Cover band $1,200-$1,600 for a 2-hour package
- Sound system with iPod connectivity: $250 – $450+
- Cigar Roller: $500+
- Aerial ballet: $1,000+
- Bonfire: $200+ (where permitted, usually fire pits are required)
- Fire dancing: $750 – $1,5000+
- Fireworks: $3,000 – $10,000
- At some venues, the fireworks must be lit from a barge on the water for fire hazards. In this case, you should budget on the higher end of the spectrum.
So as you can see, rates vary WIDELY depending on the area of the country and the quality of the provider. Do your research and make sure that the providers are reliable. Always ask to see photos and videos of their performances.
- Ready to create your budget? Download the free Costa Rica Wedding Budget Worksheet!
- Curious what the next steps are after you settle the budget? Check them out in the Top 8 Steps To Jumpstarting The Wedding Planning.
- Trying to avoid rain on your wedding day? Learn about Costa Rica’s rainy season and dry season.
- Find out what are some of the questions you should be asking when hiring a wedding planner.