Weddings and honeymoons are
landmark times in our lives. The Caribbean sunsets, tropical gardens and
seasides provide the perfect setting for your special day. That’s why so
many couples choose to tie the knot and/or take their honeymoon in the
Major resorts in Sosua, Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada, Playa Grande, Punta
Cana-Bavaro, Juan Dolio, Boca Chica, Samana and La Romana have expert
staffs who will coordinate a carefree wedding for you and your party.
Wedding packages differ slightly from hotel to hotel but most will include
the judge, license, flowers, music, cake, champagne and special touches in
A sun washed beach will provide a romantic setting for a wedding
reception. Tropical flower bouquets and centerpieces in cool seaside
colors or passionate bright colors will add to the atmosphere. Guests will
sit back and relax, and thank you for sharing these memorable moments with
The hotel may arrange for the wedding ceremony at a beachside gazebo or
under an open sky. The hotel wedding coordinator will translate the
Spanish ceremony for you. The photographer knows the hotel and area so he
can find the best backgrounds for memorable poses. Your biggest worry is
saying "I do."
Likewise, if you want to go all the way, the wedding business is big in
the DR. Santo Domingo wedding specialists can be called in to create your
dream wedding - D'Flora, Tel. (809) 562-5363 and Vargas, Tel. (809)
563-6602, just to mention two, are reliable and creative.
You should start planning your wedding six months in advance. The hotels
prefer at least three months advance notice to book the judge and prepare
for your day. While weddings in the DR are beautiful, they are also
practical and excellent value for money.
Start your wedding day with a pre-wedding breakfast or brunch. The hotel
can arrange for a casual, morning gathering at the hotel for your party.
Then pamper yourself with a massage, or spend some time at the hotel spa,
and then the beauty salon for manicure and hairstyling. If the hotel does
not have these facilities, they can arrange for a beauty specialist to
come to your room.
Choosing where to
One of the big advantages to marrying at a resort is that you can
honeymoon right there. If you will be at a resort in the South, take time
out to visit Santo Domingo, the first city in the New World. Have pictures
of the two of you strolling through the 16th century Colonial City, an
area dripping with romance. Visit the Alcazar where the conquistadors
planned their exploits in the New World. There, too, Diego Columbus
courted his newly arrived bride, Maria de Toledo. The cobble-stone streets
and yellow lamplight will inspire old-fashioned romance.
In Santo Domingo choose from one of the large chain hotels or a smaller
colonial city hotel. Enjoy the Plaza de España in the Colonial Zone or
the discos in city hotels or residential areas, as well as the many
gourmet restaurants, cafes and bars.
If the idea of planning a complex honeymoon makes you nervous, consider an
all-inclusive resort. A prepaid vacation puts money issues behind you. You
can just relax in the sheltered atmosphere of an all-inclusive, eating and
drinking all day without taking your wallet out! If you like being in
control, get the hotel schedule and choose from the myriad of daytime and
nighttime activities. It will be all there for you to choose from,
bringing less stress, giving you more time and energy to concentrate on
If you are traveling with a wedding party, large all-inclusives have the
advantage of keeping friends and family close together and busy with the
If you really want to take the easy way, some of the larger tour operators
can sell you a complete wedding package to save you the trouble of dealing
directly with the hotel. These packages take care of all the details for a
flat fee including the assistance of their local representative. Ask your
travel agent about it.
For serenity-seeking honeymooners, choose a small private hotel far away
from the all-inclusive party atmosphere. How about a small mountain
enclave in Constanza, a guest house in Playa Grande or Las Galeras beach,
Still stumped about which direction to take? Then make it a split decision
- spend a week in the South or the East and a week in the North. These
destinations are only 3 or 4 hours apart so you won’t waste a whole day
travelling. After all, it's your honeymoon; make it memorable!
Submit the following paperwork before the Oficialía del Estado Civil for
the preparation of your marriage certificate. Note that you may send
photocopies in advance and bring the original with you:
- Birth certificate
- Single status affidavit
translated by an official translator into Spanish
- Divorce certificate
translated into Spanish by an official translator, if applicable
(Legal transcripts of the
birth certificates, single status affidavit and divorce certificate need
to be prepared at the Dominican consulate in the country where the
documents were issued.)
You will also need two witnesses. If they are foreigners, they will need
to have passports as identification. If they are Dominicans, "cedulas"
People who have been divorced in the DR under the Special Divorces Law
need to wait 24 hours prior to getting married.
After the marriage::
You will be given a document that proves the wedding took place. You then
need to request a marriage certificate from the local Justice of the
Peace. The document issued by the Justice of the Peace is a valid marriage
certificate anywhere in the world.
It may come in handy to validate the marriage certificate at your
consulate in the DR. This will be useful if you are considering a name
change or applying for a visa for one of the spouses. This process can be
carried out by the corresponding foreign-based authorities in the DR.
Verify if your hotel of choice may include this in your wedding package
for an extra fee. This procedure usually takes about a month.
- Take advantage of
features like a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, a music trio or
quartet that will play all your songs if you let them know in advance.
- Splurge on flowers,
taking advantage of the variety of tropical and exotic flowers and
their lower cost.
- Purchase the photo album
and the video, for life-long memories.
- Design a cake topped and
decorated with seashells or fresh orchids. Or send in advance a
picture of your dream cake for a custom-made cake.
- Remember to choose
attire proper for the hotter Caribbean weather. Sleeveless gowns are
best. Some have even married in their bathing suits down on the beach!
Yes, you may wear a long train but don't expect it to stay
immaculately white. The dress can be steam-pressed by the hotel's dry
cleaning department upon your arrival.
- Come days before to get
a beautiful suntan for that wedding day.
- Take advantage of hotel
massage or spa facilities to de-stress before the wedding.
- Request a Plan A –
open air - and a Plan B – indoors - in case of a tropical
- Remember to prepare
yourself for the unexpected. Getting married in another country is a
wonderful experience but the language and culture difference could
result in some ‘interesting’ surprises. If you just relax and go
with the flow, you’re guaranteed to have a perfect wedding day.
Church weddings, as mentioned, need more formalities than a civil service.
You will have to fulfill all the civil wedding requirements and then some.
Check with the hotel of your choice to see if they have had any recent
experience with church weddings. A Dominican wedding specialist will be
helpful guiding you through these formalities.
If you are both foreigners and want to marry in the Dominican Roman
Catholic Church, your Archbishop may need to request permission from the
Archbishop of the Diocese where you would like to marry in the DR. If you
are marrying a Dominican, this will not be necessary as the Dominican
spouse has an assigned church depending on his/her home town. With
connections, this may be changed to one of the historic churches within
the Colonial City.
The lovely but small San Estanislao Church (Roman Catholic) at Altos de
Chavon (seats about 40) in La Romana is chosen by many foreign couples
every year. Arrangements are costly but can be made through Casa de Campo,
Tel (809) 523-3333. The San Estanislao church priest will allow you to
bring a priest of another denomination to participate in the
Some Dominican parishes, San Estanislao included, may also permit a
foreign language-speaking priest to participate in the ceremony.
Jewish weddings can be held in the DR with or without the presence of a
rabbi. To locate the rabbi, call the Israeli Embassy in Santo Domingo,
Tel. (809) 542-1635.
Church weddings for foreigners have been held at:
San Estanislao Church in Altos de Chavon (La Romana)
Basilica La Altagracia, Higuey, La Altagracia (Punta Cana)
Cathedral of Puerto Plata
Sosua Synagogue (Puerto Plata)
Santo Domingo Synagogue
Cathedral of Santo Domingo
Cathedral of Santiago
A religious marriage has the same legal implications as a civil marriage.
In a religious marriage, the parish priest sends a copy of the act of the
celebration to the authorized Officer of the Civil State within three days
after the marriage, so that it may be registered. Even if a civil marriage
has taken place before the canonical marriage, the parish priest must
still send a copy of the act to the Official of the Civil State to be
If you have reached a special anniversary, you may want to reaffirm your
vows. No better way than by organizing a family and friends trip to an
exotic destination in the Dominican Republic. The resort of your choice
can help coordinate a service followed by a reception and party.