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Wanting to get married in Guanacaste in May 2012- better to book hotel wedding or use a planner?

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#1 stacey1

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    Posted 08 July 2011 - 06:37 PM

    We are looking into getting married in the Guanacaste region.. The information is a bit overwhelming... After looking at many of the hotel packages I was curious if it was better to use a hotel wedding planner and book one of their packages or to use a Costa Rica wedding planner that picks and chooses.. We will probably have about 20-30 people, are looking for good hotel options that won't break our guests budgets, and a wedding that won't break the bank (we are paying for it ourselves). Any help would be much appreciated, especially from people who have done this before. Thanks:)


    #2 Dmitri_Markine

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      Posted 21 July 2011 - 11:13 PM

      Some travel agencies can act a bit like a planner and help you book everything and offer suggestions. But a local planner is always better because he/she would know all in and outs as it's their job!

      #3 Maricr

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        Posted 12 August 2011 - 12:30 PM



        I am from Costa Rica and I will be getting married in Guanacaste May 2012 as well. Have you chosen your venue yet?

        I did not hire a planner to be honest, as a Costa Rican, that is kind of a new concept for me. I am sure that wealthy costaricans use them all the time but they cater mostly to Americans. Do not book all of your wedding items through the hotel they will charge you a lot for very simple things. For example the on-site wedding coordinator quote $20 for each boutonniere. When they are at most $4 if you hire a florist or a decoration company to do it. Also the decoration they provide is very basic. I wanted more (drapes, lounge furniture, up lighting) so I just draft a request for proposal and mail it to the decoration companies I choose.


        I am still trying to find some vendors, for music (reception and ceremony), and entertainment. Overall I think I am doing very well on my own.

        PS. If you have the money hire a WP they can take off you all the stress of the planning.

         Some affordable WP I had some comunication with and may hire for DOC only.


        www.costaricanweddingparadise.com around $1800

        www.crystalweddingplanner.com around $ 800


        e-mail me maybe we can exchange some vendor information. marianarojasc@gmail.com


        Good luck!!!




        #4 Melanie Rebane

        Melanie Rebane
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          Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:30 AM

          I can highly recommend http://www.weddingscostarica.com for planning in Costa Rica. She is a transplanted Canadian that has an aamazing network of reputable resources...Having travelled to CR myself, it is very helpful to have a knowledgable and reputable resource on the ground...it's an amazing place! Enjoy your day!

          #5 cafuts01

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            Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:14 AM

            Hi!  I debated on this too when I started planning.  First I used destinationwedding.com and one of their agents who was completely useless.  She would send me stock photos of these larger resorts but when I would research them on tripadvisor.com I'd see the real condition of the place and they weren't acceptable.  I'm addicted to researching online so I started looking at smaller hotels.  From what I understand, CR is not very good at all-inclusives like Mexico is.  But they are great at boutique(smaller) hotels.  I found our location Bahia Del Sol.  I had the agent ask for prices and she only gave me the stock rates so I didn't see any usefulness to her so I ended that relationship.  I dealt with the hotel myself and prices are stock rate +13% tax + 10% service fee.  We got the 10% taken off without even asking for our group.  So the cheapest room ends up being under $200 and it's right on the beach.


            Another thing I learned was that they are VERY laid back there.  After trying to arrange things with the coordinator there I got frustrated with the response time. At first she was very responsive but when i needed her to re-word some things on the contract it took over a month to get anything back.  When interviewing a planner who's worked there for 10 years she said they are very laid back in CR so if you want anything done you have to call and stay on top of them.  I didn't want the hassle so I hired a wedding planner.  We're also paying for our own wedding too and are expecting about the same amount of guests as you.  I know I didn't answer your question exactly but I hope my experience helps a little :).  Good luck!

            #6 muzikgrrl

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              Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:12 PM

              Hi Cafuts01, give some good advice.  I'm getting married in Manuel Antonio and my fiancee is from Costa Rica.  So we had a bit of an idea of what we were getting into.  In Costa Rica they definitely work on their own time line, we call it Tico time.  However that being said, my wedding planner always has everything done, I'm 5 months away from my wedding and I'm on schedule and on budget.  Costa Rica is not like Cuba, Dominican Republic or Mexico where you can get all inclusive packages for everyone.  Room rates can be negotiated if you have a block of rooms reserved.  Also it helps that my wedding planners sister company is a travel agency and they have been helping guests plan their trip who are unsure of what to do.  Also wedding planners are paid to look after your interests, the hotel planner looks for their interest.  If you want things a certain way the wedding planner will make it happen. You and your guests will have to have a little bit of a sense of adventure when planning a wedding there.  To give you an idea, I would say I've been very frugal with our wedding, we are still having decent decor, food and photography and videography and we will be paying approximately $20 000 with our travel more or less.  Some things there cost the same as back home, so you won't find some of the great deals on your wedding.  Costa Rica is an amazing place and your wedding there will be amazing. 


              Good luck!

              #7 cafuts01

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                Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:22 PM

                Muzikgrrl sounds like we have the same planner!  Costa Rica Paradise wedding?  I agree on the budget.  That's our budget too and it includes our honeymoon too.  So far I am under budget...fingers crossed...

                #8 muzikgrrl

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                  Posted 18 August 2011 - 12:37 PM

                  Yes we do have the same wedding planner, when and where are you getting married? Ill be getting married in January in Manuel Antonio. I'm trying to stay under but my fiancĀ©e wants to splurge on some things.

                  #9 cafuts01

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                    Posted 18 August 2011 - 03:21 PM

                    End of February in Playa Potrero. Can't wait!! 

                    #10 muzikgrrl

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                      Posted 19 August 2011 - 02:27 PM

                      We were going to have our wedding there but I changed my mind.  I've been to Manuel Antonio before and I really love it.

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