Destination weddings combine the intimacy and bliss of marriage with a terrific vacation experience. It's no surprise that they're so popular, and even less surprising that the Caribbean is such a favorite destination for wedding planners. Great climate, relaxed atmosphere, friendly people ... it's all here, right? Well, if you're thinking of getting married in Puerto Rico, you get all that and a little bit more. There are dozens of venues and hotels offering a beachfront wedding that will take your breath away ... but here are some other unique options for where to host your Puerto Rican destination wedding.
Old San Juan
There's an undeniable romance about getting married in Old San Juan. This small, romantic town has legends that span over four hundred years, and its cobblestone streets have seen their share of love stories. When you look at the beauty of this city, it's not so surprising. Spanish architecture, brightly painted buildings, and two of the oldest churches in the Americas combine to offer a tempting package. Plus, your photographer will drool over the countless locations for picture-perfect shots of the bride and groom.
Hotel Pick: El Convento, one of the best boutique hotels in Puerto Rico.
Where to Tie the Knot? El Catedral de San Juan, an elegant cathedral that hosts the most exclusive and elite weddings on the island.
The University of Puerto Rico's botanical gardens is a 300-acre park with flora from all over the world. Naturally (no pun intended), you can imagine how beautiful a wedding here can be. Whether you choose the Japanese-inspired garden with its wooden bridge and water lilies, or the elegant Monet Garden, or for larger weddings, an expansive, open field surrounded by manicured vegetation, this is the place to get married if you love the outdoors. Waterfalls, lakes, fountains, sculptures, and some 63 species of birds are among the extras at your disposal if you choose this venue.
Where to Tie the Knot: The loveliest location for an intimate wedding is the Monet Garden.
Sticking to "green" weddings, you won't find a lush environment than El Yunque, Puerto Rico's famed tropical rainforest. You can tie the knot atop a mountain, by a forest pool, or at a nearby resort with dramatic views of the verdant landscape. Either way, if you've got an adventurous party, I highly recommend a post-reception field trip to La Mina Falls, where you can all jump in for a refreshing dip under a natural waterfall to wipe away the stress of the wedding!
Hotel Pick: The Rio Mar Beach Resort is the closest full-service resort to the rainforest.
On An Island
You can leave the mainland Puerto Rico and get married on one of its neighboring islands: Vieques or Culebra. Culebra is the choice for a more rustic setting. On Vieques, you can get a bit more lavish with your plans. Either way, you get an island that combines untamed vegetation and unspoiled beaches. Plus, you get a different vibe altogether, one that leaves the bustle of San Juan behind and transports you (and your party) to a quieter, more relaxed environment. On Culebra, you have the benefit of renting a mansion or two for your wedding party, whereas in Vieques, you have a few beautiful hotels to choose from.
Hotel Pick: The Inn on the Blue Horizon is a romantic gem set on a bluff overlooking the ocean.
In a Cave
I realize that getting married in a cave sounds a bit vampiric. But I'm talking about the Camuy Caves here, a natural subterranean wonderland that's one of Puerto Rico's best attractions. This is the third largest system of its kind in the world, with individual chamgers as large as 200 feet high and capable of accommodating an office building (so your wedding party should be plenty comfortable, no matter how big it is!).
Hotel Pick: The Horned Dorset Primavera is a small boutique hotel that's elegant, chic and private ... perfect for a bride and groom to get away after the reception.