So you’ve decided to get married in the Dominican Republic? Congratulations! You’ve already made one of the toughest decisions there is to make when it comes to planning a wedding. But now you may be wondering: what’s next? Here I’ll go through all the basics you need to know to plan a wedding in Punta Cana.
I’ll start with how to choose a wedding venue and pick a wedding date. Then, we’ll look at the essential vendors you’ll need for the day. Next, I’ll give you some tips for choosing your wedding dress and groom’s attire. And finally, we’ll talk about all the little details like decor, flowers, music, and so much more.
Are you ready? Great! Let’s plan a wedding in Punta Cana!
Choose a Wedding Venue in Punta Cana
Here, you’ll have two options: Get married at an all-inclusive resort or at a private venue.
All-inclusive resorts have always been a popular choice for destination wedding brides. After all, the resorts in Punta Cana are stunning! Plus, they offer convenience and simplicity with bundled wedding packages that include everything from the ceremony venue to the reception dinner and party. Easy.
However, these cookie-cutter-styled packages can sometimes lack the personal touch that couples desire for their special day. They tend to limit customization – especially if you’re working on a tight budget. (Just check out the prices for charger plates or bistro lights!)
It’s also worth mentioning that communication with resort wedding planners is often really slow and frustrating. It’s one of the biggest complaints we receive from our resort brides.
On the other hand, brides who opt for off-resort weddings enjoy faster and more efficient communication with their planners, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable wedding planning journey. Private venues offer an exclusive and intimate atmosphere for your special day. Plus they give you the freedom to choose vendors (with no extra fees), create custom menus, and personalize every aspect of your wedding to match your unique vision. With a private venue, the possibilities are endless.
With that being said, I encourage you to do your own research and find the right fit for you. Everyone has different tastes and expectations, so you may find that an all-inclusive resort is a better option for you. That’s great! We’re happy to be there for you either way.
Feel free to check out All-Inclusive Resorts vs. Private Venues for a further deep dive into this topic.
The Best Resorts in Punta Cana for your Wedding
Here is a quick list of some of our favorite resorts in Punta Cana for weddings.
- Hard Rock Punta Cana
- Secrets Cap Cana
- Excellence El Carmen
- Secrets Royal Beach
- Sanctuary Cap Cana
- Royalton Punta Cana
- Finest Punta Cana
- Dreams Macao Beach
- Lopesan Costa Bavaro
- Live Aqua Punta Cana
A note about resorts and their extra fees:
Surprise! Resorts have a lot of hidden fees. Most notably, the vendor fee… Have you already heard about it?
Basically, the resort will charge you for any off-site vendor that you want to bring in for your wedding. Think hair and makeup artists, wedding officiants, and (ding ding ding!) the photographer and videographer.
This fee can range from understandable ($250) to outrageous ($1000+). They usually charge per vendor, but some resorts charge per person! As you can imagine, this can add up quickly if you plan to use all the vendors of your choice. And if you don’t get to choose the vendors you like, then you may be skimping on quality.
You’ll likely run into a lot of other hidden fees like that. They may charge you extra to bring your own lighting or wedding decor. You may find that the ceremony location you’re in love with isn’t actually included in your package and you’ll have to pay another fee to get married there. Or if you have guests that aren’t staying at the hotel, you’ll have to pay extra to get them access for your wedding day – on top of the per-person price you’re already paying for their food and drinks.
Now don’t get me wrong:
Resort weddings are beautiful, and they may be a better choice for you! I just want you to know what to expect ahead of time so you aren’t blindsided when it comes time to pay the bill.
The Best Off-Resort Wedding Venues in Punta Cana
Here are some of my favorite private venues in Punta Cana. They all do an amazing job, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Plan a Wedding in Punta Cana: Set a Budget
Once you’ve narrowed down your top venue options, you’ll want to go over their pricing lists, and realistically set a budget for your wedding day. I recommend reaching out to venues first so you have a general idea of what a wedding in Punta Cana costs.
From there, sit down with your partner and have an open and honest discussion about your financial situation. Determine how much you can comfortably afford to spend on your wedding. Consider your savings, income, and any contributions from family members.
It may help to identify the key elements that are most important to you and prioritize your wedding expenses from there. Is it the venue, menu, photography, or attire? Allocating a larger portion of your budget to these priorities ensures you’re investing in the aspects that truly matter to you as a couple. Be prepared to make trade-offs in areas that hold less significance for you.
Remember to consider the hidden costs that often accompany destination weddings. These can include travel expenses, alterations, transportation, vendor fees, taxes, and gratuities. Factor in these additional expenses when creating your budget to avoid any unexpected surprises.
Create a Guest List
One crucial aspect that goes hand in hand with setting a budget is creating a guest list. Since most wedding venues will charge per person for wedding items, your guest list is going to play a huge role in your overall budget.
Start by envisioning the size and atmosphere of your wedding. Are you dreaming of an intimate gathering with close family and friends? Or do you picture a larger celebration with everyone who’s important to you?
Consider your immediate families first. Parents, siblings, and close relatives usually form the core of the guest list. From there, think about your closest friends and those who have played a significant role in your lives.
Remember, you’ll also be spending your vacation with your guests so it’s not only about the wedding day. It’s an opportunity to spend quality time with those closest to you, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Focus on the people who truly matter and whose presence will enhance your celebration.
Pick a Wedding Date & Notify Your Guests
This is when things will really start to feel real!
Here are some tips to help you choose the best date for your wedding:
- Consider the season: The time of year you choose can impact everything from the weather to the availability of vendors and guests. But keep in mind, there is no “bad” time of year to get married in Punta Cana. It’s always amazing!
- Check important dates: Make sure to consider any important dates such as holidays, work commitments, or family events that might conflict with your wedding date. Don’t forget to check with your VIP guests, such as parents or close family members, to ensure that they can attend, too.
- Consider your personal preferences: If you have a special date that’s meaningful to you and your partner, such as an anniversary or the date you met, consider using that for your wedding date.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, choose a few potential dates and check with your venue and key vendors to confirm their availability.
When you’ve finally booked a date:
The next step is to notify your loved ones of your upcoming wedding and travel plans. Sharing the joyous news and providing essential details will ensure that your guests can mark their calendars and make necessary arrangements to be part of your special day.
Send out save-the-date cards or digital invitations well in advance, along with important details like travel arrangements, accommodations, and any pre-wedding activities.
Consider creating a wedding website where guests can find comprehensive information about your wedding. Include details like the schedule of events, accommodation options, travel information, and any special requests. This can serve as a valuable resource for your guests as they prepare for your celebration.
When Is The Best Time To Get Married In Punta Cana?
The simple answer is:
The weather in Punta Cana is beautiful pretty much all year round.
March and April are great months when it’s not quite so hot and humid. January and February are a safe bet, too, but the ocean never gets quite as warm as you can feel it in the summer.
June, July, and August are fantastic if you want the ocean to feel like bathwater (but also if you don’t mind sweating throughout the day). These are by far the warmest months, and the humidity is intense. We get plenty of weddings during this time, and they are always beautiful despite the heat. The colors of the ocean are the brightest during these months. But there may also be more seaweed on the beach during this time.
The hurricane season in the Dominican Republic lasts from June to November, but this doesn’t mean you should avoid a trip to Punta Cana at this time. It is still gorgeous, and it’s rare that a hurricane actually hits.
September and October are our closest thing to a “bad weather” season, but that definitely doesn’t mean that there will be bad weather for your wedding day. It could be perfect weather! If there’s a hurricane passing by (far out in the ocean), you’ll feel the strong winds in September more than ever.
August and December are always a matter of luck… There are lots of sunny days but also lots of cloudy or windy days, too.
May is always our busiest month of the year – and it’s also the month with the most rain. Again, this doesn’t mean that it will rain on your wedding day, but it will be good for you to have a backup plan just in case.
Book Your Wedding Vendors in Punta Cana
To plan a wedding in Punta Cana, you’ll want to choose the best vendors to bring your dream celebration to life. First, find reputable vendors specializing in destination weddings in Punta Cana through online research and recommendations from friends and wedding planners.
Of course, you already know who I’ll recommend for photography and videography (hint: it’s us!). But here’s a list of our favorite makeup artists in town and our recommended officiants, too. You may also want to book a DJ and other entertainment like a fire show or crazy hour.
Next, contact potential vendors to check their availability and request information on services, packages, and pricing. Narrow down your options and schedule consultations to discuss your vision, ask questions, and assess their compatibility.
Once you’ve decided, make the necessary deposits to secure your favorite vendors. Reconfirm details with them a few weeks before the wedding, discussing timelines, logistics, and any last-minute adjustments.
By following these steps, you can assemble a talented team of vendors who will create an unforgettable wedding experience in Punta Cana. Choose wisely, communicate clearly, and let their expertise turn your dreams into reality.
Plan a Wedding in Punta Cana: Choose Wedding Attire
Finding your dream beach wedding dress is an exciting adventure filled with sun, sand, and style! To stay cool and comfortable, opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics like chiffon, organza, or silk. Try to avoid heavy ballgowns and multiple thick layers. Let your inner beach goddess shine with flowy and effortless silhouettes, such as romantic A-line or graceful sheath styles. Picture yourself strolling down the sandy aisle, feeling like a true beach bride!
Don’t forget to consider the venue when choosing your dress. Practical lengths will save you from dragging too much sand behind you as you walk. Get inspired by the seaside and add touches like lace with floral motifs or delicate beading, evoking the enchantment of the sea. And when it comes to bridal accessories, embrace the carefree beach vibe with stylish accents. Feel free to kick off your wedding shoes and go barefoot for the ultimate beachy vibe.
For the groom:
Opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics like linen or cotton blends that will keep him cool under the sun. Ditch the traditional tuxedo and go for a more relaxed vibe with a well-fitted suit in light shades like beige, light gray, or even a soft pastel hue. Roll up the sleeves for a casual and beach-appropriate twist. Check out our Guide to Groom’s Attire for full details.
When it comes to dressing your wedding party, coordination and comfort are key. Choose attire that complements the beach theme while allowing your wedding crew to feel relaxed and stylish. Here’s our guide on beachy bridesmaids’ dresses and another on groomsmen’s attire for a beach wedding.
It’s All About the Details
As you continue to plan a wedding in Punta Cana, remember that the details are what make your seaside celebration truly unforgettable. From decor and flowers to music and personalized touches, this is where your vision truly comes to life.
Here is where you might start to get overwhelmed as there are so many little details that make up your day. But take a deep breath. And then work through this list of resources one page at a time.
- The Ultimate Guide to Destination Wedding Decor
- Beach Wedding Bouquet Inspiration
- Inspiration for Your Centerpieces
- Sweetheart Tables You’ll Want to Steal
- Wedding Cake Designs
- Wedding Signs for your Beach Wedding
- The Stress-Free Guide to Creating Your Seating Chart
- Wedding Music from Getting Ready to Cocktail Hour
- The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Reception Music
Phew! I know that was a lot… but I hope it helps you get organized and work through all the little details to make sure you have the most amazing wedding day ever!
Plan Your Wedding Reception
Finally, it’s time to party!!! Get ready to feast and raise a toast or two during the wedding dinner. Whether it’s the tear-jerking words of your parents, the humorous anecdotes from the best man, or the sentimental toast from your maid of honor, speeches will add a personal and heartfelt touch to your reception.
After dinner and speeches, let the party come alive by getting to the dance floor. You’ll normally start things off with your first dance and parent dances before inviting all of your guests to join you. The drinks will be flowing by this point, and I encourage you to finally let loose (if you haven’t already). Enjoy the moment. Dance the night away. And celebrate that you’re having an amazing wedding in Punta Cana!
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Destination Wedding Reception for a deep dive into every detail of your reception.
Final Thoughts on How to Plan a Wedding in Punta Cana
You made it all the way through! Congratulations! Okay, it might feel like there’s so much to do… but I promise it’s easier than it looks. If you book an awesome wedding venue and trustworthy vendors, then you just take it one step at a time, and all of the details will come together better than you could ever imagine.
Here’s one final thing to keep in mind as you’re planning your beach wedding in Punta Cana:
Your wedding is not going to be perfect. Eeek. Did that hurt to hear? I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but it’s the truth. If you can let go of the idea that your wedding has to be perfect, then the entire wedding planning process (and your wedding day, for that matter) will be sooooo much more enjoyable.
I know we’ve all heard it over and over again. This is the biggest day of your life. Or this will be the best day of your life. So it has to be perfect, right? We put so much pressure on this one day. But forget about all that. You don’t need perfect. All you really need is to marry your partner. All the other stuff -like the location, decor, music, and food – is extra. And having your friends and family there to celebrate with you is just another added bonus.
So let’s shift our mindset.
Instead of trying to create the perfect day, try to keep things in perspective. This is only the first day of the rest of your lives together. So yes, you can make your wedding great. That’s a good goal. But try to make the process fun, too. Embrace the challenges. Be patient. And above all, be kind. (Yes, that means to yourself, to your family and friends, and to your wedding vendors.)
We know it’ll be great! So just enjoy the ride 🙂