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Known as a tropical paradise, nestled in the Caribbean, the tiny nation of Puerto Rico is located off the south-eastern coast of Florida. The island is roughly 3,500 square miles, which makes it about 2,000 square miles smaller than Connecticut! Don't let its small size fool you, Puerto Rico is full of fabulous wedding destinations. Whether you are a lover of beaches, art, music, or history, a Puerto Rican wedding can be tailored perfectly to fit your needs.
Starting in San Juan, the nation's capital and largest city, the possibilities for a Puerto Rican wedding are limitless. San Juan is broken down into two main sections: Old San Juan and New San Juan; pretty easy to remember. If you are a lover of history, Old San Juan could be the ideal destination wedding spot. Cobblestone streets are lined with brightly colored houses, museums, stunning historic plazas, and military forts. San Juan wedding venues are just as diverse as the city's deep history. You can plan a more traditional destination wedding on one of Old San Juan's breathtaking beaches or historic churches and even castles!
New San Juan (aka San Juan Metro) is a metropolitan haven with three distinct districts for any type of wedding. Condado, the most popular tourist destination in San Juan, is known for its metropolitan feel with lounges, casinos, and high-end boutiques, so pack light if you're planning a Condado wedding. The second district is Ocean Park and in comparison to Condado, it's laid back in every way. Known for smaller hotels and guest houses, Ocean Park is the place to go if you want to relax and soak up the sun. The third district is Miramar. The Pan American Cruise Pier is located in Miramar. The district is known for its state of the art convention center which hosts events year round.
Bayamón and Carolina are both cities around San Juan. Bayamón, located inland, is considered the most progressive city on the island and is known for its salsa music, art, parks, churches, and museums. A perfect combination for your Puerto Rican wedding. On the other hand, Carolina is located to the east of San Juan, known for it's phenomenal beaches, museums, jazz music, and shopping.
Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico, is located on the southern coast. It is commonly referred to as La Perla del Sur or The Pearl of the South. Ponce, like Old San Juan, is a history lover's dream. Nearly half a billion dollars have been spent to preserve the colonial core of Ponce. If you can tear yourself away from the white sand beaches, Ponce offers tons of character for a beautiful wedding in Puerto Rico.
With a mix of Spanish, African, and American fare, Puerto Rican food is sure to wow your wedding guests. Several national dishes include: Arroz con gandules y lechón, a dish of yellow-rice and pigeon peas, along with roasted pork, and Asopao which is similar to gumbo the soup is made with rice, shellfish, chicken, chorizo and other ingredients. Whatever food you choose, a Puerto Rican caterer will serve your guests a dinner to die for. You should also try to incorporate salsa music into your wedding since it is so well known throughout Puerto Rico. A great Puerto Rican DJ will have all your guests on the dance floor by the end of the night.
Puerto Rico has several airports. However, the two main airports are San Juan International on the northern coast and Mercedita Airport in Ponce, on the southern coast. If you're planning a Puerto Rican wedding more inland, don't worry, it only takes an hour and a half to drive from San Juan to Ponce.
Obtaining a marriage license in Puerto Rico is a bit more difficult than other states though there is no waiting period to receive one. You must bring government issued IDs as well as a passport (if you are not from Puerto Rico), an affidavit stating your business in Puerto Rico is to get married and that you will not be staying longer than specified on your travel visa, a medical certificate that states you have met all the testing requirements to be married in your home residence, copies of birth certificates, and a $20 IRS stamp from the Puerto Rican government. Anyone under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent.