South African Versus Costa Rican Wedding Venues

wedding venue with overlooking view of the beach

A wedding marks one of life’s significant milestones. When a couple gets engaged, they naturally discover that much of their free time is spent envisioning their special day. The focus of these thoughts often revolves around finding the ideal wedding venue. Given the desire to create lasting memories, thorough planning down to the simplest details becomes essential. 

Are you planning your dream wedding and torn between the picturesque landscapes of South Africa and the tropical allure of Costa Rica? To help you make an informed decision, we’ll explore various aspects of wedding planning in both countries, from the breathtaking scenery to cultural influences, logistics, and the overall guest experience.

South Africa and Costa Rica are beautiful countries offering unique landscapes and cultural experiences. In this article, we’ll compare wedding venues in South Africa and Costa Rica to assist in making an informed decision for your special day.

Why Can South Africa Be Your Dream Wedding Destination?

When choosing a wedding venue in South Africa, your options are boundless, limited only by your imagination and dreams. The country provides an extensive range of breathtaking locations that leave you awe-inspired.

Choosing a venue for your big day may sound simple. Still, with so many options and South Africa’s beautiful natural landscapes and towns near picturesque countryside and beaches, it can turn into one of the trickiest decisions for your wedding.

Here are five great wedding venues to consider, aiming to simplify your choices and allow you to fully enjoy this unique and intimate experience without the stress of finding a suitable location.

Oppie Plaas Venue, Garden Route

The Garden Route in South Africa is undeniably one of the most scenic places globally, making it an incredible choice for a wedding destination. Oppie Plaas, located near larger towns like George and Oudtshoorn, offers breathtaking views of the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains and is an ideal setting for an authentic South African wedding.

Olive Rock, Western Cape

This distinctive wedding venue takes pride in transforming old, neglected structures into something new, unique, and timeless. Nestled on the scenic banks of the Breede River, with stunning views of the iconic Cape Mountains, this extraordinary wedding venue has become a popular choice for couples since its opening.

Everwood Country Weddings, Gauteng

This venue takes pride in offering seclusion, allowing you and your loved ones to enjoy an intimate and private wedding. Just 20 minutes from the center of Johannesburg, Gauteng is an ideal destination for those seeking a country-style wedding without the need to travel far. The venue features a delightful open chapel with lush greenery and picturesque country views.

Jozini Tiger Lodge & Spa, KwaZulu-Natal

This venue is convenient for residents of Durban and Johannesburg, being easily accessible from both significant hubs. The harmonious presence of Lake Jozini and the Lebombo Mountain offers a nature experience unmatched for a wedding. There are three choices for the wedding location: the lake, the upper deck, or the boma area. 

The Venue at Pearl Mountain, Western Cape

This charming family-owned farm carries a history that stretches back to the 18th century and is a renowned choice for weddings and a variety of events. Located within an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Paarl provides an easily reachable wedding venue for city dwellers seeking a touch of country elegance for their special day. The farm is known for its breathtaking views, friendly staff, and top-notch cuisine prepared by accomplished chefs. 

Now let’s talk about Costa Rican Wedding Venues.

Why is Costa Rica the Most Loved Wedding Venue? 

Costa Rica provides an excellent backdrop for wedding ceremonies, catering to adventure seekers and those desiring a more tranquil experience.

Costa Rica is a picturesque wedding destination, offering natural beauty and ample accommodations for the ceremony and reception. Choose from historic sites for wedding ceremonies that boast stunning views of the country’s mountains and beaches.

Whether it’s the white sands of the beaches or the unique black sand shores, the middle of a national park with volcanoes, or an eco-friendly resort nestled in a rainforest, Costa Rica offers diverse and unforgettable wedding venues.

Following the wedding festivities, you and your guests can anticipate an extraordinary vacation. With many activity options ranging from surfing and yoga to exploring bat-filled caves or climbing misty volcanic peaks, as well as hiking, biking, and ziplining, Costa Rica offers a wealth of adventures and stunning locations to explore. Embrace the excitement and natural beauty that await in Costa Rica!

Below are also our top picks for your upcoming wedding in Costa Rica:

Villa Punto de Vista

Villa Punto de Vista Estate, situated in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, is an exclusive and luxurious wedding venue. The estate features two fully staffed wedding villas with stunning ocean views, providing the perfect setting for an unforgettable wedding destination experience. Celebrate your love intimately with your closest friends and family in the seclusion of a private villa. With its breathtaking views, personalized services, and distinctive ambiance, this venue is truly one to be cherished.

Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel

Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel is a breathtaking destination for weddings, nestled in the tranquil Playa Cocles on the South Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. Enveloped by lush rainforests and pristine beaches, it provides a truly enchanting setting for your love story. The dedicated team goes the extra mile to turn your beach wedding dreams into reality, handling all the details so you can unwind, savor the moment, and cherish time with your loved ones.

Hotel Punta Islita

Located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection, is a hotel and a wedding venue. The hotel is a suitable choice for weddings or honeymoons, providing couples with the opportunity for a romantic escape. Set by the waterfront, this hotel allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, creating a serene backdrop for your wedding retreat.

El Mangroove

El Mangroove is a beautiful wedding venue, nestled in the serene setting of Playa Panama Golfo de Papagayo, Guanacaste, and Costa Rica is a stunning venue provides couples with access to various indoor and outdoor spaces, seamlessly blending contemporary luxuries with the timeless natural beauty of Costa Rica. El Mangroove encourages couples and their cherished guests to partake in their sacred ceremony amidst several romantic natural backdrops, whether surrounded by the tranquility of the ocean or the coastal forest. This venue is the ultimate choice for couples seeking to celebrate their union amidst the beauty of Mother Nature.

Tierra Magnifica

Tierra Magnifica is an exclusive and intimate resort serving as a destination wedding venue in Nosara, Costa Rica. Recognized as Trip Advisor’s top-rated vacation property in Costa Rica since 2011, Tierra Magnifica attracts guests who value personalized attention and the warmth of being treated like family. Weddings held at Tierra Magnifica are as unique as the couples celebrating their union in this picturesque location. Unlike venues with predefined packages, Tierra Magnifica provides a blank canvas for each wedding, with nature serving as the enchanting backdrop. Serving as a one-stop shop, it efficiently covers all aspects of wedding and travel plans for you and your guests, allowing you to enjoy your celebration as if you were a guest surrounded by loved ones.

What are the highlights of South African and Costa Rican wedding venues? 

Natural Beauty

South Africa:

Known for its diverse landscapes, South Africa boasts stunning options for wedding venues. From the lush vineyards of Stellenbosch to the iconic Table Mountain backdrop in Cape Town, couples can choose from several natural settings. The country’s wildlife reserves also provide a unique opportunity for a safari-themed wedding, with the possibility of wildlife encounters for an unforgettable experience.

Costa Rica:

Costa Rica, on the other hand, is a tropical paradise filled with lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and majestic volcanoes. Imagine saying your vows with the sound of waves crashing in the background or surrounded by the vibrant colors of exotic flora. Costa Rican venues often embrace the natural surroundings, offering a perfect blend of luxury and nature.


South Africa:

South Africa experiences diverse climates, allowing for weddings at any time of the year. The Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate, ideal for outdoor weddings. Inland regions can be warmer, providing options for a sun-drenched celebration. However, couples should consider seasonal variations and potential rain in certain areas.

Costa Rica:

Costa Rica’s tropical climate means warm temperatures throughout the year. While the dry season (December to April) is a popular location for weddings, the green season (May to November) offers a lush, vibrant landscape. Couples should consider the possibility of occasional rain showers, especially during the green season, and choose venues with suitable facilities.

Cultural Experience

South Africa:

South Africa’s rich cultural tapestry offers diverse wedding traditions, reflecting the country’s history and heritage. Couples can incorporate local customs, music, and cuisine into their celebrations, providing a unique and meaningful experience for them and their guests.

Costa Rica:

Costa Rica’s culture is deeply rooted in warmth and friendliness. Couples seeking a laid-back, tropical vibe can embrace the “Pura Vida” lifestyle. Traditional Costa Rican cuisine, featuring fresh seafood and tropical fruits, adds a flavorful touch to wedding menus.

Accessibility and Accommodation

South Africa:

South Africa is well-connected with international airports in major cities. Popular wedding destinations like Cape Town and Johannesburg offer a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to charming guesthouses. Couples can choose venues that cater to their guests’ needs and preferences.

Costa Rica:

Costa Rica’s international airports, such as San Jose and Liberia, provide convenient access for destination weddings. The country offers a variety of accommodations, from beachfront resorts to eco-friendly lodges in the rainforest. Couples can find venues that align with their vision, whether it’s a beachfront escape or a jungle retreat.

What is the average cost of a destination wedding in Costa Rica and South Africa?

While the expenses for a destination wedding in Costa Rica can vary significantly based on the couple’s preferences and the number of guests, here’s an overview of potential costs for hosting a celebration with 50 guests, including a 4-night stay at either a vacation home or resort:

Accommodations: An average of $200 USD per night

Ceremony: Approximately $5,000 USD

Reception: Ranging from $200 to $400 USD per person

Marriage License: Between $1,500 and $2,000 USD

In summary, the estimated cost for a destination wedding in Costa Rica for 50 attendees is within the price range of $17,550 to $27,550 USD. It’s important to note that these figures provide a glimpse into the potential expenses and that the actual costs may vary based on specific choices and arrangements made by the couple.

Meanwhile, the average cost of a destination wedding in South Africa can vary widely depending on various factors such as location, venue, guest count, and the specific preferences of the couple. However, to provide a rough estimate, destination weddings in South Africa can range from $15,000 to $35,000 USD or more.

Please remember that this is a general estimate, and the actual cost can be higher or lower depending on the choices made for accommodations, venue, catering, entertainment, and other wedding-related expenses. Couples should work with a wedding planner and carefully consider their preferences and budget to get a more accurate estimate for their unique dream wedding in South Africa.

Ultimately, whether you choose the picturesque landscapes of South Africa or the tropical charm of Costa Rica, both countries offer incredible options for your dream wedding. Consider your preferences, the season, and the cultural experiences you desire to create a celebration that reflects your unique love story. Whichever destination you choose, the memories of your special day will be etched in memory against the backdrop of a breathtaking and unforgettable setting.

TIPS: How To Budget For A Wedding

The choices ultimately lie in the hands of the bride and groom, focusing on what holds genuine significance to them. For some, prioritizing an exceptional dining experience is paramount, prompting a preference to allocate a significant portion of the budget to cater to this desire. Establishing the per-head catering costs you are comfortable with is advisable before finalizing a caterer. On the other hand, for others, the emphasis might be on creating an unforgettable atmosphere through music and hosting an exceptional party. This principle also applies to other elements like flowers, lighting, and attire. When navigating the wedding budgeting process, identify your key non-negotiables and build your budget around these priorities.

Always consider engaging an experienced wedding planner like Weddings Costa Rica on your most special day, who will take away your worries, take everything away, and make everything go according to plan. With nearly two decades of experience, Weddings Costa Rica is the country’s oldest and most esteemed wedding planning firm. Choose Weddings Costa Rica for a celebration that transcends expectations, where beauty and tranquility merge seamlessly, freeing you to embrace every moment of your special day.

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