In this wonderfully modern era, every country has its traditions – some, that persevere and others, that time has long forgotten. These traditions are never more pronounced as when they comes to life’s big moments.
And here, in Costa Rica, there are many wedding traditions to which we cleave, for the joy they bring, the moments they represent, and the rich cultural tapestry to which they belong.
So, with that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite Costa Rican wedding traditions. Which might you incorporate into your Tamarindo wedding ceremony and/or reception?
Wedding Tradition #1: The Pre-Wedding Serenade
Music is an important component in any Costa Rican celebration, so it comes as no surprise that it is a beloved element of any wedding. Traditionally, men would serenade their future brides with a serenata, or serenade, usually performed with a few of his nearest and dearest . (Groomsmen, practice those vocal scales!)
Sometimes, the musically uninclined would hire a mariachi, guitarist, or other live band, to serenade loves on the groom’s behalf. So, here’s our take: While you may not want to belt out songs on the beach, you can hire your way to melodic bliss. Mariachis, cimarronas (brass bands), and other live performers are readily available, and are a lovely addition to your rehearsal dinner, wedding-day brunch, or other pre-wedding event.
Wedding Tradition #2: The Portal
If you’ve been reading these posts for very long, this one probably stopped you in your tracks: the portal ? Isn’t that a Christmas nativity scene?
Why yes, yes, it is! It’s also a lovely wedding tradition: For decades, Costa Ricans have gifted the bride and groom with their very own portal, to display during the Christmas season, during each year of their marriage.
It is said that receiving a portal as a wedding gift brings good luck to your marriage. We say, why not? Of course, it doesn’t have to be a portal ; the heart of this tradition is that close friends or family gift the couple with décor to display every year, in order to mark the passing of the seasons and of their lives together.
Wedding Tradition #3: Party All. Night. Long.
Costa Ricans are professional revelers. And, humble or grand, big or small (but usually big), weddings are one of the best excuses for Ticos to get their party on.
By party, Costa Rica means food and drink, laughter and dance . Lots and lots of dancing. Here, it’s a marathon, not a sprint; if you’re Costa Rican, you’re going to party well into the night. Then, you’ll eat so you can dance some more. And more and more and more.
Here’s the snag, though: Local noise ordinances and hotel etiquette mean that often, you can’t host the kind of beachy party that Costa Rica demands you should. Enter Tamarindo’s wedding venues and vacation rentals, many of which are large enough to accommodate weddings – indoors and out, on the beach and by the pool. So, if you decide you want to wed like a Costa Rican, we’ll help you find the place to do it.
Wedding Tradition #4: A “Married” Meal
At any restaurant, the traditional Costa Rican meal is a casado : literally, a “marriage” of Costa Rica’s most common dishes: rice, black beans, stewed meat, salad, and some sweet plantains.
We know – you probably won’t be serving casados to your wedding guests; local seafood grills, beach barbecues, and formal sit-down meals more commonly grace the table at a Tamarindo wedding. That said, we think dining on a casado, at some point before your wedding and/or during your honeymoon, is a wonderful nod to local tradition .
And, there you have it: four of our favorite Costa Rican wedding traditions, perfect (or perfectly adapted) for your Tamarindo wedding. Which will you incorporate?