Hot Destination Wedding Spot: Dominican Republic

See why this red-hot island is the perfect place to tie the knot away from home.

Set on the eastern portion of the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s most geographically diverse countries, with stunning white-sand coasts that give way to majestic mountains, tropical rainforests, endless coffee fields and desert interiors. Its bustling cities boast a rich heritage and history — Santo Domingo claims the title of the oldest settlement in the Americas. The cuisine, music and laid-back vibe of the welcoming island nation add to the intoxicating appeal. Factor in gorgeous beach resorts, boutique mountain hideaways and excellent excursion opportunities and you’ve got a postcard-perfect destination for hosting a wedding. 

dreams la romana resort in the dominican republic
Photo courtesy of Dreams Resorts and Spas 

Dreams La Romana

Overlooking a gorgeous palm-fringed white-sand beach, the all-inclusive, 751-room Dreams La Romana sits on the island’s immaculate southeast coast. Sophisticated yet laid back, the resort’s three pools, eight restaurants, seven bars, plus clubs for both kids and teens, make Dreams an ideal choice for larger family wedding parties. Say “I do” at the resort’s seaside garden, beach gazebo or, for smaller ceremonies, at the end of a secluded pier overlooking the azure water. Then take to a private stretch of sand, which can accommodate up to 500 people, for a barefoot dinner and dancing under the stars to the tune of a Caribbean trio (wedding packages may be complimentary with a minimum nights’ stay, and include services of a wedding coordinator, symbolic ceremony, bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cake and sparkling wine for 10 guests;

seaside ceremony in the dominican republic
Photo courtesy of Dreams Resorts and Spas

Paradisus Punta Cana

Located on the east coast’s famed Playa de Bavaro, this chic, all-suite, all-inclusive resort is set amid lush gardens and native mangroves (that cover half the property!). The sprawling hotel features 684 oversized suites, 11 gourmet restaurants and seven swimming pools. Weddings here are bespoke and intimate thanks to the resort’s one wedding per venue, per day rule. For a barefoot-on-the-beach vibe, swap vows beneath the thatched wedding palapa and then head to Gabi Lounge’s romantically lit, sandy outdoor area for a relaxed yet elegant reception. During their stay, your guests can revel in a myriad of on-site activities (wedding packages may be complimentary with a minimum nights’ stay and in- clude an officiant, bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cake and sparkling wine;

room at the paradisus in punta cana
Photo courtesy of Paradisus Punta Cana 

paradisus punta cana pool
Photo courtesy of Paradisus Punta Cana 

Eden Roc at Cap Cana

Brand new boutique hotel Eden Roc at Cap Cana is adding a few notches to the DR’s luxury belt. Think St. Tropez without all the fuss or jet lag. Each of the 34 sleek and colorfully façaded stand-alone suites blend european refinement with Caribbean charm. All have their own swimming pools and spa areas (post-wedding couple’s massage anyone?). Wed at the ultra-private, members-only Caletón Beach Club’s beach- front gazebo with the turquoise sea behind you or right on the soft sands of Caletón Beach under a decorated pergola. Follow with an alfresco reception that features super-fresh local seafood around the hourglass pool or the palm tree-lined beach (wedding packages start at $595 with a three-night minimum stay, and include a symbolic officiant, services of a wedding coordinator, bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cake and a bottle of champagne;

eden roc at cap cana
Photo courtesy of Eden Roc 

Legally Wedded 

Tying the knot legally in the Dominican Republic takes a bit of paperwork. Couples, who must be at least 18 years of age, must present both copies and originals of their passports, entrance stamps and tourist cards to the Civil Registry Office in the Dominican Republic. A sworn declaration of being single and eligible to be married must be provided, translated and presented at your local consular office, as well as copies, translations and proper apostilles of birth certificates and, if applicable, divorce decrees and death certificates. Two witnesses that are not related to the couple must attend the legal ceremony. There is a fee of about $375 for marriages conducted in venues other than the Civil Registry Office; a lesser fee is levied for those ceremonies taking place at the office.