Bávaro is one of the fastest growing towns in the Dominican Republic and has all the amenities of home, including hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants, spas, banks and pharmacies. It’s simple to get around to the different attractions and restaurants, with easily accessible taxis, scooter taxis and buses.
The best time to go
The best time to plan a wedding in the Dominican is from March to May, just after the ‘peak season’ tourist rush ends. Luckily, the weather is warm year-round, with average highs around 27 degrees Celsius.
Playa Bávaro is a short 20-minute drive from the Punta Cana International Airport. Air Transat offers daily direct flights in the fall and winter months from Toronto and Montreal as well as weekly flights from London and Thunder Bay, Ontario, St. John’s, Moncton, Fredericton, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon. The airline also flies from Ottawa, Windsor and Hamilton, Ontario twice a week, from Halifax three times per week and from Quebec City five times per week.
The legal paperwork
Marriages performed in compliance with the laws of the Dominican Republic are recognized in Canada. Prior to your trip, you should verify with the Dominican authorities that you have all of your documentation. You’ll need your passport, tourist card, long-form birth certificate (that includes your parent’s names), as well as a sworn affidavit attesting to your single status (which you can get from a notary public). If you are divorced, you must also have original copies of your divorce papers and if you are widowed, you will need an original copy of the death certificate of your deceased spouse. If you have legally changed your name, you must submit original documents that support the change. Prior to departure, all of these documents must be translated into Spanish, legally certified, and legalized by the Embassy or one of the consulates of the Dominican Republic in Canada. You’ll also need two witnesses. If your witnesses are not Dominican citizens, they must provide their entry visa or a tourist card, passports and another form of picture ID as well. Hotels can often provide witnesses if you are eloping. Note that under Dominican law, women who have recently been divorced must wait a minimum of nine months after the finalization of their divorce before they can remarry. This regulation also applies to Canadian women wishing to be married in the Dominican Republic.
The Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort is our top pick for a wedding in the Dominican. Located on the beachfront at Bávaro Beach—considered to be one of the 10 best beaches in the world—the hotel was completely renovated in 2011. Eighty percent of its spacious rooms are located right by the beach. This 4.5-star property has over six different wedding packages to suit your needs, number of guests, tastes and budget. You can tie the knot in the presence of your friends and family under a beautiful curtained arch on the beach, with the sparkling turquoise ocean in the background. If you want a more private or more religious ceremony, you can opt for your vows to be blessed by a priest in the resort’s chapel with its elegant and discreet surroundings. Another option is the property’s garden gazebo on the beach; it is exquisite and will blow your guests away (after the bride does, of course!)
The local customs
Music is a huge part of Dominican culture, particularly bachata and merengue. Get the party started by booking a local band to play your reception and practice up on your salsa moves to really impress your guests during the first dance.
All-inclusive packages at the Barceló Bavaro Beach with Transat start at $1609 CAD* with free weddings offered to couples that book a minimum of 105 room nights at the resort. Of course, the total cost of your wedding in paradise will entirely depend on the type of celebration you opt for, the dates you book, and the number of guests you invite. Wedding options in the Dominican range from modest to luxurious, and costs will reflect this.