Services | Costa Rica Marriage Officiants

Services & Details

Marcelo Galli - Your Costa Rica Wedding Officiant

Marriage is not just a union, but a celebration of two hearts coming together. Don't trust that celebration to just anyone - Marcelo will prepare a highly personalized ceremony - one you will never forget. Please read the details below .

The Difference is in the Details

The Setting

Gathered where ocean, sky and sand meet, you celebrate your love for each other. The one you love is standing by your side. The memorable location you have carefully chosen embraces you in a romantic, once-in-a-lifetime moment. Emotion and senses travel through your mind. The experience you have waited for is about to unfold and become a cherished memory. For you. For the one you love. Forever. You do not want a second-rate officiant!

The Marriage Celebration

Officiators abound in Costa Rica, as 10 times more wedding celebrants are offering their services today than just 5 years ago. Destination wedding planners may include in their package “the lawyer”, without much reference to him/her other than that “the paperwork will be taken care of…” But what about the celebration of your ceremony? You want something special.

The Person in Charge

What traits should you seek in an officiant to make your ceremony unforgettable, for you and your guests? As exotic as it may seem, some officiants barely speak English, or they lack the personal skills conducive to dealing with a wedding ceremony. You want a person with sensitivity and experience, the ability to speak and act accordingly in this unique moment, that special talent for approaching and handling the Day of your Dreams skillfully, adept in a ceremony setting. Savoir-faire? Perhaps. Finesse and subtlety? That helps. Sense of humor? A must. Nonetheless, inexperienced lawyers are used as officiants more times than you would like to think, and thus included in many luxury packages with the promise of a top-rate ceremony.

When You Select Your Celebrant

Here are some tips on how to make sure you have the right officiant. This will make the difference between a meaningful ceremony and something you may not want to remember:

  • Conduct a search for potential officiators (“Costa Rica Marriage Officiant”, for example), or ask your hotel for leads to experienced ceremony officiants in Costa Rica. Remember, you can tell your hotel or planner who you would like to use as your ceremony officiant.

  • Check out their website for videos. This is the first look into what their ceremonies are like, their style, their ability to speak the English language, and their general demeanor.

  • Talk on the phone or Skype with potential officiants, and be straightforward about what you’re looking for. It should be give-and-take. Come with questions, share ideas and find someone who will work with you on the ceremony. His/her ability to communicate is key. If experienced, their answers should flow smoothly. He shouldn’t have to think much about the requirements either.

  • Start planning early. As soon as you set a wedding date, look for an officiant and start the creative process. It’s the most natural way of getting to know one another. Don’t let your planner talk for the officiant, or force you into using their choice.

  • Converse via phone as much as necessary. Email is an excellent administrative tool, but it rarely conveys the emotional value you want when planning your big day. You’ll want to know if your potential officiant is at ease or nervous when talking about your wedding ceremony. Does he/ she have good ideas? Think Ceremony Savvy.

  • Remember, some officiants will say they have performed 1000s of wedding ceremonies, or that they are simply “the best officiator in Costa Rica”. Check it out for yourself. See a video (if they don’t have one, run!). Talk to them and make your own decision. It’s your day and you require Experience, Reputation and Reliability from your officiant.

  • Once the Big Day arrives, make time to talk face to face before the ceremony. Take care of any last-minute details.

Expert Guidance

A Notary Public as well as an Attorney with powers of a Justice of the Peace, Marcelo takes care of every legal aspect concerning the marriages he performs, and provides you with a Certificate of Marriage that is ready to be used as Proof of Marriage in back home. Upon request, he can also provide an additional Notary Certification on ceremony day, to use as temporary Proof of Marriage while you wait for your definitive Certificate of Marriage to arrive via certified mail (or FedEx, upon request).

The Ceremony

When it comes to the ceremony, Marcelo is dedicated to fulfilling your needs regarding every detail imaginable. Providing fresh ideas, he makes the ceremony event an unforgettable one.

In 2006, he custom-designed Pink’s Unity Sand Ceremony, for example, to involve the participation of friends and family. As one of her bridesmaids confessed, “It was really special for her.” Kara Keaney, one of California’s top event planners, was delighted with Marcelo’s creative input and performance of Pink’s ceremony. Marcelo is comfortable in high-pressure settings. In his philosophy, sensitivity and communication are the key factors in producing a unique and personal wedding day.

Who is Marcelo ?

A man of many hats, Chilean-born Marcelo was raised in the US as a child, and has lived in Costa Rica since 1971. He knows Costa Rica. He’s a citizen. Married to a wonderful Costa Rican Girl, he travels to every corner to perform ceremonies. Marcelo, also had a 25 year career in music prior to becoming an celebrant. He was literally a rock n’ roll drummer. Known in the 80s in Costa Rican music circles simply as “The Legend”, he traveled on numerous occasions to several countries to perform in concerts in front of thousands. Marcelo finally “let go” of the drums as his main job in the mid 90s and turned it into a hobby. With his last band, MG & The Blues Burners, he also proved an adept blues harmonica player! Check him out on YouTube! He’s a lover of vintage harmonica memorabilia, a Stones fan, jazz collector and audiophile!

Marcelo is also a vegetarian and a fan of fitness and health. He loves to run with his dogs Rex, Scooby, Pinto, Luli and Coquette (yes, 5!) every day at the crack of dawn. “Watching a sunrise soothes a man’s soul,” he says. He’s also a world traveler. Having been to 23 countries including China, New Zealand, India, Nepal, multiple Caribbean islands, most of Europe and the Chilean southern-most glaciers, he has absorbed many cultures and traditions, which makes him an excellent choice for your Costa Rica wedding ceremony.

Marriage Services

Destination Weddings & Elopements

If it comes down to just you and your loved one barefoot on the sand, Marcelo makes it a point to seek out that special setting. He knows that privacy is of the utmost importance. Experience once again is key in finding that special, secluded location where you’ll want to tie the knot. 

Marcelo will work with you to select the perfect spot – or travel to your chosen place – once there, he will treat you like a friend and make sure your ceremony is one-of-a-kind and unique to you.

Costa Rica Traditional Wedding Ceremony Officiation

The standard wedding speech Marcelo will send you for your review and mofdification, has a traditional touch yet is contemporary in its feel, and it almost always brings on a tear or two. But you can tweak it at will! Or provide another text completely. It’s your day! Also, Marcelo performs the wedding in English, but he is open to performing the ceremony in Spanish, or a combination, if requested.

Marcelo communicates by email (mainly, but phone and Skype whenever needed) in order to tailor the speech to your complete satisfaction, making each ceremony a meaningful and unique event. You can add your own vows,

readings, poems, songs, rituals, and traditions. Special touches like the Unity Sand Ceremony (a tropical twist to the traditional Unity Candle Ceremony) can be added and modified to include the participation of friends and family.

All Costa Rica Marriage Legalities Included

rMarcelo personally takes charge of all legal matters and pushes the paperwork along at the Civil Registry of Costa Rica. The local recording process is the virtual cornerstone for a valid, legal marriage anywhere in the world. Once issued, the Certificate of Marriage is then translated by his Official Translator, apostilled or authenticated according to the legal requirements of your country of residence. That way, full validity is ensured, so all you have to do upon receiving the Certificate of Marriage is simply record it in your local county office.

Different counties work in different ways, so your clerk will let you know if there’s anything to be done differently. Marcelo confidently states, “I assure you that if anything else were required by your local authorities, I am at your (and their) full disposal to addition any other document necessary, even though that has happened in less than a 10th of 1% of the 3000+ weddings I’ve performed for non-Costa Rican couples”.

Simplicity – No need to send documents

No Visits to the Consulate

You’ll be happy to know that Marcelo’s experience in marriages helps simplify the legal process. He requires of each couple no more than sending an image of a valid passport and answering a few questions via email. That avoids having to waste time and money at the Costa Rican Consulate in your hometown.

The Consulate tends to complicate things, providing information on how to get married but unfortunately they always indicate “the hard way” to do things, which is just as valid but many times discourages couples from proceeding with their plans. This is unfortunate because a simple sworn statement prepared by Marcelo for Ceremony Day will deem unnecessary all Consular services and it will save you time and money. It’s literally that simple.


No paperwork exchange on Ceremony Day

 Marcelo keeps it simple, so even if you are divorced, all that is required is the divorce information, instead of a copy of your divorce decree. The information required can be sent by email, including images of your passports. This makes it the simplest and most convenient way possible for the couple, with no paperwork exchange on Ceremony Day.

Costa Rica Marriage & License Fees

The fees cover the required legal process and expert guidance in order to obtain a legally valid marriage certificate. This is important because it is your Proof of Marriage back home.


Fees according to region

Fees vary depending on the region of Costa Rica you select for your wedding ceremony (more remote locations increase the fee because they require flying a small plane to get there, for example), so please contact Marcelo for a quote. If you’d like to see a list of regions and their respective fees, it can be sent to you upon request.


Included in the fee:
  • Celebration of the ceremony
  • Modifications to the ceremony speech draft
  • Civil marriage legal document
  • Civil marriage legal form
  • Submittal of civil marriage documents to the Costa Rican Civil Registry
  • Official translation of the marriage certification
  • Fiscal stamps and taxes
  • Submittal to the Foreign Ministry of Costa Rica for required apostille
  • Submittal to the Consulate of your country of residence for authentication
  • Mailing costs for the final official documents (FedEx extra)
  • Transportation, hotel and expenses
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