Considering an El Morro Wedding? Here are Five Things you Should Know
Perhaps the most iconic symbol of Puerto Rico is El Morro, an amazing historical citadel in Old San Juan that is more than 400 years old. El Morro weddings can be simply stunning, as this living museum is one of the most unique places to be married, anywhere.
But there are considerations to an El Morro wedding. Like other historic properties in the San Juan area, El Morro is managed by the federal National Park Service (NPS) and there are processes and rules that protect this amazing space from the millions of visitors every year. As experts in El Morro weddings, here are a few things to think about when considering your wedding at El Morro:
#5 El Morro sits at the end of a beautiful promenade
It’s a ⅓ mile walk – each way – in the scorching sun. There are no transport options at all, even for couples on their wedding day or for elderly or disabled guests. Be sure that everyone in your group is able and prepared to walk that distance in full wedding attire, and then can enjoy your wedding once inside the exposed fort where the walls block the wind and the sun shines very hot.
#4 Special rules apply
For instance, no drones are allowed to fly over NPS space. In addition, food and drink is not allowed, so cake and champagne, or more complete receptions or celebrations, are not possible. Flower petals and anything thrown or left on the ground are also banned, for example. All rules are strictly enforced by the park rangers assigned to accompany your El Morro wedding, so very specific ideas and visions for your wedding day might not be possible.
#3 El Morro weddings require a ‘special use permit’ from the NPS (even weddings with no guests on the grounds outside).
Online information can be misleading; for instance, the non-refundable $100-$150 application fee (the amount varies depending on which webpage you are viewing) is only the initial fee to get started. Over the course of the application, monitoring fees, administrative costs, admissions fees, and much more are added on. A permit for a typical 20-person wedding costs us $600-800 in permit fees, not including the required insurance. In addition, the back-and-forth communications can be time-consuming. We know the system inside and out, as well as all the NPS personnel, and it still takes 20-30 emails and 4-5 phone calls and 3-4 weeks each and every time we process a permit for our couples. If you are not incredibly patient and experienced with island time and responsiveness, the DIY option might not be for you.
# 2 Permits for all El Morro weddings require special event insurance
Any reputable and legit wedding planner or company will have their own CGL policy for their operations, which can easily include your wedding at El Morro. Be careful if they cannot honor such a request, as it means they are not operating legally or responsibly. Our annual policy covers all events at National Park Service properties, and we include it at no cost with all our applications for El Morro weddings. Our couples never even need to get involved, allowing them to focus on their vacation and enjoying their wedding day!
#1 El Morro is incredibly beautiful and unique, for many people.
It is a public space, and there will always be tourists and bystanders around. They will be happy and cheer you on, but they will also be taking and posting photos. Consider how important privacy is on your wedding day.
El Morro weddings can be truly amazing, but there are certainly considerations. Contact us to talk about having us take care of everything for your El Morro wedding, or to learn about other beautiful options and venues for your Puerto Rico destination wedding!