Can't decide between a city and beach venue for your destination wedding? No need! In San Juan, Puerto Rico, you'll find both—plus cool hotels, historic landmarks, and creative cuisine. Not to mention: The capital city is easily accessible—a 2.5-hour flight from Miami or 4 hours from New York—and U.S. visitors don't even have to pack a passport.
Once you're on the island, you'll find a choice of unique (and affordable!) places to wed, party, and dine. From a prestigious property built by a Vanderbilt to a 17th-century convent-turned-hotel and lively nightlife scene just steps from the sand, there's a venue in the city limits for you, no matter your bridal style. So go ahead and take your pick of these three favorites, and tell your squad to pack for a long weekend of exploring, tanning, and rum drinking in the Caribbean.
The Old-World Charmer: Hotel El Convento
This beauty is a meticulously-restored convent in the heart of historic Old San Juan, a guest-friendly corner of the city filled with museums, shops, and plazas. The prime location makes choosing your ceremony site an easy one: You're steps away from San Juan Bautista Cathedral, a yellow-painted cathedral built in 1540, and in walking distance to Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th-century citadel overlooking San Juan Bay. After vows (and a serious photo sesh!) off-site, have local musicians lead your crew back to Hotel El Convento, which is 364-years-old itself, for the reception. There, you can start the party with cocktails in an open-air courtyard before moving into Salon Martorell or Salon Campeche for dinner. For an intimate affair, Salon Martorell on the hotel's ground floor is your best bet. It's named after the Puerto Rican artist, Antonio Martorell, who painted the room with gorgeous murals in jewel tones. Looking for a glam space with room for dancing? You'll find that (and more) inside Salon Campeche, a one-time chapel that features black-and-white tiled floors (hello, dance floor!), a 48-foot-tall ceiling, and stained glass windows.
A Sophisticated Statement: Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
At this over-the-top (in the best way possible) hotel in the trendy Condado district, you can exchange vows in the sand or on a second-floor deck overlooking the Atlantic. Afterward, head inside the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel for the ultimate ballroom affair. If your guest list is 120 people or under, book the Salón Dorado, a space featuring cathedral ceilings, arched ocean-facing windows, and whimsical, turquoise light fixtures. And if you want to go big, the Patio del Dauno Ballroom is your spot. There, you and up to 600 friends can dine and dance with floor-to-ceiling windows, glitzy chandeliers, and a five-star team dressed to the nines. Not to mention: Brides (and vacationers, alike!) rave about the spa, so treat yourself to a well-deserved massage pre- or post-nuptials.
The Party Place: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort
Want a proper Puerto Rican fiesta? That's not out of the question at La Concha, a modern, party-ready spot a courtyard away from the Condado next door. It's also just steps away from the beach, so you can choose between the ocean and the pool for your waterfront vows. If you select the Sereno Pool for your party space, the staff will happily install a glass platform so you can walk on water—or look as if you are, anyway. And after such a grand entrance, you have to keep the excitement going! That's an easy task when you take over the beach and beachside bar, which is as casual and cool as it sounds. Here, you can string up some bistro lights and enlist a local band for a night of dancing under the stars. And don't think the night has to end at that. There's Casino del Mar, which has slot machines, table games, and poker for the after-party, of course.
Can't decide on just one place? Feel free to mix and match venues for all of your wedding parties—you do have a weekend to plan and a new city to explore!