So, you want to get married in Boquete, Panama?

Blog by Terry Richmeier & Manzar Lari


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Taken from:

Procedures related to marriage in Panama are not very complicated. You can get married even if you are not a resident of the country.

Panama ranks among the top destinations for expatriates wishing to marry abroad. If you want to also make your wedding a truly memorable occasion, Panama can offer what you are looking for. However, expatriates have to fill in certain formalities, although Panamanian citizenship or permanent residency are not mandatory requirements. Note that you must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to get married in Panama. We have been told that renewing your vows by getting married again in Panama is also a good way to cut down on red-tape and delays involved in getting one’s marriage certificate and related documents shipped and notarized and authenticated! Why not make a party out of it and “re-energize” your commitment to each other AND get your residency paperwork in order at the same time?!?! Win-Win!

Different types of weddings are celebrated in Panama: civil, religious or court marriages. However, gay marriage is not legally authorized…yet!


The request for civil marriage must be made at the marriage court, known as the ‘Juzgado in Turno Matrimonios’ at least three days before the scheduled date of marriage. Documents to be produced are:

  • a health certificate for each spouse issued by a recognized public or private physician within 15 days before the marriage
  • your birth certificate issued in your home country and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama
  • your children’s birth certificates if you have any
  • a certificate of celibacy issued in your home country during the two years preceding the scheduled date of marriage (check with your home country’s authorities before proceeding)
  • a divorce or death certificate in case of a previous marriage
  • a Panamanian identity card (if you are a resident) or your passport and visa
  • a statement signed by both parties by stating their wish to marry and mentioning their personal details such as their name, age, nationality, occupations, address, etc.

You will also need two witnesses who are more than 18 years and with whom you have no family ties. If they are expatriates, they will also have to produce their passport and visa attesting of their legality of being in the country of Panama.

If you are marrying a Panamanian citizen, you will not only be able to obtain permanent residency but you will also have the right to apply for a work permit. However, you are required to register your marriage in Panama. Moreover, cohabitation relationships may be pronounced as a “de facto wedding” provided you produce evidence as to the relationship’s authenticity.

Once all these procedures have been completed, you have to celebrate your civil wedding at the court of marriage in the presence of your witnesses. The judge will issue a marriage certificate after your wedding is formalized. Note that you can choose the date and time of the wedding.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama
Judicial Service of Panama

So, what culture do you come from? What are your traditions that you want to bring to your perfect wedding? Starting out, we want to include some cultures and traditions for that special day! Starting with a traditional Panama Wedding. There are as many different traditions as there are cultures. We are taking some of our favorites and our list is very small compared to what is available. These are taken from


Panama Wedding Traditions – It is customary for the groom to give the bride 13 gold coins during the wedding ceremony, which the Priest blesses. These are a symbol of the groom’s commitment to support his new bride.

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African Wedding Traditions – The Origins of weddings in Africa date back thousands of years and include the combining of two tribes into one family unit. Children marry as young as 13 to 15 years old and divorce is rare as marital problems are worked out on a family and sometimes community level.

Girls are trained from childhood to be good wives and even learn secret codes and languages that allow them to talk to other married women without their husbands understanding them.

Korean Wedding Traditions – Weddings often feature a fortune teller called a Kung Hap, who is called upon to foretell the couple’s future before they are married to determine whether they will live together harmoniously or not. This is especially important as engagement gifts for a traditional Korean wedding can total $40,000.

Filipino Wedding Traditions – Early customs required the groom to throw a spear onto the front porch steps of his fiancé’s home as a dramatic statement that she belongs to him.

In the past weddings lasted as long as 3 days with ceremonies performed each day, until the 3rd day when the couple would join hands and declare their love for one another 3 times. This was followed by the binding of their hands by a priest, who then declared them married.

Middle East Wedding Traditions – This is where the tradition of wearing wedding rings originated and at the wedding each guest is given five almonds that symbolize the five sacred wedding wishes of health, happiness, wealth, fertility and longevity.

It is common for a Middle Eastern wedding to feature five different parties including the engagement party, the party to celebrate the signing of the wedding contract, the Henna Party, Reception and Bridal Shower.

Italian Wedding Traditions – Considered the land of love, which is where the gold wedding ring first gained popularity. Italians also get credit for the first wedding cakes, as bread or cake was traditionally broken over the bride’s head to insure fertility.

A groom in Italy may carry a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits and the bride wears a veil to cover her face and hide her from jealous evil spirits. Tearing her veil is considered good luck.

English Wedding Traditions – This is where the tradition of “something old, new, borrowed and blue” began with a nursery rhyme. Something old was a symbol of continuity, something new – hope for the future, something borrowed – happiness and something blue – purity.

The bride sews a good luck charm, such as a silver horse shoe of British Royal brides to the hem of their dress for good luck.

The traditional English wedding cake is a fruitcake, made up with raisins, cherries, ground almonds and marzipan. The top layer of the cake is the “christening cake” which the couple saves for the baptism of their first child.

German Wedding Traditions – At German weddings it is a tradition and considered good luck for the guests to bring old dishes to break. After the dishes are broken, the newly married couple sweep them up together to symbolize that nothing in their house will ever be broken again.

After the wedding reception the best man steals the bride and takes her to a local pub, where they drink Champagne until the groom finds them. He then has to pay for their drinks. Later on, friends of the couple block the exits of the reception hall with ribbons and garlands.

Mexican Wedding Traditions – It is customary for a white ribbon or rosary, called a “lasso” to be draped around the necks of the marrying couple during the wedding vows as a symbol of their union. As the couple leaves the church their guests throw red beads at them for good luck.

At a Mexican wedding reception guests form a heart-shaped circle around the newlyweds as they dance their first dance as husband and wife.

Jewish Wedding Traditions – Jewish weddings have many traditions, including the signing of the wedding contract by the bride and groom, which is called a Ketubah. It is then framed and hung in the couple’s home.

After the vows and seven blessings are read, the groom crushes a wine glass to symbolize the fragility of human happiness. A lively Israeli dance called the “Hora” is performed at the reception.


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These are some of many wedding traditions around the globe that are performed somewhere each and every day of the year. Even though wedding can take place any time in Panama, right now is the start of the wedding season in Boquete, Panama. This is a very exciting time for you to “tie the knot” and take the plunge! Here at Casa de Montaña we know and understand the stress and the costs that are involved in putting on a wedding. Give us a call and we can set up special prices for family and friends that will be in town for your wedding. We also have the perfect room for the lucky couple!

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