How to plan a wedding in Croatia

Wedding in Croatia
A typical wedding in Croatia

PUBLISHED: 12.4.2024.

Many tourists visiting Croatia fall in love with the country and decide to stay forever. But did you know it is heaven for getting married? Stunning landscapes provide a picturesque backdrop for celebrations, so more and more foreigners are planning their weddings here.

If you are a foreigner planning to have a wedding in Croatia or already live here and want to plan your dream day, you are in the right place.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Why get married in Croatia?

Croatia is one of the most stunning countries in the world, but some other factors make it a good wedding destination too. Here are the reasons why a wedding in Croatia is a brilliant idea that will leave both you and your guests speechless.

1. Wedding venues in Croatia are stunning

Wedding venues in Croatia include coastal locations by the sea, lakes, and rivers, restaurants with the best views, spas, castles, forts, and vineyards. Whatever your ideal wedding backdrop is, you can find it in Croatia.

2. Croatia is romantic

Croatia boasts romantic views, from pristine beaches to romantic walks along the coast or exploration of the narrow centuries-old streets of Dubrovnik. Breathtaking sunsets on Croatian islands and exchanging vows by the sea can create the ambiance you need for your wedding.

3. You can pick between 4 seasons

Croatia is small in size but rich in landscape diversity and climate. It has 4 seasons, which is an advantage when planning your wedding. If you want a spring wedding surrounded by flowers, a snow wedding, or a sunny beach wedding, it is all possible here. Read more about seasons in Croatia in this section.

4. Croatian culture is strong

Croatia’s rich history and cultural heritage add depth and significance to wedding celebrations. Couples and their guests can experience the country’s traditions, cuisine, music, and hospitality, making the wedding experience memorable and unique. Learn more about Croatian wedding culture in our guide to attending Croatian weddings here.

[Read: How to understand Croatian culture]

5. It is affordable

Compared to some other European destinations, Croatia can offer relatively affordable wedding options without compromising quality or charm. Couples can find a range of venues and vendors to suit their budget, whether they desire a lavish party or an intimate gathering.

6. It is exciting to plan

Croatia has a well-developed wedding industry with experienced wedding planners, photographers, caterers, and other professionals to choose from. Planning a wedding in Croatia can be challenging, but it is definitely exciting. Things will be much easier if you have an experienced professional in your corner. If you contact us, we can help you with planning your dream wedding in Croatia.

7. It is a perfect honeymoon destination

Croatia doubles as an excellent honeymoon destination. Couples can seamlessly transition from their wedding celebrations to a romantic honeymoon exploring Croatia’s diverse landscapes.

What is the best time of the year to get married in Croatia?

Croatians love getting married in spring and autumn, with the most popular months being April to June and September to October. Many weddings are also organized in July and August, but these months are less popular than spring and autumn since Croatians go on holiday.

Winter weddings are not as common, but smaller gatherings in winter months are organized in cozy restaurants and hotels. Winter is not so popular for weddings in Croatia because the weather can be cold and wet.

Spring wedding (March – May)

Spring offers mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and lush greenery, making it a vivid time for outdoor ceremonies. Spring flowers included in your wedding decoration can make your wedding unique. However, it can still be a bit rainy during this season.

[Read: Croatian culture of gardening – the most common vegetables, herbs, and flowers]

Summer wedding (June – August)

Summer, specifically July and August, is the peak tourist season in Croatia, with warm temperatures that can go up to 40 degrees Celsius and long daylight hours with almost 16 hours of light in the middle of summer. While it offers plenty of sunshine and opportunities for beach weddings, it can also be crowded and more expensive due to high demand.

Autumn wedding (September – November)

Early autumn also provides pleasant weather with warm temperatures and fewer crowds than peak summer months. The landscapes are still vibrant, making it another excellent choice for outdoor weddings, and the foliage will be a great contrast against your wedding gown. The downside of autumn is the possibility of rain, which can often be unpredictable.

Winter wedding (December – February)

The winter season, from November to February, is less popular for weddings in Croatia due to colder temperatures and shorter days, which last from around 7:00 to 16:00. However, it is ideal if you don’t prefer heat, since temperatures usually vary between -3 and 5 degrees. If you’re looking for a unique setting with cooler surroundings, our team can help you plan a winter wedding in Croatia.

Tips for planning a wedding in Croatia

Being knowledgeable about the destination of your wedding and starting to plan your event on time are the biggest advantages you can have. We bring you tips on how to plan a wedding in Croatia like a local.

1. Set a budget

The initial phase of organizing your ideal wedding in Croatia begins with setting a budget. Consider all costs, including venue reservations, catering, outfit, makeup, music, and other required services. Establishing a budget at the outset enables you to manage your finances effectively.

[Read: Croatia’s biggest banks: Comparison of fees and services]

2. Write a guest list

Drafting a guest list is essential for estimating costs and organizing your wedding. If your wedding is small, it is easier to organize it but harder to make a wedding list. Croatian weddings usually have between 20 guests (family and close friends) and 300 guests (wider family, friends, and acquaintances). Some guests have special roles, like kum (best man) and kuma (maid of honor) or barjaktar (groom’s friend that carries the Croatian flag).

View our guide on how to attend a Croatian wedding here and the meaning of the Croatian flag here.

3. Collect documents and define the date

An important step is to decide when the wedding will happen and if you want a civil or religious ceremony. The required documentation you must enclose can vary depending on whether you get married in a church or at the registrar.

Collect the documentation needed for a wedding from your home country ahead of time. Don’t do it at the last minute because the Croatian bureaucracy is complicated, and things can vary from case to case.

In addition, you must provide the registrar or priest with information on your witnesses, pay the wedding fee, and decide on the date. We can help you get your paperwork sorted out if you fill out this form.

View our wedding articles:

4. Decide on a wedding venue

Selecting the perfect wedding venue sets the tone for your celebration. Croatia offers a diverse range of stunning venues to suit every couple’s style and preferences. Consider location, capacity, amenities, and ambiance when choosing the ideal venue for your wedding day.

Here are some venues you can choose from across Croatia:

  • Small cozy restaurants
  • Big restaurants that can accommodate more people
  • Large wedding tents in open spaces
  • Ranches
  • Wedding halls, the best option for large weddings with over 150 guests
  • Hotels
  • Wineries
  • Castles
  • Yachts
  • Rooftop
  • Gardens
  • Golf clubs
  • Beach

5. Look for wedding vendors

Securing reliable wedding vendors is essential for a memorable event. Below are the vendors you must find for your wedding.

Music

Weddings in Croatia usually have two music options, either a live band or a DJ. Having a live band is a choice for everyone, with larger wedding parties, usually held in hotels or large restaurants. If your wedding is smaller, you can also have a band, but most couples opt for a DJ.

Choosing the bend is not easy if you do not know what to look for. Most bands already have a list of songs they perform, but sometimes they are open to suggestions. DJs as well can suggest a playlist but you can also create a playlist by yourself or ask for certain songs.

It is important to choose the prvi ples (first dance) song, and the entrance song (a song that is played when a couple enters the restaurant after the wedding).

Note: The most popular wedding bands are booked years in advance, so set this as a priority when it comes to vendors.

Catering

Depending on your venue, catering can be provided by the venue, or you must organize it by yourself. If the venue, like a banquet hall or a restaurant, has catering, you can talk to them about menu options and specific requests.

Catering companies can provide catering when a wedding is in a venue that needs better organization, like a tent or a beach. Sometimes, restaurants and hotels have catering services, so if you like a specific restaurant, you can ask if they are available for your wedding.

Catering often includes drinks, but make sure to ask about them. Certain alcohol or a wine list may not be included in your wedding venue, and you must provide it by yourself.

[Read: 9 insider tips for buying wine in Croatia]

If your wedding is in a hotel or a restaurant, staff is included in the price, like cooks and waiters. However, if your wedding venue does not have staff, you must hire them by yourself. Your best bet is to ask your catering company if they have staff that can work at your wedding.

The wedding cake must also be ordered separately. You can order it in a pastry shop of your choosing or from individual pastry chefs who specialize in wedding cakes. Again, book them on time, as the ones that make the most delicious cakes are booked a few months ahead.

Lights and smoke

If you want your wedding to have a wonderful ambiance, you should hire a company that provides lights and smoke effects. The dance floor will be filled with interesting light shows while your guests enjoy music. Smoke is especially important for a couple’s first dance, and couples in Croatia love these effects in their photos.

Flowers

Flower arrangements and decoration are a huge part of the wedding organization and make a major impact on everyone’s experience. You must decide what type of wedding arrangement you want, what flowers and colors you prefer, and if you want flowers at every table or just at the bride and groom’s table.

All of this can be discussed with a florist beforehand. The same florist can create your wedding bouquet, and it is usually included in the decoration price.

Photographer

Right after you hire music, you must look for a photographer because the good ones get booked very fast and a lot in advance. For your Croatian wedding, you have the option to find a local photographer, or you can hire a photographer for destination weddings and pay for them to fly to Croatia.

Croatia has outstanding photographers in every city, so look for the one whose style resonates with you and discuss your preferences for photo locations. Collaborate with your photographer to create a photography timeline and ensure all the essential moments are captured beautifully.

Most importantly, find someone who will understand your style and wishes and capture your memories in your preferred style. The best way to find a photographer is to search on Google or Instagram or let us help you with recommendations. Our team can streamline the vendor selection process and coordinate all the details.

Hair and makeup

The major parts of your outfit as a bride are hair and makeup. In Croatia, a bride and her bridesmaids often hire the same hairstylists and makeup artists and have them come to the hotel or home of a bride.

Read reviews and recommendations before you choose hair and makeup for your wedding. Look at their photos on social media, and discuss with them what you want for your hair and makeup. Many hairstylists and makeup artists also offer trial makeup and hair for the bride so they can see what fits them best.

The groom should also consider his hairstyle. Make sure to schedule a visit to a barber the day before the wedding so that you are happy with your look.

6. Buy a wedding dress and a suit

Finding the perfect wedding dress is a highlight for many brides-to-be. Explore reputable bridal boutiques and designers in Croatia to find a gown that makes you feel radiant and confident on your special day. Also, plan the time for the groom and bridal party to find their outfits too.

Here are some famous Croatian wedding dress designers to consider:

The groom’s outfit is equally important, and shopping for a perfect suite can be done in many places in Croatia. Most shopping malls have stores where you can buy suits, especially if you are looking for something more casual, but Croatia also has excellent designers who can make tailored suits for you.

Here are some of them:

7. Order gifts for guests

A sweet gesture that is part of every Croatian wedding is the tradition of giving gifts to your guests. These are small items like pictures, cookies, chocolates, bracelets, and similar. They include a short thank you message for guests or the names of the bride and groom.

Guests are always looking forward to these, and the couple’s creativity is best expressed through these thoughtful gifts. If you don’t know what would be a great gift idea for your guests, here are some examples:

  • Bombonjera (candy box)
  • Fotografija (photograph)
  • Kava (coffee) – learn about the tradition of drinking coffee here
  • Kolačići (cookies)
  • Krunica (rosary)
  • Lavanda (lavender) – learn about the lavender tradition here
  • Licitarsko srce (colorful, honey-based biscuits beautifully decorated)
  • Lizalica (lollipop)
  • Magnet (magnet)
  • Mirisna svijeća (scented candle)
  • Privjesak (pendant)
  • Sukulent (succulent)
  • Začini (sices)
  • Čokolada (chocolate)
  • Šalica (mug)

[Read: How to give a gift to a Croatian on different occasions]

8. Book a honeymoon

When your wedding is all set and ready to happen, you can also start thinking about the honeymoon. Croatia is an ideal honeymoon destination, with various options in every corner of the country. You can explore the islands, Istria, the Northern region, or even mountains and lakes.

Your honeymoon can be filled with excellent dining experiences and wine tastings, but it can also be dedicated to your time alone by the beach, watching the sunset views, or enjoying wellness at thermal spas. Another great option is a road trip, which can include all the magical corners of Croatia.

[Read: Why Croatia is a country of natural wellness and soul food]

9. Celebrate!

Finally, it’s time to celebrate your love and commitment surrounded by family and friends. Embrace the beauty of Croatia and cherish each moment as you embark on this new chapter together.

[Read: How to attend a Croatian wedding]

How much does a wedding in Croatia cost?

Weddings in Croatia can be more affordable than in some other Western countries, but they are very expensive for a regular Croatian. Even attending a wedding can be expensive when you consider the gift, the outfit, and the money spent to get to and from a location. Consider all this when organizing a destination wedding because your guests will have to spend more money on travel than if they go to a local wedding.

Wedding venues in Croatia charge an average of 50 to 150 euro per person, and this is only for food and drinks. The price depends on the day of the week and time of the year. The price of a photographer, music, light and smoke effects, wedding planner, etc., add up pretty quickly. Just a wedding cake can cost from 300-400 euro and up.

Music costs between 2.000 and 4.000 euro, while a photographer can cost from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand. It depends on how long you want a photographer to stay at your wedding, whether a video is included, the number of photographers, if you have a package that includes prints, etc.

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Tiny tip

Most wedding services require advanced payment of at least 10%.

The average cost of a wedding in Croatia, based on the average price and approximately 100 guests, is around 15.000 – 20.000 euro.

Where is the best place to get married in Croatia?

The best place to get married in Croatia depends on your personal preferences and if you are emotionally tied to a certain location. You can get married on the beach, on top of the viewpoint, or in a luxurious restaurant. Here are some of the most popular wedding destinations in Croatia.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is famous for its historic old town, ancient city walls, and Game of Thrones recording. Getting married in Dubrovnik offers a romantic backdrop of Baroque architecture, cobblestone streets, and the shimmering Adriatic Sea.

[Read: UNESCO monuments of culture and nature in Croatia]

Hvar

With its glamorous reputation and vibrant nightlife, the island of Hvar is a favorite destination for couples seeking a trendy wedding location. Hvar has stunning beaches, lavender fields, and elegant Venetian architecture, making it the perfect romantic setting for your wedding in Croatia.

[Read: The meaning of lavender for Croatia]

Plitvice Lakes National Park

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Plitvice Lakes National Park offers a truly magical backdrop for a wedding ceremony. Getting married amidst cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests creates an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.

[Read: Visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvička jezera)]

Rovinj

Nestled on the Istrian Peninsula, Rovinj is a charming coastal town with colorful buildings and Venetian-style architecture. Exchange vows overlooking the sparkling waters of the Adriatic Sea, or choose a romantic vineyard setting surrounded by lush greenery.

[Read: 5 things to do in Istria, Croatia]

Split

Split is renowned for its ancient Roman ruins, bustling waterfront promenade, and vibrant atmosphere. Exchange vows in the historic Diocletian’s Palace, or choose a scenic seaside venue with panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea.

[Read: 5 things I love about Split]

Zagreb

Zagreb, the Croatian capital city, combines historic charm with modern sophistication, offering a variety of venues for couples to tie the knot. From elegant palaces and historic churches to trendy rooftop terraces and chic boutique hotels, Zagreb provides endless possibilities for a memorable wedding celebration.

[Read: 17 things to do in Zagreb when it rains]

Get help with paperwork or wedding planning

Preparing to marry in Croatia is tedious, whether you live in Croatia or are planning a destination wedding. As we’ve explained above, the necessary paperwork can vary depending on your nationalities and the location in Croatia where you wish to marry, and quite frankly, to complicate things more, the requirements can differ between registrar offices.

No need to stress though, let us help you right from the start. During your 30-minute chat with our wedding expert, we can answer all of your questions, help you sort out exactly what documents you need to provide, guide you on timelines (they can be tricky), connect you with local vendors, and make planning your wedding in Croatia a breeze.

What is the cost?

The cost for this consultation and guidance service is 150 euro VAT included (25% tax mandated by the Croatian government).

What is included?

A 30 minute consulting call with our wedding (and bureaucracy) expert, who will give you advice based on your specific situation and needs to help you navigate your Croatian nuptials.

An additional 30 minutes of follow-up personal research on whichever point you decide to be of utmost importance. It could be about the destination, the venue, the photographer, attire… We will put together a list of vendors specifically for you.  You won’t get a Google listing from us – we will call and vet each referral personally before they get added to your list.

As an added bonus, you will also receive a customized Croatian wedding checklist covering all the wedding & bureaucratic “must dos” before you can say “I do”.

Ready to book?

To schedule your personalized session, complete the below form.

Reviews

Here are the reviews of our happy customers. If you have seen enough, contact us here.

View our other Croatian culture posts

Frequently asked questions

Who pays for the wedding in Croatia?

Traditionally, in Croatia, the wedding cost is split between the bride and groom families. However, since weddings are expensive, it is common for the wedding cost to be covered with the money the couple receives from wedding gifts.

Sometimes, the amount is enough to cover the wedding, and the couple is left with some money they can spend on their new home or honeymoon. Sometimes, this money is not enough to cover the cost, and the couple has to pay from their own pocket.

Is it easy to get married in Croatia?

Once you collect the paperwork and visit the registrar’s office or religious officiant, the wedding is scheduled in a few easy steps. Getting married is not hard, but planning a wedding can be challenging. This is why we have exceptional wedding planners who can help you if you fill out this form.

How do I legally get married in Croatia?

To legally get married in Croatia, you must provide legal documents and schedule a wedding at the registrar’s office. In this section, we explain the documentation and additional resources.

Can you get married on a beach in Croatia?

Yes, if you are having a civil wedding, you can additionally pay for your wedding ceremony to be held at the beach or any other desired location. A registrar can come to your preferred location, but you will pay for the cost of their travel and their time. Learn more in this guide.


Sources:

Koliko košta vjenčanje by Amadea Krajnovic
Koliko košta svadba? by Paula Hađur
Najljepše vjenčanice nose potpis domaćih dizajnera by Grazia Croatia
Vjenčanje na Plitvičkim jezerima
Marriage by e-Građani

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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