Monday, March 4, 2024

Everything you need to know before planning your destination wedding in Mexico

By definition, destination weddings involve getting married far from home. Many couples in the U.S. are now choosing to have their wedding in Mexico because it is comfortable, and direct flights are available from most major cities. This means less travel time, lower airfare costs, and more vacation days for couples and guests. Mexico has transformed into a trendy destination for weddings due to its beaches, culture, cuisine, and world-famous hospitality. It also offers a wide range of wedding venues for all different price ranges. 

Many resorts in Mexico offer wedding packages that include the wedding ceremony and reception venues, catering, decorations, flowers and entertainment. Mexico is known for its rich cultural heritage, and having a wedding there allows you and your guests to experience it firsthand. You can arrange group outings for snorkeling, exploring ancient ruins, nightlife fun, or simply relaxing in a luxury spa. 

before organizing your wedding in Mexico, check all legal requirements. (Unsplash)

In addition, Mexico is recognized as one of the most same-sex-friendly destinations to tie the knot. LGBTQ+ couples are welcomed especially in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City and the Riviera Nayarit.

What are the top places for destination weddings in Mexico? 

  1. Riviera Maya: From stunning beach backdrops to luxury all-inclusive resorts or small hotels hidden in a lush jungle, the Riviera Maya is one of the most popular places in the world for a destination wedding. The tropical climate offers warm temperatures year-round, making it the perfect setting for outdoor ceremonies. In addition to its beaches, Riviera Maya is home to natural attractions such as cenotes, ecological parks and Mayan Ruins. In 2023, Tulum, a small town in Riviera Maya, ranked among US News’ top five most affordable destination wedding locations worldwide.
  2. Ensenada: This Baja California town is home to an amazing picturesque coastline, colorful sunsets, and beautiful landscapes, making it an ideal setting to exchange vows in a vineyard surrounded by the sounds of the ocean. Ensenada also offers snorkeling, zip-lining, and exploring the Valle de Guadalupe Wine Route. 
  3. San Miguel de Allende: The cobblestone streets and historic architecture create an atmosphere that captivates couples. Getting married in San Miguel provides entertainment, from exploring local artisan markets to savoring Mexican cuisine. 
  4. Cozumel: Located just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, weddings in Cozumel provide the perfect blend of adventure and beauty. Add some group activities to your celebration like scuba diving in the coral reef and exploring Mayan ruins.
  5. Mazatlán: Known as the Pearl of the Pacific, couples can take a romantic walk along its shores. Mazatlan offers water sports, eco-tours, and cultural experiences for the adventurous. If your wedding overlaps with the annual Carnival, join in with the party as locals dance to the Tambora in the streets.

How much does a destination wedding in Mexico cost?

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive most of the time. According to NerdWallet, the average couple spends almost $29,000 on a traditional wedding close to home. Destination couples spend an average of $6,700 on their wedding experience, which often includes the honeymoon. They will pay about $1,000 for airfare, $2,284 for accommodation (usually for around 7-10 days), and $3,417 for the wedding package. All-inclusive resort venues help to keep these costs low, as your hotel stay, décor, food and otherwise high-ticket items are rolled into one bundled price.

However, prices will vary depending on the region, the size of your guest list, and the wedding package you choose.

What are the legal requirements to get married in Mexico?

Knowing how to get married in Mexico is critical when planning a Mexican wedding because different states have additional marriage requirements. Here is what’s typically needed when having a legal wedding in Mexico:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older. If younger than 18, parental consent is required.
  • Proper documentation: You must present a birth certificate, passport, and tourist visa. Death and/or divorce certificates may also be required if applicable. If you’ve been previously married, you may need to wait a certain number of days before being legally allowed to re-marry in Mexico.
  • Early arrival: many Mexican states require you to arrive a few days before the wedding date to get a chest x-ray and blood test locally – to confirm that you are healthy and are not attempting to defraud your partner.
  • Witnesses: Four witnesses are needed to stand with you at the ceremony. Some resort venues can provide witnesses for you.
  • Marriage certificate: To be valid outside of the country, you’ll need to submit an applicable marriage form to your relevant Foreign Office/State Department. If having a religious ceremony, you must also partake in a civil service for your wedding to be legally recognized.

Once you’re officially married in Mexico, the next step is to ensure your marriage is legally recognized back home. To simplify things, many couples will hold a symbolic ceremony in Mexico and legalize their marriage in the United States/Canada afterward.

Camila Sánchez Bolaño is a journalist, feminist, bookseller, lecturer, and cultural promoter and is Editor in Chief of Newsweek en Español magazine.

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