Destination weddings are becoming more and more popular, with many couples choosing to keep their guest list limited in order to have their wedding in a beautiful, exotic location. It’s a great way to have your closest friends and family attend your wedding in an amazing location away from home and also throw in a little vacation for them at the same time. One of the most popular places for people to have destination weddings is Mexico. There are so many different, wonderful locations that all offer stunning views, unbeatable beaches, incredible year-round weather and amazing resorts that offer destination wedding packages to fit your every need.
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Mexico is home to many fantastic locations for destination weddings, from world-famous beaches to cities steeped with culture and history. The majority of Mexican destination weddings are held on the beach or by the water and are perfect for those seeking a tropical getaway experience. However, if the city is more your scene, Mexico City is an international hub for art, food and business. Mexico is also home to ancient Mayan ruins such as Chichen Itza and Tulum, offering a peek into the rich history of the country. It is ideally located for United States-based guests, and easily accessible for guests coming from Europe and Latin America as well. Mexico is a great choice for your destination wedding, particularly if you are interested in an exotic beach wedding.
There are so many beautiful destinations in Mexico that would be lovely for your destination wedding. Following is a list of some of the most popular destination wedding locations in Mexico.
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is located at the tip of Baja California Sur, right where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most popular resort towns for tourists and destination weddings, thanks to its amazing beaches, dramatic coastal views, excellent fishing and outstanding resorts and spas. Todos Santos, a small town known for its excellent surfing, is just an hour’s drive away from Cabo and is a perfect location for those wanting a Cabo wedding without the hubbub of the big resort city.
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Cancun is situated in the Yucatan Peninsula, just north of the Caribbean coast resort region known as the Riviera Maya. Cancun is known for its gorgeous white sand Caribbean beaches, ancient Mayan ruins and thriving nightlife. It’s the ideal spot for destination wedding planners who want to have the perfect mix of beach, partying and culture.
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Isla Mujeres is a tiny, 5-mile long island located in the Caribbean sea, just 8.1 miles northeast of Cancun. Thanks to its small size, it has a lovely small-town vibe and isn’t as busy or crowded as the more touristy areas of the Riviera Maya. Isla Mujeres is home to the largest underwater museum on the planet as well as amazing sea caves, drawing divers of all levels to explore its reefs and incredible underwater nature. From May to September, giant sea turtles lay their eggs on the beaches, creating a unique and unparalleled wedding photo opportunity if your wedding happens to coincide with the hatching season.
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The capital of the nation, Mexico City, is a popular destination wedding location thanks to its busy city life combined with its rich heritage and culture. Immerse yourself in the history of Mexico by visiting Tenochtitlan, an ancient Aztec ruin, or one of the many churches or museums in the historic city center. There is also a thriving, trendy nightlife scene in Mexico City, making it a great place to hold your destination wedding.
Photo Credit: IIT Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is situated on the western coast of Mexico against the Pacific Ocean and Mexico’s largest natural bay. This is a nature lover’s paradise, with plenty of ocean and water excursions as well as jungle adventures such as zip lining and bungee jumping. There’s gorgeous views of both water and mountains, offering excellent backdrops for your destination wedding.
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Best Time To Go
The majority of Mexico’s beachside towns have pleasant, warm, humid weather year-round. The rainy hurricane season typically lasts from June to October. However, each area of Mexico is different. Be sure to check your specific location’s average weather for the time you want to go. It would be wise to avoid the high seasons, which includes Christmas, Easter and the spring break and summer months when children are not in school.
Photo Credit: Rocky Point Mexico
If your goal is to have the picturesque beach wedding with clear blue skies, even clearer turquoise water and white sandy beaches, the best time to go would be between November and April, when there is not much rain.
Do I Need A Wedding Planner?
One of the main draws of planning a destination wedding in Mexico is that there are plenty of resorts and hotels in each of the most popular locations. The majority of these resorts, especially the all-inclusive resorts, offer wedding packages that oftentimes include an onsite wedding planner or coordinator. These onsite planners and coordinators are all very experienced and have trusted vendors that you can work with. If you already have a place and venue in mind for your destination wedding, chances are you aren’t going to need to hire a third party planner because your venue will already offer this service.
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If, however, you know you want to have your destination wedding in Mexico but have no idea where to start, hiring a third party planner may be a good idea so that she can be in charge of researching different options based on your needs and criteria and she can help you book all the travel and accommodations. Keep in mind that if you are going to hire a third party planner that you will most likely still have to work with your venue’s coordinator as well and this adds another level of communication.
When And How To Send Invitations
One of the main features of a destination wedding is the small guest list. Only your closest and most important friends and family members make the cut, and these are also generally the people who will absolutely attend your wedding no matter what. Even though you know these people will almost definitely attend, it is still wise to follow proper wedding invitation etiquette and send out Save The Dates as well as regular invitations.
Traditionally, Save The Date notifications are sent out about six to eight months before your wedding date. Save The Dates are a general courtesy to let your guest list know that they need to keep that date or weekend clear in their calendars. If you plan to have a destination wedding, it is even more important to send out Save The Dates because your guests will most likely have to clear out a few extra days, if not a whole week, in order to attend your wedding. Therefore, it is a good idea to send your Save The Dates out even earlier than normal, about nine months to a year in advance if you already have the wedding date set and venue booked. This way, your guests will have enough time to save up a little extra money and vacation time so that they can enjoy your destination wedding with you. You may want to remind your guests to check their passports’ validity at this time so that they have ample time to renew their passports if needed.
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The actual wedding invitation can be sent much closer to the wedding date. Traditional weddings typically send out invitations about six to eight weeks before the date. For a destination wedding, you’ll want to send out your invitations about three to four months before the date so that your guests have time to finalize their travel arrangements and verify with their workplaces that they have those vacation days blocked out. Most destination weddings involve the guests paying for their own travel and hotel accommodations. If you are planning to go this route, you will need to inform your guests on these invitations that this is the expectation in a kind, yet firm manner.
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The beauty of having a destination wedding is that you automatically have a theme for your big day. Whether you have a beach wedding or a city wedding in Mexico, you can easily tailor your Save The Dates and invitations to fit the theme. For example, nautical colors and beach-related things would be perfect for your Mexican beach fiesta. Or, include images of ancient ruins to give your guests a hint at what’s in store for them when they arrive in Mexico City. You can really let your wedding’s personality shine in your invitations, so get creative!
When To Start Booking
The first thing you need to do when planning your destination wedding in Mexico is pick a date and a venue. Ideally you will book your venue about a year in advance. Next, you will need to start booking your travel and hotel accommodations. If you are having your wedding at a hotel or resort, your venue will most likely have a wedding package that includes a coordinator that will help you determine your accommodation needs and will help you get a discounted rate for booking a block of hotel rooms. If you are not having your wedding at a hotel or resort, you will need to find a hotel for you and all your guests to stay at and reserve a group hotel block on your own by working with the hotel’s reservation specialists. Although your guests are expected to pay for their own hotel rooms, it is highly convenient for you to already have the group block held so that your guests will receive the discounted rate and all the rooms will be together. This step should be done right around when you send out the Save The Dates so that your guests can get started with accommodations right away if they are so inclined. If any of your guests RSVP saying they definitely cannot attend, you can immediately inform your hotel of the change in room requirements. Maintain a constant stream of communication with the venue throughout your whole wedding planning process so that you are all on the same page and things are efficient and streamlined.
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Next, you will need to book your flights. According to a study conducted by CheapAir.com, the best time to book your flights to Mexico is 89 days before your travel date. A good practice would be to set price alerts on the flights you are interested in so that you have a good general idea of what a typical airfare will cost. When the price reaches a number that you are happy with, go ahead and book it! Your guests will be responsible for booking their own flights.
Destination Wedding Etiquette
Just because you are holding a destination wedding doesn’t mean that the traditional rules of wedding etiquette don’t apply. One of the most common questions about destination weddings is who pays for what? Typically, the guests pay for their own travel and hotel arrangements. The bride pays for her bridal party’s hotel rooms, while the groom pays for his groomsmen’s rooms. However, if this is too much for your expected wedding budget, you can ask your wedding party to consider their travel costs to be a wedding gift to you. The bride and groom or their parents are also responsible for paying for the reception, rehearsal dinner, welcome party and a morning-after brunch. It would also be a nice touch for you to pay for a few group activities and transportation to and from the airport and wedding. If you have invited any guests who are struggling financially, it would be a good idea to offer to help them out so that they are able to attend.
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Communication is key when it comes to planning and executing the dream destination wedding. Make sure you are open and communicative with your wedding party so that you are all on the same page about dates, timelines, costs, events and attire. If you all have the same understanding of these things, your destination wedding will be a success.
Guest attire is another thing that strays from the norm in a destination wedding. If you are having a tropical beach wedding in Cancun, you shouldn’t expect your guests to be wearing full formalwear. A good way to ensure all your guests pack the proper attire for your destination wedding is to include your expectations on the invitations and on your wedding website, if you have one.
Regardless of where you are having your destination wedding in Mexico, the weather is generally warm and balmy year-round. Check the weather for the dates you are going to be there so that you can pack accordingly. Here is a basic packing list for a tropical beach wedding in Mexico:
- A valid passport
- Wedding attire
- Bathing suits
- Beach cover-ups
There are some things that you cannot bring into Mexico that you should advise your guests of in case their wedding gifts involve these items. Do not bring any fresh produce, meats, seeds, soils or anything agricultural with you to Mexico.
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Many hotels and resorts in the most popular Mexico destinations offer wedding packages to suit your needs. To give you a general idea of what you can expect for these packages to include, here are a few of the top wedding hotels in Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Mexico City.
Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun
Signature Wedding – $3,999 with a minimum 4 night stay
- Wedding ceremony location
- Personal wedding planner
- Justice of the Peace or Non Denominational
- Minister to perform legal, symbolic or vow-renewal ceremonies
- Marriage certificate for civil ceremonies (documents issued in Spanish)
- Special butler service on the day of the ceremony
- Domestic sparkling wine
- Signature themed wedding cake
- Signature themed Bridal Bouquet
- Signature themed Boutonniere
- $400 USD coupon redeemable for Dream Art packages of $3,000 USD or more
- Videographer (25 minute DVD of the ceremony)
- Solo violinist during the ceremony (45 minutes)
- Special breakfast in bed the morning after the ceremony4
- One Le Blanc Signature totes
- Two Le Blanc Signature bathrobes
- A honeymoon dinner for two during the say
Exclusive for the Bride
- Private Bridal dressing suite
- Bridal hair style
- Bridal make-up
- Le Blanc manicure
- Le Blanc pedicure
- Blanc Water Journey (60 minutes)
- Organic white curtains for gazebo
- Barley décor with natural white Cymbidium
- Glass ceremony podium with a French Shantu overlay
- One natural Cymbidium Orchid centerpiece
- Exquisite gold Tiffany chairs for ceremony2
- White organza sashes for Tiffany chairs2
- Six white flower pots with impeccably white long stem roses for the aisle
- One private function for two hours
- Four tables
- Exquisite gold Tiffany chairs for reception
- White organza sahes for Tiffany chairs
- Four silk Orchid arrangements with accompanying glass vases
- Frosted candle votives for table
- One natural flower centerpiece
- Gold charge plates
- Fine white china, silverware and glassware
- White silk table overlays
- French Shantu table runners
Photo Credit: Best Destination Wedding
Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas
- Romance Specialist to help plan and guide you through the process
- Five nights in beautiful accommodations of your choice with amazing ocean views and private plunge pool
- Welcome margaritas upon arrival
- A welcome amenity in your room upon arrival
- Wedding ceremony on the beach
- Minister to perform non-denominational ceremony in English (Please note, for a legal ceremony, there are requirements involved and additional fees apply.)
- Hair and make-up for the bride before the ceremony
- A private dinner for two on the beach under the stars one night during your stay (The private dinner for two is available on your private terrace or one of our restaurants during the months of June – October.)
- A bottle of champagne to toast your occasion
- Wedding cake for two
- Romantic rose petal turndown on the night of your ceremony
- Couples massage in Auriga spa during your stay, voted “The Best Hotel Spa in the World”
- Candlelight wine dinner for two in the private wine cellar at Don Manuel’s one night during your stay
- Dinner for two in our magical Cliffside Restaurant, El Farallon, one night during your stay
- Full breakfast for two each morning in our signature restaurant Don Manuel’s
- Round trip airport transfers to and from San Jose de Cabo airport (SJD) including a personal greeting by our airport host and escorted to your private car
Photo Credit: Capella Pedregal
Four Seasons Mexico City
- A suite for the bride and groom, a Deluxe room for the bride’s parents and a Deluxe room for the groom’s parents
- Special room rate for attendees
- Dinner for two at Reforma 500, including a bottle of fine Mexican wine
- Sample wedding menu tasting for six people
- Private room for the civil wedding
- Petits fours, cake and printed dinner menus
- Canapés at the beginning of the reception
- Flower arrangements for the dinner reception
- Traditional midnight Mexican Chilaquiles for 50 people
- Wedding gift
- Transportation to the airport for the newlyweds
- A charge for extra hours is applicable
- Applicable taxes, gratuities and corkage fees
Photo Credit: Four Seasons Magazine
What To Do After The Wedding
Marriage is a legal union between two people, and if you are not citizens of Mexico, you will need to make sure that your marriage is legally recognized in your home country. A civil marriage ceremony requires you to have the following:
- Completed marriage request form
- Original and copy of birth certificates translated into Spanish by a certified translator
- Valid passports
- Prenuncial certificate with proof of HIV-negative and blood type
- Divorce or death certificate (if applicable)
- Valid tourist cards
- Original and copy of official IDs of 4 witnesses
Your wedding planner or coordinator will most likely arrange a copy of your marriage license to be given to you immediately following the ceremony. The official, translated license that is recognized as valid internationally will be mailed to you within four months of the wedding.
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When you return to your home country, you will need to legally change your name (if you are planning to do so). You’ll need your original marriage license with the new last name on it. Start with Social Security, then the DMV, your bank accounts and any other places you have your last name on, such as bills, payroll, insurance and your doctor.
Destination Wedding Planning Timeline
We know that planning your dream wedding in Mexico can seem overwhelming, so we’ve put together a typical timeline of events to help you stay on track.
12 months before your wedding day
- Determine your wedding budget
- Start thinking about your guest list
- Choose your magical destination
- Hire a wedding planner (if you want one in addition to your resort’s planner)
- Start thinking about color schemes, décor, flowers and attire
6 to 8 months before your wedding day
- Order your wedding dress, shoes and other accessories
- Work with the hotel wedding planner to book all vendors
- Consult your planner regarding guest accommodations
- Finalize guest list and send out Save The Date cards
- Register for wedding gifts
- Create a wedding website to keep your guests in the loop
Photo Credit: Concept Photography
4 to 6 months before your wedding day
- Start making honeymoon plans (if location is different from your wedding)
- Purchase wedding rings
- Finalize entire wedding party’s attire
- Book and confirm travel arrangements
- Place order for invitations
2 to 3 months before your wedding day
- Send out invitations
- Schedule menu and cake tastings with your venue if possible
- Place orders for décor and favors
- Gather all necessary paperwork and documents
- Ship all wedding-day items to the venue
- Create a seating chart
- Schedule a final dress fitting and a trial hair and makeup run
The week of your wedding
- Finalize seating charts, itineraries and other details with your planner
- Confirm and pack for your honeymoon
- Prepare your outfit and other necessary items
- Pamper yourself!
Photo Credit: Huffington Post