Mexico is one of the most popular choices for a destination wedding. It’s home to thousands of miles of gorgeous beaches, excellent weather, historic ruins, incredible resorts, and so much more. If you’re thinking of having your destination wedding in Mexico, you have a dizzying amount of incredible location options to choose from. To help you understand your options, we’ve put together this guide to planning your destination wedding in Mexico. In addition to covering where you should get married, we’ll also cover the best time of year for a destination wedding in Mexico, whether you should get a wedding planner, and all the health and legal requirements you’ll need to know.
1. Where to Get Married (West & East Coast)
When you’re searching for a wedding venue in Mexico, you first have to make a major decision: do you want to get married on the west or the east coast? There are beautiful locations on both sides of the country— it’s just a matter of narrowing down what would work best for you.
For some people, the coastal decision comes down to their preference between the Pacific Ocean (on the west coast) and the Caribbean (on the east coast). Some people consider the Caribbean to be more beautiful than the Pacific Ocean, but the west coast does have its advantages. For example, if you live on the west coast of the US, you’ll have a very short trip (with very affordable flight prices) if you head to the west coast of Mexico.
Another thing that might affect your decision between the west and east coast is the city you’re interested in. On the west coast, the most popular cities for a destination wedding are Cabo San Lucas, Huatulco, and Puerto Vallarta. On the east coast, most people choose between Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. For those who don’t already have a city in mind, let’s take a quick look at the big draws of each of these cities:
Cabo San Lucas: Gorgeous beaches, stunning coastal landscapes, excellent fishing, and many upscale resorts.
Huatulco: Beautiful beaches and bays, lots of richly green vegetation, and many all-inclusive resorts.
Puerto Vallarta: Nuevo Vallarta (the exceptionally clean beach area) and Old Town (the charming city area that also offers many jungle excursions).
Cancun: Sparkling white beaches, an active nightlife, and ancient Mayan Ruins.
Playa del Carmen: Laid back atmosphere, city locations, and proximity to famous attractions (Chichen Itza, Xcaret Park, Tulum Ruins, and Xel Ha Park).
Tulum: Stunning beaches and a highly secluded atmosphere.
2. Best Time of the Year
Mexico has beautiful weather all year round but it does have a rainy season from June to October. While you may want to avoid the rainy season, know that it often only rains for a short portion of the day during the rainy season and booking during this time can save you quite a bit of money.
The busy season in Mexico covers the times of the year when children are out of school, such as the Christmas holidays, Easter, and spring and summer. While you don’t have to avoid these times, know that it can be more expensive to travel to and stay in Mexico during this time.
For those who want to avoid the rainy and high seasons, we’d recommend booking your wedding sometime between November and April (while avoiding booking during any holidays).
3. Wedding Planner
Do you need a wedding planner for your destination wedding in Mexico? It’s optional, but we’d lean toward saying yes. Hiring a local wedding planner for your destination wedding can be a huge help. They can help you find the perfect venue and vendors and can coordinate with people locally.
While hiring a wedding planner can make your wedding planning much easier, you certainly don’t have to. If you are excited about finding everything yourself (or maybe you’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico and already have venues and vendors in mind), you can plan your wedding on your own.
You can also choose to have your wedding at an all-inclusive resort that offers a wedding planner or coordinator as a part of their wedding package. This is a very popular option for couples who are getting married in Mexico, as many venues offer a package with planning or coordinating options included.
4. Venue Options
There are many, many wedding venues to choose from in Mexico. To help you decide where you’ll get married, let’s take a look at the kinds of venues you’ll find in Mexico.
All-Inclusive Hotels or Resorts
Choosing an all-inclusive hotel or resort for your destination wedding is perhaps the most popular option. Why? When you choose to get married at an all-inclusive location, there’s very little to worry about. Your package will cover your ceremony, officiant, flowers, food, drinks, and can even include a wedding coordinator (as we mentioned in our last section).
Private Location Wedding
If you want to have a wedding that’s a bit more intimate, you might consider getting married at a private location, such as a villa. Not only is this option more private, but it’s also more customizable, which can be a big draw for couples who want something more personal than a resort wedding.
There are many stunning, historic chapels in Mexico that are perfect for a Catholic wedding. And there are many resorts that are home to chapels, so if you’re interested in both an all-inclusive and a chapel wedding, you’ll have multiple options to choose from.
Cenotes are a gorgeous option for those who want to have their ceremony in a unique, non-beach location. Located in the jungle, these beautiful pools of water make a stunning backdrop for a wedding.
5. Health Requirements and Legal Considerations
Like most countries, Mexico has some specific legal requirements to keep in mind if you want to get legally married in the country. But something unique to Mexico is that they also have a health requirement: non-residents who want to get married in Mexico need to provide some blood test results. Both the bride and groom will need to provide proof of their blood type and proof that they do not have HIV or syphilis. And this blood work can’t be from a US or UK lab, it must be done in Mexico. Additionally, some Mexican states also require chest x-rays.
On the legal front, know that religious ceremonies aren’t legally valid in Mexico. Weddings must be civil to be legally recognized. You don’t have to be a citizen of Mexico to have a civil ceremony there, and at the time of this posting, civil marriages in Mexico are legally recognized in both the US and the UK. You will need 4 witnesses, however, so make sure they have valid passports with them for the big day.
If you’re planning to get legally married in Mexico, you’ll also need to provide some documents. You’ll need to bring your birth certificates and if you’re widowed or divorced, you’ll need to bring a death certificate or divorce decree. (Note: You have to have been legally divorced for at least a year to get re-married in Mexico).
If you do want to get legally married in Mexico, it’s a good idea to ask your wedding planner about all these legal and health requirements well in advance of your wedding (or do some research on your own) to make sure you’re all set for your wedding day. Of course, if you don’t want to jump through all these health and legal hoops, you can always get legally married in your home country and simply have your ceremony in Mexico.