I am not at all surprised that you have chosen to get married in Mexico. After all, it’s one of the top wedding destinations on the planet. There are plenty friendly people who speak English plus fabulous coastlines on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, with stunning beaches stretching 6,000 miles. The weather in Mexico is usually more than pleasant – Cancun has an average temperature of 82°F (28° C). You are spoilt for choice when you consider places like Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco. They are all prime destinations for getting married in Mexico.
The place is right but how on earth do you start planning it all? You want this occasion to be the most memorable one of your life. Your guests should leave with happy memories of a wonderful celebration in a gorgeous location. Here are 5 practical tips for planning this special event.
1. Wedding planner pros and cons
Many of the hotels at destination weddings venues already have a wedding planner or coordinator as part of the package. There are many advantages to this. You can leave lots of the nitty gritty details to them and they know the vendors and often can get great discounts. They have all the details about catering, photographers, florists, and also the hirers of any equipment that may be needed for the entertainment. They also know about things that you may just have forgotten to plan. You will be saved from all the hassle of invoices, contracts, and bank payments while enjoying the real anticipation and excitement of the event.
There are a few cons to also consider. There is the extra cost, of course, and you may have a limited budget. Wedding planners can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. You may feel a little detached from the whole thing as this is the happiest day in your life. You will also feel less in control.
As you are going to get married in Mexico, a wedding planning service offered by the hotel or another agency is the best option. It means that you will not have to deal with troublesome details, especially as you don’t live in Mexico!
2. Travel arrangements
The best thing to do is to plan a week or weekend away as a romantic break at your destination wedding venue several months before the event.
Whether you have a wedding planner or not, this is a great way to taste the food and wines or ask for different table settings. You will get a real feel for the hotel, the atmosphere, and the staff. If you are doing everything yourself, you will have to write a to-do list with appointments to see all the vendors and hirers.
Once the date is set, you need to give your guests plenty of time to book flights and take advantage of any discounts at the hotel of your choice. I know some wedding planners who recommend that you give people a minimum notice of four months. Google now have launched a great app called Destinations on Google to help you find flights — all with a tap and slide on your smartphone.
3. Legal questions to consider
Just in case you didn’t know, religious wedding ceremonies in Mexico are not considered valid for legal purposes. You have to go the civil route. Another possibility is to organize a simple registry office or religious wedding in your own country so that there are no legal hassles. Then you can all go off to Mexico for the big bash and have a symbolic ceremony there.
There is no legal requirement to be resident in Mexico before you marry there, but arriving a few days before the event to make sure all the documents are in order is wise. You do not need a special visa either to get married – a simple tourist visa is sufficient.
The other great advantage Mexico has is that there is no legal requirement to be resident in the country before the event. There is also good news in that according to the British Embassy website in Mexico, your marriage will be recognized in the UK and does not need to be registered when you are back home. In regard to US citizens, a civil wedding in Mexico is fully valid for legal purposes.
4. Getting the documents you will need
If you still want the actual ceremony in Mexico to be legal and you are a UK citizen, then you need to know that certain documents are needed to make your marriage perfectly legal. Make sure to ask the wedding planner if they have all these covered. These will include your birth certificates and a death certificate of an ex-spouse or divorce decree, if applicable. Divorcees should note that you have to wait at least a year before re-marrying in Mexico.
It will probably be your job to get all of these documents before you leave. If you are in doubt, you can check out the UK Foreign Office legalization website.
Don’t forget that you will need to have 4 witnesses at your official ceremony, so make sure that all their passports are valid.
5. Health requirements
The only requirement on the health front is that the authorities need blood tests results (for HIV, syphilis, and blood type) in Spanish before the ceremony takes place. There is no point in bringing your own blood test analysis from the UK or USA as these will not be accepted. You can arrange for these to be done in your hotel, so it’s not a big deal. It may cost up to $250. Some Mexican states also require chest x-rays.
Now that you have read what exactly is involved in getting married in Mexico, you can decide what is the best way to plan it all. Rest assured that it will be an unforgettable experience!
Featured photo credit: Carlos Mendoza Lima/Flickr via flickr.com