Over the past decade, the Riviera Maya has grown in reputation as a dream wedding location. As the costs of traditional weddings soar, it's often a simple task of mathematics to realise that it would be cheaper to get married in paradise. Legally binding, but against a backdrop of white sands, a turquoise sea and palm trees. Does it get more sublime and romantic than that?
So many people choose to marry here that wedding packages, planners, stores and all of the other associated services have become big business. There will be no shortage of professional people ready to help you arrange your big day. In Cancun, especially, there are hundreds of locations licensed to hold weddings. You can download a PDF on the Cancun Travel Information site, which shows you a selection of them.
But first the boring stuff - the legalities! First check that a marriage in Mexico will be recognized in your own country. For heterosexual couples, this isn't usually a problem. For homosexual couples, you may find that your own government will not consider your union to be valid. There have been reports that the Australian authorities will even withhold travel permits, for those citizens who are planning a same sex wedding abroad. Either way, a legal wedding in Mexico will result in a marriage certificate, verified by the Registrar's Office.
If all is good, then you will need to bring certain documents:
Documents Required for Civil Office
- Home address and occupations (bride & groom)
- Birth certificates (Original or certified copy of each one)
- Valid passports (Although passports are not required for US citizens for entry into Mexico, they are mandatory for weddings)
- Original blood test (to determine blood type, HIV and STD). Tests must be taken at the resort and results are ready within 24 hours (Fee of approximately $50.00 per person applies)
- Original or certified copy of former spouse's death certificate (if applicable)
- Original divorce decree (if applicable)
- Legal documentation of adoption or name change (if applicable)
- Tourist ID (provided by customs upon your arrival at Cancun International Airport)
- Name, age, nationality, home address, occupation, driver’s licence or passport and tourist ID of 4 witnesses. Witnesses must arrive two (2) days prior to ceremony. If witnesses are not available, we will provide them.
- Bride and Groom must arrive to Cancun at least 3 working days prior to the wedding ceremony to meet with the wedding coordinator and submit all documents. Ceremony will not be performed unless all documents are in order. (no exceptions)
** Do Not Send Documents by Mail **
-Reservations should be made in advance to guarantee preferred wedding date. -Mexican registry office is only open from Monday through Saturday
-Dress code: Formal or Semi-formal, no shorts or bathing suits
Source: Cancun Mexico Weddings
Once the legalities are dealt with, then there is a wealth of details to determine. Will you marry in a hotel, on the beach, in a Maya village, on a golf course, in a sacred place or maybe at Chichén Itzá itself? The list is endless! Though a religious ceremony may require extra documentation and a minister.
Requirements for a Catholic marriage in Cancun are:
Source: Cancun Travel
- Certificates of baptism
- Certificates of confirmation
- Permission of the selected church
- Two witnesses
- A passport-size photo of both the bride and groom
- Prenuptial counseling attended by both the bride and groom
For all other religious marriages, it is better to check with the local representatives. The Cancun places of worship are listed here.
Of course, some people like to have more than one ceremony; and why not? It's their big day!
This photograph was taken from the roll of Nina and Anesh. They opted to have both a traditional Maya ceremony and a Hindu wedding, though on different days!
With documentation ready and location chosen, your next step is to organize your wedding. For those traveling miles to marry in paradise, it might be worth hiring a local wedding planner. A simple search on the internet will provide you with pages of links to them. Alternatively, if you wished to arrange matters yourself, the same search will provide everything from florists to satellite link video producers, who ensure that those back home share in the day.
Tempting, isn't it? Happy Valentine's Day all!