Have you decided to go to Mexico for your dream destination wedding? That’s SO exciting! Now, you might be feeling overwhelmed about where to start. As a destination wedding photographer and adventure connoisseur, I’m here to help! In this all-inclusive guide for how to plan your wedding in Mexico, I will help you make some decisions, answer some questions, and hopefully help you feel less overwhelmed. As someone who’s been a Mexico wedding photographer, I have some tips and tricks to help you out!
You might have already narrowed down your destination wedding to Mexico, but where are the best places to get married in Mexico? There are endless options, and that can get overwhelming. Luckily, I’ve narrowed it down to three beautiful options that will make you swoon! These are the top places to get married in Mexico:
There are so many options for where you can hold your wedding ceremony. In each of the cities I talked about above, there are even more decisions you need to make from there. A venue is the first place to start, and boy, there are lots of options!
Using a Luxury Villa as your venue allows you privacy and a lot of options to customize your wedding. Unlike most resorts, you will have the option to choose what vendors you want including the officiant, florist, food, music, and wedding planner. There’s a lot of flexibility with this option, and you don’t even have to worry about the party getting too noisy! Keep in mind that private villas often require you to rent out the villa for a certain amount of nights before they will be able to help you organize a wedding there.
You can look at doing a small and intimate wedding at an Airbnb, where your guests won’t need transportation to and from the venue. This option is a less expensive option than a luxury villa, and you still get the privacy. If you go this route, you will have to do a lot of the planning yourself, but that means you can customize it to exactly what you want! There are so many options including a small Airbnb where you and your spouse can stay leading up to (or after) the wedding. You can also rent a bigger place for your guests to stay with you!
Out of all of the options for venues, resorts are super popular because they’re just so darn easy. Resorts have wedding packages, and they have the planning portion of weddings down to a science. All you’ll have to do is show up. They know what all needs to go into your wedding and you won’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty. One con to getting married at a resort is that a lot of resorts have contracts with certain vendors, so you will have fewer options in what vendors you use. For those of us who get decision fatigue, that might not be such a bad thing. A couple of things to keep in mind are that the add-ons could add up, so make sure you are asking the right questions and only saying “yes” to what you really want! Also, at an all-inclusive resort wedding, you will have way less privacy than you would have at a private villa or an Airbnb.
Winter: Believe it or not, it actually gets cold in Mexico during the winter months. The average temperature between December and March is below 40℉. This would be a good time to have a more intimate wedding because there would be fewer people, but I would recommend looking for indoor wedding venues. If you want that sunny beach wedding, winter might not be the best time for you.
Spring: The clearest part of the year (that means more sun for your beautiful day) starts in April and goes all through the summer and into the fall. This would be a great time of year for that sunny beach wedding since the temperature is still cool, but not cold enough to freeze you out!
Summer: The hot months in Mexico are between June and August, but the average temperature is still pretty mild–around 70℉. Even though the temperature is not super hot on average, it is still extremely humid in the summer. If you plan a wedding for summer, I recommend planning one earlier in the day before the temperature gets too high.
Autumn: Like the spring, the autumn is another good time to plan a Mexico destination wedding. There are fewer clouds, less humidity, and the temperature isn’t too hot. Something to keep in mind is that hurricane season in Mexico is May through November, but most of the storms are later in summer and into fall.
This is a tricky question to answer, because a lot like domestic weddings, it depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for something simple on the beach with a couple of family members and friends, you can plan on a budget of anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000.
If you are looking for a full wedding with all of your family and friends with all of the bells and whistles, you are going to spend a lot more. A budget with a minimum of $30,000 is probably more realistic.
When planning a wedding, decorations are usually what cause the most headaches. You want the details to be perfect–it’s your wedding day, after all. Centerpieces, flower arrangements, linens–oh my! Typically the decor is what makes your wedding beautiful, but think of where you are planning your wedding. Mexico is gorgeous on its own. Your guests are going to be completely surrounded by beautiful beaches and sunshine. Along with it being beautiful in person, as your Mexico wedding photographer, I will be able to document all of the details and capture the memories!
With that said, venues and wedding planners will be able to help you with lots of choices when it comes to decorations. If you are on a budget, keep in mind that your wedding will be beautiful no matter what since you are in Mexico. Still thinking about bringing your own decor? Ship the decor ahead of time so you can save space in your suitcase!
Want to add some Mexican culture to your destination wedding in Mexico? There are a lot of options to sprinkle some of that in. Consider having Mexican cuisine, tequila shots, a Mexican-themed cake, or a mariachi band for the music. You can also add traditional Mexican decor like papel picado, centerpieces with Mexican details, or using bright colors. If you choose me as your Mexico wedding photographer, I will help you add details that will fit your vision!
The legalities of getting married in a different country from where you are a citizen can be tricky. If you want to get married in Mexico, there are a couple of options. Many people have a symbolic ceremony in Mexico with their friends and family, then handle the legal part at home. If you still prefer to do it the legal way all at once (in Mexico), there are a few documents that you will need. All of the following documents (except your passports) need to be translated by a certified translator and notarized.
In order for the wedding ceremony to be legally binding in Mexico, it has to be a civil wedding ceremony. If you want to use your own marriage officiant (that funny uncle or your best friend) to perform your ceremony, it will not be recognized as a legal union. Ordained or not, it will be considered a symbolic or religious ceremony instead of a civil wedding ceremony.
Wedding planning has multiple steps, and those steps might happen a lot earlier for planning a destination wedding.
Sending out the save the dates early is extremely important when inviting guests to a destination wedding. Guests have to plan accordingly and that includes clearing their schedule (like taking time off of work), planning accommodations like their flights and where they are staying, checking to make sure their passport is valid, and saving their money for the trip! For local weddings, the norm is sending the save the dates six to eight months before your wedding date. For destination weddings, the sooner the better. Nine to twelve months ahead of time is acceptable.
If you send your save the dates early, you can send the invitations for your destination wedding in Mexico three to four months before your big day. Get creative with your invites! Your guests want to know more about the magical day you are planning, and they’re most likely excited to celebrate with you.
Another pro-tip about your invitations for your destination wedding is to save one entire set of all of the stationary used for your wedding. This includes the save the date, invitation, and if you use nametags or other details. This is called a suite, and it’s a great detail for your Mexico wedding photographer to photograph! You can make this one more special or more detailed than the ones you send your guests since it will be in your album! This makes your invitation suite feel really special, once all is said and done.
With the plan for you and your guests to travel for the wedding, there are extra costs that need to be taken into consideration. Hotel and flight costs are not things that the couple is expected to pay for their guests, but be transparent with your guests on what they are going to have to cover. If you want to cover those costs, that’s totally fine too! It’s up to you what you want to cover.
If you are planning on optional activities outside of the wedding while in Mexico, you are not expected to pay for everyone. However, paying for an activity for everyone will encourage everyone to join you. Either way, you will have to organize the activities and communicate them with your guests. The sooner you let them know the group costs, the more likely they will be able to join you!
Just like any wedding, the wedding party will be expected to pay for their attire, hair, makeup, and anything else of that nature. If you want to cover any of those costs for your bridesmaids and groomsmen, that is up to you!
You might be a little nervous about planning a wedding from a distance, and a local Mexican wedding planner might ease your mind. Having someone there who speaks the language (if you don’t), and who knows the ins and outs of planning a wedding could make planning a lot less stressful.
Keep in mind that hiring a Mexican wedding planner will add to the final price of your wedding and will need to be added to your budget.
You can find flights and include the times and costs for your guests. If you do this, make sure to accommodate different budgets (some people will have a lower budget than others). Another thing you can do to make it convenient for your guests is to arrange transportation from the airport to the hotel for them.
You can incorporate Mexican music, food, or a Mexican dance!
Planning a destination wedding takes preparation and time. If you are inviting guests, you need to give them up to nine to twelve months’ notice! It’s not required by any means, but it does increase the likelihood of people showing up for you.
You will need a tourist permit to get married in Mexico, along with the other documents listed above!
Bringing outside vendors is encouraged for destination wedding couples for multiple reasons. First, you will be able to talk with your vendors without having to worry about things being lost in translation. Another reason is that having outside vendors will have new ideas and a new perspective on the venue. From a photographer’s standpoint, I can definitely say that visiting new places to photograph keeps me inspired with different lighting, cultures, and perspectives! You just need to make sure that your venue allows outside vendors. This is usually the first thing I recommend to couples planning a destination wedding.
If you’re looking for someone to photograph your Mexico destination wedding, I’m your girl! All of my clients get support with planning and documenting their special day. It also eases minds to know your Mexico wedding photographer has shot there before. My expertise will not only help you with selecting the perfect location, but I also help with the details and capture it. Want to chat more? Contact me to set up a time to find out more!
I’m Lexi! I am passionate about documenting eloping couples all over the globe, in a place that’s special to you. My approach to your day is as honest as you experience it + less of the stiff stuff. I’d love to hear what you’re dreaming up for your wedding day!