Getting Married In Mexico

JoAnne Gregoli

Mexico Tourism Board/November 6

In the twenty-first century, an era where many couples left in the past the idea of getting married and raising a family in exchange for preserving their freedom and independence, the possibility of organizing and conducting a wedding in a tourist destination (destination wedding) has become a reality for those who opt for saying yes to marriage, a market trend that exceeds all expectations.

According to a study developed by the Travel Industry Association of the Americas (2007), the number of American couples who choose a destination wedding has increased by 400% over the past ten years. The income in this segment exceeds (exceeds what) by 15% of those couples who opt for a traditional ceremony, which makes them a market worth exploring. In the case of Mexico, destination weddings represent a value of 2.4 billion dollars. This number is increasing and could reach 92% over the next 5 years, equivalent to the destination weddings market of 10 billion dollars, and if we add the honeymoon segment it can reach a total of 18 billion dollars.

If you’ve ever imagined how the big day will be for you and your partner, certainly you have seen yourself saying “I do” to the idea of celebrating the beginning of an important stage in your life with a wedding off the shores of crystal clear blue waters, while dolphins swim around you and your new spouse. What about a ceremony full of magic and mysticism among ancient ruins; or perhaps with a more traditional union, but in a luxurious ballroom facing the sea with mariachi music? This and much more is possible in Mexico.

The experience of planning destination weddings has allowed me to observe that the country offers a myriad of options with spectacular settings. One of the most impressive and successful weddings that I had the opportunity to coordinate throughout my career, was held in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, where thanks to the help of local suppliers I was able to achieve a magical event that extended into a four day wedding. The speed and efficiency needed in launching the event, in addition to those drops of extra warmth and joy that are the natural characteristics in the Mexican community. From the floral designer, to the judge who conducted the ceremony and all the employees in the resort, each party involved put in their greatest effort in making sure that everyone worked together perfectly.

My favorite place for weddings is not limited to Los Cabos; Mexico is full of destinations for couples seeking a special experience. Cancun and Puerto Morelos, for example, are two of the sites with increasing demand, with 5000 ceremonies held last year. This tops the ranking of the most popular, followed by the Riviera Maya, a region that is located 10.6 miles south of the airport and Cancun with 2617 which were held during 2007 civil ceremonies.

In this series of incredible places, we must add a site as special as Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco, where Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of the famous series “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” and the actor Freddie Prinze Jr. decided to unite their lives in 2002. I can’t forget Acapulco, which was the place where Elizabeth Taylor chose to marry film producer Mike Todd and celebrities and dignitaries such as Brigitte Bardot, John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, as well as Bill Clinton chose as their honeymoon spot.

For many Mexico is a magical place and appropriate to celebrate their “great day” and I think that is why 94% of couples who married in Mexico, do so in any of its beaches. However, it’s also valid to consider cities like La Paz and Loreto (Baja California Sur); Mexico City; Manzanillo (Colima), Copper Canyon (Chihuahua); Ixtapa (in the state of Guerrero), Guadalajara (Jalisco); Monterrey (Nuevo Leon); Oaxaca, Huatulco, Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido (Oaxaca); Cozumel (Quintana Roo), Mazatlan (Sinaloa) and Merida (Yucatan) as an option, offering breathtaking scenery, culture worthy of being explored, and the romantic aura that mark the ceremonies. These locations are irrestible magnets for Americans, who are the foreigners that most marry in Mexico.

Undoubtedly, the best way to have an unforgettable and stress free ceremony in Mexico, is to use the services of a wedding coordinator. The results will demonstrate that this is the money best spent in their lives. The expert you choose to hire will explain what legal documentation is necessary so the process can be carried out smoothly,  prepare the documents in both Spanish and English and arrange the civil and/or religious ceremony.

Another extremely attractive feature of considering a wedding in Mexico, is that thanks to a treaty between Mexico and the United States, civil marriages that take place in the Latin American country are automatically valid in both nations. However, one must take into account that this rule applies as long as they are carried out with the participation of a Mexican civil judge, as any other ceremony will have no legal effect.

Finally, the best advice I can give to American couples who are about take one of the most important steps in their life, is to remember that Mexico offers possibilities beyond your imagination.