Mexican destination wedding

If you’re dreaming of a destination wedding in Mexico, then today’s guest post, brought to us by Gareth Davies Photography  is for you!

Getting married in the Mexican Riviera Maya is very common with foreign couples, and one of the most popular places in the world for destination weddings. I am sure it comes as no surprise, many foreigners get engaged here and seek to have their destination wedding in one of the abundant locations in Mexico, be it on the pristine beaches in the Riviera Maya, in a majestic colonial house in Merida, Yucatan or in a lush garden setting in Cuernavaca, Morelos. Something the Mexican wedding scene doesn´t lack are stunning wedding venues.

Read the full post after the cut!

Your destination wedding ceremony in Mexico can be divided into multiple categories, but here we divide them into 4 of the most common:

1. A Civil Wedding
2. A Symbolic Wedding
3. A Religious Catholic Wedding
4. A Mayan Wedding
5. Same-Sex Weddings

Mexican destination wedding ceremony

A Civil Wedding

First things first, before you progress onto looking at various wedding options available to you. You will very likely be required to have a Civil Wedding, be it in Mexico or in your or your partners home country. If you intend on having a religious wedding to celebrate your main wedding in Mexico, many priests will request your legal certificate of marriage from your civil ceremony, or at least proof of your civil wedding if it is going to be after your main wedding day.

If you are a foreigner and are having your Civil Wedding in Mexico, the documents you need may vary from state to state, but typically the requirements are:

1. Your Passport, original and 2 copies.
2. Your Birth Certificate appostilled in your home country and certified in Mexico. In certain cases it will need to be translated, depending on the region you are getting married.
3. Original and copy of your migration document; your Tourist Permit, Residencia Temporal, or Residencia Permanente.
4. Medical Certificate (to be done 15 days prior to the civil wedding, MUST be done in Mexico).
5. 4 Witnesses, each with 2 forms of official identification.
6. If you are divorced or widowed, you will also need to present originals and copies of the respective documents and have them apostilled and translated where necessary.

A civil wedding in Mexico is 100% legally binding and valid anywhere in the world. If you are uncertain about these requirements or need a Wedding Planner to help coordinate a civil wedding for you, contact me, and I can recommend wedding planners that can assist you with this process.

exotic bouquet with feathers

A Symbolic Wedding

Many destination weddings in the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos commonly fall under this umbrella. A Symbolic or non-religious wedding is generally conducted by an officiant or minister, and are very common amongst foreigners for weddings on the beach, hotel resorts and colonial homes in Merida, Yucatan, for example. It is not necessary for the bride or groom to have or share the same religious beliefs for a non-religious wedding.


A Symbolic wedding or non-religious wedding will generally require your passports in original form and copies, but this will depend on the region and officiant or minister. If you need a recommendation on a wedding planner who can help coordinate a non-religious ceremony for your destination wedding, contact me, and I can advise you accordingly.

Catholic ceremony for a Mexican destination wedding

A Religious Catholic Wedding

Mexico is a very Catholic country, and the chances are, your partner is also Catholic. So what is the process for getting married in Mexico if you aren’t Catholic?

Just because your partner is Catholic, doesn’t mean you need to convert your religious beliefs. Nowadays, it is common to have what is known as a “Mixed Wedding” in a Catholic church or chapel. However, the requirements and process can be more complicated. A Catholic wedding in Mexico has no legal status in Mexico or abroad, hence why in Mexico it is common to have a civil and a religious wedding.

Getting married in Mexico as a non-Catholic

If you are a foreigner and non-Catholic, you will be required to visit the Catholic church closest to the home of the bride to request permission to marry in a Catholic church. What advice you receive next may depend on the priest and church.

As a non-Catholic, you will be required to attend a Catholic course which generally lasts a few weeks, after which you will be granted permission to have your religious wedding in a Catholic church.

You and your partner will then be required to attend pre-matrimonial talks with the priest, prior to your religious wedding. Once finalized and all the above requirements have been fulfilled, the priest will provide you with a letter that is certified by the archdioceses in Mexico that authorizes celebrating your wedding in another state (in the case of a destination wedding).

Your priest will assist you with obtaining all the documentation that is pertinent to your wedding.


– Civil Marriage Certificate or Proof of date confirmed of Civil Ceremony (if after religious wedding)
– Medical Certificates (these MUST be done in Mexico)
– Pre-matrimonial talks certificate from the priest
– Letter or Certificate from Priest certified by the archdioceses in Mexico, granting you permission to marry in a Catholic church.

beautiful bridal portrait

Getting married in Mexico when both you and your fiancée are Catholic

If you are both Catholic, and wanting to get married in Mexico. Then you will need to request your sacraments from the Catholic church in your home country are sent to Mexico, and depending on the state where you are marrying, have them translated to Spanish in Mexico.


– Civil Marriage Certificate or Proof of date confirmed of Civil Ceremony (if your civil wedding in Mexico is after the religious wedding)
– Medical Certificates (these MUST be done in Mexico)
– Pre-matrimonial talks certificate from the priest
– Sacraments from the Catholic Church in your home country.

If you need a wedding planner to help you with this part of your wedding, contact me for a recommendation.

flower girls wearing floral crowns

A Mayan Wedding

A spiritual wedding ceremony that originates from the state of Yucatan, a Mayan Wedding Ceremony is an ancient wedding ritual full of colour. Traditionally performed by a Shaman who commences with a ritual of purification, giving thanks to the 4 points of the Earth and asking for gods blessings of love, peace and abundance for the couple.

During the ceremony, the bride and groom’s hands are tied using a ribbon that symbolizes their union to society and to the gods. As the ceremony concludes, the newlywed couple throw flower petals into the sea as a gift to the gods, in exchange for fulfillment of their wishes as a newly married couple.

Mayan Ceremonies are common amongst many couples getting married in the Riviera Maya, and usually take place at a resort next to sea, a beach or a cenote. Traditionally it is performed in Mayan dialect, although it is also common to have the ceremony performed in English.

A Mayan wedding closely fits in with a Symbolic wedding, in that it is not legally binding and no legal paperwork is required.

Same-Sex Weddings

Legal ceremonies for Same-Sex couples are not conducted in all of Mexico. At the time of writing, they are permitted in Mexico City, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum (Riviera Maya).

The Requirements for a legal same-sex wedding between a Mexican and a Foreigner are the same as the requirements for a Civil Wedding.

Destination weddings come in many shapes and forms, in the Riviera Maya it is very common for 2 foreigners to get wed in their homeland and celebrate the main wedding with friends and family in Mexico.

If your fiancée is Mexican, you may not have such liberty and may be required to have a civil ceremony followed by a religious wedding, so as to ensure you aren’t offending anybody in your fiancée’s family. On the upside, Mexican weddings are flamboyant and a lot of fun!

I hope this gives you an insight as to what your wedding planning process may entail. Getting married to a Mexican as a foreigner in Mexico isn’t as complicated as it sounds. A wedding planner can take a lot of this burden off of your shoulders, and ensure everything is smooth sailing. Contact me for recommendations on a wedding planner.

Gareth Davies is a Mexico-based Destination Wedding Photographer and Commercial Photographer, who happily travels to facilitate weddings and commercial projects where and when he can. Gareth is also an avid outdoor enthusiast, humanitarian and non-tea drinker!

To learn more about Gareth Davies Photography, please visit his WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile.