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Article by Seattle Dredge originally published in the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here.
Planning a wedding can be daunting, but planning a wedding in another country can be downright stressful and often overwhelming. While the extra work may leave you biting your nails, you’ll be able to get a relaxing manicure at the resort spa, and truly enjoy a beautiful big day that will make all of your hard work and strategy worth it.
A destination wedding means saving yourself from organizing a large, fancy church wedding with a guest list of 100+, and you will also have the opportunity to save a great deal of money. Of course, any Mexico vacation also means sun, sand and beach. Here are five tips to make the planning process go a bit more smoothly:
1. Where to Go
A destination wedding can’t be planned without the destination, and choosing the perfect location is the first step. When deciding on a location in Mexico, you will need to consider the types of landscapes and activities that you want to experience during your Mexico vacation.
Do you want to surf and zip line during your vacation? Head to the Pacific coast. More interested in laying on white sand beaches or snorkeling the reef? The Caribbean coast may be more your style.
Of course, it also comes down to picking the right resort. After you’ve decided on which part of Mexico you would like to travel to, you will need to research which resorts in the area are offering the types of wedding packages and amenities you are looking for. Try narrowing it down to five resorts and asking your friends and family to help you decide. Next, narrow it down to two, and contact each for requests and information. Two great locations are the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa, and the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort.
2. When to Go
When it comes to planning a wedding in Mexico, the early bird gets the most scenic oceanfront suites. The best tip in planning any destination wedding is to plan ahead—well ahead. If you can manage to wait at least a year or more, you are going to have more time to organize logistics and create the perfect wedding. This could be the difference between getting garden view twin beds and the small gazebo near the buffet.
Another thing to think about when planning to go to Mexico is the weather. A romantic sunset ceremony on the beach can quickly be ruined by an unannounced tropical storm. Mexico is subject to a rainy season (May to September), hurricane season (June to October, mainly affecting the Yucatan and south of Baja), and a sunny stretch of beautiful spring days.
The ideal months to visit vary from region to region: April and May in the South, October to March on the Pacific Coast, and December to April in the Yucatan, while September should generally be avoided in all areas. Christmas and Easter are high season for Mexico vacations, when prices will rise and things will become much busier.
3. The Ceremony
The designated wedding consultant at your resort should be able to pick out the perfect spot for the ceremony, decorate in your style and get a feel for your preferences after meeting with you. You may want to customize everything from flowers to table settings, but the bonus of a destination wedding is that these tasks are usually taken care of ahead of time. Of course, you should still choose your own theme and colour, select the music and entertainment, and suggest a preferred menu. One of the most important aspects is to spend time choosing the best wedding photographer, whether you bring one from home or hire one locally.
Perhaps you may want to take part in a traditional Mexican wedding custom. It is common for the groom to give the bride 13 gold coins for safekeeping, her acceptance representing her trust and confidence in him. The priest blesses the coins and pours them into the hands of the groom, who then pours them into the bride’s hands, representing their shared union.
Don’t forget that getting married isn’t just about saying “I do” on the beach; you will need to make sure that everything is legally correct for tying the knot in Mexico. Requirements for a legal marriage in Mexico: marriage request form, copy of birth certificates, passports valid for at least six months, blood tests done in Mexico within 15 days of the wedding, and copies of witness IDs.
4. Who to Invite
First of all, you may want to consider what types of people may not be well suited to resort life. If you’re staying at an adults-only resort, guests will not be able to bring babies and young children. Older grandparents may not feel comfortable flying long distances or may simply be unable to mobilize themselves as needed. Don’t forget to choose a resort based on catering to your VIP guests.
Most importantly, writing a guest list is all in the numbers. You may want it to be a small ceremony, but keep in mind that the more people you invite as a group package, the more money you will be able to save. Most resorts offer free accommodation to the bride and groom if they are able to book a large enough wedding party. Twenty guests at your wedding may mean a free honeymoon for you.
5. The Extras
There are many other things to think about when planning a wedding in Mexico. For one, the climate will be very different from a cold Canadian winter. Instead of a long and heavy sequined gown, you may want to go with a short, flowing dress. Guests should be allowed to wear dress shorts or short-sleeved shirts.
There will be lots of time leading up to the wedding day, as well as afterwards, that can be used to explore and enjoy the destination. Why not plan some off-resort excursions, such as horseback riding, ATVing, parasailing, snorkelling, or checking out the local village? These activities can all be planned through your resort. Another great idea would be a “trash the dress ceremony” in which you regroup the wedding party for a fun photo shoot, perhaps in the ocean or on one of the excursions.
Don’t forget to go with the flow. Destination weddings are subject to hitting a few bumps along the road, but the best way to survive a wedding week is to simply relax and deal with things as they come. And remember… you’re in Mexico!
Feature Image Photo Credit: Seattle Dredge