Experience is a precious thing. But with your marriage, you are not likely to get a second chance to benefit from your hard-earned knowledge after the event. So here are six insider tips from a foreigner who married in Mexico about getting it right first time: a country where religion, partying, and bureaucratic procedures are taken seriously and will play a significant role in the nuptial proceedings.
No Frills Wedding: A no-frills civil ceremony at the Registro Civil in downtown Mexico City will cost around US$5. For a civil ceremony elsewhere, for example, on the beach, this amount will rise substantially. Popular resort areas including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos are the most expensive.
Church Service: If it’s the classic romance of a church service that you seek, then Mexico offers plenty of opportunities amidst the abundance of beautiful churches elegantly adorned and steeped in centuries of history. Be aware though that the procedures can be confusing; for example, separate payments, sometimes referred to as donations, need to be made: at the diocesan office, at the parish church, for the pre-marriage “talks”, and so forth. A good relationship with a local priest can help.
The Reception Party: So now for the fiesta. If you’re going to write one item on your to-do list, write Mariachi. The kitsch cowboy suits and bellowing voices will provide a sense of occasion, and if there’s ever an awkward silence on your table, you can brightly tell people that the words “mariachi” and “marriage” are etymologically linked. Make sure to negotiate and sign an agreement with the band for how long they will play. You can expect to pay around US$350 an hour, depending on your location, the prestige and size of the band.
Vacation Resort: If you choose to get married at a popular vacation resort, talk to the resort manager about other events being planned at the same resort on the same date, as well as events planned at adjacent venues. You don’t want the noise of a children’s party next-door to drown out your own festivities.
Marriage Certificates: Order as many copies of your civil marriage certificate that you think you’ll need. And then order a few more to be on the safe side. It’s a hassle to get copies once you’ve left the country.
Wedding Planners: If you are living in Mexico (or plan to arrive early and do all the preparatory work yourself), this is feasible, provided that you have a good command of Spanish, plenty of leather on the soles of your shoes—and patience. Most foreigners who get married in Mexico (especially those who don’t live here) sensibly hire the services of a local wedding planner, based in the location where they plan to marry. Wedding planners know the terrain, they have good connections and relationships with local service providers and will be able to steer you through the labyrinth of regulations and paperwork.
Read the guide on Mexperience to Getting Married in Mexico for a full list of the procedures, documents and other paperwork required to get married in Mexico.
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