Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Summary of Legal Requirements for Getting Married in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera

The following is a summary of civil marriage requirements between foreigners in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera.

  • Completed marriage application form.
  • Bride, groom & witnesses must be in Mexico at least 3 business days before the wedding, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or Mexican holidays (some hotels require at least 4 business days).
  • Two witnesses each for both bride & groom (total of four witnesses). Witnesses must be over the age of 18.
  • Birth certificates for bride and groom (original & Apostilled copies) translated into Spanish by an authorized translator.
  • Valid passports for bride, groom, and witnesses (original & copies).
  • Tourist visa cards for bride, groom, and witnesses (original & copies). Tourist cards are issued at Customs upon arrival at the Cancun International Airport.
  • Prenuptial clinical analysis of bride and groom for V.D.R.L., H.I.V., and R.H. Blood tests must be done in Mexico (results are valid for 15 days).
  • If divorced, the final Divorce Decree must be presented, translated into Spanish by an authorized translator (original & Apostilled copy). Check with your wedding coordinator for further details.
  • If widowed, the Death Certificate must be presented, translated into Spanish by an authorized translator (original & Apostilled copy). Check with your wedding coordinator for further details.
  • Symbolic and religious ceremonies do not require bride and groom to have official documentation or blood tests.
  • Catholic ceremonies require additional documents. Contact your wedding coordinator for details.
  • Civil ceremonies are not performed on Sundays, Mexican holidays, or during Easter Week.

The above information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. For complete details, talk to your wedding coordinator, the Registro Civil, the Mexican Embassy, or the Mexican Consulate in your area.

Friday, December 15, 2006

What's New on - Destination Weddings: The Resort Report
2007 Cancun & Mayan Riviera

Q: I’m thinking of getting married in the Mayan Riviera. Where do I start?

A: The process of planning a destination wedding can seem overwhelming at first. To help you get started, we suggest you download our new e-book, Destination Weddings: The Resort Report – 2007 Cancun & Mayan Riviera. This free e-book highlights 10 excellent properties for weddings in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Whether you're dreaming of a big beach wedding at a luxury all-inclusive resort, or an intimate affair at a boutique hotel, this book will give you an in-depth look at what's available and how much you should expect to pay. To download the book, go to

Friday, December 8, 2006

Mexican Wedding Traditions

Q: We’re looking to add a special touch to our Mexican wedding ceremony. Do you have any ideas? Perhaps something traditional in Mexico?

A: There are several ways to add a special touch to your Mexican wedding. Here are a few ideas:


1. Mayan Ceremony: This spiritual ceremony is presided over by a Shaman (Mayan Priest) in the Mayan language, and includes ancient rituals and music to put the couple in perfect harmony with nature. You will find Mayan ceremonies throughout the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

2. Mexican Wedding Lasso: A lasso made of flowers, beads, jewels, ribbon, etc. is placed around the bride and groom in a figure-8 shape as they say their vows. The lasso symbolizes the couple’s love and union, and is kept by the bride as a memento.

3. 13 Coins: The groom offers his bride a gift of 13 gold coins (arras), which is blessed by the Priest during the marriage ceremony. The tradition symbolizes the groom’s trust in the bride and his promise to provide for her for during their married life. It is said that the 13 coins represent Christ and his 12 apostles.

4. Mariachi: The traditional music choice for Mexican weddings and receptions. Usually a mariachi group consists of at least two violins, two trumpets, one Spanish guitar, one vihuela (a high-pitched, five-string guitar) and one guitarrón (a small-scaled acoustic bass).

5. First Dance: At a traditional Mexican reception, guests join hands and form a heart shape around the newlyweds during their first dance as husband and wife.

6. The Dollar Dance: A Mexican tradition where guests offer money in exchange for a dance with the bride or groom. One guest pins some money on the bride or groom and dances with them until the next guest pins their money.

7. El Muertito (The Little Death): Usually performed during the reception, this Mexican tradition involves lifting the groom over the shoulders of the male guests and tossing him several times in the air.

8. Mexican Wedding Cookies: These small round sugar cookies, called ojarascas, are traditionally made with pecans, but can also be made from other nuts including almonds and pistachios. The cookies are given as wedding favors to guests.

9. Mexican Favors: In addition to wedding cookies, favors given to guests can include fans, note cards featuring Mexican artists, or pottery.


1. Sand Ceremony: During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom pour two small vases of sand into one dish, symbolizing their unity as husband and wife.

2. Flower or Shell Release: At the end of the ceremony, guests are given a flower petal or seashell to make wishes on behalf of the bride and groom, which is then released into the ocean.

3. Butterfly Release: Guests are given butterflies in individual boxes at the beginning of the ceremony, which they release at the end for a beautiful display of colors. As a variation on this ceremony, during turtle season, we have heard of guests releasing baby turtles into the sea.

4. Throwing Rice: Since it is now considered harmful to birds, the traditional practice of throwing rice at the end of the ceremony has been replaced with birdseed, flower petals, bubbles, or balloons.

5. Other: To add a special surprise for your wedding guests during the reception, many resorts can arrange a firework display, fire jugglers, drum shows, or traditional dance shows.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Resort Chapels - Los Cabos

Q: I want to get married in a chapel in Los Cabos. Do you know of any resorts with chapels on-site?

A: The following resorts have chapels on-site that will host wedding events:

1. Sheraton Hacienda del Mar

2. Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort & Spa

3. One & Only Palmilla

4. El Encanto Inn

If you know of any other resorts with on-site chapels, please e-mail us at

Resort Chapels - Puerto Vallarta

Q: Are there any resorts in Puerto Vallarta or Nuevo Vallarta with chapels on-site?

A: We are not aware of any resorts in the Puerto Vallarta/Nuevo Vallarta area with chapels on their property. However, if you want to hold a Catholic ceremony, there are many Catholic churches in Puerto Vallarta, including the famous Virgin of Guadalupe.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wedding Cakes in Cancun

Q: I’m getting married in Cancun and am looking for a bakery for my wedding cake. The resort I am getting married at includes a small wedding cake as part of their package, but it is a simple one-tier cake and it seems to be the only kind they will make. I want more of a multi-tier cake with fondant and flowers. Do you have any recommendations?

A: It may be very difficult for you to negotiate getting a wedding cake on your own. You may save yourself a lot of work by going through an external wedding planner, even if it’s only for the cake. They would know the best bakeries in the area and would be able to make all the arrangements for you. This may save you stress, frustration, and time! That being said, we did put your question out to some wedding planners in Cancun and here's what they said:
Laura Mucel Cameras from ( says she has her own cake chef. The chef does not have her own website, but if you send Laura a photo of a cake, they would be able to duplicate it. Also, Laura would be happy to e-mail you photos of sample cakes to give you a better idea of what they can do. You can contact Laura at

My Cancun Wedding
Laura E. Vadillo from My Cancun Wedding ( shares a list of highly-recommended bakeries in the area. You can contact Laura at

1. Pasteleria La Creperia
Tel: 52 (998) 884-3420

2. Tere Casola
Tel: 52 (998) 898-9911 or 52 (998) 892-4040

3. Pasteleria Italiana
Tel: 52 (998) 884-0796

Many thanks to Laura Mucel Cameras and Laura E. Vadillo for sharing their thoughts!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mayan Riviera Attractions

Q: I'm getting married in the Mayan Riviera. What are the best excursions for my guests?

A: If you are holding your destination wedding in the Mayan Riviera, here are some highly-recommended attractions.

Chichén Itzá
One cannot go to the Mayan Riviera without visiting Chichén Itzá, the ancient Mayan city where between 50,000 and 100,000 Mayans lived. Located 200 kilometers from Cancun, Chichén Itzá dates back to between 750-1200 AD, after which time the city was abandoned for reasons still not understood. At this breathtaking site you can climb the famous Pyramid of Kukulcan, a 30-meter high pyramid that attracts visitors from around the world. You will also see an ancient ball court, a square of a thousand columns, several temples, and a sacred cenote. Chichén Itzá makes a wonderful day trip for your wedding group, and several companies in the area offer day tours to this site.

Approximately 125 kilometers south of Cancun you will find an ancient city perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Tulum, meaning “fence” or “wall,” is the name given to this walled city, which flourished between 1200-1600 AD. Tulum offers a spectacular view of unparalleled turquoise Caribbean waters, and provides a glimpse into the extinct Mayan culture. You will see various structures including the city’s castle, watchtower, several temples, alters, and shrines. If you are staying in the Mayan Riviera, Tulum is an easy half-day trip that cannot be missed.

Deep in the jungle you will find the ancient Mayan city, Cobá. Here stands one of the tallest pyramids in the Yucatan Peninsula, Nohoch Mul, towering 42 meters high. Cobá was not excavated until the 1970s, and many of the structures are still unexcavated today, making it a treasure for archeologists. As this city is quite spread out, you can expect to walk three or four miles through the jungle to see many of the site’s structures. Alternatively, you can rent a bike to explore the city. Many tour companies will arrange day trips to this mysterious ancient city.

Xel-Há is located near Tulum, 60 minutes from Cancun, and makes a fun day trip for families. Visitors can enjoy the local flora and fauna on a nature walk, snorkel with the tropical fish, or even swim with the dolphins! This park offers a fantastic snorkeling experience where you can explore a variety of tropical fish in the river, creeks, lagoons, caves and canyons. The park also offers snuba adventures, which is a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving that allows you to descend deeper without having to hold your breath. The Sea Trek exploration is a type of helmet diving that allows you to walk along the sea bed. For more information, visit their website at

This eco park is located 45 minutes from Cancun, and 5 minutes from Playa del Carmen. There is so much to see and do at Xcaret, you will want to devote a whole day to exploring the park. The park offers water activities, a variety of flora and fauna, a Mayan village, a museum, and the Specatacular Night Show. Some of the park’s attractions include water activities like floating down the ungerground rivers, scuba and snuba diving, Sea Trek exploration, and swimming with the dolphins. The park also has a variety of wildlife including manatees, turtles, wild cats, monkeys, flamingos, a bat cave, a butterfly pavilion, and more! For more information, visit their website at

Friday, November 24, 2006

Resort Chapels - Mayan Riviera

Image: El Dorado Royale, A Spa Resort (© Karisma Hotels & Resorts)

Q: I'm looking for a resort in the Mayan Riviera that has a wedding chapel on-site. Any suggestions?

A: The following resorts have chapels on-site:

1. El Dorado Royale, A Spa Resort
2. Barcelo Maya Colonial Beach Resort
3. Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa
4. Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort
5. Iberostar Paraíso Maya

If you know of any more resorts in the Mayan Riviera that have chapels on their property, please e-mail us at

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Puerto Vallarta: A Diverse City for Weddings

Image: Puerto Vallarta (© CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta)

Q: I want to have my destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, but can't decide which area to stay in. Can you give me your thoughts?

A: If you're thinking of getting married in Puerto Vallarta, the following will give you an idea of what the different areas offer. The landscape changes dramatically as you travel through the region, and each area has its own particular advantages.

Puerto Vallarta Hotel Strip
Puerto Vallarta is a lively city full of entertainment, shopping, restaurants, and beach activities. The hotel strip has several popular hotels densely packed along the beach. If you stay along the hotel strip you will be within a short walk or taxi ride to the bustling streets. Or, if you're a little more adventurous, you can hop on the public bus, which only costs approximately 4 pesos (US$0.35).

If you want to get married right in Puerto Vallarta, keep in mind that the beaches are public, so hotels cannot guarantee complete privacy if you want to get married directly on the beach. Several resorts have a jetty (a pier made of rocks that juts into the ocean) that they use for weddings for a beautiful seaside event set apart from the beach.

For weddings, there are some great hotels with larger properties that provide beautiful outdoor spaces for ceremonies and receptions. Some of our favorites include Golden Crown Paradise/Crown Paradise Club (, NH Krystal Puerto Vallarta (, and Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center (

Marina Vallarta
A few minutes north of the hotel strip you'll find Marina Vallarta. This area is set apart from the busyness of Puerto Vallarta's streets, and offers some upscale luxury hotels and a golf course. You can still venture to the popular Malecon (main boardwalk) for only a $5 to $10 taxi ride.

Some of the best resorts for weddings in Marina Vallarta include The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta ( and CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta (

Nuevo Vallarta/Vallarta Nayarit
Nuevo Vallarta/Vallarta Nayarit is located approximately 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. This area offers several large resort complexes on a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach. This is a great choice for a quieter and more secluded wedding event.

Although there are several resorts that host many wedding events, two of the more luxurious resorts with excellent ceremony and reception sites include Vallarta Palace ( and Grand Velas All Suites & SPA Resort (

South of Puerto Vallarta
South of the city going toward Mismaloya the landscape changes, becoming more mountainous and rocky with lush vegetation. The scenery is spectacular in this area, but the beaches are not as sandy as farther north.

If you are looking for a larger resort, Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa ( is one of the best. There are also some fabulous villas and boutique hotels that will host wedding events, like Casa Tres Vidas/Quinta Maria Cortez (, and Playa Fiesta (

Note that resorts can change their services and wedding locations without prior notice so please contact the resort directly for current rates and offerings.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Churches & Hotels in San Luis de la Paz

Image: Colonial church in San Miguel de Allende, near San Luis de la Paz

Q: I'm looking to get married in San Luis de la Paz. Can you tell me of any good churches for the ceremony, and hotels for the reception?

A: Yazmin Melo from Foto & Arte ( shares the following information on churches and haciendas in the San Luis de la Paz area. Thanks Yazmin!

Catholic Churches
1. Parroquia de San Luis Rey - Tel: (468) 688-2288
2. Santuario de la Virgen de Guadalupe - Tel: (468) 666-2613
3. Iglesia la Virgencita - Tel: (468) 688-4335
Note: Yazmin says Inglesia la Virgencita is very beautiful, white and small.

1. Hotel las Villas in San Luis de la Paz
Tel: (468) 688-4152 or (468) 688-4153

2. Hacienda Santa Brigida in Mineral de Pozos
Note: This is the place where the 2003 movie "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" was filmed, starring Antonio Banderas.

General Websites
1. San Luis de la Paz:
2. Mineral de Pozos: (approx. 15 km from San Luis de la Paz)

Wedding Photographers
For a list of wedding photographers in the area go to and see the photographers under "Central Mexico."

2007 Stray Travel Publications, Inc.