How to Find Your Destination Wedding and Get Married in Mexico

wedding in Mexico cover picture

Do you have plans to get married?

Are you looking for a place to have a destination wedding?

Mexico could be the perfect destination for your future plans.

The country is filled with stunning venues for holding a wedding ceremony and party. Think about lush tropical gardens, pristine white beaches, or beautiful clear water cenotes.

Sounds good, right? But where to start?

In this article, I’m going to guide you through the process of how to legally marry in Mexico, including the documents you need, the costs, and more. It’s applicable for foreigners marrying another foreigner or a foreigner marrying a Mexican national.

You can know in advance what to expect and prepare for your perfect marriage in Mexico.

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Key Takeaways

  • Since there are so many amazing places in Mexico, many couples choose to marry here for their perfect wedding.
  • From island weddings to civil and symbolic ceremonies, there are many types of marriages to choose from.
  • If you want to have your marriage registered in Mexico, be sure to check all the documents you need before flying here.
  • On average, it costs US$5,500 to host a wedding in Mexico with 30 guests.
  • Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Baja California Sur are popular wedding destinations in Mexico.
  • While you don’t need to use a wedding planner in Mexico, employing one can significantly smooth the process of organizing your wedding.

First things first: there are some legal requirements that you must comply with when you want to marry in Mexico and register your marriage here.

These requirements are non-negotiable and concern the number of witnesses, consent, and a health test.

Let’s take a closer look.


For a legal or civil wedding ceremony in Mexico, you need to gather four witnesses.

They can be anyone and do not necessarily need to be related by blood ties. All witnesses must bring valid identification such as a passport.

Before the actual ceremony, the wedding planner may ask you to provide copies of the valid identifications of the four witnesses. These will then be checked on your wedding day.

Health Test

This may seem strange, but it is completely normal and a requirement if you want to get married in Mexico—the health test.

The health test consists of at least a blood test, and in some states in Mexico, a chest X-ray as well. The test must be done 14 days before the date of your ceremony, and it must be done in Mexico.

cancun beaching wedding
Thinking about having a destination wedding? Mexico offers countless memorable locations that can make your wedding perfect.

A test done outside the country will not be accepted.

You might ask yourself why a blood test is performed. The reason is so both partners know their blood type, and their HIV and VDRL statuses.

You can get it from any hospital in Mexico. Usually, the cost of the tests is around US$300 per couple. Results can be expected within a day (24 hours).

If either you or your partner is younger than 18 years old, you need to obtain parental consent from your or your partner’s parents.

A Tourist Visa

Upon entry into Mexico, you are granted a tourist visa or visitor permit. The time range for this permit can be anywhere between 7 and 180 days.


Usually, the migration officer looks at your return ticket and then grants you entry into Mexico for a certain number of days.

Required Paperwork for Civil Marriage

After you have met the legal requirements for civil marriage in Mexico, you have to get your paperwork ready.

You and your partner must prepare and bring the following documents:

The wedding planner may also ask for these papers (scanned) before your wedding, in order to complete your file.

When you gather all the paperwork mentioned below, you can pay the marriage license fee.

Generally, this costs $US27. After your application, it may take anywhere from an hour to a couple of days for it to be processed and approved.

How quickly this goes depends on the state in which you are applying.


Both partners need to bring a valid passport, which should have an expiration date of at least 6 months after the wedding date.

Besides the official passport, you should also bring a paper copy.

It’s best to carry 3 copies of all documents mentioned in this article.

Birth Certificate

Make sure to bring the birth certificate of both partners.

The birth certificate must be apostilled and translated into Spanish, to be valid in Mexico.

In the USA, official documents can receive an apostille by the Office of Authentications at the State Department.

Check this upfront with the State Department that serves your area, as every state has its own requirements.

beach wedding in Mexico.
If you want to have a civil marriage and have your marriage registered in Mexico, prepare all document before flying here.

Usually, an Apostille stamp costs $US7 per document.

If you are from a country that is not a part of the international Apostille convention, such as Canada, it will not be possible to get an apostille.

Instead, you should have your document translated into Spanish and have it notarized.

Marriage Forms

The marriage forms can be obtained at the Registry Office in the area where you will get married.

If you hire a wedding planner, he or she will make sure to get these marriage forms for you.

This is one of the reasons you should be in Mexico at least a few days before the actual wedding date, so that all the paperwork can be put in order.

Blood Tests

The same goes for the blood tests (and in some states in Mexico, the chest X-rays).

These must be performed by Mexican labs and this requires you to be in the country a couple of days before the wedding. You will need to hand in the results as part of the paperwork.

The medical tests are sometimes called the prenuptial medical certificate.

If Applicable: Death Certificate or Divorce Order

If you or your partner are widowed or divorced, it is necessary to bring copies of the legal paperwork that shows your status.

As a widow, you need to bring the Death Certificate of your deceased spouse. If you are divorced, bring your Divorce Order.

Acta de Matrimonio

After the wedding, you will need the Marriage Certificate. In Spanish, this is called the Acta de Matrimonio. You can obtain this at the registry office where you applied to pay the marriage license fee.

The office will provide you with a certified copy. This document is necessary to make the marriage legal in your home country.

The Prenuptial Agreement

Before the actual wedding, you and your partner will need to decide in the prenuptial agreement whether you wish to get married under a system of Sociedad Conyugal (Joint Ownership Property), or under a Separación de Bienes (Non-joint Ownership Property).

  • Joint Ownership Property means that you and your partner share all belongings (bank accounts, properties, businesses, etc.) and, should you divorce, everything would be divided equally.
  • Non-joint Ownership Property means that each party retains their own belongings.

This is a form that you fill out as part of the paperwork.

Types of Marriage in Mexico

There are various types of marriages that you can choose from if your wish is to have a dream wedding in one of the many stunning venues in Mexico.

In this part, I will tell you more about civil, religious, and symbolic marriages. You will also find information about same-sex marriage and remarriage after divorce.

Religious Marriage

If you and your partner wish to celebrate a religious ceremony, that is possible in Mexico.

Although they are not legally recognized, they may be of personal importance to you as a couple.

Chignahuapan church in Mexico
While Mexico is predominantly a Catholic country, a religious wedding isn’t popular among expats since the ceremony is in Spanish. In addition to that, they may require additional paperwork as well.

As Mexico is predominantly a Catholic country, this is the most chosen religious kind of marriage. However, it is also possible for Jews or Hindus, among other religions, to celebrate a religious marriage.

Depending on the religion, you may be asked for specific paperwork or meetings with a priest.

As most religious ceremonies will be performed in Spanish, many opt for this type of marriage in their country of birth and prefer the civil marriage or the symbolic marriage in Mexico.

Civil Marriage in Mexico

The only legally recognized form of marriage in Mexico is through a civil ceremony.

Besides being valid in Mexico, this type of marriage is recognized for legal purposes in other parts of the world. That comes in handy if you want to register and legalize your marriage in your home country.

In order for the marriage certificate to be valid in other parts of the world, you will have to get it legalized in Mexico. It’s sort of the reverse process as getting your original documents apostilled – you should do something similar with the Marriage Certificate.

While still in Mexico after the wedding, the registry office will tell you where you can do this legally. If you hire a wedding planner, he or she can give you advice and help you with the process.


If you opt for a civil marriage at a venue such as a resort, you should

  • arrive at your destination 3 business days between Monday and Friday before the date of the actual ceremony.
  • The arrival day must be by 12 PM for that day to be counted as a business day.

Most couples choose to arrive in Mexico at least 5 days to a week before the wedding date, so they can complete the last paperwork and run the health tests.

And of course, to relax and prepare for the big ceremony and party.

Symbolic Marriage

If you are looking for a full wedding ceremony without it being legal or registered, a symbolic marriage may be the right option for you.

With it, you do not need to prepare any paperwork as mentioned above.

The symbolic marriage is becoming more popular for many couples since they get to have the ceremony of their dreams while celebrating with their loved ones, in a beautiful and exotic setting.

Pinata mexican weddings
Pinata is a big part in Mexican weddings

They usually have a symbolic marriage in Mexico officially right before or after the celebration date in their country of origin.

When you opt for a symbolic marriage, you should

  • arrive at least 2 business days (Monday to Friday) before the ceremony takes place
  • arrive before 12 PM on your arrival day, for it to count as 2 business days prior to the event.

You will receive a document that states that you had a symbolic marriage, but this is not a legal statement and cannot be validated by Mexican or your government.

It is purely symbolic.

Same-sex Marriage

The Mexican Supreme Court added same-sex marriages to the legal definition of marriage in Mexico in the year 2015.

Since then, many couples have chosen Mexico as their venue for a dreamy destination wedding.

It is now possible to celebrate a same-sex marriage throughout Mexico and have a civil marriage that you can legalize once back home.

New Marriage after Divorce

You can get remarried in Mexico if you have been previously married. Keep in mind that there are some laws to follow.

In Mexico, most states require that both partners have been divorced for at least a year.

In the state of Quintana Roo, a law states that a woman cannot remarry for 300 days after her divorce. The only exception is if she has given birth during that period.

Marrying a Mexican National in Mexico

Perhaps your partner is Mexican and both of you have plans to get married.

In that case, the process is slightly different. It depends highly on the municipality where you wish to get married.

You and your Mexican partner should go to the Registro Civil and ask for the office of Matrimonios (marriages).

This office will provide you with a checklist about all the paperwork that you will need to comply with.

The requirements can be different from state to state.

Some states even ask for a permit to marry a Mexican national. The municipality can provide you with the necessary information about the latest policy on the topic.

You may also ask your wedding planner, if you decide to hire one.

How to Get a Permit to Marry a Mexican National

To get a permit to marry a Mexican national, you will have to go to the Immigration Office and pay a fee of about US$200, which grants you the permit to marry a Mexican national.

The document is called Permiso para Contraer Matrimonio con un Nacional. The process can take anywhere from two days to two weeks, depending on the office where you are requesting the document.

Other than that, you will need your official identification, prenuptial agreement, and health tests. Make sure to check all the requirements on the official checklist that the municipality will give you.

Wedding Traditions in Mexico

If you marry a Mexican national, you might want to know a bit more about some typical Mexican wedding traditions.

The first is the Lasso, which is an adorned ribbon that is placed around the necks of the bride and groom right after the exchange of vows has taken place.

It physically and symbolically joins them together and finds its origin in Catholic ceremonies.

While planning the Mexican wedding, the couple will ask madrinos and padrinos for guidance. These important people who are close to the couple often also act as witnesses during the ceremony.

dancing party in Mexico
Mexican wedding party involves a lot of dancing. Learn a few moves and enjoy your wedding party to the fullness.

And then there is the Mexican wedding party. Besides a lot of delicious food, you will find typical dances. An example is La Vibora De La Mar, or Sea Snake. During this dance, the bride and groom are seated on chairs and held up, while guests hold hands to form a “snake” and sing and dance around the couple.

Another example is the Money Dance, where guests are invited to pin money on the bride or groom in order to dance with them.

Picking the Right Venue

Now it is time for fun! The planning of your actual wedding ceremony. Mexico has it all: from lush gardens with outdoor gazebos, to cenotes, jungle scenery, to exotic white-sand beaches or stunning haciendas.

Mexico is a huge and diverse country. When you have to pick the right venue for your wedding, there are many things you might want to ask yourself before tailoring to a specific region.

Besides, wedding packages are tailored to your needs and most venues have wedding specialists that will help you with everything you need.

Ask yourself:

  • How long do I want to travel? (shortest: Baja California, medium: Central Mexico, longest: Puerto Vallarta / Riviera Maya / Yucatán)
  • Do I want a beach wedding? (Baja California / Puerto Vallarta / Riviera Maya / Yucatán)
  • Do I want a hacienda wedding? (Central Mexico / Riviera Maya / Yucatán)

Still no idea? You can always hire a wedding planner.

Wedding Planners in Mexico

You can hire an external wedding planner in Mexico who can help you find the perfect venue and plan your wedding from A to Z.

Since Mexico is large, you should find a wedding planner in the same state you are planning to marry in. You can search for a wedding planner in Mexico via Google, or use social media platforms like Facebook.

The wedding planner will check the venue, make all necessary reservations, and assist you with the paperwork required for the type of ceremony you choose.

He or she can also plan the medical tests for you. Their fee usually starts at US$1,500.

If you already have a venue in mind, you can contact them directly and ask for their wedding packages.

Most likely, the venue has a wedding planner in charge who will plan your wedding.

This service is included in the package that you will pay for.

Top Wedding Destinations in Mexico

As mentioned before, Mexico is a huge country.

We will divide this section into three of the most popular destinations to celebrate marriages in Mexico.

Quintana Roo

The state of Quintana Roo is home to the Riviera Maya.

This gem extends from Cancun to Bacalar and is home to numerous beautiful venues where you can get married. Most couples choose to get married in a resort setting, as they can host their guests, and everyone can stay at the party until it ends, then walk back to their rooms afterward.

Isla mujeres Mexico
If you’re considering an island wedding, check out Isla Mujeres. It’s one of the few islands in Mexico that allows wedding ceremonies.

The Riviera Maya hosts many all-inclusive resorts that offer fantastic marriage packages.

Examples include Sandos, Now, Dreams, Iberostar, Fiesta Americana, and Sunscape hotels.

In Quintana Roo, it is possible to get married on an island, such as Isla Mujeres or Cozumel. There are plenty of destinations to choose from!


Yucatan is situated right next to Quintana Roo. It’s a dreamy wedding destination, with lush gardens and beautiful haciendas that can be hired as a wedding venue.

If this is what you are looking for, you definitely want to check the small city of Valladolid and the capital of Yucatan, Merida. In these cities, you will find classic wedding venues that will take your breath away.

A wedding planner can help you tailor your wishes and get to the perfect venue. Yucatan also has a huge coastline with intimate hotels, so an intimate beach wedding is possible.

Baja California Sur

Although these places are not near each other, they are both popular wedding destinations. Baja California Sur is famous for Los Cabos, where you can find hotels such as RIU, Hard Rock, and Secrets Hotel.

These hotels offer great wedding packages, among other venues. You will find breathtaking views over the ocean while enjoying the perks of a luxurious resort.

Cost of Marriage in Mexico

You may be convinced to celebrate your marriage in Mexico, but how much will it cost?

On average, a wedding in Mexico costs about US$5,500.

For this amount, you can count on hosting an average of 30 guests, who attend the ceremony, a cocktail, a 3-course dinner, and party.

The ceremony is also included in this price.

Photography and elaborate decorations will likely be excluded.

However, it highly depends on some variables such as the number of guests, the package you choose, the venue, and if you add any extras – that way, the price will go up.

Most wedding packages include a certain number of guests. If you require more guests to attend, make sure to check if the venue has room for that.

If that’s the case, you will pay an extra amount for each additional guest. Usually, there is a minimum of 20 guests and a maximum of 200.

How expensive the wedding will be in the end depends highly on the number of guests and extras that you would like to add, such as special food or drinks, photography sessions, the décor of the venue, or specific amenities.

You should also take into account that you might have to travel to Mexico at least once before the actual wedding date to check the venue and go through all your options.

But in the end, it will be worth all the effort!

Now, on to You

I hope that this article gives you everything you need to know about getting married in Mexico.

While Mexico requires a lot of documents for a civil marriage, all the documents are pretty straightforward to obtain.

In case you only need a symbolic marriage, you don’t need to worry about paperwork at all. The only thing you need is to find a perfect location. While it may be expensive, hiring a wedding planner can smooth your process significantly.

Avatar photo
Debbie Vorachen is a Cultural Anthropologist and Content&Copywriter. She was born and raised in the Netherlands and has been living in Mexico for 8 years now. Debbie love to write and her other passions are yoga and meditation. She is currently based in Mérida, Yucatán.

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