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Destination Wedding: Mexico!

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! Many couples fantasize of having a destination wedding, but have you considered the logistics? Getting married in a foreign country may be difficult, so here are a few things you should know before planning a destination wedding in Mexico.

With COVID behind us, wedding season is resuming, and destination weddings will once again be popular. For Americans, getting married abroad is more difficult than getting married in the United States since there is so much more to do legally than merely choosing a venue, ordering meals, selecting a cake, and arranging flowers.

There are a few things to consider if you are a US citizen planning a wedding in Mexico. Most nations have comparable documentation requirements, but Mexico has its own set of restrictions, which I will go through.

The most important thing you’ll need to get married in any country is a valid marriage license. Additionally, you'll need the following:

  • Passport

  • Birth Certificate

  • Proof of the date of arrival to the country (like an airline ticket)

  • Written consent to marry from legal guardians if either the bride or groom is under 18 years old

  • Proof of divorce or death certificate if either the bride or groom were previously married or widowed

  • If neither partner has been married before, proof of single status like a Single Status Affidavit and/or a sworn declaration before the appropriate Notary Public or Consul in the country where you’re getting married

The hard part about these documents is that they need to be accompanied by an Apostille, which is a notarized document with a specific seal from your state's Office of Authentications, in order to be accepted as certified documents in other countries. It's better to get started as soon as possible because it might be a lengthy procedure.

Mexico requires official translations of all documents (except your passport) in Spanish. The translator must sign a Certificate of Accuracy in front of a Notary Public, and the translated documents must be notarized with Apostilles along with the original English documents by a Mexican consulate. This procedure is a requirement for marriage in any country where the official language isn’t English.

Besides the basics, Mexico has other unique requirements, including:

  • A tourist permit or visa is required

  • You and your fiancé(e) must be in Mexico for at least three days prior to ceremony

  • You’ll need a Civil Ceremony Form, obtained from the nearest local registry office in Mexico

  • If the bride was divorced she must present documentation with her maiden name (birth certificate) and a Divorce Certificate, and the date of the ceremony must be at least one year after her divorce was finalized

  • You’ll need four witnesses: all with valid government-issued photo ID and tourist cards; their names must be on the Civil Ceremony Form; and they must also be in Mexico for three days prior to ceremony

  • A civil ceremony must be conducted in Spanish by a Judge and translated to English by a wedding coordinator (only civil marriage is legally recognized in Mexico, so many people have both civil and religious ceremonies)

  • Blood tests are required to get married in Mexico: they must be done in Mexico within three days of arrival to the country and the results of the blood tests must be in Spanish

In addition to blood tests, certain Mexican states have other medical criteria, so check with a Mexican wedding planner or an authority to learn what the local requirements are in the state where you're getting married.

Marriages performed outside of the United States are valid in the United States if they fulfill all of the legal criteria of the nation in which they were performed and the Marriage Certificate is notarized with an Apostille by the issuing foreign office.

This is a good guide to get the process started. I hope you find this helpful and wish you and your spouse many years of marital bliss!


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