Types of weddings in Mexico

Planning a wedding in this beautiful country offers a diverse range of options to celebrate your love in the best wedding destinations in Mexico. Whether you’re looking for a legally binding marriage, a religious wedding, or a symbolic union, Mexico has something to offer for every couple’s preferences. In this article, we will explore the four main types of weddings in Mexico: Symbolic, Legal/Civil, Indigenous and Catholic.

Types of wedding in Mexico: Sand ceremony in Mexico

Types of weddings in Mexico

There are four main types of weddings in Mexico:

  • Symbolic
  • Legal or Civil
  • Indigenous
  • Catholic

Let’s talk about each of them in detail.

Symbolic Weddings in Mexico

Symbolic weddings are popular among couples who prefer a non-legally binding ceremony or who have already completed the legal formalities in their home country. They allow couples to exchange vows and celebrate their commitment in a meaningful and personalized way. There are many ways to have a symbolic wedding. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Sand Ceremony

Ceremonia de Arena, or Sand Ceremony, is a beautiful symbolic ritual that represents the blending of two lives into one. During the ceremony, the couple pours sand from separate containers into a single container, creating a visually stunning layered pattern. This symbolizes the intertwining of their individual personalities, values and families.

Candle Ceremony

Ceremonia de Vela, or Candle Ceremony, is a symbolic ritual that represents the couple’s unity and the light that their love brings into their lives and the world. The couple each holds a lit candle, and together they use their individual flames to light a larger, central candle, symbolizing the merging of their lives and the creation of a new shared path. This ceremony beautifully captures the essence of their union and the illumination that their love brings forth.

Lasso Ceremony

Ceremonia de Lazo, or Lasso Ceremony, is a deeply rooted tradition in Mexican weddings. During this ritual, a decorative rope or floral garland, known as el lazo, is placed around the couple’s shoulders in the shape of a figure-eight. The lasso symbolizes the eternal bond and unity between the couple, and it is typically made of materials such as silk, rosary beads, or flowers. The couple wears the lasso throughout the ceremony as a visible reminder of their commitment and the support they offer one another in their journey through life.

Cacao Ceremony

Ceremonia de Cacao, or Cacao Ceremony, is a unique and spiritual ritual that connects couples to ancient traditions. Cacao, considered a sacred plant in Mayan culture, is used to create a ceremonial drink. During the ceremony, the couple shares and drinks the cacao together, fostering a deep connection with each other and with nature. The ritual is believed to open the heart, promote love and gratitude and invite blessings into the couple’s union.

Multicultural Weddings

Multicultural weddings in Mexico celebrate the union of partners from different cultural or religious backgrounds. These ceremonies blend elements from both traditions and are typically conducted by a priest or officiant representing one or both cultures.

Symbolic weddings in Mexico allow couples to infuse their special day with meaningful rituals and symbols. Each ceremony carries its own significance and adds a unique touch to the celebration of love and unity. Choose the symbolic wedding that resonates with your vision and values and let Mexico’s enchanting backdrop provide the perfect setting for your unforgettable ceremony.

Key elements of a symbolic type of wedding in Mexico

Flexibility and creativity

Symbolic ceremonies provide couples with the freedom to customize their vows, rituals and overall wedding experience. These ceremonies can take place in various locations, such as beaches, haciendas, or any other scenic setting of your choice.

Personalized rituals

You can incorporate cultural traditions, symbolic gestures and meaningful rituals that reflect your love story and shared values. This could include unity candle lighting, handfasting sand blending or even a traditional Mexican “lasso” ceremony.

Emotional celebration

Symbolic weddings focus on the emotional and symbolic aspects of marriage, allowing couples to create a heartfelt and intimate experience for themselves and their guests. The absence of legal obligations provides an opportunity for couples to express your love and commitment in a deeply personal way.

Legal or Civil Weddings in Mexico

A legal or civil wedding in Mexico is a recognized marriage that holds legal validity. To have a legal ceremony, couples must meet certain requirements outlined by local law. These requirements may vary depending on the state or municipality where the wedding takes place, so it’s essential to consult your wedding planner to ensure compliance.

Key elements of a legal or civil types of weddings in Mexico

Planning a wedding in Mexico involves understanding and fulfilling specific requirements to ensure a smooth and legally recognized celebration. Here are the essential details you need to know before legally saying “I do” in Mexico:

Arrival and timing

Some resorts require the wedding couple to arrive at least four full business days prior to the wedding day. Note that arrival day, Mexican holidays, and weekends are not counted toward the four-day requirement. Consult your wedding planner before scheduling your arrival.


Four witnesses over 18 years old are typically required for the wedding ceremony, with two witnesses per person. The couple and witnesses must possess passports that are valid for at least six months. The couple and witnesses should have tourist cards obtained upon arrival in Mexico from customs.

Witnesses provided by resorts

If you are unable to provide witnesses, they can be provided for a fee. This ensures compliance with the requirement and facilitates a seamless wedding process.

Mexican witnesses

If you decide to bring your own witnesses, they must have an official ID. This allows for proper identification during the wedding ceremony.

Health certificates and blood tests

To have legal value in Mexico, a health certificate and blood tests must be conducted at the destination where the wedding will take place. The specific requirements for health certificates and blood tests may vary depending on the location.

Chest X-rays (in select destinations)

In certain destinations, couples may be required to undergo chest X-rays a few days before the wedding, conducted at the location where the wedding will be held. Check with your wedding planner to determine if this requirement applies to your destination.

Translation of documents

If the names of the parents are desired on the Wedding Certificate, the couple’s birth certificates must be translated into Spanish and certified.

Additional documentation for special circumstances

For specific circumstances, additional documentation may be required. This includes a Death Certificate if widowed, a final divorce decree if divorced (with a requirement of being divorced for over one year), and adoption papers if one member of the couple is adopted.

Civil wedding application form

Completion of a civil wedding application form is also necessary for a legal wedding in Mexico. This includes providing detailed information such as the names, addresses, nationalities, occupations and ages of the bridal couple, as well as information about parents and witnesses.

To ensure a hassle-free and legally recognized wedding in Mexico, it is essential to understand and fulfill these requirements. Consulting with your wedding planner will help guide you through the necessary steps and ensure a memorable and legally valid celebration of your love in Mexico.

Indigenous Weddings in Mexico

Some Mexican destinations offer couples the opportunity to embrace a spiritual and symbolic wedding experience rooted in local culture. Indigenous weddings can only be conducted by shamans who have a permit. These weddings often prioritize eco-friendliness and ensure that every aspect of the ceremony pays respect to the land and environment.

Indigenous weddings in Mexico are deeply connected to the customs and traditions of the native peoples. They feature vibrant costumes, elaborate rituals, traditional dances and stunning altars adorned with flowers. With a laid-back and joyous atmosphere, these weddings are perfect for couples who prioritize celebrating their love amidst family and friends.

Mayan Weddings

For couples seeking an authentic traditional Mexican experience, this type of Indigenous weddings called Mayan wedding presents a captivating choice. This ceremony involves a binding marriage ritual conducted by a shaman, who bestows blessings upon the couple and their union.

Mayan weddings take place in sacred locations or natural environments. The ceremony incorporates the exchange of marriage vows, the presentation of offerings and the sharing of a ceremonial meal. These weddings not only showcase breathtaking beauty but are also believed to bring good luck to the marriage.

Catholic Weddings in Mexico

Mexico has a strong Catholic heritage, and many couples choose to have a religious wedding ceremony in a church. A Catholic wedding can also be legally recognized if the necessary civil requirements are met alongside the religious ceremony.

Key elements of a Catholic type of wedding in Mexico

Combining the beauty of a destination wedding with the traditions of a Catholic ceremony is an ideal choice for many couples. Catholic weddings in Mexico follow the traditional process of a Catholic wedding, incorporating various important steps and rituals that make them truly special.

When it comes to venue options, popular choices include Catholic churches or cathedrals. These locations provide grand and stunning settings for your sacred union. Alternatively, some resorts offer on-site recognized chapels, allowing you to have a religious ceremony.

Catholic weddings in Mexico are typically not performed on Sundays. It is important to consider this fact when planning your wedding date.

Requirements for Catholic type of weddings in Mexico

To ensure a Catholic wedding in Mexico, there are certain requirements that must be met. Here are the key elements:

Inform your local church

The couple must inform their local church of their intention to get married in a different location. This step ensures that all necessary paperwork and permissions can be obtained.


Couples are generally required to provide scanned copies of their baptism, communion, and/or confirmation certificates within the Catholic Church. These documents validate their standing within the Church and are essential for the wedding process.

Special permissions

In cases where one person is not Catholic, special permission may be required. Couples should consult with their parish priest to understand the process of obtaining the necessary paperwork and permissions.

Certificate of Pre-Cana

Completion of a Pre-Cana marriage preparation program is typically mandatory. This program is provided by your local church and prepares couples for the sacrament of marriage.

Approval from local parish

The couple must seek approval from their local parish, which will be sent to the parish in Mexico where the wedding is planned to take place. This approval ensures that the marriage is recognized within the Catholic Church.

By meeting these requirements, couples can have a Catholic destination wedding in Mexico that combines the richness of the Catholic faith with the allure of a stunning destination. Celebrating your love in this way allows for a deeply meaningful and memorable experience, surrounded by the beauty of Mexico’s landscapes and the blessings of the Catholic tradition.

Types of weddings in Mexico – Conclusion

Mexico offers a range of wedding options, from legally binding ceremonies to religious, indigenous and symbolic celebrations. Whether you choose a legal/civil, Catholic, symbolic  or indigenous wedding, each type provides a unique experience that showcases Mexico’s rich culture and traditions.

You can embark on the journey of love in this vibrant country, surrounded by the beauty of its landscapes and the warmth of its people. By understanding the different types of weddings available in Mexico, you can plan a wedding that not only reflects your love but also embraces the rich cultural heritage of this enchanting country.

Remember, it’s crucial to research and receive guidance from your wedding planner about the specific requirements and processes based on your chosen type of wedding. With careful planning and attention to detail, your wedding in Mexico is sure to be a memorable and unforgettable celebration of your love.

If you are planning on celebrating your wedding in Mexico, learn more about our services and check Paraíso Wedding Instagram.
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