If your idea of a perfect wedding involves beautiful scenery then Mexico has it all. The natural sights here are breathtaking - white tropical beaches next to gleaming turquoise waters, snow-capped stratovolcanoes of monumental proportions, pacific bays with high rolling surf, verdant rainforest full of life and majestic canyons that plunge hundreds of metres. The culture of this remarkable country is rich and historic, with a whole host of gorgeous colonial towns and haciendas to tour that have hardly changed in centuries. Or you could take in the many incredible feats of Mesoamerican architecture, with whole ancient cities perfectly intact.
|Weather & Climate||Culture & Etiquette|
|Food & Drink||Money & Wedding Costs|
- Size: 1,972,550 km2 (14th largest)
- Population: Approximately 118.4 million
- Capital City: Mexico City
- Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN)
- Languages Spoken: Spanish is the national language, but there are also a number of indigenous languages spoken
- Main Religions: Roman Catholicism is the main religion (82.7%)
- Major Holidays and Festivals:
- New Year's Day - January 1
- Constitution Day - February 5 (Observed on First Monday of February)
- Benito Juárez's Birthday - March 21 (Observed on Third Monday of March)
- Labor Day - May 1
- Independence Day - September 16
- Day of the Dead - November 2
- Revolution Day - November 20 (Observed on Third Monday of November)
- The Feast day of Our Lady - December 12
- Christmas Day - December 25
- Day of the Innocents - December 28
Visitors hoping to see all of Mexico’s essential sights would need to spend several weeks in the country. The range is that large. But within the categories of Mesoamerican history, ecotourism, beach getaways and colonial sights there are of course some standouts that are not to be missed:
When it comes to pre-Columbian wonders, Chichen Itza on the Yucatán Peninsula stands alone. It’s counted among the New Seven Wonders of the World and is recognised by its gargantuan Pyramid of Kukulcan.
Perfect for adventurous outward-bound souls, the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua is mind-boggling in its scale. It’s a natural park contains seven different gorges with walls that have an unforgettable reddish hue to them. There are hot springs all around, as well as the Piedra Volada Falls, the highest in the country at 463 metres.
Beach paradises are plentiful in Mexico, and there’s a slightly different character to each destination. The Yucatán Peninsula in the southeast has Caribbean influences, with white beaches fringed by palms and an underwater world of caves waiting for divers. The Baja Peninsula meanwhile is on the Pacific, with grand sweeping beaches and pods of whales passing just offshore.
If you’d like to see the ornate architecture of the colonial era then cities like Campeche, Guanajuato, Morelia, Querétaro and Tlacotalpan are all musts. North-Central regions are also fascinating for their historic mining industries. Majestic haciendas were established centuries ago, and, as preserved historical sites or holiday resorts, these complexes continue to fill a variety of purposes to this day.
Mexico covers a massive area, and within its borders is a huge diversity of elevations, all of which makes for a wide variety of annual weather conditions. As a rule of thumb, the north is temperate or chilly on the high ground, with hot and arid conditions on the lower areas. Winters here do bring temperatures a few degrees lower than in summer. On the coasts, the further south you go the more subtropical the climate patterns, with more rainfall, higher humidity and much less temperature fluctuation than in the north. Most of the major cities are within the Valley of Mexico, sitting higher than 2,000 metres, which has a tempering effect on the climate. Mexico City for instance is below the Tropic of Cancer, but gets comfortable nightly temperatures throughout the year; dropping to lows of 6˚C in January.
Since 2006 Mexico’s drug traffic-related violence and cartel influence has been well documented. The threat to visitors is not immediate and activity is generally restricted to non-touristic areas just south of the border with the United States. Nevertheless, you might notice a military presence wherever you stay, although since 2013 this has started to become less obvious. If you’re heading a long way off the beaten track then it is worth exercising caution and researching your destination carefully.
But as a rule, these isolated troubles do not affect holidaymakers and so have done little to diminish Mexico’s incredible appeal as a place to spend a getaway. There’s simply too much to see and do, and the genuine warmth of the welcome will tempt you to return again and again.
In urban destinations it’s worth taking the same precautions against pickpockets and muggers that you might in any major city. This means avoiding public transport at unsociable hours and staying clear of down-at-heel neighbourhoods where crime is more prevalent.
Mexican cuisine is known and loved the world over. It’s mixes native ingredients such as chilli, beans and corn with produce that arrived with the Spanish, such as chicken, beef, pork and lamb, as well as a variety of herbs. Meats tend to be grilled and roasted in the north, while coastal regions like Baja California are known for their octopus, swordfish, shrimp and tuna.
Cheese was also introduced at this time, and plays a key role in Mexican dishes like quesadillas (cheese grilled with other ingredients in corn tortillas) or tostadas (flat tortilla typically covered with fried beans, onion, tomato, meat and topped with cheese). Mexico also has a tradition for street food, with wrapped tortillas especially popular and filled with any combination of ingredients, depending on the location.
Mexico has also given the world tequila, which is distilled from the blue agave plant and originated in the town of the same name in the state of Jalisco. Several Mexican beers are exported, including the pale lagers Corona and Dos Equis.
The national currency is the Peso (MXN), with 1 peso made up of 100 centavos. Notes printed in Mexico are 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000-peso bills. Coins minted are 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos. There are also 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100-peso coins, but coins above 10 pesos tend not to be widely circulated.
The official marriage licence fee costs the equivalent of $30 US.
Most visitors choosing Mexico as a wedding destination will opt for a wedding package provided by many of the hotels in the popular coastal resorts on the Californian or Yucatán Peninsulas. A wedding for 20 guests here will set you back between $2000 and $3000 dollars.
Of course there are other fees to factor in, such as flights for you and your guests, fees that you might need to pay in your own country to legalise your documentation, and of course, any costs payable should you hire a wedding planner for your special day.
|The following notes are not comprehensive and are intended as a guide only. Before planning your wedding in Mexico we strongly advise you to contact the Mexican embassy in your home country or your country's embassy in Mexico to obtain up-to-date legal requirements.|
Parental consent is required for anyone under the age of 18.
Some states require divorcees to have been fully divorced for at least one year prior to the ceremony. In some places restrictions on divorcees are tighter on the bride than the groom.
Some states require blood tests and chest x-rays, which also need to be completed in Mexico. This requirement does not go for all Mexican states, but where applied is enforced strictly.
Four witnesses need to be present at the ceremony, and they also need to bring valid identification, such as a passport.
The following documents need to be presented/completed by the couple (translated into Spanish, notarised by your Mexican consulate and legalised in your own country):
- Passports, valid for at least six months after arrival.
- Tourist Permit.
- Birth certificates.
- Divorcee decree (if applicable).
- Marriage application forms for the local registry office.
Mexico consists of 32 federal entities. The 31 states have their own constitution and congress, while the federal district of Mexico City has less autonomy, with a local congress and government. The states are free to govern themselves, provided they do not contradict Mexico’s national constitution. Several of the states have existed in largely the same form since the Treaty of Córdoba confirmed Mexico’s independence in 1821. The last to gain admission to the federation were Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur in 1974.