Cancun and Riviera Maya have long been a few of the best places to plan a destination wedding in Mexico. Cancun may have earned its reputation as a party hotspot, but there’s more to this bustling resort town than meets the eye. Situated on the second largest reef in the world, the Maya Reef draws divers from all over the world with its underwater gardens and warm, clear waters. Cancun is also home to a number of cenotes, or underwater caves, which make for an unforgettable and romantic excursion to plan around your Cancun wedding. If you’re a history buff, weddings in Cancun allow you to explore numerous Mayan monuments and ruins, while shoppers will need to explore the luxury boutiques lining the hotel district. A day on white sands is also the perfect way to highlight a vacation to this Mexican paradise and a Cancun wedding package is the perfect way to experience it.
Riviera Maya, originally called the Cancun-Tulum corridor, is a sprawling stretch of Caribbean coastline on the Yucatan Peninsula known for its brightly-lit reef waters and white sand shores, providing you the opportunity to plan the perfect wedding on a Riviera Maya beach. Riviera Maya is comprised of a number of smaller resort towns and villages, including Tulum, Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen, each with their own vibe. Cancun & Riviera Maya weddings provide postcard-worthy beaches!
We’ve enlisted the help of Christine Sholander, a Certified Destination Wedding Specialist with DestinationWeddings.com, to round out some of the key Q&A’s about planning a wedding in Cancun or Riviera Maya. Read through this handy list, and you’ll be able to relax, drink in hand, and just you know….do the whole “I do” thing!
What are the marriage license requirements in Cancun and Riviera Maya?
For Civil Ceremonies: Couples must arrive on property 3 business days before the wedding. Blood tests must be done on property. Judge fees and documentation fees apply; ceremony date and time are subject to the judge’s calendar and are not confirmed until closer to ceremony date.
Note: Karisma Hotels enjoy the services of a judge (not sharing with other hotels) so it’s much easier to confirm a civil ceremony in advance; usually within 30 days of confirming the wedding date/time.
The ceremony is performed in Spanish by the judge; there may be a fee for English translation. After the ceremony, it can take up to 3 months for the paperwork to be completed and then mailed to the couple to take to their local courthouse to file.
For vow renewal or symbolic ceremonies: Couples must arrive on property 3 business days before the wedding. Some hotels will allow 2 days. The couple can be married at home prior to arrival or just enjoy a Symbolic commitment ceremony. No paperwork is necessary; the ceremony is performed by an officiant (usually a hotel staff member) and in Spanish with English translation. Some hotels have a fee for officiants and for English translation.
What’s the best time of year for a wedding here?
I have visited this area in every season over the last 10 years and have enjoyed the breezes of the dry season as well as the heat of the summer. The weather is one thing that cannot be predicted; if rain is an unexpected guest at your celebration, the hotels all have ‘Plan B’ locations. Some lovely photo opportunities can be enjoyed with raindrops and clouds.
Dry season is late November-February; lower rates can be enjoyed in November and December if you stay away from the holiday travel dates; Destination Weddings Travel as well as the hotels have many special offers. The weather is lovely this time of year; still warm and breezy without the heat and humidity of the summer months.
The spring brings humidity and increased temperatures; the summer brings the heat and tropical weather with rains mostly passing through quickly in the late afternoon. August through October sees a drop in rates as schools re-open and the risk of tropical weather increases; this time period offers some of the lowest rates offered during the year.
Why do you think Cancun and the Riviera Maya are such great destination wedding choices?
Excursions are plentiful, from camel riding on the beach to jungle safaris, snorkeling and diving to cenote and cave tours, as well as historical sites like Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza.
The beaches in Cancun are wide with white sand; the beautiful turquoise and blues of the Caribbean can be found here. In Riviera Maya, the world’s second largest coral reef is close to shore in this region which makes for great snorkeling and diving. The beaches are long and narrow for the most part and water entry may be a bit rocky. The colors of the Caribbean can still be found here although a bit more muted than in Cancun.
What are some of your favorite venues for weddings?
There are so many to choose from, but several of my favorites are the Generations Riviera Maya Sky Deck or Pier, the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun on the beach w/rooftop reception, Dreams Riviera Cancun and Dreams Tulum Secret Garden. Connect with the experts at DestinationWeddings.com for exlusive offers at these resorts!