Mexico's affordability and proximity to the U.S. makes it a natural choice for American couples that want a tropical wedding.
Tesoro Resorts, a collection of three oceanfront hotels in Ixtapa, Los Cabos and Manzanillo, Mexico, prides itself on its customized wedding packages for both civil and religious ceremonies, as well as its ability to cater to weddings of all sizes.
These can range from a private ceremony (bride, groom and four witnesses) to a full-blown "shindig" of 500 or more guests, according to Pam Streeter, vice president, marketing.
While a wedding in Mexico can be complicated for nonresidents, there are ways around some of the roadblocks.
For instance, Tesoro Resorts created its wedding ceremony packages to incorporate the cost of blood tests (saving about $200); translation fee (about $40); judge's transportation to the hotel (about $30); and four witnesses (up to $120), Streeter said. (Couples may bring their own witnesses at no cost.) The hotel also assists couples with the documentation required under Mexican law.
For those planning a Catholic ceremony, an appointment with a local priest is customary, Streeter said. In some states, such as Colima, where Manzanillo lies, a Catholic wedding must be held in a church, while in others, such as Baja California Sur, home to Ixtapo and Los Cabos, a priest is permitted to perform a wedding just about anywhere, she said.
Every effort is made by Tesoro Resorts to accommodate couples of all religions, Streeter added, although even a nondenominational church in Catholic Mexico may be difficult to find. Most couples opt for a civil wedding on the hotel grounds, performed in Spanish by a judge and translated into English, she said. Couples planning a Jewish wedding should plan to bring their own rabbi.
Tesoro's civil and religious wedding packages, available at all three resorts, start at $1,499 and include a decorated wedding site; a basic wedding cake; a bride's bouquet and groom's boutonniere; a marriage certificate; and a room upgrade, if available.
Onsite wedding planners help with the selection of venue, flowers and menu. They will also assist with arrangements for photography or any other wedding elements not included in the basic package, at an additional cost.
An all-inclusive honeymoon package of four days and three nights costs $495 and features accommodations in a standard guestroom, breakfast in bed, a bottle of champagne, taxes and gratuities. Discounts on accommodations for guests are based on availability and the size of the group.
Rates to accommodate a longer stay for the bride and groom, guests and witnesses vary based on the number of nights, time of year and number of rooms needed. A basic price of five nights starts about $750 per room, Streeter said. A combination wedding ceremony and five-night hotel stay starts at $2,249, and a seven-night package starts at $2,549.
"What we have seen most people do is plan a five- to seven-night stay in Mexico and hold their wedding toward the end of their week," Streeter said.
For more information on Tesoro Resorts, call (866) 998-3767 or visit www.tesororesorts.com.