Puerto Vallarta Destination Wedding Guide: Making It Official (Chapter 10)

A happy recently married couple walk down the aisle after their wedding ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Navigate the process of hiring an officiant and selecting wedding bands, plus a marriage license checklist for Mexico.


In this article:
I. Hiring an officiant
II. Selecting wedding bands
II. Marriage license checklist for Mexico


Marriage laws not only vary from country to country but also from state to state. Be sure to get the most up-to-date information on marriage licenses in your home residence. Most couples who have their destination wedding in Mexico will legally marry in their home country before and then celebrate in Mexico (this is called a “symbolic wedding.” Whether you have a legal or symbolic wedding, you will need to hire an officiant to guide the ceremony. This article will help you to hire a wedding officiant and also provide the legal requirements for getting married in Mexico if you choose that route.


Hiring an Officiant

If you have a special pastor, shaman, mentor, friend, or family member who is a judge or certified officiant (for legal marriages), this may be an obvious choice. If not, you’ll find yourself shopping around for an officiant. We recommend prioritizing this vendor as he or she will set the tone for the ceremony and communicate the spirit of your union! All eyes will be on you, but all ears will be on the officiant. Below is a list of questions to ask your potential officiant. Remember, the most important is that you like your officiant and enjoy speaking to him.

  • Tell us a little about your thoughts on wedding ceremonies. Have you performed many?
  • Is premarital counseling required?
  • Can we write our own vows?
  • How many readings are customary? Are there any restrictions on the choice of readings?
  • Are there any restrictions on what you will and will not allow in a ceremony?
  • How long is a typical ceremony?
  • How much is the fee? Is a deposit required?
  • What does the fee include?
  • Will you be doing other weddings that day?
  • What happens if you’re running late or can’t make it?
  • Will you lead a rehearsal?
  • How many times would you like to meet with us before the wedding?
  • What authority do you have to perform legal ceremonies? This question is particularly important for an unaffiliated officiant-for-hire.
  • Will you be able to legally officiate at our wedding location? If you’re marrying out of state, he may have to register there.
  • Can you provide references from couples you’ve married? For a religious officiant, check his references through the church offices.
  • When do you sign the marriage license? At the ceremony or beforehand? We suggest getting it out of the way before the ceremony.
  • We are an interfaith couple. Does this pose any problems?
  • Would you be willing to co-officiate?
  • One of us is divorced. Does this pose any problems? You may need to produce
  • special documentation or get a dispensation.
  • Is it acceptable to include a pet in the ceremony?
  • We have children. How will you make them feel part of the ceremony?
  • I’m pregnant. Are you still willing to marry us?


Selecting Wedding Bands

Shopping for wedding bands is romantic and exciting. Whereas simple gold or platinum bands used to be the norm, nowadays couples opt for customizing their bands (including us!). Before we jump into customization options, let’s start with the basics: What type of metal would you like? Do you prefer a warm or cool color? Consider what looks best with your skin tone, your engagement ring (if you’ll wear them together), and any gems you might want to integrate.

When selecting a wedding band, the choice of metal is as significant as the design. Each metal not only has a unique appearance but also varies in durability, care, and price, catering to different tastes and lifestyles. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular metals used for wedding bands:

Gold: A timeless choice, gold comes in various hues including yellow, white, and rose, each offering a classic appeal. While yellow gold is prized for its traditional look, white gold offers a modern twist, and rose gold stands out for its romantic warmth. Gold’s purity is measured in karats, with 24K being the purest form. While “pure” sounds like the best option, 14 to 18K is preferable; anything higher is too soft to withstand everyday wear.

Platinum: Platinum is rarer and stronger than gold, and sets off white diamonds beautifully. This quality comes at a price per ounce that’s typically $500 USD more than gold.

Palladium: Palladium is a white precious metal. It has the same look as platinum but weighs less and is half the price.

Titanium: Great for sensitive skin, its durability and lighter weight also make it a smart choicer for the active person.


The marriage license checklist (Jalisco & Nayarit – Mexico)

While it is possible to legally marry in Mexico, we recommend having a legal marriage in your home country and then having a wedding celebration in Mexico. This is typically referred to as a “symbolic” or “destination” wedding, where the wedding ceremony in Mexico is not legally binding but is still a meaningful celebration of the couple’s commitment to each other. In this case, the couple would need to obtain a marriage license and have a legally binding wedding ceremony in their home country, following the legal requirements for marriage in their jurisdiction. Then, they can travel to Mexico and have a symbolic wedding ceremony with their family and friends. The symbolic ceremony can be personalized and include cultural or religious traditions, but it will not be recognized as a legal marriage. However, if you are set on having a legal marriage and wedding celebration in Mexico, you will have to follow very specific steps. In the states of Jalisco (Puerto Vallarta) and Nayarit (Nuevo Vallarta, Punta de Mita, Sayulita), the legal requirements for marriage are:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must present a valid passport and tourist visa, known as an FMT (Forma Migratoria para Turista), which is obtained upon entry into Mexico.
  • You must have four witnesses over the age of 18, who must present valid identification.
  • You must complete a blood test within a certain timeframe before the wedding.
  • You must obtain a civil ceremony marriage license, known as an Acta de Matrimonio Civil.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I choose the right wedding officiant in Puerto Vallarta? Look for someone whose style and approach resonate with yours. Ask about their experience, view on ceremonies, and if they’re open to personalized vows. Ensure they’re legally certified to perform weddings in Puerto Vallarta if you’re planning a legal marriage.

  2. What are the latest trends in wedding bands for couples? Couples are increasingly opting for couples rings, customized bands, lab-grown diamonds, and integrating unique metals, designs, and gems. 

  3. What legal documents are needed for a wedding in Jalisco or Nayarit, Mexico? Requirements include valid passports, tourist visas (FMT), four adult witnesses with ID, pre-wedding blood tests, and obtaining a civil ceremony marriage license (Acta de Matrimonio Civil).

  4. Can non-residents have a legal wedding ceremony in Puerto Vallarta? Yes, non-residents can legally marry in Puerto Vallarta by meeting specific requirements, such as presenting valid passports, completing a blood test, and ensuring all documents are for a civil marriage license.

  5. Is premarital counseling required for a wedding in Puerto Vallarta? This depends on your officiant. Some may require or recommend premarital counseling, while others may not. It’s important to discuss this early in your planning process.

  6. How can I personalize my wedding ceremony in Puerto Vallarta? Personalizing your ceremony can involve writing your own vows, choosing meaningful readings, incorporating local customs or traditions, and selecting an officiant who supports your vision.

  7. What should I consider when selecting wedding bands? Consider the metal type, color, durability, care, and how the bands complement your engagement ring and skin tone. Customization options can make your bands truly personal and meaningful.

  8. Are there any restrictions on wedding ceremonies in Puerto Vallarta? Ask your officiant about any restrictions, including the length of the ceremony, choice of readings, and any elements you wish to include or avoid. Legal requirements may also dictate certain aspects of the ceremony.

  9. What are the benefits of having a symbolic wedding in Puerto Vallarta? A symbolic wedding allows for more flexibility and personalization, as it’s not legally binding. Couples often find this option less stressful, focusing on the celebration aspect without worrying about legalities.

  10. How do I ensure my wedding bands last a lifetime? Choose bands made from durable metals and consider your lifestyle when making your selection. Regular maintenance, like cleaning and inspections, can also help preserve your bands’ beauty and integrity over time.

Taylor Wade headshot


Hi, I'm Taylor, the Creative Director at Chas Studios. I co-founded a matchmaking company at the age of 16 and have since amassed two decades of experience in the dating and relationship industry. My deep understanding spans critical areas, from the spiritual growth potential within relationships to navigating finances with your partner. In 2017, just two weeks after relocating to Mexico City, I met and fell head over heels for Diego, who was working in the fashion and editorial world at the time. We subsequently moved to Puerto Vallarta and launched Chas Studios, a photography and film house specializing in weddings and events. We also married in Puerto Vallarta in 2023 allowing us to offer our local knowledge and experience to our readers. 

Are you looking for a wedding photographer for your destination wedding in Mexico?

Chas Studios has an instantly recognizable aesthetic, defined by the soft, organic, and classic qualities that film provides. As a bespoke photography service, we apply a highly personalized and hand-crafted approach to each and every wedding. Our team goes above and beyond for our clients to stay true to our mission: to provide a one-of-a-kind wedding experience! Submit an application to receive a custom quote.

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