The Ultimate Guide To Planning a Destination Wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Couple kissing at their Mexican destination wedding
Everything you need to know about planning your destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.


  1. What is a destination wedding?
  2. How do I plan a destination wedding in Mexico?
  3. Why is Puerto Vallarta a great location for a destination wedding?
  4. When is the best time to have a wedding in Puerto Vallarta?
  5. How much does a destination wedding cost in Mexico?
  6. The best wedding venues in Puerto Vallarta
  7. The best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for a rehearsal dinner
  8. The best wedding planners in Puerto Vallarta
  9. The best wedding photographers in Puerto Vallarta
  10. What are the legal requirements for getting married in Mexico?
  11. What are some ideas for incorporating Mexican culture into a wedding?
  12. Things to do in Puerto Vallarta for wedding guests


Over the past few years, Puerto Vallarta has really exploded in popularity. But the city isn’t just for beaches and nightclubs. Puerto Vallarta has quickly become one of the top global destinations for weddings. This works out wonderfully for us since moving our wedding photography business here over five years ago. In this post, we’ll cover everything Puerto Vallarta wedding related—including the process, costs, venues, vendors, legal requirements, and special suggestions for things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Think of this blog post as your definitive guide to planning a Puerto Vallarta wedding. Let’s get started.


What is a destination wedding?

A destination wedding is a wedding that takes place away from the couple’s hometown and involves travel to a different location. Typically, a destination wedding is held in an exotic or scenic location that may have some personal significance to the couple, such as a favorite vacation spot or a location with family ties. The couple and their guests usually spend several days at the destination, which often includes a mix of wedding festivities and vacation activities. Destination weddings can be a great way to create a unique and memorable experience for the couple and their guests, and can often be more affordable than traditional weddings. However, they do require additional planning and logistical considerations.

Keep reading: What Is A Destination Wedding?


How do I plan a destination wedding in Mexico?

Every wedding is unique and the planning process should be customized to fit your specific needs and preferences. It’s important to stay organized, communicate with your partner, wedding planner, and vendors, and don’t forget to enjoy the process! We recommend following these 8 steps to begin planning your destination wedding:

  • Establish a budget: The first step in planning a wedding is to determine your budget. This will help you prioritize your spending and make sure you don’t overspend on certain aspects of the wedding.
  • Create a guest list: The next step is to create a list of guests you want to invite to the wedding. This will help you determine the size of the venue you’ll need and other details such as catering and seating.
  • Choose a venue: Once you have a guest list, you can begin looking for a venue that can accommodate your needs. Some factors to consider when choosing a venue include location, capacity, cost, and availability. Further reading: Discover the Best Wedding Venues in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: From Beachfront Resorts to Historic Haciendas
  • Hire a wedding planner and vendors: We recommend hiring a wedding planner, whether it be full planning, partial planning, or day-of-coordination. Your wedding planner can also help you select vendors for various aspects of the wedding, including catering, photography, flowers, and music. Further reading: Hiring a Destination Wedding Planner in Puerto Vallarta: Your Essential Handbook.
  • Choose a theme or style: The theme or style of your wedding can help guide your decisions when it comes to decor, attire, and other details. Some popular themes include rustic, bohemian, beachy, and formal.
  • Plan the ceremony and reception: Once you have the basic details in place, you can begin planning the ceremony and reception. This includes choosing readings and music for the ceremony, creating a seating chart for the reception, and selecting a menu and drinks.
  • Send out invitations: When you have all the details in place, you can send out invitations to your guests. Make sure to include all the necessary information, such as date, time, location, and dress code.
  • Plan for the day-of: Finally, you’ll need to plan for the day of the wedding, including transportation for the wedding party, hair and makeup appointments, and any other necessary details.


Why is Puerto Vallarta a great location for a destination wedding?

As destination wedding photographers, we constantly get asked for the best wedding locations and Puerto Vallarta always tops the list. Puerto Vallarta is known for its stunning natural beauty, with miles of pristine beaches, lush jungles, and picturesque mountains. These scenic landscapes provide a perfect backdrop for outdoor wedding ceremonies and photoshoots. Puerto Vallarta is located on Mexico’s Pacific coast in the state of Jalisco and has its own international airport which offers direct flights from many major cities in the US and Canada, making it extremely convenient for wedding guests. The city also has a well-developed transportation infrastructure, making it easy for wedding guests to get around. This tourist destination offers various activities and attractions for wedding guests, including beach activities, water sports, cultural tours, and nightlife. This ensures that guests will have plenty to do and enjoy during their stay.

Read our article, The Insider’s Guide to Tourist Activities for Wedding Guests in Puerto Vallarta to learn more.

Puerto Vallarta has a thriving wedding industry, with a wide range of wedding venues and vendors to suit every couple’s taste and budget. Venue options include beachfront resorts, luxury villas, historic haciendas, boutique hotels, and more. Puerto Vallarta is home to many experienced vendors who specialize in destination weddings. This means couples can easily find wedding planners, photographers, caterers, entertainment, and other vendors who are familiar with all of the intricacies of a destination wedding. We recommend hiring an experienced wedding planner who can help you begin the planning process and recommend local vendors, which we’ll discuss in this article.


When is the best time to have a wedding in Puerto Vallarta?

The best time to have a wedding in Puerto Vallarta depends on the following factors: weather, crowds, budget, and availability.

  • Weather: Puerto Vallarta has a tropical climate, with hot and humid summers and warm and dry winters. The rainy season runs from June to October, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in September and October. If you prefer cooler and drier weather, the best time to plan your wedding in Puerto Vallarta is during the winter months from November to April.
  • Crowds: Puerto Vallarta is a popular tourist destination, and the city can get crowded during peak travel season. If you prefer a quieter and more private wedding, you may want to avoid the busiest times of the year, such as Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter.
  • Budget: The cost of travel and accommodations in Puerto Vallarta can vary depending on the time of year. High season, which runs from November to April, tends to be more expensive than low season, which runs from May to October. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to consider planning your wedding during the off-season.
  • Availability: Some wedding venues and vendors may be more in-demand during certain times of the year. If you have your heart set on a particular venue or vendor, it’s a good idea to check their availability and schedule your wedding accordingly.


Overall, the best time to plan a wedding in Puerto Vallarta depends on your personal preferences, priorities, and budget. It’s a good idea to do some research and consult with local wedding planners to help you choose the best date for your wedding.


How much does a destination wedding cost in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

The costs of a destination wedding in Mexico can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors such as the venue, number of guests, time of year, vendors, and the overall scope of the wedding. Generally, a destination wedding in Mexico can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 or more. Here are some of the main expenses you may incur:

  • Venue: The cost of the venue can vary widely depending on factors such as location, size, and services provided. Wedding package cost estimates at popular venues in Puerto Vallarta typically include a variety of services and amenities, such as catering, bar service, decor, lighting, and entertainment, among others, and normally range from $10,000 to $50,000 USD.
  • Catering: Depending on the number of guests and menu options, catering can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per person.
  • Photography and Videography: Professional photography and videography services can range from $2,000 to $6,000 depending on the package and number of hours of coverage.
  • Flowers and Decor: The cost of flowers and decor can vary depending on the size of the wedding and specific requirements. A ballpark estimate for flowers and decor could be anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.
  • Wedding Planner: The cost of a wedding planner can vary depending on their level of involvement, experience, and services provided. A full-service wedding planner could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.
  • Entertainment/Music: The cost of entertainment and music can vary depending on the type of performance and number of performers required. A DJ could cost around $1,500 to $3,000 while a live band could cost around $5,000 to $10,000.
  • Transportation: Transportation costs can vary depending on the number of guests and distance between venues. For a wedding in Puerto Vallarta, transportation costs could range from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Accommodations: The cost of accommodations can vary depending on the hotel and room type selected. A ballpark estimate for hotel accommodations for wedding guests could be anywhere from $150 to $400 per night.


      Keep reading: How Much Does a Destination Wedding in Mexico Cost?


      What are the best wedding venues in Puerto Vallarta?

      When it comes to choosing a venue for your Puerto Vallarta wedding, you are spoiled for choice. There are handfuls of stunning venues, from beachfront resorts to historic haciendas and everything in between. We compiled a list of our favorite Puerto Vallarta wedding venues based on location, capacity, amenities, style and aesthetics, costs, and reviews. If you need help choosing a venue or would like to hire us to scout venues for you, please contact us for more information!

      Keep reading: Discover the Best Wedding Venues in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: From Beachfront Resorts to Historic Haciendas


      What are the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta?

      One thing that surprised me upon moving to Puerto Vallarta was the incredible culinary scene. One of the highlights of Puerto Vallarta’s culinary scene is the abundance of fresh seafood, caught daily and prepared with an array of flavors and techniques. You’ll find everything from traditional Mexican seafood dishes like ceviche and aguachile to globally inspired seafood dishes like grilled octopus and sea bass in a coconut curry sauce.

      Puerto Vallarta offers a range of fine dining options for an elegant rehearsal dinner or even a wedding. The city is home to several award-winning restaurants, including Cafe des Artistes, which is widely considered one of the best restaurants in all of Mexico. Chef Thierry Blouet, the restaurant’s owner and executive chef, creates innovative French-Mexican fusion dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Here is our full list of top restaurants in Puerto Vallarta:

      • Café des Artistes: This fine-dining restaurant is known for its elegant atmosphere and French-Mexican fusion cuisine. The menu includes dishes like lobster ravioli, duck confit, and filet mignon.
      • La Leche: This trendy restaurant serves modern Mexican cuisine in a minimalist, all-white setting. The menu includes dishes like octopus carpaccio, pork belly tacos, and homemade ice cream.
      • La Palapa: This beachfront restaurant is known for its fresh seafood, including ceviche, grilled fish, and shrimp. The restaurant also has a great cocktail menu and live music on weekends.
      • Barrio Bistro: This charming restaurant serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, such as lamb shank with roasted garlic, grilled octopus with olive tapenade, and homemade pasta.
      • Tintoque: This modern seafood restaurant serves dishes like tuna tartare, shrimp aguachile, and grilled octopus. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list and creative cocktails.
      • Trio: This fine-dining restaurant has been serving innovative international cuisine for more than 20 years. Chef Bernhard Guth creates dishes that showcase the best of local ingredients while incorporating global flavors and techniques. 


      Who are the best wedding planners in Puerto Vallarta?

      Puerto Vallarta is home to many experienced wedding planners to help plan your big day. Whether you’re looking for a full wedding planner or a day-of-coordinator, there is a planner for every style and budget. We always recommend ensuring your planner has experience planning at least 10-15 weddings, has a stellar reputation, works within your budget, and is someone that matches your personality, or in other words, someone that you like! We wrote an extensive blog article on how to hire the best destination wedding planner in Puerto Vallarta, which you can find in the link below.

      Keep reading: Hiring a Destination Wedding Planner in Puerto Vallarta: Your Essential Handbook


      Puerto Vallarta is a popular wedding destination and finding the best wedding photographer can be a daunting task. In our article, Top 10 Wedding Photographers in Puerto Vallarta: Cost Comparison and Reviews, we tell you ten of the most talented and professional wedding photographers in Puerto Vallarta, who have proven their skills and expertise in this niche. Pricing for a 6-hour wedding shoot from an experienced high-quality photographer ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 USD.

      Keep reading: Top 10 Wedding Photographers in Puerto Vallarta: Cost Comparison and Reviews


      What are the legal requirements for getting married in 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 prior to the wedding.
      • You must obtain a civil ceremony marriage license, known as an Acta de Matrimonio Civil.


      What are some ideas for incorporating Mexican culture into a wedding?

      • Use vibrant colors: Bright and bold colors are a staple of Mexican culture, so consider incorporating them into your wedding color palette. Think about using colors such as red, orange, yellow, and pink.
      • Serve traditional Mexican food: Mexican cuisine is flavorful and diverse, so consider serving traditional dishes such as tacos, mole, chiles rellenos, and tamales. You can also offer a margarita bar or tequila tasting.
      • Use Mexican textiles: Incorporate traditional Mexican textiles into your decor, such as serapes, otomi fabrics, and embroidered table runners.
      • Have a mariachi band: A live mariachi band can add a festive touch to the wedding ceremony or reception.
      • Offer Mexican-inspired wedding favors: Give guests a small piece of Mexico to take home with them, such as mini bottles of tequila or handmade pottery.
      • Display Mexican folk art: Mexican folk art is colorful and intricate, and can be used to decorate various areas of the wedding, such as the altar, centerpieces, or photo booth backdrop.
      • Include Mexican traditions: Consider incorporating traditional Mexican wedding customs, such as the lazo ceremony, where a couple is tied together with a lasso to symbolize unity, or the arras ceremony, where coins are exchanged as a symbol of the couple’s commitment to each other.


      What are things to do in Puerto Vallarta for wedding guests?

      Puerto Vallarta is a popular tourist destination located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, delicious culinary scene with world-renown restaurants, a rich history and cultural heritage, numerous art galleries, museums, and historic landmarks, and outdoor activities, such as fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and hiking in the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains. Learn more about Puerto Vallarta’s tourist activities and transportation for destination wedding guests in our article below.

      Keep reading: The Insider’s Guide to Tourist Activities for Wedding Guests in Puerto Vallarta


      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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