Planning a DW in ~4 months…. Doable?

posted 3 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
1258 posts
Bumble bee

I think the best bet for you is to go into a local travel agent, sit them down, tell them what you want and what your budget is. They will be able to help you narrow it down as well as letting you know the details and rules for getting married in these places. 


That way at least you have a direction to go in even if you don’t book with the agent directly. You know? I got so lost when I first started looking at resorts, so we met with a travel agent and told her what kinda budget we were working with and approx dates or months we were looking at and then mentioned Cuba because neither of us had been there before. It all sort of flowed from there. 


I think 4 months is enough time, but I would try to nail down the actual wedding and resort as soon as possible. Do your guests know your plans and how much $$ they will need to budget for your wedding? 

EDIT: duh, I forgot the most important part! Congratulations on your engagement! 🙂 





Post # 4
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@FutureMrsM87:  Congratulations!

Because you often do have to stay for several days before getting married, (even though I LOVE Mexico) I would recommend you go to PR or USVI or even Florida Keys.

Post # 6
5248 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@FutureMrsM87:  We had a destination wedding in Cuba last May and we legally got married in Canada first before going just to make it easier. I know in Mexico they make you take a blood test before you legally get married there which I find super weird and not something I would do. I know most destiantions make you wait at least three days before you are able to get married there. I would also suyggest going to a travel agenet who can help you decide on a place and make plans most fo them do weddings and would know good places to recommend and the rules of getting married in each place. Do your guest sknow about the destination wedding? We gave our guests almost a years notice so they could plan for vacation time and budget wise

Post # 7
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@FutureMrsM87:  Yes, but they may not treat the wedding as such.  They may treat it like a vow renewal instead. So it may not work out the best for you.

Post # 8
2571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@FutureMrsM87:  Travel agent is a must!  That’s what we did and we got exactly what we wanted…

Also, resorts will allow you to marry first before arriving and just doing a ceremony.  We’d considered that but ultimately decided to do it right there because the waiting period wasn’t ridiculous.  I think if you’re considering Jamaica their wait time isn’t bad;

Post # 9
431 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@FutureMrsM87:  I know in the Domincan Republic you can do a “regular” ceremony (sorry, I know there’s a more formal name to that, but I’m going blank at the moment), or a “symbolic” ceremony, where you’re already married legally in the states or will do so after your ceremony. You do all of the legal stuff in the US– you just have a ceremony in the DR, which is what my FI and I are going to do. We actually haven’t chosen yet between the DR and Mexico, so I’d love to hear what you end up choosing. Keep in mind also that most all-inclusive resorts require each person to book a room for a minimum of 3 nights.

The airfare is pretty inconvenient for the DR compared to Mexico. They don’t have nearly as many flights going in and out in both times of day nor as many airlines However, the beaches are pristine and they have affordable luxury all-inclusive resorts. My FI and I stayed at the Majestic Colonial for 6 nights, and including flight and stay, it was $1000/person. We absolutely loved the resort. Unless you’re just totally against it, I’d HIGHLY recommend mentioning Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to your travel agent (which you’re going to need).

Post # 10
5160 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Yay, I’m also a west coast bride who had a DW in Mexico on short notice! 


1) To minize flight times, scratch Jamacia and stick with the West Coast of Mexico.  Look at Puerto Vallarta and Cabo. To do things quickly, you need to narrow it down. 

2) Start with a travel agent specializing in these things.  She’ll find you deals on a few locations and help you choose one.  Later when it’s time for your guests to book, they’ll be able to book through her.

3) There are LOTS of great, luxurious, resorts out there.  I personally got married at the Now Amber in Puerto Vallarta and had a great experience.  They are part of the Dreams group of resorts.  It’s an excellent brand.

4) Getting legally married in Mexico is a pain.  Get legally married before/after you leave in a quick civil ceremony.  It’s ok, the wedding police on Weddingbee don’t have to know.

5) 4 months is short notice.  Are your guests ok with it?  I did my wedding on a similar amount of notice and it was a bit hectic, but totally do-able.  The most stressful part is choosing the vacation package deal and ensuring you get the pricing your guests want.  After that it’s mostlyl fun stuff.

Let me know if I can help any more – I’ve totally been there!  My

Post # 11
5160 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@FutureMrsM87:  Yes, it is very common to do your legal ceremony seperately if you go to Mexico.  Nearly everyone having a DW there does this. 

YOu don’t want to get into legally marrying in mexico, it’s a huge hassle.  Blood tests, spanish only ceremony, mexican beaurocracy. 

Most resorts actually charge you a higher fee if you want to have a legal ceremony there since it’s such a hassle.

creativeplannertobee they don’t treat it as a vow renewal.  Almost every couple who gets married in mexico as a DW is not being legally married.  This is standard procedure for them. 

Post # 12
2383 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@FutureMrsM87:  It’s totally do-able! We planned for a big wedding locally then scrapped it all to have a DW with 4-5 months till our date, however we only had 4 guests. We got married in Mexico on Isla Mujeres- it’s off the coast of Cancun so waay less party-vibe. It was about a 10 min. taxi ride from the Cancun airport & a 20 min ferry ride so all in all, pretty good- we flew from San Fran. Our hotel was Privilege Aluxes & we all LOVED our time there (all-inclusive). The coordinator was great and handled all the legal stuff for us (we speak zero spanish), the staff was amazing & made us feel like family, and the resort was pretty small & quiet at under 200 rooms. We felt very safe on the island even walking around wasted in the middle of the night trying to get back to the hotel from the bars. Everyone there was extremely friendly & nice. 


Our hotel had a few different packages, none of which fit our needs. We were able to work with the coordinator and customize a pakcage that fit our small needs & budget. 


From what our coordinator told us (married in July of this year) there are different requirements for each area/state. For Isla Mujeres (located in Quinta Roo) we did have to arrive 3 days before the ceremony- really 4 because most resorts will only do your legally required blood test first thing in the morning (before you drink). It was easy for us, we just arrived 4 days early, got up the next morning for a quick & painless blood test (the nurse showed us everything all packed up & sterile). If either of you have a curable STD they will not marry you, period. So it might be a good idea to get checked up before you leave.


We did not have to get any paperwork translated on our end. They took copies of our passports, our 4 guests passports, and everyone’s entry visa which you get on the plane entering the country and at customs. We had to fill our a few applications & information forms which were in spanish but our coordinator and google docs translated those for us super easily. We had to send original applications to the hotel with our witnesses signatures and fed-ex took care of that easily. We got multiple originals of our marriage license after the ceremony so we didn’t have to wait for anything by mail to change my name, and no issues with our license not being in english… 


Almost every hotel will let you by-pass all this and you can have a non-legal ceremony. Mexico is very strict on what wording can be used for the ceremony, so that may also be an issue for you as you can only customize vows- nothing else can be changed. I have the text from ours if you want a peek. It’s not a very religious ceremony at all- very secular so that was a nice surprise for us both. Lots of people that don’t want to jump through all the legal hoops get married back home & do a ‘ceremony’ in Mexico. 

For us, there was going to be paperwork either way so we really didn’t care about having a few extra hoops to jump through in order to get the fully legal ceremony. I was adamant about not going to the courthouse before-hand because my job requires me to be in that office already pretty much daily…. 

Here’s where I posted about our wedding/hotel/process if you want to see more, and feel free to message me if you have any questions or want more info!


Post # 15
5160 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@FutureMrsM87:  I’m in Vancouver, BC – so a ways west of you.  I’m happy to help!  I’ll PM you a couple of resources.

Post # 16
785 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

@FutureMrsM87:  My sister actually got legally married here in Canada, then did a ceremony in Mexico. Definitely allowed.. then you don’t need to get blood tests and all that.

I wouldn’t reccomend the Grand Sunset Princess in the Mayan Riviera (Mexico). It was a ton of walking, the entertainment at the resort sucked and it didn’t impress me honestly (we paid $1200/person in nov/dec 2011 for flights and 7 days).

My other sister got married in Jamaica, they were able to be legally married there with no issues. The wedding was MUCH cheaper than my other sisters, and my other sister couldn’t do a dinner because it was too expensive. In Jamaica we stayed at the RIU in Ocho Rios, it was beautiful, the staff were so friendly and I would go back in a heart beat. This was in 2009, we paid $1900/person for 7 days.


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