Exchanging Vows in Mexico

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Elegant setting at Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende.

casa de sierra nevada, san miguel de allende

WHY WE CHOSE IT: Not only will the bride and groom fall in love with the romantic ambiance of Casa de Sierra Nevada, but this boutique Orient-Express hotel may even inspire the wedding guests to stay a few extra nights after the ceremony to discover the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, founded in 1542.

With only 37 rooms and suites spread out through six centuries-old colonial buildings, which, by the way, are located walking distance from the town’s main city square and towering cathedral, Casa de Sierra Nevada is paramount for a wedding where historic elements mingle finely with Old World charm.

Each mansion features five to seven guestrooms ranging from Superior, Deluxe, and Junior Suites to Deluxe Junior Suites, outdoor courtyards, fountains, small gardens and alfresco corridors. Labeling this property as a boutique hotel does not do it justice—one mansion, Casa del Parque, is a 17th century fort, while Casa Principal, which harks back to 1580, is the former residence of the town’s archbishop and an official historical landmark.

Not that it makes a difference for the truly high-brow couple, but there is an A-list of celebrity guests who have stayed here, from political bigwigs such as Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox, to big screen celebrities like Sharon Stone, Johnny Depp and Harrison Ford. The property lacks in wedding packages, but makes up for it with its three event rooms and two outdoor garden settings able to host at least 300 guests. The bridal party will want to book a few treatments at Laja Spa, especially the Cocoa & Chile Wrap or the 50-minute manicure and pedicure spa treatments. Room rates start at $333 a night.

(800) 701-1561 or casadesierranevada.com

four seasons punta mita

WHY WE CHOSE IT: It’s for the couple—well, let’s be honest, the bride—that just can’t seem to make up their mind on whether they want an outdoor wedding or the conventional ballroom affair—either way, the Four Seasons Punta Mita has got it all.

Set on a 400-acre nature preserve on a private peninsula just northwest of Puerto Vallarta, on the Bahia de Banderas, the Four Seasons Punta Mita not only has the capacity to host more than 400 guests, but can even scale it down to just those 12 lucky few who were invited to Mexico’s Pacific Coast to witness the blessed union.

The property isn’t all beach—it boasts two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses; a fitness center and Apuane Spa with its signature Hakali and Punta Mita massage treatments; 10 tennis courts; three pools; four restaurants (duck tacos, yum) and three lounges; and a wide variety of outdoor and indoor wedding venue options.

The Four Seasons also offers three different wedding packages: the Surawi, Tupina, and Nakahue. The whopper of all three is the Nakahue, at $14,500, which includes a wedding coordinator, decorations, a round of golf or spa treatments for the bride and groom, photography and videography, a single-tier wedding cake, a 4-course dinner, and breakfast in bed. The Surawi ($8,000) and Tupina ($10,000) packages offer slimmed-down versions of the grand Nakahue.

But it’s the different venues that couples will flip a coin for when trying to decide where to celebrate the big day, like The Rock, an oceanside cliff set-up accommodating 12 guests, or the Driving Range on the golf course, able to host 450 guests. Beachside weddings are more than doable with Las Cuevas Beach (300 guests) or Las Manzanillas Beach (50 guests).

(866) 280-9490 or fourseasons.com

hotel endemico, ensenada

WHY WE CHOSE IT: At first glance, Endemico, part of the Grupo Habita collection and a member of Design Hotels, may not seem like the typical locale to celebrate a nuptial, but at closer inspection, it’s just perfect for the hipster lovebirds.

The property boasts just 20 distinctively designed cabins dotting a hillside overlooking Valle de Guadalupe in Ensenada. Each cabin, raised off the ground to minimalize its impact on the landscape, is made from steel and wood—designed to intentionally fade over time so they blend into the surrounding scenery. The cabins are simplistically furnished with white walls and wood decor, a king-size bed and private terrace with clay kiva fireplace.

Endemico is located in Mexico’s emergent wine country about 1.5 hours south of San Diego, CA, and near Tijuana International Airport. Besides the intimate nature of Endemico’s 20 cabins, the property also features a pool area with terrace, a restaurant and winery able to host a ceremony banquet.

Although Endemico does not have a wedding planner on staff (or any wedding packages), the hotel’s general manager is experienced in wedding coordination and able to organize a ceremony on property. The plus side to Endemico’s size allows couples to invite just enough friends and family to buy out the property. Tell your clients not to worry about their guests while at Endemico—a day of wine tasting and a hot-air balloon ride over the valley should definitely keep them satisfied. Room rates range from $175 to $245 per night.

(866) 978-7020 or hotelendemico.com

live aqua, cancun

WHY WE CHOSE IT: It’s our only all-inclusive resort pick in Cancun, which follows the philosophy as a, “Be Yourself Hotel” designed for the contemporary adult looking for modern amenities in an ultra-modern setting.

Live Aqua, Cancun is everything and more when it comes to an all-inclusive wedding getaway. First off, the property is a couple’s playground with seven restaurants and four bars, eight swimming pools, Aqua Spa, and a decent selection of spots to host a wedding: beach, banquet hall, seaview terrace, or poolside.

The resort’s Cielo package includes a symbolic ceremony, wedding decorations and cake, a semi-private dinner, 15 percent off treatments at Aqua Spa, and room upgrade for the bride and groom; the package is complimentary when booking an Aqua Suite (or higher) room category for a minimum seven nights, or five room reservations for a minimum of three nights in Ocean Front room category, or higher.

The Brisa package ($3,800 for up to 30 guests) offers all the inclusions of Cielo but ups the ante with a cocktail and private reception; a 3-course dinner; open bar for three hours; and single-tier cake. Same rule applies to the Aqua package, which adds on a 4-course dinner or buffet; 4-hour open bar; spa treatments discounts; makeup and hairstyle for the bride; and room upgrade. Pricing for up to 50 guests is $4,715, and $9,200 for up to 100 staying guests.

(800) 343-7821 or feel-aqua.com

viceroy zihuatanejo

WHY WE CHOSE IT: At the Viceroy Zihuatanejo, it’s a beach wedding or bust. Cuddled next to Playa la Ropa (600 ft. of private beach), the setting is made for a destination beach wedding set on the Pacific coastline, at sunset if it must be perfect.

The hotel’s 2-story adobe-inspired casitas house 70 guestrooms, but it’s the Presidential Suite you want to book for the couple. The 2-bedroom, 2-bath suite boasts a beachfront, open-air living room with a private infinity pool and is just enough space for the bride’s wedding day preparation and ideal for the “getting-ready” album photos.

For some downtime to help release those pre-wedding jitters, the groom can squeeze in a few rounds of golf at the nearby Robert Trent Jones Jr.- and Robert von Hagge-designed golf courses, while the bride can unwind with the Lava Shell Therapy massage treatment at Viceroy Spa at Zihuatanejo. Guests can take a dip in one of the three onsite swimming pools, go snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, or deep-sea fishing, or try their hand at a game or two of tennis.

If the couple wants to bask in the sun while the onsite wedding coordinator takes care of all the details, book the Simple Yet Elegant Beach Wedding package that includes a judge to perform the ceremony and handle all necessary documents; floral arrangements for the bride and groom including a center piece; and photographer and live music for $1,860.

(866) 905-9560 or viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/zihuatanejo

legal & binding

A few tips before the big day: The couple (+ four witnesses) must arrive three days before the ceremony with their passports to begin the legal process. Bride and groom must provide original (+ copies) of their birth certificates, tourist permits, and passports; and couples need to fill out an application at the local Civil Registry. Consult with the hotel’s wedding coordinator on all legal matters, and refer to the 2013 Mexico Wedding Planner in the March 2013 issue for all the nitty-gritty (recommend.com/magazine/supplement-archive).

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
Fancy-Filled Mexican Weddings (June 2012)