5 Tips for Planning a Puerto Vallarta Wedding on Your Own

A Puerto Vallarta beach wedding bouquet

When I got engaged I was living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, so naturally, I planned a Puerto Vallarta wedding on the beach, and my husband and I did it all on our own.

We had both decided that we would plan the wedding together and do everything ourselves in order to save money (and we saved a ton). It ended up being the most perfect, simplest, dreamiest wedding ever!

Everything was done legally for the country of Mexico. There was no “symbolic” wedding without the legal part, this was the real deal.

It was on my favorite beach, Conchas Chinas, at the end of the day before sunset. The beach setup was super simple, we had an arch and about 20 chairs with a little flower décor, and that’s it!

After the ceremony, we took some group photos, then sent everyone over to this hill-top restaurant for dinner and we met there after we took some couple photos. Dinner was simple but elegant, and the restaurant had an amazing view!

Since Puerto Vallarta was where we met and lived at the time, we had a huge advantage. My husband was a local and native Spanish speaker, so he was able to handle the communication with the government to make sure the legal parts were taken care of.

I, on the other hand, do not speak Spanish, just the bare minimum to get me around town. But, Puerto Vallarta is one of those cities where most people speak English, so I didn’t have too much of a hard time planning the other parts of the wedding.

Puerto Vallarta wedding couple on the beach

We had so much fun planning our wedding, and I would recommend this over using a wedding planner. It made the entire experience more meaningful, and we were able to enjoy our big day knowing that it all came together by our own doing. It was quite a bonding experience for us.

I would love for every couple to have their dream wedding, wherever it is, and if it is in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, even better.

If you want to plan a Puerto Vallarta wedding, or anywhere else in Mexico, I have 5 tips to help you get started.

5 Tips for Planning a Puerto Vallarta Wedding on Your Own

Puerto Vallarta wedding couple

1. Know the legal requirements

This is obvious, but the most important tip of all! If you only plan to have a symbolic ceremony, then you don’t need to worry about this. If you want your Puerto Vallarta wedding to be legal, you need to take care of several things first.

Before you start any planning or booking anything, reach out to the specific state government where you plan to get married. You must be sure you are able to meet all of the requirements in your preferred timeframe.

You have to go to the doctor for blood tests, give witness ID’s, translate legal documents, and take a marriage class. Make sure you know all of the requirements first!

2. Commit to not using a wedding planner

Before we decided to plan everything ourselves I had reached out to several wedding planners. All of which wanted to charge us three times what it would cost for us to just do it ourselves. They are making a killing!

Some wedding planners offer assistance for only certain parts of the wedding. My opinion is that if you are going to plan it, just plan the whole thing on your own. It might be hard to hand over control of only certain things, plus I just feel like it is a waste of money. Use that money towards something else you want to have at the wedding.

Puerto Vallarta wedding couple on the beach

3. Contact the resort where you plan to stay

If you don’t know where to find vendors, you can start by contacting the resort where you plan to stay. They have contacts that might be able to help with flowers and a photographer. We actually found ours through local resorts.

They can also recommend great restaurant options for you to hold a reception, bakeries for your cake, and nightclubs if you want to have an after-party. The resorts have connections, so use them!

If you think you might want to have your wedding on a resort instead of a local beach that is totally possible too! I guarantee most of them plan weddings and you can probably get a decent deal on a wedding bundle. Plus, a designated wedding planner is provided in the cost.

4. Understand that business is conducted differently

You may understand all of the legalities in your own country, but you are doing business in a completely different country now. They might have requirements that you just don’t understand. It is what it is and you have to accept that fact.

You will also have to accept that the process might take a little bit longer than you would think. In my experience, things operate a little slower in Puerto Vallarta. You have to learn to be patient.

This is when knowing the legal requirements becomes crucial. Know exactly what needs to be done when so there are no delays in processing. Stay organized so you can be on top of things.

5. Just don’t stress about it

One of the main reasons people plan a destination wedding is to reduce the stress of planning a huge wedding at home. Or in my case, the reason I wanted to have a small local beach wedding is that I didn’t want to deal with hundreds of people, and thousands of dollars.

A lot of people choose this option to make things easier, simpler, and cheaper. Try not to stress so much because most likely everything will work out in the end if you let it. If you worry about every single little thing, that’s when things go wrong.

Enjoy your experience, let things flow how they need to and don’t be a bridezilla!

My Puerto Vallarta wedding was perfect because I let it be. I didn’t stress too much about the details, I was very easy-going, and even though it may not have been the perfect wedding in someone else’s eyes, it was perfect for me.

Puerto Vallarta Bride

I hope I have inspired you to take the leap and start planning your wedding! Tell me all about it!

If you have any questions about planning your Puerto Vallarta wedding, don’t be afraid to reach out to me!

Email: heather@thatocgirl.com

Facebook: That OC Girl

Instagram: itsthatocgirl


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5 Tips for Planning a Puerto Vallarta Wedding on Your Own5 Tips for Planning a Puerto Vallarta Wedding on Your Own5 Tips for Planning a Puerto Vallarta Wedding on Your Own

15 thoughts on “5 Tips for Planning a Puerto Vallarta Wedding on Your Own”

  • Hey! I can so relate to this. I had my first weeding in Poland where I am form and I lived there by that time. 15 years later however, when I decided to get married again I did a destination wedding in Santorini, Greece . I Was thinking about a resort wedding in Caribbean or Mexico as well, but my family is from Europe and Santorini was just a better option. I like all your tips and I can confirm they make a lots of sense since now I had to do my research before too. Resort weeding is a definately a good idea as they cover most of details organizing your ceremony. I would not hire a weddin plannner as well, That would definately save a lot of money. And if you don’t want to go through all biurocratic issues, just get married officially in your country and have a ceremony in the resort or your chosen place. That’s what I did. Btw. Very nice blog and Congrats to You on your mariange – there is a lot of happiness I can see from these pictures! ?

    • Wow, a wedding in Santorini sounds so dreamy! It must have been amazing! I definitely agree it is easier to legally marry in your home country then have the ceremony wherever you want! That saves a lot of hassle dealing with paperwork. Thank you so much for your comments Margarita!

  • I didn’t know about rule #1, but I kinda understand that. When Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall got married in Bali, it wasn’t a legal marriage under the Indonesian law.

    • I didn’t know that one either until my first wedding when the resort asked me what kind of ceremony I would like to have. I thought, well the regular one, lol. That’s when I found out that a lot of people choose to only have the symbolic ceremony at the destination, then go home and have the legal part done. Very interesting. Thanks for reading!

  • I do not know if I’ll ever marry but I can absolutely tell you that reading of your experience has allowed me to daydream

  • Thanks for this really useful article. Quite shocking to think that wedding planners charge around 3x what it would cost. Sounds like you had an amazing wedding in Mexico!

    • My gosh I couldn’t believe how much they were charging either! So happy it all worked out in the end and that we were able to have the entire wedding for a very low cost. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Oh you inspired me indeed, but before I start planning I need to find a husband. 🙂 Seems your wedding was really special.

  • What a great insight. I have a keen interest in weddings as work as an assistant as expos so this is really good to know. The legal things always get me and confuse me with marriage as I was looking to marry my ex partner in philippines previously and I was just lost looking for that info.
    I’m glad this wedding was the wedding of your dreams and congratulations!

  • This is so helpful to all my destination wedding clients! I’m going to pass it along to them for sure!

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