South of the Border Ceremonies

Ceremonies in MexicoIf the weather outside your locale is as frightful as it is in my New York neighborhood, then now’s the perfect time to start dreaming about and planning your South of the Border nuptials.

This past year, Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage, so here’s my taste-y tip: head to this bustling capital city for a few days for your wedding, and then onto one of the country’s spectacular beaches for a gay honeymoon.

In this post, I’ll provide background on the marriage process and some tips on Mexico City—a spot I visit frequently since it’s the home of my fiancé. In the next post, I’ll reveal inside scoop on the most romantic Mexican beach getaways, perfect for you and your new spouse.


There are two types of marriages in Mexico—civil and religious, and only the civil ones are considered legal for everyone, gays and straights included. Every state in Mexico has different laws governing marriage and divorce. For now, only two spots have legalized same-sex unions: Mexico City (which is like Washington, D.C.—independently functioning government) and the northeast state of Coahuila.

For travelers, I’d stick with Mexico City as it is actively courting gay and lesbian wedding couples through their LGBT Tourism office—the organization even paid for a honeymoon for the first gay couple wed in Argentina.

Good news: you don’t have to marry a Mexican in order to get hitched there; foreigners have been marrying each other in the country for years. Bad news: in advance, you must manage some very specific paperwork and applications, and have it officially translated into Spanish. In addition, there are simple medical tests that must to be completed in Mexico (chest x-rays and a blood test) which means that you should plan to arrive at least three days ahead of your marriage ceremony to get everything accomplished. Mexperience.com provides a good overview of the process.

If it sounds arduous, it’s not really, but just one more thing to add to your wedding checklist. You also might seek out the help of a gay wedding planner like a company called Promesa, who has helped plan same-sex ceremonies in Mexico City and celebrations all over the country.

While there are hundred of charming options in the city to have your event, one of my taste-y tip is to check out one of the boutique hotels from Grupo Habita. Ten years ago, the company redefined South of the Border chic with the opening of Habita Hotel and later Condesa DF, both of them named to Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List. The properties are renovated to perfection, with glamorous and modern touches and terrific dining options. The hotels are extremely gay-friendly, and attract the local fashion and film Chilangos (slang for residents of the city), as well as upscale travelers. Next to my in-laws’ home, the hotels are my favorite overnight spots in the city.  The company now has hotels and resorts all over Mexico—I’ll give you some tips for them as a honeymoon spot in the next post.

plazaWhile you’re waiting for your medical tests, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied. Everyone will tell you to head to the pyramids outside the city, and to Frida Kahlo’s house—and I will, too. But here’s one more tip from my recent visit: head to the La Roma district, a gentrifying area with beautiful streets and renovated homes, filled with galleries and shops. A good starting point would be the new boutique Hotel Brick for an outdoor coffee—and then spend your time wandering the streets.

Before you know it, the wedding bells will be ringing. Felicidades!


Jon Paul Buchmeyer is the author of the award-winning humorous memoir Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life and writes frequently for Condé Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit magazines. In addition, he is the author of his own popular blogs: ABCityblog.com and Poptimistic.com.