Types of ceremonies and great locations

Learn more about the different types of ceremonies and locations we recommend!

Types of Ceremonies

Civil Ceremony

A civil registrar ceremony is a non-religious, legal marriage ceremony performed by a government official or functionary. In most Caribbean countries and in Mexico, it may be performed directly on a white sandy beach, private garden, beachfront gazebo, or indoors (options vary between resorts – check with the coordinator).

Symbolic Ceremony

Many couples choose to get married in their home countries before heading to the destination for a “symbolic” ceremony with all the ceremonial bells and whistles, just for the pure joy of the destination wedding experience. Symbolic ceremonies can take place in breathtaking locations such as in gardens or on the sand, or they can take place indoors.

Renewal of Vows Ceremony

Whether you and your spouse are barely beyond being newlyweds or your marriage is an ageless passion that has stood the test of time, our custom wedding vow renewal packages make it easy for you to do it all over again. At Absolute Wedsite, we love what we do, and we love making you fall in love – sometimes all over again.

Catholic Wedding Ceremony

Looking for a Catholic ceremony? We can make it happen. Couples must do the required pre-marriage courses in their home countries and then ask their local priests to issue a certificate (Nihil Obstat), which gives their approval to the priests at the destination wedding locations to celebrate the marriage.

Mayan Wedding Ceremony

Love for Mayan weddings is the result of their simplicity, originality, and deep cultural meanings.

Some couples find it appealing to celebrate their weddings by bringing to life ancient marriage rituals from the Mayan culture. Mayan weddings are generally beach weddings or take place on archaeological sites (for which permission must be obtained ahead of time) in destinations located in the Mayan region of Mexico, such as Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Xcaret, and the Mayan Riviera. These ceremonies might even be in hidden caves in the jungle or on the outskirts of the Natural Reserve of Sian Ka´an, which is located in the beautiful and popular southern Quintana Roo.

In accordance with the ancient Mayan rituals, it is recommended that before the wedding celebration the future groom gives the bride a muhul (a package of gifts made up of a gold chain, listones (wooden hair barrettes), and a huipil (a traditional, long, sleeveless dress) so that together they can take a bath of temazcal (a traditional indigenous purification steam bath).

For the grand celebration, bride and groom dress in white, she with her special huipil and he in a handmade woven suit.  To recreate the perfect environment, full of magic and mysticism, the wedding should take place amidst copal incense smoke (an aromatic resin considered sacred and purifying of the environment), flowers, veils and torches or lamps.  In front of the couple, the shaman or Mayan priest will evoke the four elements: water, earth, wind and fire, so that their presence may strengthen and bless the union for many years. Finally, the union of the couple is sealed with the exchange of rings or other tokens that represent the marriage.  Later, the shaman may sacrifice an animal – a turkey, chicken, goat or even a cow – whose preparation begins the banquet and can be accompanied by stuffed cheese, wedding tamales, pickled turkey, chicken pibil (cooked in a barbecue pit), pok chuk (roasted pork) and pozol (a local corn beverage).

The music that accompanies the event could be wind instruments and percussion (which date back to pre-Hispanic times) or live classical violin or guitar music, which can extend beyond the ceremony into the dinner celebration.

General Remarks

Ceremony requirements vary based on destination and type of ceremony. In some cases, there are very few; in others, several. All can easily be managed through a conversation on your choice of ceremony with the on-site wedding coordinator. Many couples choose to marry in Canada and then head to a destination for a “symbolic” ceremony. It is important that you are clear on the wedding service you are requesting and that the information you have is the most current. Your wedding coordinator can provide details.

Ceremony Locations

Beach Locations

You and your partner are standing in front of the sea, under a beautiful sunset, surrounded by your dearest relatives and friends. Can you picture it? A beach wedding is an extraordinary experience that offers a simple and beautiful ceremony. Whether you’re looking at a beach in the Caribbean or the South Pacific, your destination beach wedding is sure to be spectacular.

Think beyond the usual, and give yourself a beach wedding that can be exactly as elegant or casual as you desire. You may be considering a simple, small wedding with a few guests, or you may be thinking of a massive outdoor dinner party. With so many options to choose from, our wedding coordinators make it simple for you by listing available beach locations, weather information, and logistics for the ceremony and party.

Many of the typical wedding expenses, such as decorations, can be significantly decreased or even eliminated with a beach wedding. You might decide to cover the beach in flowers and other decor, or you may decide to let the natural beauty of the location speak for itself. Serve beverages to your hundreds of guests out of coconut shells, and arrive to your ceremony via sailboat, or gather your twenty closest friends for an intimate ceremony and private barbecue. Beach weddings are great in that they are customizable, so it’s easier than you think to plan a destination beach wedding on a budget, even one in the Caribbean!

If a heavy ball gown with a twenty foot train or an elaborate five piece tuxedo is too over the top for your taste, a beach wedding may be the perfect option. Brides who marry on beaches often wear lighter, more manageable and casual dresses for the big day, and grooms can show up in anything from a full tux to a bright button-down, assuming the bride has already approved, of course. When it comes to destination weddings, beach weddings are a beautiful and affordable option.

Boutique Hotel Locations

Elegance and privacy are the main characteristics of a special wedding in a boutique hotel. The term “boutique hotel” is used to name small and exclusive hotels with a unique identity and charm.

Boutique hotels have a very personalized service and focus in sensorial delights, comfort and the privacy of their guests.  Each of these hotels has a very distinctive style. Some are strictly minimalist, some are colonial, and some use elements from nature for decoration. The architectural features of boutique hotels range from old castle type constructions to ranches or bungalows with roofs made of palm leaves. The most important thing, however, is that in every one of these hotels you will be able to have your wedding the way you wish to. Weddings that are held in boutique hotels generally have a small number of guests and can be celebrated in gardens, terraces, dining halls, or on the beach.

Food may be a special touch depending on the destination you choose. If you are on the coast, you could offer delicious seafood dishes, and if you decide to have to party in a garden then a buffet or formal banquet could be a good idea. If the celebration is held in a closed and more private place, your reception could be slightly more formal and consist of gourmet food or of international culinary delights with various first courses, main courses, and desserts. Beverages can range from tequila to champagne with a good selection of national and imported wines.

Of course, the setting would be created in accordance with your own taste and wishes, but it is convenient to align with the existing style of the hotel, so table decorations, ornaments and flowers go along with the atmosphere that the hotel already has. This should be a seamless process since we will do our best to match your destination to the tastes of you and your fiance.

The hotel can often provide a photographer and videographer for the wedding as part of the services as well. These hotels can also provide excellent facilities for beauty treatments and spa services, which will make you feel ever more splendid on the most important day of your life.

Hacienda Locations

Haciendas are beautiful Spanish colonial style estates that are furnished and equipped in luxury with all the commodities of the twenty first century. Haciendas make superb wedding locations with their thick walls, high vaults, frescoes, and huge patios. Restored gardens are full of old trees and fountains, and chapels are impregnated with history and incense. Hacienda locations are particularly suitable for traditional, elegant and romantic personalities. Scattered all over Mexico, these charming hotels are the perfect venues for beautiful weddings.

You can find beautiful haciendas in most of Mexico, including in Morelos, Michoacan, Yucatán, Jalisco, and Oaxaca. They can be found next to the beaches, close to archeological zones, in the forests, and by the mountains, so there’s a location for every preference. All of these places are touched by their particular magic, which is utterly Mexican.  Haciendas were originally productive centers in their time. There are henequen haciendas, livestock haciendas, tobacco haciendas, chocolate haciendas, and mescal. Many of these have a chapel for the religious ceremony and smaller private halls for civil weddings. The ones that do not have these facilities will help you to organize both ceremonies in the local cathedral or in any other temple of your choice.

Receptions can be held either inside the main building of the hacienda or outside in the gardens and patios, if the number of the guests requires a larger space. Traditional banquet food served in the weddings that were held in haciendas used to be “arroz” and “mole de guajolote” (rice with turkey in mole sauce), but these days there are excellent food and the beverage catering services with all kinds of international cuisines.

When thinking about the decorations, you will find that the only limit is your own imagination. The combinations of flowers, foliage, and fruit are splendid and almost infinite. In Mexico, there are also beautiful paper flowers you can use together with strips of “papel picado”, a traditional Mexican folk craft. Clay, glass, or silver in the center of your tables will give them an elegant touch of Mexican tradition.

Underwater Locations

Weddings abroad should be customized to fit the personalities of the couple, and more adventurous couples can even tie the knot while underwater! If you have an adventurous spirit or you and your partner are diving fans, stop thinking and bring this one-of-a-kind experience to life.

Participants in these ceremonies, both the couple and guests, should be certified or at the least have some diving experience. Those who do not dive can still follow using snorkeling equipment and a life vest, so that they can float along without missing a single detail of the underwater union.

These ceremonies are often done kneeling, and the traditional white dress and black tuxedo are optional. Some couples opt to marry in their bathing suits, while others prefer the typical wedding clothes regardless of the fact that these garments will leave the ceremony dripping with seawater. If you’ve always wondered what your diving flippers would look like paired with a wedding dress, then an underwater wedding is probably just the thing for you.

A curious detail in this type of wedding is that, apart from the fact that everyone has to use masks and oxygen tanks (including the minister or judge and the witnesses), the person performing the ceremony has to use an underwater slate to write the questions or vows he asks the couple. The couple, in return, must respond with two slates that say “Yes” or “No.”

You can also hire underwater video and photography services to capture each detail of your union.

After the ceremony, the whole group can be transported aboard a catamaran where congratulations and toasts can begin before arriving to a beach where another group of experts can organize the decoration, banquet, drinks, music, and of course, a dry change of clothes. Marrying underwater can be the most unforgettable adventure for any couple!

Some of the top Underwater Wedding destinations are…

  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia: The world’s largest coral reef comprises more than 3,000 individual reef systems and beautiful beaches.
  • Bonaire Scuba Diving, Netherlands Antilles: Noted by dive enthusiasts around the world as a spectacular dive destination, scuba diving and snorkeling are the central activities for most visitors to Bonaire. Bonaire is a leader in Caribbean marine conservation, and the waters off of the island’s surrounding coast have been declared a marine park.
  • Cayman Islands: As former peaks of mountains that are now underwater, these islands offer sheer drops and shelter from perilous conditions, and the more than 100 dive locales around the Caymans provide calm and unspoiled beauty for divers.
  • Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: The Galapagos Islands, under the domain of Ecuador, are much more than a hub of scientific discovery. Divers can mingle freely underwater with tortoises, penguins, and a host of other wildlife.
  • Belize: There is a great variety of reef types and diving & snorkeling experiences in Belize. The Barrier Reef is 185 meandering miles (298 km) of unspoiled beauty. The reef is like a gigantic wall running parallel to the coast.
  • Cozumel, Mexico: Teaming with schools of fish and boasting amazing views, Cozumel offers the avid scuba diver a vast playground. Cozumel is the Mexican Caribbean’s largest island, just 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Cozumel is 28 miles long and 10 miles wide.
  • Costa Rica: Massive schools of fish, an amazing array of marine life and an ideal water temperature throughout the year, has meant that scuba diving conditions in Costa Rica are near perfect. The reef here is home to over 123 species of fish, 140 species of mollusk, and 35 species of coral.