We did the symbolic ceremony for many reasons, but the main one being the personalization. We wrote our entire ceremony from start to finish (not just the vows) for something that really reflected what this day meant to both of us. But here are a few other practical reasons why we opted for the symbolic over the civil ceremony.
Cost - there is a significant cost difference between the civil and symbolic ceremony. We were told for the civil ceremony that you need to arrive in Yucatan 5 full business days prior to the wedding day in order to obtain the marriage certificate. That means arriving Sunday night if your wedding is on the following Saturday. You are also required to have blood tests done by a local doctor no less than 2 days prior to the wedding. The wedding needs to be performed by a licensed judge. And finally the marriage certificate would need to be translated (for an additional fee) if you wanted it to be recognized in the US. All together we found that it would have cost us about $2000 extra between additional hotel nights, judge fees, blood test fees, certificate fees, translations fees, etc., over the symbolic ceremony.
Time - we didn't want to take more than 12 days off from our jobs, so we flew in on a wednesday before our wedding (Sunday) so we could have a longer honeymoon.
Length of Ceremony - besides customizing the ceremony, we really wanted to keep it short (10-15 min) since we were getting married outside.
Legal Certificate - we have had many friends get married abroad (Mexico, Bahamas, Fiji, etc.) and everyone of them had to get married again in the states when they got back. What we found in Colorado was that even though the Federal government (Social Security Card, Passport, etc.) will recognize the marriage certificate from another country, the state government (Driver's License, Car Registration, etc.) would not, requiring you to go to the judge locally for a marriage certificate in order to change your name. I guess its not a problem if you don't plan on changing your name, but you might want to check with your local DMV to see if they would take a Mexican Marriage Certificate.
That said, we opted to get married at the court house the week before. I will say I thought I would be a little bummed by legally being married before we got to MX but it really turned out not to be a big deal at all. Our wedding anniversary is still the day we stood on the pier together surrounded by our family and friends, not what the Colorado Marriage Certificate says. But if that bothers you it might be worth the extra dollars for the civil ceremony, just be prepared to get married again when you get back if your state won't recognize it.
Sorry for the novel, hope it helps you! Remember, this is your day so do what you want to do, not what you think you are expected to do!
Ps I'm happy to PM you a copy of our ceremony if you are looking for some ideas or wording.
Originally Posted by tweets.13
Question for you - we currently have a civil ceremony scheduled for our wedding. We learned that we cannot personalize it (readings, prayers, etc.), so we are contemplating doing a civil ceremony followed by a symbolic ceremony. Do any of you have any experience, suggestions, comments?