Why Cabo is a Great Place for Your Destination Wedding
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Why Cabo is a Great Place for Your Destination Wedding

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Destinations Weddings in Cabo

We get the question all of the time, “Are there any homes that can host a small wedding on Maui or Oahu?” The answer is always the same: "There are a few, but there are restrictions, fees, and most mandates that you work with a wedding planner, which is sometimes pre-determined based on the property."

Why not just go to a resort? Many want the elegance, intimacy, and hominess of a beautiful villa for their ceremony and reception, not to mention the environment it affords for family togetherness before the event. But Hawaii is simply not that wedding-friendly when it comes to hosting an event in a permitted vacation villa – this is the hard truth. 

Hawaii – a Limited Inventory of Event-Friendly Permitted Villas

The reason is that not many homes permitted for vacation rentals allow events, either because of the parameters of the home's permit and HOA rules or homeowner concerns. Also, suppose you do not work with one of the bonded state event planners, who knows and follows the many local laws governing events, including beach ceremonies. In that case, you risk having your ceremony or event shut down, which is not a good way to start your life together.

There certainly are some permitted and approved villas in Hawaii that are in incredibly beautiful settings, and when it's done right, a villa wedding in Hawaii is spectacular. However, the limited inventory of event-friendly permitted villas can be a challenge, and homes come with event fees that can reach as high as $6,000.

Moreover, due to the highly aggressive and complex regulatory environment, you must hire a bonded and licensed planner to coordinate your wedding. All of these factors add up, making it more challenging to realize your ideal special day in Hawaii.

Why Los Cabos for Your Wedding – San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas

Imagine a place that has abundant sunshine, warm temperatures and stunning vistas, filled with gorgeous wedding-friendly villas that range in size from two to 10 bedrooms: this is the glorious stretch of land at the end of California Baja Sur known collectively as Los Cabos.

Exotic Estates has recently expanded in a major way to Cabo, adding more than 100 villas in the area from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo, as well as a few more remote villas on stunning beaches located just to the north. Almost all of these villas are wedding-friendly, meaning you have an extensive portfolio of gorgeous villas. You can plan your intimate, uniquely-you event without worry of being shut down because your wedding planner didn't get all the right permits in order, as can happen in a place like Hawaii.

The more that we learn about Cabo, the more we love it. If you are thinking about planning a destination wedding, we encourage you to read through our Cabo wedding guide below!

Holding Your Wedding in Cabo San Lucas at an Exotic Estates Villa

When done right, the cost of a destination wedding can actually be comparable to, or even less costly than, hosting the same kind of event in your hometown. When searching for a venue, you are certainly looking for a unique spot that will make a beautiful and memorable setting for you and your guests.

Finding the Perfect Villa – a Scouting Trip

Taking at least one trip to the destination before the big day is ideal for scouting and securing the best location, vendors, and even testing your food options from the caterer. This is also a great time to do your trial hair and makeup and find fun activities for your guests to enjoy during the wedding festivities.

Since you will be leaving a lot in the hands of vendors, taking a trip will give you a chance to meet face-to-face. This will make the wedding planning much less stressful, as it is easier to be clear about your needs and demands in person. You can also schedule meet-and-greets with your wedding planner.

Villa Fee

The typical rate to hold a wedding at one our Cabo villas is an additional night’s rent. There are also some villas with HOA’s that require a special permit to hold an event at the home; this is usually around $550.

Beach Ceremony Fee

Permissions are required for those who want to hold their ceremony on the beach in the Pedregal neighborhood. Beach ceremonies are not permitted in Cabo Del Sol, but all other developments do not charge for them. 

A permit in the Pedregal neighborhood depends on whether guests plan to have a reception and whether they are staying in the development. Certain HOA regulations and fees are associated with the permit, ranging from $100 to $500. Please ask our estate specialists for more details. 

Learn about Mexican Marriage Requirements

The legalities of planning a wedding abroad can vary from country to country, and we have gathered everything you need to know about the requirements for Mexico.

There are two types of ceremonies you can have: civil ceremonies and religious/symbolic ceremonies. The former officially deems a couple "married" and is recognized worldwide as a legal marriage. However, this requires documentation and more time spent in Cabo.

Holding a Legal Ceremony in Mexico

The following is a list of requirements that you will need to meet if you wish to hold a legal civil ceremony in Mexico:

  • A judge must perform the ceremony, and the vows must be exchanged in Spanish (you can use a translator). The entire ceremony lasts about 20 minutes (The judge will cost around $500 - $600, and a translator is an additional $100). 
  • You are required to have copies of your birth certificate and current passports as proof of ID.
  • You must have lab work completed in the state in which you are getting married ($200).
  • You must have copies of your tourist immigration form.
  • A divorce decree (if applicable).
  • 4 witnesses over the age of 18.

Symbolic Wedding Ceremony in Mexico – Easier and Often Preferred

The symbolic ceremony may be preferred, and here are the reasons why:

  • A symbolic ceremony is not considered a legal ceremony and doesn’t change your marital status.
  • You can use your own vows, and this is more similar to the typical wedding you would find in the United States or Canada.
  • You will have control over your minister and your vows.
  • After the ceremony, you will sign a certificate of marriage (along with two witnesses and the minister) and you will then file the paperwork in the U.S. at your local clerk’s office. This is generally the easiest route for couples and requires less work and time leading up to the event.

For more information on holding a civil ceremony, click here.

When to Plan Your Cabo Wedding

Although Cabo has gorgeous weather throughout the year, there are a few months warmer than others, and some months you might want to avoid. November through April is the high season, and the weather is perfect, day and night. This is your ideal time to hold a wedding. August to October is generally hurricane season; if they strike, storms can last anywhere from one to five days, which could rain on your parade!

However, Cabo is still one of the sunniest places on Earth, with a more arid climate and very little rain during the more temperate months from November through May. This is in contrast to Hawaii, which has a more classically tropical climate and more regular rainfall (why the Islands are so lush and green). During the winter months, the rainy season, there is the potential for longer rainy spells, which means a higher chance for a partial or total washout on your special day.

Don’t Plan Alone

Hosting a destination wedding is exciting but can also be much more challenging than planning a wedding at home. Regardless of the destination, using a wedding planner can help lighten the load of researching and securing vendors and suppliers. They will deal with all of the important small details and logistics that you may overlook.

There are plenty of planners in Los Cabos who are recommended and trusted. You may also want to bring a planner from back home, but ensure they understand the area. If you choose that option, you will also have to consider covering the wedding planner's travel costs.

Creative Destination Events is a local planning and design company and includes an experienced team of planners ready to perfect every detail of your special day!

In general, it is common to set aside about 10-15% of your budget for a planner.

Taking Care of Guest Arrangements

When planning a wedding in your hometown, it’s common to set aside a block of rooms in a local hotel. When planning a wedding in your own private villa in Cabo, you can also book nearby villas for your guests!

Cabo San Lucas Wedding, Destination Wedding, Cabo Villa Wedding, Cabo Villas, Exotic Estates, Vacation Rentals

This can be far more fun (and often cheaper) for guests than hotels. They will be closer to your venue and share the exciting and truly bonding experience of staying in a private villa.

If you are more comfortable booking a hotel, coordinate with your wedding planner and select a hotel close to your venue.

Find a Great Local Photographer

Don't forget one of the most important parts of the wedding - the photos! There are plenty of wonderful local photographers in the Los Cabos area. We caught up with one of our favorites, Carlos Aboyo. Carlos is an extremely versatile photographer and works with natural light to take candid and story-telling photos.

Carlos is a pro and knows how to control and adapt artificial light when the situation calls for it. Carlos says, "I see myself as a creative, but honest wedding photographer. For me, it's not about the poses, but the stores inside the image. I like to preserve the energy, love and relationships that is happening in that moment and also cover the expectation of having great portraits and family photos!"

Well said, Carlos! You can check out more if his work at his website.

Area Safety

Since you are hosting your wedding abroad, you and your guests might have questions about safety.

The beach towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo are part of a large and generally safe area called Los Cabos. This area is a tourist mecca, and your biggest concern in Cabo will likely be avoiding a sunburn or a hangover.

It is still good practice to leave your money, valuables and passport in the villa safe. Flying into the well-run Cabo San Lucas airport is advised.

Planning for Nightlife

The area of Los Cabos is a great one-stop shop for your wedding, as well as your bachelor and bachelorette parties! With one of Mexico's most exciting social scenes, Cabo San Lucas is a great place to celebrate your wedding with your family and bridal party.

Make sure to celebrate a few days before the wedding and to get hydrated before the big day!

Be Smart About the Dress – It’s Warm Down There!

When planning a destination wedding in Cabo, don't forget to pick an appropriate wedding dress. The climate is comfortable year-round and ranges from the mid-70s in the winter months to the mid-90s in the summer, with very low annual rainfall.

This, as mentioned, is a huge advantage over more tropical destinations like the Caribbean and Hawaii, which can see rainy weather during winter months.

Other considerations

Ensure you leave enough time for your guests (and yourselves) to plan. Nine to 15 months out is the ideal time to secure your villa and vendors. This also gives your guests plenty of time to make their travel arrangements.

Tourism Immigration form

The Tourism Immigration form you will receive when arriving is very important and should not be lost. You may be required to show this certificate anytime during the wedding.

Exotic Estates wishes you happy planning, and we are here to assist you every step of the way!

Here are just a few wedding-friendly villas from our Cabo collection. From stunning ocean views to white-sand beaches and private terraces, tour these gorgeous Los Cabos villas and start planning your special day!

Cabo Villas For Your Destination Wedding

Los Cabos Casa Blanco

Los Cabos Casa Blanco - Wedding Friendly Cabo Villa

Experience ultimate luxury at Los Cabos Casa Blanco, also known as the Los Cabos White House. This beachfront villa in San Jose del Cabo epitomizes vacation opulence, with expansive and dramatic living spaces right on the beach. From the moment you enter, the stunning architecture and Balinese-inspired decor will captivate you, while a dedicated staff of nine ensures your every need is met.

This 10,000-square-foot property comfortably hosts up to 18 guests, featuring seven oceanfront suites, eight bathrooms, two pools, and a Jacuzzi. The outdoor terraces offer the perfect backdrop for intimate weddings, birthday celebrations, extended family vacations, or corporate retreats.

Villa Penasco

Cabo Villa Penasco

A true getaway, this luxury villa is perched cliffside and overlooks Land’s End, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez and is sure you take your breath away. A nominee for Best Villa in Mexico in the 2017 World Travel Awards, this six-bedroom home offers only the finest amenities and first-class luxuries and guests will never forget their time spent at Cabo Villa Penasco.   

You and your guests will look out onto the beautiful ocean during your ceremony and you will appear to be on top of the world. This well-manicured villa can accommodate parties of up to 50 guests, perfect for small and intimate weddings.

Villa Pacifica Palmilla

Cabo Villa Penasco

At Villa Pacifica, masterful skill and an impeccable eye have utilized Mexican decor to create a masterpiece. This home is truly beautiful. It exudes warmth and welcome with its terracotta floors, hand-painted tiles, handcrafted woods, white walls, beautiful archways and an abundance of light.

An open room, with living and dining areas, features sliding glass doors spanning the full length of the room - thus maximizing the stunning view out to the pool terrace and Sea of Cortez only a few steps beyond. From indoors to out, glass doors slide back to create a continuous space with the grand room extending to the immediate outdoor dining terrace. Down a few steps further is the infinity pool with bordering lush green grass. And then, down only a more few steps is the soft warm sandy beach at the ocean's edge.

Cabo Casa Bellamar

Cabo Casa Bellamar - Event Friendly Villa Rental

Secluded in the Playa Tortuga region of Los Cabos, Cabo Casa Bellamar is a luxury beachfront property that is the perfect private retreat for you and your family! This 8 bed, 9 and a half bath, estate sleeps up to 15 guests and includes an ample variety of amenities to entertain everyone. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the ocean from the private terrace that comes with 4 of the bedrooms at Cabo Casa Bellamar

The grounds are stunning and the villa is a gorgeous place to host you and your wedding party, and your beachfront ceremony and reception!

Cabo Villa Marcella

Cabo Villa Marcella

Rent a spectacular, 10,000 sq. ft. Cabo San Lucas vacation villa on the beach! Cabo Villa Marcella is a massive vacation home located in the private and gated residential community of Pedregal, in Cabo. The villa was designed for those who want it all – grand private villa, direct beach access, pool and opulent amenities. 

There are fabulous ocean-front views of the Sea of Cortez here at Cabo Villa Marcella, and room for up to 14 lucky guests!   

Cabo Villa Marcella

Cabo Villa Marcella is a home that has it all. If you have a large group with discerning tastes, and want to be on the beach, yet have the choice of using an amazing private pool, Cabo Villa Marcella is a great option!

Also, this home is a spectacular location for your wedding or special event, which room for up to 200 guests. Minimum stay rules and additional fees do apply, so please ask our Cabo Villa Specialists for details.

View Villa Inspection Video: Cabo Villa Marcella.

To get more ideas for your big day, email an Exotic Estates Villa Specialist or check out the complete collection Exotic Estates Cabo Villas.

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