On the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, famous for nearly year round sunshine, white sand beaches, luxurious resorts, authentic local cuisine…. I could go on forever, but you get it! It’s easy to see why Cabo draws couples from all over the world, whether they’re tying the knot, celebrating an anniversary, or just taking a break from the hustle and bustle back home. If you’ve recently gotten a new piece of bling on your finger and the blue waters and sunny skies are calling your name, consider a Cabo elopement!
Though the thought of planning a destination wedding, no matter how small, can seem a little daunting, don’t let that stop you! I’ve got your back with tips, tricks and advice to make your international elopement a breeze. By the time you’re through this guide, you’ll be an expert on how to elope in Cabo!
About Eloping in Cabo
To the west of mainland Mexico and 1,000 miles south of the US border is Cabo! You can book a flight from any major US airport to the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) and land just 23 miles away from Cabo San Lucas.
Once you’ve landed, there are tons of taxis and shuttle services that can take you to almost any resort, so renting a car may not be necessary! But, if you’re planning to wander away from your resort and explore Baja throughout your stay, you can rent a car for a day, or a few.
Temperatures are warm year round, making Cabo a popular winter destination for those trying to escape the cold in their home states. Here is a graph of weather averages in Cabo:
As you can see, June through August can get very toasty. So, unless you’re planning on spending all of your time in the water, I recommend avoiding Cabo in the summer months. Summers also tend to be rainy (with a small chance of hurricanes), so it’s not the best time to elope.
The most optimal weather comes in December through April, but this also means higher rates at hotels and resorts, and more crowds.
And speaking of crowds, let’s talk about how to avoid them! Though all of Baja is a popular destination pretty much year round, there are a few ways that you can get a little more privacy for your Cabo elopement.
The best times of year to elope in Cabo when it comes to missing out on the crowding are May and November. In May, tourist season has just ended, but stormy season hasn’t yet started! Vice versa in November, when rainy days become fewer and farther between, but crowds haven’t yet come out in full force. When you decide on an elopement date, make sure to also check that you aren’t eloping around any holidays!
Choosing an Elopement Location
Eloping in Cabo means you get an all-in-one. When you choose your resort, it’ll be your home base, your wedding venue, your party location, and probably your honeymoon destination! There are tons of places to choose from for your Cabo elopement, but here are a few to get the gears turning.
Dreams Los Cabos
Dreams Los Cabos is a luxurious resort featuring rooms with ocean views, professional golf courses, swimming pools, and so much more. Though the architecture is reminiscent of the charming, traditional Mexico, the resort is complete with all the amenities you can dream of. You can relax at the resort’s world class spa or take a snorkeling tour, lounge by the infinity pool or take a dance lesson, watch big screen movies poolside or go bungee jumping, or all of the above! You might even get the chance to witness the sea turtles hatching on the resort beach. All of the images in this blog are from Dreams! It’s definitely my favorite of the resorts listed.
Club Cascadas de Baja
This resort is located on the white sands of Medano Beach, home of some of the most iconic ocean views in Baja. The resort is located close to downtown Cabo for those who want to do some exploring through town, though you’ll find anything you need at Club Cascadas! Wander through pathways that wind through charming villas with thatched roofs, relax poolside, take in the views at Land’s End, and enjoy sunsets on the beach!
At Esperanza Resort, you can enjoy small casitas, luxurious villas, or large haciendas on the beach. An infinity pool overlooks the resort’s private beach, and dedicated butlers and private chefs ensure you won’t have to lift a finger on your elopement day! Horseback rides on the beach, tequila tastings, snorkeling, and so much more make this beachfront resort the perfect getaway.
The Legal Stuff
So, this isn’t the most glamorous part of your Cabo elopement. But, to make sure you’re legally married at the end of it, there are a few things you’ll need to know! Many couples find it easier to handle the paperwork at home – that way, you can focus on the fun stuff when you’re in Cabo! Many resorts also offer a wedding coordinator to handle the logistics.
To get a marriage license in Cabo, you will need to arrive at least three days before your ceremony. Couples are required to take a blood test no more than two weeks before the ceremony date, and once your results are ready you can go to city hall to apply for a marriage license. Blood tests are typically $300, and your marriage application is $80.
After the ceremony, your marriage certificate is only valid in Mexico – so you will need to send it to be validated, which costs an additional $165. You will then receive it at your home address about three months later.
In Cabo, wedding ceremonies are performed by a judge. This means you may need to pay an additional travel fee to have a judge come to your elopement! If you have a symbolic ceremony (which means the paperwork was done at home), you can have a friend or family member officiate!
Your marriage license must be signed by four witnesses. If you’re planning a guest-less elopement, any of your elopement vendors can sign! The only requirement is that your witnesses have a passport, and if necessary, resorts are usually able to provide witnesses for an additional fee.
Cabo Elopement Planning Tips
We’ve talked about logistics – but how the heck do you actually plan a destination elopement?
Send Invitations Early
You can elope completely by yourselves, if that’s what feels right! There’s something magical about jetting off to a different country alone. But, if you have some people you want around on your elopement day, whether it’s friends or family or both, that’s totally fine too.
If you’re inviting guests, make sure to loop them in on your plans early, so that they have time to plan and make reservations – international travel can be tricky!
Have Guests Stay at the Resort
You certainly don’t want your guests boarding a flight to Cabo with no clue where they’ll be sleeping. Having your guests stay with you at your resort is a great way to celebrate with your friends and family before the elopement ceremony – make sure to make bookings early so that you can all stay close together!
Spend Time with Your Loved Ones
Though of course, your elopement ceremony is the main event, you’re in Cabo! Take this time to celebrate – whether it’s partying on a booze cruise with your best friends, spending nights by a bonfire with your family, or hanging out by the beach with all your people.
Take the Honeymoon for Yourselves
After your ceremony, you’ll probably want to stay in Cabo for a little while longer – and I totally recommend it! The time before your ceremony was for celebrating with your guests, now it’s time for romantic spa dates and celebrating your first days, or weeks, of marriage! Talk about the logistics with your guests beforehand, and let them know that you totally want them with you for the days leading up to the ceremony, but after that, you’ll be celebrating a little longer after they’ve flown home.
Have Your Photographer There for the Fun
While having a photographer there for your Cabo elopement is a no brainer, consider having them around for more than just the wedding day! That time spent with your friends and family before the elopement is so special, and you deserve to have photos to remember all of it… especially for when tequila gets involved!
And if you’re ready to plan your Cabo elopement and need a photographer who will join you for booze cruises and relaxing nights by the pool, contact me!