People planning destination weddings are flocking to Mexico because of its lax COVID-19 restrictions, but the country continues to struggle with the virus

·3 min read
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Mexico has boomed as a destination for weddings. Thomas Barwick/Getty Images
  • During the pandemic, Mexico exploded in popularity as a haven for destination weddings.

  • The country's loose COVID-19 restrictions, natural beauty, and amenities boosted demand for weddings.

  • However, Mexico is dealing with a shortage of vaccines and faced spiking case numbers in the summer.

With dreamy white sand beaches, turquoise blue water, and above all - lax COVID-19 restrictions - Mexico has become the most coveted country for destination weddings during the pandemic.

"You can't book a wedding in Mexico, even in 2022, unless you want to do a weekday," Alison Laesser-Keck, the owner of Alison Bryan Destinations, told Insider.

While other countries tightened their borders and imposed strict restrictions on gatherings, Mexico's lenient - and widely criticized - response to the pandemic propelled it in popularity as a choice destination for weddings. Travelers can come and go from Mexico without showing a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination, and in many states there are few rules restricting the size of large gatherings.

"It's where everyone pivoted because they couldn't go to Europe," Laesser-Keck said. "Mexico has exploded in people's minds as an option."

Mexico has also ousted some European and Caribbean countries as a destination for weddings, since European countries are often quicker to place restrictions on large gatherings when COVID-19 cases spike, and some Caribbean countries were slow to come out of lockdowns, Heather Allen, the co-founder of Table 6 Productions, said.

Mexico wedding
A beachside wedding in Mexico. John and Joseph Photography

"It is the top destination to have a wedding, if you want it to feel like 2019 again," Allen told Insider. "The weddings I have done in Mexico in 2020 and 2021 have felt safe and normal."

However, Mexico isn't free from the virus yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated Mexico as a high-risk country to travel to in terms of COVID-19, listing the country at "Level 3: High Risk." The country has the fourth-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world, and only 39% of Mexico's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19

With vaccination rates falling behind other Latin American countries, the Delta variant raged through popular vacation spots like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun over the summer, where the virus became so severe that hospitals had to add beds and the Hard Rock Hotel in Cancun blocked off two floors for guests with COVID-19 symptoms, Bloomberg reported.

Despite coronavirus outbreaks, the country's natural beauty, non-stop flights from major American cities, and affordable prices continue to propel demand for destination weddings in Mexico, Mindy Weiss, the owner of Mindy Weiss Party Consultants, said.

"Mexico is extremely popular because it offers a resort-feel, friendly people wherever you go, delicious food, and unlike years past, they have everything you need in every city as far as rental furniture, dishware, décor, and more," she told Insider. "And the minute you hear those mariachis, you're ready to celebrate."

Wedding planners also told Insider that the number of luxury venues and hotels has increased to meet the soaring demand.

"Couples have always loved destination weddings in Mexico and now they love it even more," Allen said.

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