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Mexico Vow Renewal

First-Hand Account of a Vow Renewal at Iberostar Paraiso Maya Resort in Mexico

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Mexico Vow Renewal

Karen Tina and Richard re-seal their vows.

My husband Richard and I do things in multiples. We have two Siamese cats, two apartments (a long story), and were married twice (a longer story involving a negligent clergyman).

So, with our seventh anniversary rolling around, why not a third wedding to reaffirm our love and refute the infamous “seven-year itch?" Why not a vow renewal in Mexico at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, where we’d already been and loved?

I emailed the resort’s wedding planner, Lizzette Del Rosario in Mexico. Indeed, she responded, one of the resort’s ceremony packages is designed for couples who want a vow renewal. The Blessing package is similar to a wedding, only it’s not legally binding, with no three-day residency or blood test required. After all, before a vow renewal, a couple is already married.

Lizzette emailed me further details about having a vow renewal at Iberostar Paraiso Maya on the Riviera Maya in Mexico. The reasonable price ($1,400 in 2006) includes tax and tips and up to 8 adult guests.

Each extra adult costs $17 more; kids under 12 are free. Group room rates may be available. (A child-friendly resort like the Iberostar Paraiso Maya is an ideal vow renewal destination for couples who want to bring their kids or extended families to Mexico.)

The vow renewal packages cover a non-denominational minister, beach or indoor setting, basic flowers, bridal-look or Mexico style decorations, champagne, wedding cake, recorded music (Lizzette’s many selections or your own CD), couples’ gifts like T-shirts and wine, and a festive dinner for your vow renewal party at a resort restaurant.

Lizzette offered, but did not push, “upsells” for our vow renewal in Mexico. Couples could go for more flowers and live musicians (choices include a five-piece mariachi band or classical trio). They could buy a professional photo package and/or a DVD video; both are popular picks. Many knot-tiers opt for treatments and beauty services at the resort’s new spa.

Larger groups who come to this Mexico resort for a wedding or vow renewal—Richard and I were coming solo—often spring for a pre-ceremony cocktail party at $7 per person per hour. (The tab is low because all-inclusive resort rates already cover booze).

Five to ten couples hold a vow renewal every month at the the resort; May is the busiest time. Most twosomes choose the beach venue and arrive in Mexico with extended families in tow.

Could couples hold their ceremony any time? Yes, but cooler, photo-conducive late afternoon is best. What do couples wear? Anything, Lizzette said; vow renewal ladies have already done their white-satin thing. Just make sure you have the right shoes.

And what about the actual vow renewal ceremony? Lizzette emailed me the minister’s standard, somewhat impersonal spiel. She encouraged us to contribute our own words: either a paragraph for the minister to read, or vows or poems that we could recite during the ceremony or the toast.

I found this setup very sensible. The point of a vow renewal is to rejoice in your own, unique marriage-in-progress. The more individual the ceremony, the more meaningful and memorable.

Richard and I scheduled our Blessing Vow Renewal Package for 5pm on the beach, with our own CD music (a Ben Webster saxophone ballad). We wrote several lines of text to read aloud, about how much we disagree but then get over it with love and tolerance.

Everything went smoothly in Mexico on the day of our vow renewal. The weather was perfect, I got the flowers to stay in my hair, and the minister, Santiago Caranza, had perfect English and a sense of humor. (We met with him before the ceremony to go over our vows and mentioned that we like the resort’s peppery Mexican food. During our ceremony, he improvised jokes about our spicy marriage.)

Fact is, no already-wedded Señor and Señora need a vow renewal. But it’s fun, and romantic, and makes a Mexico vacation unforgettable. It’s an investment in bonds—your marriage bonds.

The vow renewal looked like an even better deal considering all the hours Lizzette spent emailing us lists and jpegs and patiently answering questions about Mexico customs and the vow renewal ceremony itself. Then she went over everything for an hour when we arrived, and spent two hours by our sides on the afternoon of our ceremony.

One vow renewal later, Richard and I now have been married on tres occasions. Three times must be a charm, because we’re planning on staying hitched.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation, meals, and additional services for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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