The Pro’s and Con’s of hiring a Wedding Minister Vs. Friend


He put a ring on it (or you did!) and now you’re planning your dream destination wedding in our sunny slice of paradise, Los Cabos! Emotions are running high as you interview florists, DJs, caterers, and photographers, among many other vendors, piecing together the perfect wedding dynamic for when you say “I do”! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the ‘fun’ details and overlook some of the most important steps. Let’s moonwalk it back to the beginning and discuss the pros and cons of hiring a professional wedding minister versus a family member or friend. 

What are my Los Cabos destination wedding ceremony options?

Gone are the days when your options are limited, and throwing tradition out the window is now somewhat of a trend. But what options do you have when tying the knot in Los Cabos?

  1. Legal Ceremony

A legally recognized marriage conducted in Los Cabos must be officiated by a Mexican judge from the San Jose del Cabo or Cabo San Lucas official registry offices. A judge will be assigned to you based on where your ceremony will take place, and you won’t meet them before the wedding takes place. The ceremony is conducted according to a government-mandated script, and no personal vows are permitted. By law, the ceremony must be in Spanish, and your wedding planner can provide a minute-by-minute translation into English. Keep in mind, the process involves quite a bit of paperwork and four witnesses are needed. You will have to provide all of the required documentation, pay both judge and translation fees, and arrive in Cabo a few days before the ceremony to undergo bloodwork.

  1. Symbolic Ceremony

A symbolic ceremony is conducted by a friend, family member, or a non-denominational minister and has no legal validity in Mexico or at home. Symbolic ceremonies can be customized, delivered in your native language, and include personal vows and anecdotes. Couples hosting symbolic ceremonies have the option to marry legally at home (think your local courthouse) either before or after their destination wedding weekend, so it is important to note that you will have two different anniversary dates. 

  1. Combination Ceremony

A combination ceremony is a symbolic union witnessed by a Mexican judge. Afterward, the judge will run you through the legal ceremony either in front of guests or in private to validate the marriage. In terms of cost, you will need to cover all of the expenses for both the symbolic and legal ceremonies, so analyzing the budget is a must.  

  1. Religious Ceremony

A Catholic ceremony in Los Cabos must be performed in a Church or Chapel ratified by Catholic authorities. English-speaking priests are available, but remember that you will be required to complete pre-cana classes at home and forward all documentation to the Church before your wedding date is confirmed. The process can be slow and tiresome, as Church authorities sometimes aren’t the best at keeping up to date with electronic communication. On the plus side, costs are limited to a Church donation.

Jewish ceremonies in Los Cabos are often officiated by a family’s own Rabbi, who is normally a wedding guest. That being said, our local Rabbi is ready and waiting should you require his services. 

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Wedding Minister

If, after careful consideration, you have chosen to host a symbolic or combination ceremony, your next step is to decide whether to hire a professional wedding minister or opt to have a close friend or family member perform your forever union. The decision is entirely personal and various factors should be considered before making the choice. Talk with your wedding planner and take your time to consider the pros and cons.

Hiring a Professional Wedding Minister


  1. Experience – Professional, non-denominational ministers in Los Cabos work day in and day out performing ceremonies from the East Cape and Todos Santos to San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. Most have years of experience and are used to working with photographers, videographers, and other vendors, meaning you can rest assured that your ceremony will go off without a hitch.
  2. Bilingual Services – Los Cabos wedding ministers can perform your ceremony in English or Spanish, with some offering services in other languages too.
  3. Flexibility – Ministers are generally considered non-denominational, but are well-versed in customizing ceremonies to respect their couple’s religious preferences. Including elements of Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, or any other religious leaning in your ceremony helps personalize your moment and pay respect to family traditions.
  4. Customization – Professional ministers will present you with a video portfolio of their past ceremonies for reference. Once you have chosen your minister, they will work with you to customize a ceremony that is unique to you and your love. Whether you choose to keep things traditional or prefer to have your guests crying with laughter over personal anecdotes and inside jokes, your wedding minister will learn who you are as a couple and guide you forward.


  1. Distance – Given that your wedding minister is based in Los Cabos, most of the planning will be conducted via email and video call, meaning you will need to put in some work during the planning process. But never fear, your minister will be happy to meet you during your site visit or in the days leading up to the ceremony to ensure you are completely comfortable when walking down the aisle. 
  2. Workload – As is the case with most wedding vendors, you will not be your minister’s only client. At times, you may have to wait a little for a response to emails and calls, as your minister may be onsite conducting a service or attending to another couple. 
  3. And finally… A professional wedding minister won’t know you personally. While they will work hard to understand your dynamic and are always friendly and jovial, you will normally only meet them once before the big day.

Asking a Friend or Family Member 


  1. Friendship – They know who you are and have so for years, adding a uniquely personal touch to your ceremony. Watching a bride’s father tear up as he asks his daughter to “repeat after me”, or a groom’s best friend draw wild laughter from the crowd as he tells those childhood stories only a BFF can is an unbeatable experience, creating memories that will be treasured for years to come. 
  2. Focus – They are focused on you and you alone. Unless this is their day job, you’ll be their one and only client both throughout the planning process and on the wedding day.
  3. Proximity – They are right there with you at home! In some cases they’ll live just down the road or an easy drive from your home base, meaning you can meet in person and review ceremony details easily and frequently before flying to Cabo.  


  1. Inexperience – They may be first-timers! Most of your nearest and dearest won’t have conducted a wedding ceremony before, so make sure to choose someone comfortable with public speaking. Stage fright on the big day is a no-no! Also, encourage your friend to chat with your photo and video team, not knowing where to stand or when to move could hurt your wedding album.  
  2. Flying Solo – They won’t have a backup! A professional wedding minister will have competent providers available in case of illness, injury, or an Act of God. If your friend or family member falls sick or is unable to travel in the days leading up to the wedding, what follows could cause quite some stress. 
  3. Time Constraints – Remember, they have a 9 to 5! While weddings are a professional’s bread and butter, your friend works hard in an unrelated industry, meaning you’ll have to work around their daily schedule. 
  4. Pre-Wedding Prep Requirements – They’ll have to take it easy the evening before and the morning of! While your wedding guests might be partying it up, the lucky lad or lady performing your ceremony will need to avoid the sun, stay hydrated, and not overdo it on the cocktails.

And the verdict is…

It’s 100% up to you! Take your time to weigh the pros and cons, discuss with friends and family members, and ask your wedding planner for his or her recommendations regarding Cabo’s best and brightest. Whatever your final decision, your ceremony will be unique, special, and a moment you will cherish throughout your married life. Congratulations – you are about to become Mr and Mrs!


Cabo Wedding Services Team <3

Acre Resort Baja Destination Wedding
Wedding at the JW Marriott Los Cabos
Cabo Wedding Services wedding at Garza Blanca in Los Cabos Mexico
Cabo Wedding Services
Bride and Groom at The Cape Thompson Hotel
Bride and Groom at Acre Resort during Hindu Wedding Ceremony
Bride and Groom and Hindu Wedding