If there’s one uncontrollable thing that stresses brides it’s weather, so a place where it’s eternally spring should sound like a desirable proposition for a destination wedding. That place, where free-flowing tequila, vivid flowers and festive music also happen to be in plentiful supply, is San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s likely more charming than anywhere you’ve ever traveled, and it’s also home to baroque Spanish architecture, a gorgeous pink neo-Gothic church and some truly mind-blowing food. Oh, and one more thing: the light. Magic hour here is like nowhere else, guaranteeing gorgeous photographs you’ll be admiring for decades.
The colonial city is not on the ocean, but you’ll forget all about the beach when you see a sunset here. There’s also the amazingly colorful, lively and memorable tradition of the callejoneada, aka wedding parade here, and if you like fun even just a little bit you’d be crazy not to include one in your big day. Think giant customized bride and groom puppets (called mojigangas), mariachis or a local band, locals on stilts and traditional garb, paper stars and maybe a flower- and booze-laden donkey for good measure.
Indeed, this is not a place to get married if you have no interest in intertwining a little bit of local culture and tradition into your weekend. It doesn’t have to be during the wedding ceremony or reception, but even weaving some of the color or food—how can you resist?—into a rehearsal dinner is attractive to many. Or you can simply go for the comida, because the cuisine in San Miguel de Allende (thanks to many talented chefs) is oriented towards both foodies and those with a less sensitive palette. If an incredible rehearsal dinner meal is a priority, look no further than Bovine, which opened in the fall of 2017 and has been wowing diners with its gastronomic meat-centric brasserie-steakhouse.
The best way to get this all sorted is with a local wedding planner, since they’re accustomed to working with the city to obtain permits for the parade and other elements, like booking churches for the ceremony (there are some stunning ones to choose from). Guadalupe Alvarez is a recommended planner easily reached for assistance, and most properties have in-house staff as well.
As far as venues go, the art-centric boutique Hotel Matilda is the place for a slightly more intimate reception. The restaurant Moxi is helmed by acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera so you can be certain a pre-wedding dinner or party here is going to have guests raving about the food. The terracotta-hued Rosewood San Miguel de Allende is an epic venue thanks in part to its rooftop—the highest perch for dining in the city with the best sunset view—and expansive, grand Rosewood Lawn surrounded by magical looking flowers and greenery. The view of the pink church’s towers in the distance makes the terraced setting fairytale-perfect. And while any size wedding can really be accommodated (up to, say, 800), they have had some couples go truly over the top and can facilitate virtually anything, even 10 trucks of flowers and specially designed tents that accommodate views of the church.
In the surrounding areas there are organic farms, lavender fields, cactus preserves, thermal baths and hundreds of hidden-away Edens behind thick carved wooden doors, making the possibilities for a venue—and activities for the guests—with a sense of place very wide. Don’t forget to schedule exclusive tequila tastings at Casa Dragones and a sunrise hot air balloon rides. The way Mexican weddings go (as in all night long) maybe that’s even the way you make your grand exit as newlyweds.