The Rosewood Mayakoba, set on a pristine stretch of the Riviera Maya, has long been a favorite honeymoon spot, as well as the site of many-a Mexican destination wedding. The resort, with its show-stopping villas, private plunge pools, impeccable hospitality and unbelievable food (not to mention fun, festive La Ceiba dinners in the twinkling garden) practically defines romance, after all. But now it’s also the place you can experience a slightly unorthodox marriage ceremony, too. In a traditional Mayan ceremony on the side of a peaceful cenote, Fernanda Montiel, the property’s full-time shaman (the third generation in her family to have the gift), marries a guest to his or herself.
It may sound a bit out there, but the spirit and intention of it is beautiful, and makes the ritual an appealing experience for guests regardless of whether they’re married, engaged or totally single. The marrying oneself ceremony takes place in the Zen environs of the resort’s Sense Spa (a dreamy must-do whether alone or on an actual honeymoon) as opposed to a typical wedding ceremony with a white dress that may happen on the beach at sunset, for example. This is an intimate affair, just you and Fernanda, although there may very well be vibrant flower petals strewn about.
The idea is to renew one’s commitment to loving themselves, and remember that your relationship with yourself—and specifically the love you show yourself—is just as important as any others you have, romantic or otherwise. This ceremony is not religious and won’t interfere with any other beliefs you have, as long as you’re open to learning about the strong connections Mayans feel exists between us as humans and our environment. It’s spiritual, but the spirits Fernanda calls upon during the experience are grandmother earth, grandfather wind, grandmother water, and grandfather fire.
Like in a traditional wedding, the ceremony is customized in a way. The shaman is quite intuitive but also takes into consideration any issues or topics you’re concerned about that may have led to this moment, and she will create an experience that addresses those. There could be a temezcal sweat lodge ceremony or mud cleanse prescribed alongside the “marriage,” and the new “bride” or “groom” is sent off with a flower crown and box of special tokens signifying the commitment they’ve just made to love themselves and live in the now. Without spoiling the experience, those embarking on this journey can expect a blend of singing, meditation, mantra chanting and, in lieu of a cake, a taste of sweet fruit representing mother earth’s bounty.
The idea of marrying yourself may not seem to gel with saying “I do” to the man or woman in your life, but it can actually complement that major life moment quite well. Some might find it emotional, others simply beautiful. And for those who are going through something, it might help them focus on what’s important in life. No matter the reason, anyone looking for spiritual guidance or inspiration can’t help but find it in Fernanda, who will even schedule future phone or Skype sessions following her work in paradise. The best part: In no way is marrying yourself considered cheating.