Getting Legally Married Before Your Destination Wedding & Backyard Wedding Inspiration!

Are you having a destination wedding in a different country from where you live? If so, it is important to get legally married in the country you live in. To make this work for us, we decided to have a legal wedding ceremony in my parents backyard before our destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Having a small backyard ceremony was a fun way to celebrate our marriage and more romantic than getting married in a courthouse. It was perfect for what we wanted, so we wanted to share the details of our backyard wedding ceremony!

If you're having a destination wedding in a different country, it's important to get legally married in the country you live in. To make this work for us, we decided to have a legal wedding ceremony in my parents backyard. If you have to adjust your wedding plans due to COVID, I hope this provides inspiration, too!

When we decided to have our wedding in Mexico, we looked into getting married legally there, but they have some strange requirements like giving blood. Also, the entire ceremony would have been performed in Spanish, and unfortunately, none of us are fluent in Spanish. Lastly, if you get married legally in Mexico, that means you are married in Mexico, which is great if you live there full time, but not so much if you live in the states or another country.

After speaking to wedding planners based in Cabo, they all recommended we get married in our hometown before our wedding ceremony in Mexico. Richie & I initially thought we would get married legally at the courthouse, but that wasn’t very appealing to either of us, and what we decided to do was so much better!

Rich & Kitch Backyard Wedding Ceremony Inspiration | Things you will need for your backyard wedding ceremony include: ring boxes with diamond engagement ring & wedding bands, marriage certificate, and wedding vow books!

Wedding vow books linked here!


We held our legal ceremony in my parents backyard one week before jet setting off to Cabo for our two week wedding extravaganza & honeymoon. We invited Richie’s parents, one set of his grandparents were able to make the trip to Cleveland, and my aunt (who was not able to come to Cabo) was able to join us. We didn’t want to make a big thing out of our wedding #1 because we had so much planned for wedding #2 in Cabo! With that, we kept things small & low-key, but it was better than just going to the courthouse to make our marriage official.

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It was also nice to have Richie’s grandparents join us since they couldn’t make the trip to Cabo. We highly recommend doing this if you are considering a destination wedding, especially if your grandparents can’t make it to the destination. This is a great way & probably better environment to involve them anyways! We also didn’t feel like we were leaving any key family members or friends out, because we were set to celebrate with them in Cabo shortly after this!

To make our marriage legit, we found a local officiant online who was amazing! Her name is Shari & here is her info if you live in the Cleveland area! We worked with her on our wording for the ceremony and kept things short & sweet. Richie & I wrote our own vows, and we said them at this ceremony, which for me, was very helpful to practice ahead of time because I often get nervous speaking in front of people!

We are also big dog lovers, and since we couldn’t bring our dogs to Cabo, we had them as our "wedding party" in our backyard wedding ceremony! We got the cutest bandanas made for them from the ScherShop on Etsy! Similar ones are linked here, too!

After our ceremony, we popped some champagne to fill up our festive champagne flutes and cut our “cake” with our cake cutting set (yes, it was a cake flavored protein bar!) I don’t like cake but LOVE protein bars so this was super fitting! Later that evening, our families went out for a nice dinner at one of the best restaurants in the Cleveland area – Cabin Club! By the time we got out of dinner it was pouring, but rain on your wedding day is supposed to bring good luck, right?!

It was such an amazing day and we are so thankful for my parents hosting our backyard wedding ceremony for us! And now, Richie & I have two wedding anniversaries to celebrate for the rest of our lives – both in June which is my absolute favorite month!

Rich & Kitch Backyard Wedding Ceremony Inspiration | First kiss has husband & wife during our legal wedding ceremony in my parents backyard! So happy we decided to do this before our destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico!

perfect white outfits for all things bridal linked here!


There may be a way around getting married twice if you are having a destination wedding; I’ve seen some destination weddings where they bring their own officiant, but having our backyard wedding ceremony was the easiest thing for us to know we were legitimately married in the U.S. The only thing I wish we would have done differently was hire a photographer for this ceremony, too!

With COVID-19 impacting so many weddings, I was inspired to write this blog post because I think this is a great way to still get married on the date that you planned in a safe way! If you plan to reschedule everything, that is fine too! I hope you do whatever brings you & your significant other the most happiness. Always remember that the point of getting married is to marry the one you love, and however you decide to get married, they will be some of the best days of your lives! And if you end up having 2 wedding anniversaries like we do, it makes celebrating twice as fun! It’s so important to focus on the positives in situations you are faced with, so cheers to that & all the corona brides & grooms out there - Rich & Kitch have so much respect for you!


If you're looking for more wedding ceremony inspiration, read about our wine box ceremony here and check out this post for tips on writing your wedding vows! You can always find more wedding planning advice from Rich & Kitch on the kitchensinkit wedding blog page & make sure you sign up below to receive helpful wedding planning emails every wedding Wednesday!

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