Each year, we look forward to discovering fascinating and joyful places where LGBTQ couples can get married and spend their honeymoon. We asked our writers and editors to find destinations around the world that offer stunning, welcoming, fabulous places for these special occasions. From tropical seaside resorts in Hawaii, to historic museums in Chicago, these are some of the best places for unique, romantic, memorable celebrations of love and marriage.
GREAT WEDDING VENUES IN THE USA
Not only is Hawaii America’s own little piece of Polynesia, but it’s also extremely gay friendly, and a wedding paradise. From big name resorts, to tiny, picturesque towns, this archipelago in the Pacific has something for everyone. If you want to go big, there’s no better way than with Disney. Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons (Tel: 321-939-4610. www.DisneyWeddings.com) hosts marriages in their parks, on cruise ships, and best of all at their O’ahu resort, Aulani. There, your ceremony can be held on the beach, poolside, in the grand ballroom, or, for a truly unique wedding, Disney can arrange for your ceremony to take place at Lanikuhonua. This estate was once the private retreat of Hawaiian royalty, and now serves as the hub of Hawaiian culture. For your wedding, Disney can arrange the catering, floral arrangements, music, lodging, and even spa packages. For an alternative option, www.GayDestinationWeddings.com works with numerous venues around O’ahu, like Sunset Ranch and Pua’ena, to make your dream destination wedding a reality.
The Arctic Club Building was constructed in Seattle in 1916 for the Arctic Club, a social group for men who made their fortune in the gold rushes of Alaska and the Yukon. In recent years, the building has become The Arctic Club (700 3rd. Ave, Seattle, WA. Tel: 206-340-0340. www.TheArcticClubSeattle.com), a luxury hotel operated by Double Tree. The property is the very definition of old school, noir-chic. The hotel interior features deep-colored oak walls, engravings on the ceilings, and best of all, their grand Northern Lights Dome Room. An elegant chandelier serves as the centerpiece of the ballroom’s domed ceiling that’s made of leaded glass and engraved beams. The ballroom can be turned into the wedding or reception space and comes complete with a full china and silver service. If a beautiful wedding in a natural setting is more your style, you should check out Treehouse Point (6922 Preston-Fall City Rd, Issaquah, WA. Tel: 425-441-8087. www.TreeHousePoint.com), just outside of Seattle. A wedding at Treehouse Point means exclusive access to the property’s entire four-acre forest that is dotted with expertly crafted treehouses. Each wedding package also comes with complimentary overnight stay for you and up to 18 guests, which means that after the ceremony, you and your guests get to sleep in the luxury treehouses and wake up to the sounds of birds and the sun shining down through the trees. It’s a truly enchaining wedding experience.
With warm weather year-round, Phoenix is the perfect location for a gorgeous outdoor wedding. The Desert Botanical Garden (1201 N. Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix. Tel: 480-941-1225. www.Dbg.org) is filled with almost 4,500 plant species, 400 of which are rare and endangered. The park has trails, sculptures, wild butterflies, and gorgeous spaces for a desert ceremony. Wedding packages allow all of your guests free entry to the park at any time during the day, so they can explore before the celebration. They also provide an on-site park ranger, as well as various indoor/outdoor venues to give you exactly what you need to make your ceremony perfect. If you’re an animal lover, The Phoenix Zoo (455 N. Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix. Tel: 602-286-3800. www.PhoenixZoo.org) may be the perfect spot for your nuptials. They have various indoor and outdoor event spaces, the most gorgeous being their Desert Tents. This secluded area at the foothills of the Bighorn Buttes is complete with large tents for receptions, hanging lanterns, palm trees, and a centerpiece firepit to keep everyone warm under the desert stars. For those who truly want animals to be a part of the big day, the Savanna venue is the place to be. The backdrop of your ceremony is the zoo’s African savanna exhibit, where free-roaming giraffes, zebras, and more, will really bring your wedding to life.
Chicago is known for its world-class museums, so why shouldn’t your wedding take place in one? The city’s Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. Tel: 773-684-1414. www.Msichicago.org) offers a variety of spaces for wedding ceremonies, like their rotunda, which has a 120-foot copper ceiling; a historic locomotive; and even a Boeing 727 airplane. Feeling more adventurous? You can also host your wedding beside the museum’s U505 submarine. For art lovers, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave. Tel: 312-280- 2660. www.Mcachicago.org) will give your wedding a splash of distinction and refinement. Every corner of the museum is filled with unique art, including installations, sculptures, and paintings. If you’re looking for an outdoor venue, their sculpture garden offers gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. But let’s not forget about Chicago’s legendary Field Museum (1400 Lake Shore Dr. Tel: 312-922-9410. www.FieldMuseum.org). Opened in 1921, the Field is full of ornately carved stone and marble, classical atriums, and of course, history. What wedding is complete without full-scale elephants, T-rex bones, and an Egyptian mastaba? A wedding at the Field is an elegant, historical, and downright exciting experience that your family will never forget.
KEY WEST, FLORIDA
For an intimate wedding in a beautiful location, Alexander’s Guesthouse (1118 Fleming St. Tel: 305-294-9919. www.AlexandersKeyWest.com) is a great choice. The guesthouse (which is actually a small lodge plus a separate guesthouse) provides a friendly, fun, and easygoing vibe to make your wedding feel effortless. Guestrooms with balconies overlooking the courtyard, and a pool surrounded by palm trees will make your ceremony feel tropical and private. Or, for a more romantic vibe, Alexander’s also offers a beachside wedding package to give you a classic experience that so many couples have fallen in love with. If you’d rather commune with nature on your big day, The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory (1316 Duval St. Tel: 305-296-2998. www.KeyWestButterfly.com) is the wedding spot for you. Inside the giant greenhouse, hundreds of butterflies fly freely from trees, to your shoulder, to exotic flowers; Flamingos gracefully trot by, flaunting their gorgeous pink feathers; and a classic gazebo awaits you and your loved ones. The conservatory even provides complimentary butterfly embossed champagne flutes that are yours to keep after the toast. It’s fun, it’s tropical, and it’s definitely unique: everything you’d expect Key West to be.
INTERNATIONAL HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS
The wedding was phenomenal, there were cheers and tears, the photos came out perfect, and your special day was truly one for the history books, but the fun is just beginning! After all that goes into creating a wedding experience, you deserve a vacation. Plus, the honeymoon is the perfect opportunity for you and your spouse to create new memories that will last a lifetime. So, whether you’re looking for a stately, refined experience, or one filled with outdoor adventure, these first-class destinations across the globe are the ideal place for your honeymoon.
For a beautiful and elegant honeymoon, there’s no better place to visit than Ireland’s Ashford Castle (Ashford Castle Drive, Cong, County Mayo. Tel: +353-954-6003. www.AshfordCastle.com). The estate was originally built by the Guinness family (yes, that Guinness family) and British royals were regularly invited over for grand hunting weekends. Now, the castle is an ultra-luxurious hotel and features opulent rooms, delectable dining options, and elegant high tea service. They also have tons of exciting experiences on the property such as falconry, horseback riding, and fishing. A treatment at their world-renowned spa is also an absolute must for anyone needing to unwind after the wedding stress. Most importantly, don’t forget to take some time to sit down and revel in the beauty of the castle. Each and every corner of the lavish property will make you feel like you’re royalty.
On the gorgeous Fraser Island, just off the coast of Queensland, Australia, sits the tropical and elegant Kingfisher Bay Resort. At Kingfisher, you can enjoy boat tours of the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef, or even partake in whale watching adventures. If you’re in need of some pampering during your honeymoon, the resort’s Island Day Spa is there for your pleasure. Hot stone massages and exfoliating body scrubs of green tea and cucumber are sure to sooth the body and soul. For meals, the resort’s premiere restaurant, Sand & Wood, serves up chef-curated dishes inspired by Australia, Asia, and the South Pacific. From five-spice pork to herb-crusted barramundi, you’re sure to experience a unique and gorgeous array of flavors that might surprise even the most seasoned connoisseur. For the more adventurous diner, the resort’s Bush Tucker and Talk dinner is a must-experience. The dinner event has a chef preparing meals using “bush tucker”, which means foods native to Australia. During the experience you can ask questions and hear stories about Australia’s history, all while the chef uses native nuts and berries, herbs like lemon mrtyle, and meats like crocodile, kangaroo, and emu to craft dishes that truly are Aussie through and through. For a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation, Kingfisher Bay is a great choice.
Many would argue that the best city in Thailand is Chiang Mai. Located in the north of the country, Chiang Mai is filled with amazing street food, lush jungles, and mountaintop temples, such as the famous Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. And when visiting this charming city, there’s no better place to stay than 137 Pillars (2 Soi 1 Nawatgate Rd. Tel: +66- 053-247788. www.137PillarsChiangMai.com). The hotel is absolutely gorgeous, and their spa holds rejuvenating daily yoga classes. Their restaurants serve traditional Thai dishes like Tom Yum, and of course, pad Thai (and don’t worry, they also serve Western fare for anyone missing home.) After your morning yoga session at the hotel, ask the concierge to arrange an outing, like a cooking class or hiking trip. For a perfect mix of culture and excitement, Chiang Mai is the honeymoon spot sure to please.
The Alpina Gstaad (Alpinastrasse 23, 3780 Gstaad. Tel: +41-33-888-9888. TheAlpinaGstaad.ch) is a dreamlike escape nestled in the Swiss mountains. Outside, there’s skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking, biking, and hot air ballooning in the summer. Inside, warm and rustic features calm and relax you for a romantic night by the fire. When you get hungry, the lodge’s Michelin-starred executive chef, Martin Göschel, will create elegant dishes like homemade ravioli filled with local Gstaad cheese, served with caviar and lime sauce to reinvigorate and excite you both inside and out. If you’re not feeling like fine dining, he also makes Swiss comfort food like fillet of char on creamed cabbage with potatoes and Riesling sauce, and he even does fondue! Eating at the Gstaad is not only delicious, but it’s also a learning experience about Swiss culture. The lodge also features a spa, swimming pool, and a private cinema for your pleasure and entertainment.
One of the most prominent hotels in Cape Town is the Ellerman House (180 Kloof Rd., Cape Town. Tel: +27-21-430-3200. www.Ellerman.co.za). From their stunning pool, to their gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the entire property feels larger than life. Inside the hotel, view their curated art collection, partake in tastings of local South African wines, or visit their award-winning spa. Best of all, this is the ultimate destination for anyone seeking an adventerous honeymoon. Ellerman House offers getaway itineraries around Southern Africa. Most of their trips will start at Ellerman House for a few days, then they can lead you anywhere from a safari, to Victoria Falls, and even out to the island of Mauritius. It’s truly a picture-perfect honeymoon experience you’ll never forget.
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