In June 2015, history was made when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Since then, millions of LGBTQ couples have exchanged vows in stunning places all across America.
Each year, we highlight welcoming and memorable wedding venues known for offering newlyweds unforgettable experiences for their special day, as well as exciting honeymoon destinations that provide unique and romantic places to celebrate your love.
GREAT WEDDING VENUES IN THE USA
PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
With mid-century modern design, storied history, and unfurled valley views, Palm Springs haslong been a magnet to the LGBTQ community (and celebrities). Couples tie the knot under swaying palms in stylish hotels and unique, romantic venues, with wedding parties taking place under a band of stars and auspicious moonlight.
Sparrows Lodge (1330 East Palm Canyon Drive, Tel:760-327-2300. sparrowslodge.com) is an intimate boutique hotel known for private events. With 17 rooms and an outdoor pool and hot tub, the entire property is famously rented out for special occasions. Expect only the best in catering from The Barn Kitchen, especially since Thomas Keller is a hotel investor.
Feel like splurging? It’s worth it at Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage (68900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Tel: 760-92270. ritzcarlton.com). White-glove service will wow guests as much as the unbelievable views of the canyons with outdoor ceremonies.
It’d be remiss not to mention The Lautner Compound (67710 San Antonio Street, Tel: 760-832-5288. thelautner.com), the most famous wedding site in Palm Springs due to its stylish, desert-chic quarters (it’s popular for photo shoots), carefully curated wedding programs, and three distinct sites to choose from, depending on the size of the party.
For a more intimate wedding, Lisa at Rainbow Weddings (palmspringsweddingchapel.org) is a small and romantic wedding chapel. Afterwards, have your brunch or wedding party at LGBTQ-owned Eight4Nine (849 North Palm Canyon Drive, Tel: 760-808-1977. eight4nine.com), the stomping ground for gay locals and travelers alike thanks to fun, imaginative bites and its optimistically flamboyant ambience. Eight4Nine is a member of Inclusive Wedding Alliance (inclusiveweddingalliance.com), a professional network of committed wedding and event creatives for LGBTQ couples.
For wedding planning, COJ Events (cojevets.com) is the go-to for LGBTQ weddings.
HUDSON VALLEY, NEW YORK
A common getaway for New Yorkers and New Englanders alike, Hudson Valley, primarily known for the Catskills, is a sprawling, rustic region chockfull of lakes, mountains, waterfalls and plenty of LGBTQ friendly small towns with romantic and rustic wedding venues. Wolfhouse (624 River Road, Newburgh, NY, wolfhouseny.com), a LGBTQ-owned eviivo Collective vacation rental, is a midcentury modern home in Newburgh built by famed architect Philip Johnson, former MoMa curator, with incredible panoramic views facing the Hudson River. For weddings, Wolfhouse partners with Blooming Hill Farm for catering delicious farm-fresh bites.
Scribner’s Catskill Lodge (13 Scribner Hollow Road, Tel: 518- 628-5130. scribnerslodge.com), in millennial-friendly Hunter Mountain, is perched on a hilltop, offering scenic views of the Catskill Mountains. The modern boutique is one-of-a-kind with an outdoor pool and sauna, as well as a rustic, yet contemporary, indoor lounge that conjures the Great Adirondack Era with modern touches.
Hasbrouck House (3805 Main Street, Tel: 845-687-0736. hasbrouckhouseny.com) in Stone Ridge, close to Woodstock and college town New Paltz, is a recently restored 18th-century Dutch Colonial mansion. History resonates at this photogenic venue, and the setting is ideal for intimate weddings that take place near a 200-year-old maple tree. Butterfield, the top restaurant in the area, provides exclusive food and beverage.
Roxbury Barn and Estate (667 County Road 41. roxburybarnandestate.com) is arguably creme de la crème. Gay and interracial couple, filmmaker Roger Ross Williams and his husband Casper de Boer, have run the 50-acre boutique wedding venue since 1999. The stunning event space features mountain views and a dramatic pine grove (nicknamed The Natural Cathedral). Wedding guests will adore the ceremony beneath majestic pine trees before sipping cocktails on a hilltop and dining on a farm-to-table country feast at the dining terrace. Couples can also choose to host the reception in the 170-year-old carriage barn before ending the day with a towering bonfire under the stars.
For planning your big day, Hudson Valley Ceremonies (hudsonvalleyceremonies.com) offers a list of gay friendly wedding professionals, such as officiant services and photographers.
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
The wonderful natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains (including the highest peaks in the Eastern U.S. and feel-good vortexes that bring great energy), as well as a charming and quaint city center, makes Asheville a top wedding destination. Its progressive attitude, vibrant arts and music culture, and LGBTQ friendly restaurant and nightlife scene edges it forward, and gay beer lovers will rejoice in its craft breweries(Asheville has more breweries per capita than any U.S. city); perfect for wedding parties.
Asheville’s crown jewel, and one of the most famous places in America, Biltmore (One Lodge Street, Tel: 800-411-3812. biltmore.com) is legendary for weddings. Created by George Vanderbilt in 1895 as a retreat reminiscent of the grand castles of France and Britain, the estate offers a fairy-tale backdrop for your special day. The venue offers exceptional service, has hosted gay weddings aplenty, and has a capacity ranging from 27 to 600 guests.
Located in Asheville’s historic Montford neighborhood, Homewood (19 Zillicoa Street, Tel: 828-232-9900. mybelovedhomewood.com) is a beautiful 1920s stone manor with an outdoor ceremony site and cocktail area. This fabulous venue is gay owned.
For couples seeking a more unique, Vegas-style venue, Fleetwood’s Rock n’ Roll Wedding Chapel (496 Haywood Road, Tel: 828-505-5525. fleetwoodschapel. com), is a wedding chapel, shop and bar. It’s the perfect nontraditional site for micro-weddings and elopements that verge on edgy, for those who appreciate the beauty in alternative venues.
While in Asheville, explore the great outdoors! Blue Ridge Hiking Company (blueridgehikingco.com) provides customized group hikes and overnights so that explorers can choose their own adventure. Afterward, slip into The Spa at Omni Grove Park Inn (290 Macon Avenue, Tel: 828-252-2711. omnihotels.com), a local’s favorite sanctuary. The 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa features cavernous rock walls, arches, and tunnels, with numerous water features throughout the facility and 16,000-squarefeet of amenity space.
Bobby Hill and his husband Mark Arrington, owners of Bobby Mark’s Designs (bobbymarksdesigns.com), a premiere wedding planning company in Asheville, say there has been a 22% increase in LGBTQ weddings since opening 5 years ago. “Some of the hottest trends in downtown Asheville are the breweries,” says Bobby. “Highland Brewery (highlandbrewing.com) is a great venue and is very accommodating with our LGBTQ Community—not to mention that their beers are on point. This is a great open space for your guest to enjoy and get a true taste of Asheville.”
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Viva Las Vegas! A preferred playground for honeymooners, Las Vegas is equally famous for weddings. In fact, the city is often referred to as “the marriage capital of the world” with 120,000 weddings per year, according to Nevada Marriage Records. That’s over 300 weddings a day! According to Las Vegas CVA, Clark County recently issued its 5-millionth marriage licenses in 2023 (20,000 for same sex couples in 2019 versus 10,000 in 2017, which shows explosive growth for LGBTQ couples).
Whether you’re looking for a refined, romantic experience, or one filled with outdoor adventure, these first-class destinations across the globe may be the ideal place for your wedding or honeymoon.
Couples love the history and kitsch of A Little White Chapel (1301 South LasVegas Boulevard,Tel: 702-382-5943. alittlewhitechapel.com), where Britney Spears famously tied the knot in 2004, and many other celebrity couples (Ben Affleck and J-Lo, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner) also got hitched. The venue has an outdoor gazebo as well as its world-famous Tunnel of Love Drive Thru.
Go big or go home is a common saying in Las Vegas, and it especially applies to couples who want to splurge with their wedding. Bellagio (3600 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Tel: 888-987-6667. bellagio.com), a landmark AAA Five Diamond Resort and Casino right on the strip, is iconic for over-the-top nuptials, and it was the first Vegas resort to host a same-sex commitment ceremony at its chapels.
The resort is renowned for its award-winning dining, world-class art gallery, sumptuous five-star suites, and exquisite Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with over 125,000 individual spring blooms in floral garlands this year alone. Of course, couples who wed here have the bonus of the famed Fountains of Bellagio as their backdrop when exchanging vows at the popular Terrazza de Sogno terrace.
A trip to Vegas isn’t official without a whirl on the 550-foot tall High Roller (highroller.com), a giant ferris wheel with pods that flaunt striking views of the Las Vegas strip. The observation wheel has “happy hour” pods, where couples can toast their vows with the backdrop of the Vegas skyline and sprawling desert beyond. For added fun, RuPaul’s Drag Race LIVE at Flamingo Las Vegas (ceasars.com) is always a great entertainment option for newlyweds and their friends.
Puerto Rico is your best bet if you want to have a destination wedding in the Caribbean. With the island being a Commonwealth of the US, your wedding party doesn’t need passports, and you can celebrate your nuptials in perfect weather, next to crystal clear waters and several stunning beaches.
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (100 Dorado Beach Drive, Tel: 787-626-1100. ritzcarlton.com) is the most luxurious resort on the island, and it’s incredibly special. Formerly owned by Laurance Rockefeller (bought in 1958), the estate transformed over the decades into a breathtaking, 1,400-acre lush sanctuary straddling rainforest and sea, and the 50-acre resort is its jewel.
Plenty of sites are perfect for saying “I do” next to crashing waves in the Caribbean breeze. Residence suites are a must for couples. These lavish accommodations are equipped with their own lap or plunge pools (either rooftop or garden) and outdoor showers, and the resort’s Bill Bentley-designed jungle spa with treehouse treatment cabana is decadent.
Many LGBTQ couples have also gotten hitched at Condado Ocean Club (1045 Ashford Avenue, Tel: 787-625-6000. condadooceanclub.com) right in the heart of San Juan, thanks to its perfect oceanfront venue and wonderful wedding packages. It’s a popular boutique hotel that’s a magnet for both locals and visitors alike due to its poolside DJs and next door casino.
Then there’s Hacienda Siesta Alegre (PR-186, Rio Grande, Tel: 787-887-7500. haciendasiestaalegre.com), located on a working horse ranch in Rio Grande with dramatic views of El Yunque rainforest, including its own groves of citrus, banana, and breadfruit trees. It is among the most popular wedding venues, thanks to the fairy tale setting (ivy-covered arches punctuate the Spanish Colonial architecture). The venue also offers an inn with seven rooms and an outdoor pool.
For wedding planning, Tropical Weddings Puerto Rico (tropicalweddingsPR.com) have planned over 40 same-sex weddings and is LGBTQ certified.
INTERNATIONAL HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS
NEW ORLEANS, USA
Renowned for its fascinating culture, unique culinary scene, stunning French colonial architecture and of course the world-famous French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana lives up to its reputation as one of the top honeymoon destinations in America. The city is utterly romantic (horse-drawn carriage, anyone?).
The relatively new Four Seasons New Orleans (2 Canal Street, Tel: 504-434-5100. fourseasons.com) is unarguably the most luxury drenched and romantic hotel. Right on the river, the hotel’s 341 rooms and suites boast scenic river and city views through floor-to-ceiling windows, a pampering spa, an outdoor pool for those hot NOLA days, and the perfect location steps from the French Quarter and thriving Central Business District, which makes exploring the city on foot convenient.
Don’t miss award winning Bijou (1014 North Rampart, Tel: 504-603-0557. bijouneworleans.com), helmed by LGBTQ chef Eason Barksdale, who serves up delicious contemporary cuisine.
For cocktails, be sure to head to Pontchartrain (2031 St. Charles Avenue, Tel: 504-323-1400. thepontchartrainhotel.com), a 1920s hotel graced by famous faces like Tennessee Williams and Frank Sinatra in the ground level bar, and stunning, panoramic view of New Orleans at Hot Tin, the rooftop bar
PUNTA MITA, MEXICO
In Riviera Nayarit, and just an hour from PuertoVallarta, Punta Mita is a sublime stretch of peninsula with white-sand beaches (among the best in Mexico, as per US News & World Report). The majority of the region’s luxury resorts are located here, so honeymooners can expect to indulge in luxurious suites, gourmet cuisine, secluded beaches and spectacular sunsets.