Great LGBT Wedding Destinations

Find a beautiful venue for your LGBT wedding.

By 2015, about two dozen countries, mostly in the Americas and Europe, had legalized same-sex marriage. Today, gay and lesbian couples can choose from a variety of fabulous wedding destinations. These six locations, recommended by Megan Velez, of GayDestinationWeddings.com, offer all the romance and charm you’d want for such a special day.

Brides In Ireland

Sean Curtin/Poppies And Me

"Don’t let the size of New Zealand fool you," says Velez. "This small island packs a punch with an abundance of outdoor adventures that await every traveler. From world-class resorts to volcanic parks, there is truly something in New Zealand for every visitor. Auckland and Queenstown are equally vibrant cities to explore and tourists are just a short flight away from Australia if island hopping is in the plan."

In New Zealand, same-sex couples can get married or have a civil union. Use this step-by-step guide, provided by the New Zealand government, to find out what you’ll need to do.

 Wedding in New Zealand

Nina Henderson Photography

One of the most scenic spots for a New Zealand wedding is the Church of the Good Shepherd, at Lake Tekapo, about a three-hour drive from Christchurch. It's surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. Weddings are only performed on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and couples must complete an onlline wedding course—so plan ahead to exchange vows.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is another in-demand wedding location. You’ll need a helicopter to reach the top of Tasman Glacier or one of the other glaciers in the park, but the icy scenery makes a great backdrop for photos.

Images in New Zealand were taken in Wanaka and Queenstown and are courtesy of Nina Henderson Photography.

Curacao

Sunscape Curacao Resort And Spa

Curacao, a small Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, offers a variety of experiences for same-sex couples, says Velez, "whether you’re after an intense day of water sports or you’re more into taking in the local culture in historic Willemstad."

Sunscape Curacao Resort And Spa Wedding

Sunscape Curacao Resort And Spa

As of now, Curacao does not recognize same-sex marriage, even though it's often called the "LGBT capital of the Caribbean." But couples can hold symbolic ceremonies or renew their vows here.

Hilton Curacao Wedding

Barbara Leonardo/Wow Wedding Details

Several LGBT-friendly festivals are also held on the island each year, including Curacao Pride, an annual seven-day event.

 Curacao Wedding In Playa Hunku

Birgitte Mark/ Wow Wedding Details

"Couples never have to worry about what to do with the wide array of shops, restaurants, and nightlife built into the quaint Dutch colonial-style city," Velez says.

Same sex weddings have been legal in Spain since 2005. To marry here, both people must be legal residents, or at least one must be a Spanish citizen. U.S. citizens who want a civil marriage in Spain can learn what’s required on the U.S. Consulate General’s website for Barcelona, and your wedding destination specialist can tell you more.


"Between picture-perfect Mediterranean beaches and gorgeous architecture of the likes of Sagrada Familia Cathedral, the only difficult question for couples is when to stop exploring the city and take a break for some delicious tapas," says Velez. "Barcelona combines contemporary Spanish culture with rich history and art for a truly unforgettable experience." The city is known for its open-minded attitude, and a region of the city known as Gaixample — while not exclusively for gay visitors — is home to LGTB-friendly shops, restaurants and bars.

"For some time now," Velez says, "couples have taken full advantage of the world famous museums, delicious food and beautiful hotels that this historically rich country offers. With gay marriage now legal in France, however, same-sex couples are traveling there in droves to make it official."

Bride At Eiffel Tower In Paris France

George Vivanco

To marry in France, couples must live in France or have been residents for at least one month from the announcement of the banns (a public declaration of a couple’s intention to marriage). To be legally recognized, a wedding must be held at a town hall; later, an optional religious ceremony may be held. Read more about getting married in France.

Bride In Paris France

George Vivanco

If you're working with a generous budget, consider having a fairy tale-like wedding in a French chateau or castle. Some are available with private swimming pools, tennis courts, hot tubs and other amenities. You’ll also find a wide range of chalet, villa, and cottages to choose from.

Ireland

Johannes Roux/Johannes Photography

Images in France are courtesy of George Vivanco.

Ireland, Velez points out, was one of the first countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriages, and it still welcomes all couples. "The Emerald Isle inspires visions of wind-battered coastline, endless seas of green, and a return to the 'Old Country' where the pace of life is just a little slower and sweeter." Venues range from "family B&Bs to historic estates featuring Victorian walled gardens," she adds.

You’ll need to notify an Irish Registrar, in person, at least three months before you plan to marry, and you must make an appointment to do this. Learn more about getting married in Ireland. (Be aware that this website says it’s only intended to give general information, and you’ll need to do further research, or work with a professional wedding planner, to find out about all the religious and secular preliminaries for secular, religious or church marriages in Ireland.) 

 Wedding At Castle In Ireland

Johannes Roux/Johannes Photography

Consider an Irish castle, like Belle Isle Castle, in County Fermanagh, or Ballygally Castle in Country Antrim, for your wedding.

Ireland images are couresy of Johannes Photography and Poppies & Me.

"Sip champagne on the private balcony of your suite," says Velez, "swim in an oceanfront infinity pool, or simply sit by the welcoming fire pit in your resort living room. Puerto Rico is the answer to your prayers for privacy, relaxation and personal attention wrapped up in the beauty of a Caribbean island getaway."

Isla de Vieques, or Vieques Island, is only seven miles off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, and its Mosquito Bay sparkles at night with bioluminescence. Plan your honeymoon in one of the island's luxurious resorts, villas or boutique inns. Discover what you'll need to wed in Puerto Rico here.

Before you travel, find out whether your marriage or civil union, performed in another country, will be recognized in the U.S. by visiting this U.S. Department of State website.

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