gay lgbtq friendly destination wedding planning

Wedding Planning Tips

Top 5 LGBTQ+ Friendly Wedding Destinations Around the World

Happy Pride Month!

Since gay marriage has been legalized in many countries around the world, the marriage market is expanding. Many seasoned event and wedding planners are setting their sights on a new specialization: LGBTQ+ weddings.

There’s demand for a well-informed wedding planner who is respectful and supports non-traditional ceremonial processes. But couples don’t just want a good planner. Clients look for a wedding planner who can connect them to reliable vendors to bring their dream wedding to life. Even if same-sex marriage is legal in a particular area, you still need to do your research to find vendors who have the same values.

Thankfully, we’re going to help you out in one aspect of the planning process. Keep reading for a list of LGBTQ+ friendly wedding destinations around the world!

Symbolic ceremony vs. legal wedding

gay couple at their wedding intimate moment

While most couples seek a legally-binding marriage, others are happy with a symbolic ceremony.

It all depends on your client’s own personal arrangements and choice destinations. Unfortunately, there are many countries that have expressed laws forbidding homosexuality. That means crossing off popular wedding destinations like the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, where one could risk their safety being openly gay. Meanwhile, other countries such as Thailand don’t lawfully recognize same-sex marriages, but do allow same-sex marriage unions to take place.

If your clients have or are planning to legally wed beforehand, they may just be seeking a symbolic ceremony overseas. This option is often taken by same-sex couples who want to be 100% certain that their marriage is recognized at home once all is said and done. Another benefit to this route is that they will have more destinations available to them to choose. That’s because many countries are LGBTQ+ friendly even if their laws are still outdated.

The Caribbean

As we mentioned, some countries in the Caribbean forbid any expression of homosexuality. But if your clients are set on wedding in tropical paradise, there are other countries that fit the bill, even within the same area! Countries treated as municipalities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for example, can perform legal-binding same-sex marriages.

Caribbean LGBTQ+ destination wedding planning clients on beach

For a relaxing resort-experience, choose Aruba. The first island in the Caribbean to legalize same-sex unions, many LGBTQ+ friendly resorts exist around the island. Our pick? The Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is a popular choice. Other destinations in the Caribbean worth mentioning include Saint Thomas & Saint John of the US Virgin Islands and Riviera Maya in Mexico.

Canada

Same-sex weddings were legalized nation-wide in Canada back in 2005. As such, you can find many destinations from coast-to-coast that are seasoned in same-sex wedding planning. For something a little different, head east to the Maritime Provinces. In Nova Scotia, many churches offer same-sex marriage services.

To take advantage of what this pleasant province has to offer, head to Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital. This water-front city carries a charm unlike any other Canadian city. If your clients want a true Haligonian experience, why not get hitched at sea? The Tall Ship Silva sails to the front as the most unique wedding venue in the city!

Here’s a peek at what a wedding on-board would look like!

New Zealand

helicopter flying over fox glacier in new zealand for a LGBTQ friendly wedding

One of the adventure-capitals of the world, New Zealand is on many couples’ bucket lists. Since 2013, many same-sex couples have flocked to New Zealand to marry in a truly dramatic fashion. Plus, helicopter tours are common in both the north and south islands! Whether your clients want to land at the foot of a glacier or the top of a mountain, they have plenty of options.

Heliworks, based in Queenstown, has exclusive landing rights to key landmarks. You’ll want to book with them if you’re working with thrill-seeking couples!

Spain

Cap Rocat in the Balearic Islands, Spain is splendid in its historical significance. A former military fortress, this coastal venue has been carefully restored, transforming it into a hotel and national heritage monument. The cherry on top is that the project lead by Antonio Obrador received the Europa Nostra Award! This venue blends seamlessly in with its natural surroundings, give its visitors experiences in historical buildings and nature’s landscapes, and is a popular luxury wedding destination.

Worth noting is that legal, civil ceremonies in Spain are between couples where one (or both) is a legal resident. If your clients are citizens or legal residents in Spain, the ceremony will only be symbolic. Make sure your clients know to “seal the deal” ahead of time in their home country!

South Africa

seychelles private island destination wedding planning

If your clients are adventurous and crave a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Africa, they’d have to be a bit careful. Some African countries such as Egypt and Morocco condemn same-sex marriage and penalties can include long prison-sentences. But that doesn’t mean all countries aren’t LGBTQ+ friendly in this expansive continent.

Same-sex marriage became legal in South Africa in 2006, becoming the first and only African country (thus far) to legalize gay marriage. While Seychelles is often the most well-known of LGBTQ+ friendly countries in Africa, same-sex marriage is still illegal. However, many LGBTQ+ couples still flock to Seychelles to enjoy a symbolic ceremony. If your clients are looking for a truly luxurious wedding, rent Fregate Island Private—yes, they can rent their own private island for their wedding!

What other amazing wedding destinations should be on this list? Let us know!

You don’t need to be rich to have a destination wedding! Here’s how to pull off a destination wedding on a budget!

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