Deciding on a destination wedding is a whirlwind time of scheming and dreaming for most couples. Still, while you may find yourself eager to hit ‘play’ on your celebration in paradise, it’s important not to skip the small steps along the way (you know, the planning part). It goes without saying that budget, taste and interests all should help shape your destination wish list, but it’s also wise to consider a destination’s LGBT IQ before saying “I do” at a specific resort or hotel. Below are our top tips for ensuring you end up at a welcoming, inclusive destination for your wedding.
Look for a precedent. If you have your heart set on a specific hotel or property, it’s always wise to ask if other same-sex couples have been married there before. Although it’s not inherently a red flag if a hotel or resort hasn’t hosted a same-sex wedding (the opportunity just might not have presented itself), you may not want to be the “guinea pig marriage” either. Resorts that have previously hosted same-sex marriages will also be more aware of details, like offering two bouquets or boutonnières in a wedding package.
Ask the right questions. Are all of the resorts facilities available for same-sex couples? Be wary if a resort is only offering up some, but not all of its rehearsal or ceremony spaces. Some will go as far as to specify outright that they don’t allow LGBT weddings near “family-friendly” portions of their resort. This is definitely a sign that the resort is not particularly LGBT-welcoming. Your wedding venue should be willing to accommodate you based on availability and budget, not based on sexual preference.
Check for anti-discrimination laws. Some of the countries on your dream “I Do” list might not currently recognize same-sex marriages, but still have anti-discrimination policies in effect. Mexico, for example, does not currently have widespread marriage equality, but it does have anti-discrimination protection nationwide since 2003. Think of this as extra travel insurance: not necessary, but an added bonus for peace of mind.
Read Travel Reviews. Like anything in life, first-hand experience reigns supreme, so try perusing a forum or blog focused on gay travel reviews or expert testimony. Did another couple have a phenomenal experience with their wedding in Bora Bora, or did a bride rant about management in a post? Everyone will have their own take in a travel review, but basic consensus, particularly concerning issues of discrimination, should never be ignored.
What’s the culture and attitude of your destination? From the “live and let live” spirit of Curacao to the progressive politics and acceptance of Amsterdam, many destinations’ broad attitudes about life are indicative of how well they treat one another—and their guests. If the locals of your destination are known for their accepting attitudes and friendly demeanors, it’s safe to say you will likely be treated with respect, just like every other guest.