“WHERE SHOULD I GET MARRIED?”
OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE, WHETHER YOU’RE AT HOME OR AWAY
Many people who are engaged are wrestling with a very important question: “Where should I get married?” Florida offers many options for people who are interested in commitment ceremonies, especially for couples were married in other locales and want to be part of a beautiful ceremony with their friends and family in attendance. Then there’s the question of whether one should leave Florida and have a big ceremony out-of-state, perhaps in a state that has marriage equality. Or better yet, what about an overseas destination wedding? I’m here to give you ideas for all three options. All of these options were vetted by the people at (and approved by visitors to) GayWeddings.com and the WeddingWire Network.
FLORIDA WEDDING VENUES
The Jacaranda Country Club has hosted thousands of celebratory ceremonies, including weddings. Billed as “the place to celebrate life’s milestones,” this country club, built on land spread across 7000 acres in the 1970s, provides for a picturesque and tranquil backdrop for your nuptials and your dream reception too.
(9200 W. Broward Avenue, Plantation, 954-474-8998)
Want a private beachside ceremony? The Newport Beachside Hotel and Resort can offer you that, right here in their 500-foot private beach. Say “I Do” overlooking the sparkling blue waters of the Atlantic, and stay for the reception, which you can have indoors or right on the water. Packages can include everything from your rehearsal dinner to a spa day for your BFFs — call ahead for a consultation! (16701 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach, 305-949-1300)
Did you know that the $1 billion redesign of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach included a complete revamp of every inch of the 66,000-square foot event space? Anything goes here: you can choose to have a welcome party before your wedding and mingle on the 21,000-square foot Ocean Lawn. Then choose whether you want to tie the knot inside or outside — their event planners will advise you on how to throw a fun party afterwards!
(4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, 305-538-2000)
Easily the most upscale beach wedding option in Central Florida is the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront. Whether you want a beach wedding, or an exchange of vows over the water on their deck area, or even poolside, the event planners at the Hiton can cater to your every want and need. No need to lift a finger; they will do it all for you, from arrival to the married couple jetting off to their honeymoon. Or you can stay and let them prepare that as well!
(1550 N. Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, 321-799-0003)
The Pebble Creek Golf Club is eager to host your wedding, whether you want to kiss your beloved on the first tee, on their new veranda, or in their Georgian-style clubhouse. Open the French doors in the banquet hall, which can host your reception, and you’ll see it overlooks an oak-shaded courtyard and the golf course. Don’t skimp on style; the events director can work with nearly any budget. (10550 Regents Park Drive, Tampa, 813-973-3870)
DESTINATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
There are so many places across the country where you can tie the knot and come home with a marriage certificate. California, for example, offers quite a few places for people of all personality types.
If you want something elegant yet understated, the Durham Ranch near St. Helena, located on a 76-acre olive grove, is a wedding spot fit for a Carrington. (707-968-9010) Cute in the fabulous way and pink just like the dress in the “Material Girl” music video, the Madonna Inn is an option that is slightly off the beaten path and definitely for people who march to his or her own drummer. No relation to Madonna herself of course, the Inn hosts weddings and receptions in rooms with names like “The Gay ’90s Room.”
(100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, 805-543-1800)
Perhaps you’ve had your heart set on a beautiful Northeast wedding. You can get married anywhere from DC up to Canada nowadays, and many places are more than willing to host your special day. You can get married in so many places in New York City, but nothing embodies that quintessential Big Apple experience quite like a wedding in Central Park. The kind people at the Park will do everything for you; reserve your wedding package at centralpark.com.
In Philadelphia’s Center City, the Society Hill Dance Academy will not only host your wedding and reception, but they can also teach you and your wedding party how to dance! For more information, call 215-574-3574.
Massachusetts was first to legalize same-sex marriage and there are so many options to choose from across the state. If you prefer something quaint in the country, go to the Berkshires in the western part of the state. One option that may be for you is the large yet unassuming Gilded Age-era Kemble Inn in Lenox (call 413-637-4113 for reservations). Don’t think you have to have a small guest list to get hitched in the Berkshires; these inns can accommodate you and your sizable party!
Many countries have passed marriage equality bills and are actively seeking tourists who want to get married abroad. England legalized same-sex marriage and event planners are more than willing to help you pick out the place of your dreams for your unforgettable overseas ceremony. The website The Gay Wedding Guide has quite a few recommendations, including the repurposed castle Grays Court in York. Fancy! To see more venues, visit thegayweddingguide.co.uk.
Dreaming of a French wedding? Who hasn’t at least given thought to marrying in the birthplace of romance? You can get married in a field of violets at a chateau, in the garden of the Palais Royal, or even under the Eiffel Tower. The experts at franceweddingplanner.com can help you with every detail.
A South Pacific destination wedding is one gay couples in the US have only dreamt about until recently. Get married in New Zealand with the help of the ladies at Queer Eye Weddings, the first gay-owned wedding company in the country. Their expertise will ensure that you’ll come back to vacation and enjoy the land of the Kiwis many more times in the future.
Now that you’re figuring out where to get married, where do you want to enjoy your honeymoon? Read our honeymoon destinations feature, also in this issue!