There are tons of reasons couples choose distant locations for their LGBTQ destination weddings.
An obvious first advantage of heading abroad can be the weather. For example, weddings in Spain are almost certain to enjoy a perfect climate from May to September, making it possible to celebrate ceremony, reception, dinner and dance outdoors.
Many couples will dream of gay beach LGBTQ destination weddings abroad at an incredibly exotic location, in the presence of close family and friends, avoiding the social pressure to invite distant family and friends.
Many couples ask,
“How much do destination weddings cost, is the savings significant and who pays for what?
According to traditional wedding etiquette, the couple pays for all costs on the wedding day. So, with a shorter guest list, total costs are usually substantially lower, even if you decide on that magical LGBTQ destination wedding in Spain.
Wedding etiquette indicates that travel costs and accommodation are usually paid for by the guests. Some wedding couples choose to pay for the accommodation – or at least some part of it – for some or all their guests, with guests sometimes prolonging their stay at their own expense.
Of course, there are obstacles, such as distance, language and culture, which can be difficult, even with modern means of communication. Traveling back and forth might simply not be an option – it’s time consuming, expensive, with no guarantee of success.
This is why our team decided to search out the most amazing – and sometimes unexpected – stateside places for LGBTQ destination weddings they could find!
We think that if you can, you should enlist the services of a wedding planner who would work with you in planning for your desired location. And we asked our circle of professional LGBTQ destination wedding planning professionals one question: “How do you know if your wedding planner is NICE?” Well, they show they care about their clients in many ways. For example:
Network – Do they have a broad network of venues and suppliers with whom they work frequently (and most importantly trust) so that the quality and service is guaranteed?
Information – Do they give extensive information on their services, prices, diplomas, associations to which they belong, and references – preferably via an informative website?
Communication – Do they answer your questions and emails within three working days and can they offer the online systems that make it easy for the wedding couples to plan their LGBTQ destination weddings, and for guests to plan their travel, accommodation and attendance?
Expertise – Do they have the necessary expertise to answer your questions immediately, and the required experience to avoid ideas and suggestions that don’t work?
If, on top of all that, can they offer you the venues and services that meet your wishes, then nothing stands in the way to start planning your dream LGBTQ destination wedding!
Now that we’ve gotten the planning tips out of the way, we’re on to the good stuff … the LGBTQ destination weddings that we all really love …
NEBRASKA – The Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill — “The Matt” to locals — claims it’s North Downtown Omaha’s “best event bar” located in one of the area’s oldest historic buildings, an 1883 beautiful brick building that started as the Stabrie Grocery Store but later became the Central Mattress Company where, from 1945 into the 1990s, mattresses were built, sold and shipped.
“Matt” owners have taken pride in preserving its interiors and the site offers a newly renovated bar/restaurant within the original brick walls and architecture of the old Stabrie building. The unusually high ceilings and restored wood timbers and beams give the place an open and authentic atmosphere. Perfect for Boho chic, industrial, steampunk or many other popular destination wedding themes.
The Matt has already hosted several same-sex receptions and the staff would be delighted to do more. You can read more about The Matt right here.
NORTH DAKOTA – Sail away to your new life together on the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, owned and operated by the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation. The riverboat is available May through September to enjoy the scenic Missouri River.
You and up to 100 guests can enjoy a ceremony held on the upper deck, wedding decor, a pre-event rehearsal, cash bar and staff. A variety of catering and reception options are available. Rates vary depending on day and length of event but are generally quite reasonable.
The staff embraces the LGBTQ community, loves to be of support, and – just like us here at Invitations by R Squared – they love love. Read about this unique opportunity for hosting your LGBTQ destination wedding right here.
TEXAS – If you want a big Texas wedding “Dallas” style, Southfork Ranch is happy to welcome you. Get married in style at the site of such famous “Dallas” weddings as Mitch and Lucy, J.R. and Sue Ellen (twice) and even Miss Ellie and Clayton. Lucy’s wedding dress is displayed on site along with other props from the classic nighttime soap (1978-1991 and 2012-2014).
Southfork Ranch embraces all denominations, lives and cultures who wish to marry here,” says Janna Timm, regional director of marketing for the ranch. Many same-sex couples have already wed there. The busy site averages about 75 weddings a year.
The Southfork Ranch Conference & Event Center in Parker, Texas (20 miles north of downtown Dallas) has 10 different ballrooms to host events of all sizes. Two full-time event professionals are on hand to help you with all details. Check out what they offer over here.
OHIO – Several wedding packages are available at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, a 365-acre amusement park located on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio. Opened in 1870, it’s the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States.
The most memorable would undoubtedly be the “Roller Coaster Wedding Package,” which can be yours for less than $5,000.00. Billed as “the ultimate way to tie the knot,” you can be joined in holy matrimony on the roller coaster platform of your choice for one hour before the park opens. Then take the plunge with private ride time for you and your guests.
The package includes one hour of private time on the ride, photos for 12 guests, a 90-minute escorted photo session in the park and park admission for 12 guests. Staff is also open to more customized LGBTQ destination wedding events. Read on right here.
TENNESSEE – For those offbeat couples who want to give their LGBTQ destination wedding a macabre twist, you need look no further than the Death Yard Haunted Attraction in Nashville, which lets you get married in a haunted house with all the ghosts, ghouls, goblins and more.
“Dark Weddings” offer a “languishing, Victorian-style parlor” and courtyard for your ceremony that can be held inside or out. Several packages are available. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a 30-minute event for the couple and officiant only (no guests) that runs $400 (Mondays-Thursdays) or $475 on weekends.
“A Nightmare Come True” is one hour and allows for the couple and six guests and is $850 (weekdays) or $995 (weekends). Other packages vary and include “Till Death Do Us Part” (two hours), “The Midnight Hour Ceremony” (two-and-a-half hours) or “Piece by Piece,” which can be as long as you want.
This venue is open to, and embraces every marriage. Ana Miller, events coordinator says, “We believe that everyone deserves love. Love always wins.” Find out all the gory details here.
ARKANSAS – Cinema buff couples rejoice! MovieLounge in Fort Smith is a mixture of traditional wedding hall and movie theater. The venue, owned by Dwight Curry (who’s gay), includes a main dining room, two cinemas and a ballroom space. Couples can even screen movies or photo galleries for their receptions if they choose.
MovieLounge has been serving the gay community in their wedding needs since its opening. It all started when a gay couple was turned away from the original venue they had booked for their LGBTQ destination wedding. For more details, visit their website here.
GEORGIA – Tybee Wedding Chapel on Tybee Island is a tropical getaway wedding for those that want to stay stateside. Tybee Wedding Chapel accommodates different types of wedding ceremonies and receptions including taking private elopements with only one day’s notice.
The ceremony, reception, cocktail hour or after party can all be handled in the same space. Find out more here.
KENTUCKY – Churchill Downs is an interesting reception location for after the vows have been exchanged.
Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, has a variety of rooms to rent that vary by number of people that need to be accommodated and by views. The Stakes Room has a view of the entire track while the Triple Crown Room holds views of the downtown skyline. Learn more about hosting your LGBTQ destination wedding and reception at this iconic venue here.
LOUISIANA – House of Blues New Orleans is another offbeat venue for a music-loving couple planning their LGBTQ destination wedding. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, there is both an outdoor and indoor space available to host a reception.
Renting options range from booking the restaurant for a sit-down lunch to booking the entire music hall to watch your favorite local band, DJ or even headlining artist give a special performance for the memorable day. This is a super fun venue, in a super fun town. Learn more here.
MICHIGAN – The Dossin Great Lakes Museum, part of the Detroit Historical Society, is the ideal venue for a maritime, steampunk, or industrial-themed LGBTQ destination wedding ceremony. The museum boasts scenic views of the Detroit River and Canada inside the Gothic Room, which seats 40, providing the perfect space for your very special event.
Couples can rent out single rooms from the Gothic Room to DeRoy Hall, which seats 120 people. They can also rent the entire museum for their special day. For more information, visit them on the web right here.
MISSOURI – Planning for Boho Chic, farm-style LGBTQ destination weddings? Getting married in a barn has never been so glamorous. Give your wedding plenty of Southern charm by getting married at Dodson Orchards.
Take all the typical wedding factors and enjoy them inside Dodson Orchards’ rustic barn. There are even hayrides available for the couple and their guests to have a true country wedding experience. Learn more here.
Be sure to check out some fabulous stationery for your LGBTQ destination wedding over here. There’s lots to choose from, once you’ve settled on a date and location!
And remember – we’re here to help! Get in touch with us, schedule a consultation, meet and chat with the Fabulous Fran. (She’s amazing, by the way!) Find the perfect Save the Date cards and LGBTQ destination wedding invitations, and just settle into a great experience in planning your wedding.
Be sure to check out our inspiring mood boards here.
It’s going to be the best day EVER!