After the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage was a-ok, there are now twenty countries across the world that gives everybody the right to marry the person they love, regardless of sexual orientation. And so they should! Sadly, Australia isn’t yet one of them. So although it’s only a matter of time before all Australians get to declare their love to the world, for now it’s an occasion that will have to happen overseas.
The good news is there are some fantastic countries where same-sex marriage is allowed, so it’s something of a blessing in disguise. You get to marry your partner and visit a drop-dead gorgeous location at the same time. Sounds like a win-win to us. With twenty great destinations around the world permitting same-sex marriage, where will you choose for your special day? Tweet this!
What better place to host a same-sex wedding than a country currently basking in its move to the 21st century? The Supreme Court decision on June 26th 2015 permitted marriage equality nationwide. That’s a pretty big deal, as up until then it had been a state issue, and some states weren’t playing ball. While there’s still some heated opposition to the idea, those voices are growing quieter every day. But where’s the best place to get hitched? While the whole country permits it now, few destinations can match the splendour and history of a gay wedding in San Francisco. San Fran has a long history with homosexuality – it was the original gay-friendly city; if they’d had their way, the whole marriage equality thing would have been done and dusted in the early sixties.
One of the best wedding venues in the Bay Area isn’t in San Francisco – it’s in Berkeley, at the UC Botanical Garden. The garden is home to a staggering number of plants from all over the world (no need to buy flowers here!) and has a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge to boot. After the ceremony is over, you can host your reception in The Castro, San Francisco’s most gay-friendly neighbourhood.
Of course a big event such as a wedding deserves a luxury hotel. And what better place to start than our 5 star hotels in San Francisco.
Latin America may be a colourful spectacle with more dancing and street festivals than you can poke a [insert whatever euphemism you like] at, but not all countries in Latin America have a progressive approach to LGBT issues. Not so in Argentina, which is as forward-thinking as it can be. Its capital, Buenos Aires, is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world – you won’t get any second glances here, so long as you’re having a good time. And “a good time” is just what you’ll have. This is a city that oozes gay culture from its pores. From gay pride festivals, to a thriving LGBT art scene, and many, many gay-friendly nightclubs and bars. There’s even a special dance sweeping the city – queer tango – which is the traditional tango dance for same sex couples. A perfect choice for your first dance as a newly married couple!
Check out all the gay-friendly hotels in Buenos Aires.
Ah Spain. Famous for its sunshine, sangria and obsession with soccer. But did you know same-sex marriage has been legal here since 2005? Its capital city Madrid hosts an annual pride festival and will also host the World Pride event in 2017. Homosexuality in Spain just isn’t an issue, making it the perfect destination for a gay wedding. If you’re looking for somewhere with a flamboyant history, head to the south, specifically Andalucia, a region with significant Moorish influences. Why does that matter, you ask? Well, it turns out that the Moors were a sensual bunch, who loved nothing more than breaking down social barriers in their pursuit of passion. They were the forward-thinkers of today, just over a thousand years ago. That’s some pretty good history you’ve got on your side. It also helps that the Andalucia region is darn beautiful – just take a look at Granada, a picturesque city with dozens of quaint buildings, Moorish architecture and excellent surrounding countryside.
Iceland is a country that knows how to do things right. Staggeringly beautiful, this is an “other-world” destination that inspires you to think and dream big. In other words, it’s a pretty special place to get hitched. Gay marriage was legalised in 2010, and was quickly utilised by Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, then Prime Minister of Iceland and the first openly gay head of state. So it’s an amazingly gay-friendly place – you won’t find many naysayers amongst Iceland’s 300,000 citizens. You have two viable options for ceremony destinations in Iceland: Reykjavik or the great outdoors. Reykjavik, the country’s capital city, has a sizeable gay scene. But if you want your ceremony outdoors (and do consider it, because Iceland really is beautiful), look at Hjalp Waterfall or Glymur. One word of advice – get married during summer, because there is very little daylight during the long winter months!
A country that seems to be inherently progressive, the Netherlands showed the world the way forward in 2001 when it became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage. If you’re thinking of getting married here, look no further than Amsterdam, the country’s capital city. This is a great place to be whatever your sexual orientation, but it’s extra special if you’re after an open community. Amsterdam is one of the world’s great gay-friendly cities, with hundreds of thousands of people attending the city’s annual gay pride festival. The grand history of Amsterdam means there are many high-class hotels and other venues that can provide an utterly fabulous day. Check out the House of Amsterdam if you want your ceremony to have all the trimmings. Though be aware that at least one half of the couple must be from the Netherlands or have residency to get married there.
You’ll need a hotel with all the trimmings too!
You can’t make a list of same-sex wedding destinations without including London, Europe’s centre for gay culture and activity (though Berlin might argue that statement). England’s capital city has been a haven for the gay community for centuries; with gays now able to stay out of the alleyways and janky basement discos and burst into the limelight. Filled with incredible history, trendy, gay-friendly neighbourhoods and an open attitude, it’s a romantic city to declare your love. In London, you can go classy or artsy, but it’ll always be stylish. With gay marriage becoming fully legalised in 2014, a string of venues have become popular for same-sex couples wanting an extra special day. For a wedding that the Royal family would be envious of, take a look at In and Out, a gorgeous period home that comes complete with a grand staircase, fireplace and chandeliers. Alternatively, you can get artsy at Sunbeam Studios, a photography studio that doubles as a spectacular wedding venue. Whatever your wedding theme, London will provide.
Of course you’ll need accommodation to match your stylish wedding in London.
Wherever you decide to hold your ceremony, you’re sure to have a great day. After all, you’re in love! Below, you’ll find a list of all the countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Sadly Australia is not on this list… yet. Hopefully we’ll be celebrating equality with pride in the near future.
- The Netherlands
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- The United States