In the past decade, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) have made tremendous strides to gain not only societal acceptance, but the freedom to marry in the United States as well as in countries around the world.
The LGBT community’s growing success in establishing legally recognized unions in countries across the globe is powering a surge in destination weddings, as more couples opt to exchange vows with the added benefit of beginning their wedded bliss in unconventional, but gay-friendly destination.
It’s not hard to find a great destination for a LGBT wedding as several international locales have long track records of welcoming members of the community. So, we decided to pull together a list of LGBT-friendly destinations that are not only romantic, but they are ideal locales for couples to exchange their wedding vows. And when you’re ready, you should consider a Vacation travel agent to help you plan your dream destination wedding or an exotic honeymoon.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Netherlands was a leader in establishing same-sex marriages, when it legalized gay marriage in 2001. Historic Amsterdam is one of the world’s renowned romantic cities, with languid canals, picturesque parks, candlelit cafes and gabled Dutch architecture. Newly married LGBT couples can also party long into the night as Amsterdam features a pulsating nightclub scene, too.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina’s capital and largest city, Buenos Aires is also the unofficial gay capital of Latin America. The city’s welcoming culture extends from centrally located neighborhoods like colorful La Boca to the gay-friendly cafes and guesthouses found in San Telmo, Retiro, Barrio Norte and Palermo Viejo.
And for couples who want to learn tango for a special wedding dance, then a visit to the tango capital of the world is a must! An expert travel agent can arrange your big day around the Queer Tango Festival, usually scheduled every year in late November. And if you miss out on the festival, adventurous couples can find one of several schools in the city, where travelers can learn the famous dance.
Cape Town, South Africa
Experienced travel agents point to Cape Town as the continent’s leading gay-friendly city, recognized for its Bohemian neighborhoods including trendy, upscale De Waterkant.
Romantic settings are easy to come by, as the Cape Town landscape combines flat-peaked mountains with manicured sculpture parks and golden-sand beaches. The popular city offers LGBTQ couples diverse activities – from a stroll through a bucolic vineyard for a wine tasting to an adrenalin-pumping shark-cage diving excursion.
Hawaii is always a popular dream vacation destination in LGBT travel, and it made our list of top 6 honeymoon destinations chosen by our travel agents, too! It’s awe-inspiring natural wonders are the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable destination wedding. And Hawaii lawmakers legalized same-sex marriages 5 years ago, giving the local gay-friendly resorts a head start on creating destination wedding packages for LGBT couples.
Maui is generally considered the most popular Hawaiian island for LGBT travelers. It offers numerous opportunities for honeymooners to take a guided hike through a lush tropical rainforest to towering waterfalls, where they can wade in secluded pools. Clothing-optional, gay-friendly Little Beach, Highway to Hana and luxe beachfront resorts like the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea are just a few reasons why you’ll want to consider a travel agent for your destination wedding on this idyllic island paradise.
LGBT couples can take advantage of Ireland’s legalization of same-sex marriage with travel-agent planned destination to the resplendent Emerald Isle. Couples can craft a romantic Ireland itinerary featuring romantic lodges and boutique hotels in Killarney and Dublin. Along the way travelers can arrange visits to fabled sites including Blarney Castle, the Ring of Kerry, Torc Waterfall and the Cliffs of Moher. Find out why Ireland also made our list for unique honeymoon ideas picked by travel agents.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
This longtime vacation hotspot is located in the Mexico’s Jalisco region, the country’s fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage following Chihuahua, Coahuila and Quintana Roo.
In fact, Jalisco has been recognized as the capital of LGBT travel in Mexico for decades. Specifically, Puerto Vallarta hosts an annual LGBT Pride Festival with numerous supporters, including the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board.
Puerto Vallarta’s downtown “gayborhood,” the Zona Romantica, features more than 70 businesses targeting LGBT consumers. The area is also served by several premium, LGBTQ-friendly hotels and resorts.
Coconut groves, dreamy blue lagoons and bleached-white sands are the hallmarks of Tahiti, the quintessential romantic destination. With most hotels and resorts well prepared to legally offer same-sex weddings, LGBT couples will find an unmistakable atmosphere of welcome and acceptance here.
Couples won’t find a more romantic experience than spending a week in a thatched-roof overwater bungalow with a glass floor to watch colorful tropical fish swimming below. Tahiti’s rae-rae – cross-dressing and transgendered people – are a highly respected and integral part of the restaurant and hotel industries in Tahitian culture.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver is an especially advantageous locale for destination wedding-bound LGBT couples, as the municipality offers easy-to-follow instructions on how to tie the knot locally. The cosmopolitan city also features Davie Village, a thriving LGBT neighborhood that includes trendy restaurants and bars. And Vancouver’s inspiring Canadian Rockies mountain peaks and clear blue waters offer couples a myriad of adventure-themed activities, including hiking, skiing and mountain biking.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable LGBT destination wedding? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize the dream vacation you deserve.