I really want to give a shout-out to the fabulous Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, in lower Manhattan. This property is certainly gorgeous, with views of the Hudson and Lady Liberty. But beyond that, I am consistently blown away by their impeccable service. It really is a great spot for a fabulous and quintessential New York gay wedding, large or small.
Washington State became the seventh U.S. state (plus D.C.) to legalize gay marriage on Monday when Governor Gregoire signed the marriage equality bill into law. This is very exciting but you may want to hold off on your gay wedding plans for a little bit longer. Opponents of marriage equality still may try to stop it from going into effect on June 7 - so the matter is not yet settled - but this is a huge step forward. Congratulations!
It's engagement season - and if you are planning your gay wedding in the New York City area and looking for some expert advice, you are in luck! I'm participating in a couple of panel discussions soon as well as leading a solo workshop. All of these are designed to empower you to plan yourself a great gay wedding!
Here are the details:
Thursday, February 9, 6:30pm (solo presentation)
- Sponsored by MENY - click here to register
- LGBT Center, Manhattan
Sunday, February 12, 11am (panel discussion)
- WilliamsBrides event (excuse the non-inclusive name - it will be an inclusive event)
- Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Saturday, March 17, time TBD (panel discussion)
- The Original LGBT Expo
- Javits Center, Manhattan
Please stop by and say hi at any of these events! I would love to chat with you there and answer any planning questions you may have!
The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household. Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage.
Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage... Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals…They seek the mutual obligation and honor that attend marriage… seek recognition from the state that their union is ‘a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred.’”
Of course lots of couples are still using the Goodridge ruling as well. Are you planning to have any political elements in your marriage ceremony?
Most people who find this website are engaged and planning a gay wedding in New York, Boston or somewhere else – and most people really don’t know how to begin! Here’s the cheat sheet for you, a quick list of what to do, and in what order.Create guest list policies. Figure out if you are having attendants.
As my regular readers know, my favorite part of a wedding is the ceremony because of its power and potential to change the world.
Whenever possible, I encourage LGBT couples to use a Celebrant to officiate their gay wedding ceremony. Not everyone who is a non-denominational minister is a Celebrant. Those who are officially Celebrants have taken intensive coursework on world cultures and traditions and been taught how to use stories to create custom ceremonies. The curriculum is rigorous!
Celebrants are ideal for couples who may be interfaith or non-religious but whom want a meaningful and powerful wedding ceremony that is more in-depth than what a judge or Justice of the Peace may provide.
Our own wedding (July 3, 2009) was officiated by Celebrant Cindy Matchett of Meaningful Weddings. Our wedding guests LOVED our ceremony which told the story of our relationship, shared some of our favorite things about each other and incorporated our cultures. Last year she officiated our son’s non-religious baby blessing. We absolutely adore Cindy and she feels like one of our family.
I’m honored to have been asked to give the keynote speech on April 28 at the Celebrant Institute’s Collective Wisdom Conference. This conference is part of the graduation of the current class of Celebrants and I’m excited to share with them my perspective on the power of same-sex weddings.
If you are looking for a Celebrant, you can find one in your area by visiting www.CelebrantInstitute.org
Massachusetts was the first state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage so it’s only natural that Boston remains a top gay wedding tourist destination. And for good reason…it’s a small but cosmopolitan city with great dining and shopping and some beautiful venues (including some on the ocean or harbor) for your gay wedding. Our business was founded in Boston, we still work there regularly and it has a very special place in our heart.
Where to Stay: Our favorite hotels are Kimpton properties and the one in Boston with the best location, right on Boston Common, is Nine Zero. We also love XV Beacon on Beacon Hill and the Seaport Hotel down on the waterfront.
What to Do: Leave your car behind in Boston and don't rent one either. It's a great city for walking with beautiful brownstones like the ones above. Walk through the oldest public botanical garden in the country, the beautiful Boston Public Garden, en route to shopping on Newbury Street. If you want to avoid the tourists, walk down Tremont Street in the South End and take your pick of great restaurants and shops frequented by locals (and lots of gays!) Also, enjoy the waterfront! Take a tour of the Boston Harbor Islands, or spend a few hours out there on Spectacle or Georges Island.
How to Get Married: It’s tricky in Massachusetts since there is a three day waiting period. For example, if you apply for a marriage license at City Hall on a Tuesday, you can’t pick it up and get married until Friday. You can get a waiver of the three day wait by going to court. Marriage license fees vary by city or town. There are no blood tests or witnesses required. The marriage license is valid for 60 days. 14 Stories provides a service to get this waiting period waived quickly and easily.
Our Picks for an LGBT Florist: Daniel and Jeb from New Leaf Flores in Jamaica Plain are awesome!
Our Picks for an LGBT Officiant: Denise Simmons is an openly gay Justice of the Peace who also was the first out African-American lesbian Mayor of a U.S. city. She sits on the City Council of Cambridge, MA.
With some major exceptions, Boston wedding vendors are very welcoming of same-sex couples so you should have a great experience no matter who you choose. Don't forget about us at 14 Stories if you get stuck and need us to take great care of you!
Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2009 but Vermont’s history of LGBT rights goes back to 1993 when it became the first state to create civil unions. Vermont is one of the least populous states in the country, meaning there are loads of wide open spaces for your country wedding.
Where to Stay: Stowe, Vermont is a great choice as a home-base for gay wedding planning in Vermont and you simply cannot beat the luxury of the Stowe Mountain Lodge which not only has stunning accommodations but beautiful wedding backdrops as well. If you are looking for an even more rural experience, check out the Moose Meadow Lodge, a gay-owned inn and wedding venue.
What to Do: Vermont is all about the outdoors! Hiking, canoeing and kayaking, skiing and snowshoeing are just some of the possibilities. Great farm-to-table dining can be found in restaurants throughout the state. And don’t forget to check out the tastings at Cabot Cheese and Ben and Jerry’s!
How to Get Married: Simply apply for a marriage license in a town in the county in which you’ll plan to marry in Vermont. There is no waiting period, no blood tests and there are no witnesses required. The fee is $20.
Our Picks for LGBT Photographers: Kelly from Closed Circle Photo knows everything about Vermont and takes beautiful shots. We also love the other Kelly, from Kelly Prizel Photography who shoots throughout New England.
Our Picks for an LGBT Florist: Wildflower Designs in Stowe does lovely work!
Our Picks for LGBT Officiants: Greg Trulson (also owner of Moose Meadow Lodge) is openly LGBT.
With some major exceptions, Vermont wedding vendors are very welcoming of same-sex couples so you should have a great experience no matter who you choose. Don't forget about us at 14 Stories if you get stuck and are looking for a hand with all of your gay wedding plans in Vermont!
(photo by Jeanette LeBlanc)
This week in the gay wedding travel guide, it's Provincetown, Massachusetts (aka P-town), the tiny town on the tip of Cape Cod and a hugely popular LGBT tourist destination in the U.S.
For a tiny town, P-town offers world class dining, great shops and beautiful beaches. It’s a great place to plan your gay wedding but has very few wedding venues and is most suitable for smaller weddings. Also, July and August are tough times for weddings in P-town because it's high tourist season and many inns require 5 night stays.
Where to Stay: Gabriel’s is our pick for women with a great location near the center of town. The rooms are beautiful with great amenities, including an outdoor hot tub! For guys and mixed groups, we also love the Carriage House (also with an outdoor hot tub!) and the White Porch Inn. There are many, many inns in Ptown so you'll easily find a great spot.
What to Do: Stroll the many boutiques and galleries of Commercial Street. Check out the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in the East End. Explore the Pilgrim Monument museum to see what P-town was like when the Pilgrims landed (it’s where the Mayflower Compact was signed). Hit the beaches by bike, car, cab or bus. Herring Cove is a more accessible and family-friendly bay beach. Race Point is a more adult beach on the ocean side. You can rent bikes and ride the paved trails through the dunes. Enjoy cabaret and drag shows at night or hit one of the town’s nightclubs.
How to Get Married: You can apply for your marriage license at Provincetown City Hall for $35 but keep in mind that, in Massachusetts, there’s a 3 day waiting period. If you are in a rush, you can have that waived by a court order if you drive to Orleans, Massachusetts. We suggest, however, applying for and picking up your license in Boston instead since the courthouse and City Hall are near each other. We can help with this process through our Vows package.
Our Picks for LGBT-owned Florists: Wildflower of Provincetown is our pick especially for more contemporary designs!
Our Picks for LGBT Officiants: Rev. James Mack can officiate your religious or non-religious ceremony.
P-town’s wedding vendors are very welcoming of same-sex couples so you should have a great experience no matter who you choose. Don't forget about us if you get stuck and are looking for a hand with all of your gay wedding plans in Provincetown.
This is the first part in a new series every Monday for the next few weeks. Each week we'll be spotlighting an area where same-sex marriage is legal and providing you with some great travel tips and our picks for top same-sex wedding professionals.
This week, it's New York City, the most popular LGBT tourist destination in the U.S. New York has it all. The world's best shopping and finest restaurants, beautiful green space and tons of venues with spectacular views.
Where to Stay: Start with Kimpton Hotels (our fave when we travel). Kimpton properties are known for their gay and dog-friendliness, their evening wine hour and contemporary aesthetics. Our personal favorite is Ink 48, located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen and featuring a beautiful outdoor terrace. If you’re headed downtown, the Ritz Carlton Battery Park is a stunning option with its amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Ritz is the only 5 star hotel in downtown New York.
What to Do: Where to start?! Stroll the boutiques and galleries of Soho. Walk the High Line. Dig into the wares at Chelsea Market. Sip coffee in the West Village. Check out one of the hundreds of museums. Hit the clubs in Hells Kitchen and Chelsea. Hold hands on a stroll through Central Park. You’ll never get bored.
How to Get Married: Head down to City Hall in lower Manhattan during normal business hours and spend $35 on a marriage license. It will be valid 24 hours after you receive it and then you can legally married by a licensed officiant. More details are here.
Our Picks for LGBT-owned Florists: Spruce in Chelsea rocks the clean, modern look. Fleurs NYC and Anthony Brownie (both in the Flower District) are our picks for bigger weddings (note: neither have retail space)
Our Picks for LGBT Officiants: Rev. Louis is an absolute sweetheart. And our own Rev. Andrew is top-notch!
New York's wedding vendors are, by and large, very welcoming of same-sex couples so you should have a great experience no matter who you choose. Don't forget about us if you get stuck and are looking for a hand with all of your gay wedding plans in New York!
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- Win a Free Trip to Cancun
- New York City Gay Wedding Packages
- New Lesbian Wedding Planning Book
- 14 Stories and the W Retreat and Spa in Vieques
- The Dinner Party Style Wedding
- Speaking to Wedding Professionals in Mexico
- Huffington Post LIVE on Gay Wedding Planning 101
- 14 Stories in the Advocate Magazine
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