Marriage equality is becoming the way of the world, and it has LGBTQ couples thinking globally about their wedding plans.
Wedding bells are ringing for same-sex couples around the globe. Now that 26 nations are now pronouncing that “love wins,” many a betrothal is followed by an even more daunting question: Where to get hitched? The world map shows marriage equality dominating the Western Hemisphere and Europe, though countries like South Africa and New Zealand are in the mix too, with Taiwan, Mexico, and several Eastern-European nations expected to join the party soon. Of the wide variety of unforgettable destinations, here are the top spots for international weddings, along with some local tips. (Just be sure to do your homework on each country’s latest marriage laws for foreigners.)
In 2015, Ireland surprised the world by becoming the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote—an achievement befitting the country’s welcoming spirit. Dublin is an ideal city for an LGBTQ-friendly ceremony, with venues for a range of budgets.
It’s famous for design ingenuity and progressive ideals, and since 2009, Sweden has been a top contender for destination weddings when it adopted a gender-neutral marriage law. Stockholm offers fabulous hotels and other cool venue choices.
The newest country to the matrimonial party arrived in late 2017, when Australia’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage after a hugely successful public referendum. The challenge now is zeroing in on the perfect spot for a down-under destination wedding. Sydney and Melbourne are obvious choices thanks to their vibrant queer communities and urban glamour.
Argentina was the first Latin American country to establish marriage equality back in 2010. Since then, LGBTQ travelers have fallen for this broad-minded country, especially its capital city. Buenos Aires appeals for its beauty, history, and gastronomy—and since it’s in the Southern Hemisphere, an October or November wedding brings fresh blooms and warmth, without the North American spring-wedding craziness.
5. New Brunswick
Canada was an early arrival to the same-sex wedding reception when it instituted marriage equality in 2005. As the fourth country to do so, the famously friendly Canucks have enjoyed a long stretch of destination weddings for all. For a particularly Canadian style, head to the maritime province of New Brunswick to tie the knot.
South America’s largest nation began welcoming homosexual nuptials in 2013, building on a civil-union law instituted in 2004. While the big cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo may seem like obvious choices for celebratory occasions, another, more intimate option awaits. Trancoso is an off-the-radar beach town in Bahia that’s home to two LGBTQ-friendly hotels.
7. Puerto Vallarta
Though civil unions are legal, full marriage equality has not yet arrived across Mexico. But 12 states have legalized it, including Jalisco on the Pacific coast. That makes gay-friendly Puerto Vallarta prime territory for a breezy wedding on the beach, at a posh resort, or at a venue that offers both.
If you’ve always wanted a wedding that’s so far away you may as well stay for an extended honeymoon, Bora Bora may be just the ticket. It’s northwest of Tahiti and part of French Polynesia, so LGBTQ couples have been getting hitched there since 2013 (under French law).
There are nine gay-friendly destinations in Mexico – Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Acapulco, Huatulco, Veracruz, Mazatlán and Mérida.
The Catholic Church does have a conservative influence on Mexico. Yet, Mexico has become broad-minded about sexuality. Gays in Mexico don’t attract discrimination or violence. This has made it a perfect holiday getaway.