Top 13 gay wedding destinations around the world

At long last, a growing number of countries are legalizing same-sex marriage—meaning there’s never been a better time for gay couples to think globally when planning their dream wedding day. As marriage equality continues to advance, the only question for your gay destination wedding becomes: tropical getaway or elegant cosmopolitan affair? No matter what your travel style, we’ve hand-selected the best gay wedding destinations around the world so you can do less planning and more travelling. Get started with these Mr Hudson recommendations for gorgeous gay wedding ideas around the world.

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Ever progressive Buenos Aires is a gay mecca full of grandiose architecture, heavenly gastronomy, and sultry, queer tango parties

1. Buenos Aires

As the first country in Latin America to establish marriage equality, Argentina is an obvious choice for gay weddings abroad. In particular, ever progressive Buenos Aires is a gay mecca full of grandiose architecture, heavenly (albeit meaty) gastronomy, and sultry, queer tango parties. Toast to the upcoming nuptials over a glass of velvety malbec—the local variety is inexpensive, abundant, and delectable. Chic neighbourhoods, riveting theatres, and upscale luxury hotels round out the gay cosmopolitan experience.

2. Ireland

Few gay wedding destinations in Europe exude romance quite like Ireland. A small island with big-time thrills, a drive across the country quickly reveals Ireland’s dramatic beauty—from its arresting coastline to its bucolic countryside to its charming candy-coloured towns. Add to the mix a fascinating history that’s left visible marks across the country in the form of ruins and castles, and you’ve got a treasure trove of delightfully dreamy experiences all in one spectacular setting. Ireland is renowned for its next-level hospitality towards tourists, and gay travellers are no exception. In 2015, Ireland became the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Dublin, Belfast, and Cork are where you’ll discover the most lively Ireland gay travel scenes.

Photo: Steije Hillewaert

Wedding day

3. Cape Town

Adventure lovers will be hard-pressed to find a gay wedding destination more ravishing than Cape Town. Did someone say cave diving with sharks followed by jumping from the world’s highest bungee? Flanked in natural wonders, with Table Mountain National Park to the North and powdery white sand beaches to the South, awe-inspiring landscapes seemingly await around every bend. Gay marriage is legal across South Africa, but Cape Town takes the prize as the gayest city in the country. Even better? A temperate climate means gay destination weddings in Cape Town are a fabulous idea year-round.

4. Puerto Vallarta

Dazzling cerulean waters, lush rolling hillsides, and a thrumming downtown gayborhood provide the backdrop to Mexico’s time-honoured gay beach capital: Puerto Vallarta. While it’s important to note that only civil unions are legal in Mexico, 12 states have legalized full marriage equality—including Puerto Vallarta’s state of Jalisco. Those inclined to say “I do” with their toes in the sand and the Pacific gently lapping behind them need not look further than the LGBTQ Almar Resort. An idyllic beachfront location and in-house wedding planner make it easy to see why this gay hotel regularly tops most lists of top 10 wedding destinations.

Puerto Vallarta | Photo: Chris Mcqueen

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5. Spain

Spain is one of the gayest, most gorgeous countries in the world. Widely regarded as a model nation for gay rights in Europe, Spain continues to promote equality with laws in place to protect same-sex marriage, adoption, and transgender rights. Just a short way from Barcelona, the romantic beach town of Sitges vies for the title of Spain’s most gay-friendly city. By day, soak up the sun on one of Sitges’ picturesque gay beaches; by night, hop from world-class restaurants to thought-provoking art galleries with your new spouse by your side. If you prefer an enchanting locale that’s not synonymous with sand and sea, any of these top gay destinations in Spain would make foolproof spots for a gay wedding abroad.

6. Bora Bora

The quintessential image of paradise found this Tahitian gem is on every list of gay beach wedding destinations for a reason. Think mesmerizing starry night skies, dreamy overwater bungalows, sparkling turquoise waters, and kaleidoscopic marine life. Bora Bora is part of French Polynesia, so gay weddings have been legal here under French law since 2013. A bevvy of ultra-luxurious gay-friendly resorts means you’ll have no problem finding local talent to help construct the perfect day. And when it comes to gay honeymoon destinations? Well, you’ve already arrived at one of the sexiest.

Bora Bora | Photo: Dave Shaw

Bora Bora | Photo: Reiseuhu

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Wild and rugged with the lunar-like landscape, glittering glaciers, and turquoise geothermal waters, if ever there was a destination of jaw-dropping beauty, it’s Iceland

7. Iceland

Wild and rugged with the lunar-like landscape, glittering glaciers, and turquoise geothermal waters, if ever there was a destination of jaw-dropping beauty, it’s Iceland. With an ever-changing terrain that is as extreme as it is spectacular, this Nordic wonderland is a smart gay wedding destination for those who want to marry to a backdrop of ice-covered volcanoes or cascading waterfalls. Gay travellers who choose to marry in Iceland will be in good company; Iceland same-sex marriage was legalized in 2010, shortly after which then Prime Minister Jóhanna Siguroardóttir married her partner.

8. New Orleans

Gay New Orleans is, in one word, ravishing. Land of art, music, superstition, and Cajun spice, this loud and proud Southern city marches to the beat of its own drum—a testament to its unique French, Spanish, and Creole influences. With the sounds of jazz wafting through the air, New Orleans makes an ideal spot for an LGBTQ destination wedding in the otherwise mostly conservative South. The Lavender Line is the starting point of any gay New Orleans travel guide. You’ll find it in the insatiably fun French Quarter, where lavish hotels, cast-iron balconies, and traditional cuisine are bound to inspire the most fabulous gay wedding ideas.

Photo: Keenan Barber

Photo: Radek Pestka

9. Boston

Arguably America’s oldest city, Boston boasts a riveting history as a trailblazing revolutionary—one that would continue when Massauchessets became the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. And with charming gay Provincetown near at hand, the gay Boston scene makes an ideal spot for couples looking to combine an elegant city wedding with a romantic seaside rendezvous on the Cape. The Elliot Hotel is one of Boston’s most opulent settings for a gay Boston wedding; think Italian marble countertops, a Beaux-Arts-style entrance, and sumptuous suites.

10. Chicago

At first glance, Chicago might not seem like the obvious choice to make a list of top gay wedding destinations around the world, but you’ll want to hear us out. With cutting-edge architecture, a swanky nightlife scene, world-class cuisine, and a buzzing LGBTQ+ community, gay Chicago is a surprisingly delightful spot to tie the knot. Lakeview (more commonly referred to as Boystown,) is the Windy City’s historic gay neighbourhood, though the most spectacular gay wedding venues in Chicago are over in the ritzy Gold Coast neighbourhood. Of the elegant locales here, The Thompson Hotel wows with its elevated mid-century design and a dual-level penthouse (ideal for the newlyweds to escape to.)

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Dubbed the world’s sexiest and best gay destination two years in a row, Rio de Janeiro is an alluring mix of sultry samba rhythms, lush mountainous scenery, and flawless golden sand beaches

Rio de Janeiro | Photo: Agustin Diaz

11. Rio de Janeiro

Dubbed the world’s sexiest and best gay destination two years in a row, Rio de Janeiro is an alluring mix of sultry samba rhythms, lush mountainous scenery, and flawless golden sand beaches. Plus, if you’ve ever glimpsed footage of the city’s legendary Carnival jubilees, then you already know that Rio is a city that knows how to throw a good party. The Marvelous City has no shortage of adventures to entertain your wedding guests. From hiking through lush, monkey-filled rainforests to sailing across the Guanabara Bay at sunset, gay Rio de Janeiro thrills with its brilliant blend of wild landscapes and cosmopolitan charm.

12. San Francisco

Ah, San Francisco. Ever flamboyant with her forward-thinking, queer-leaning ways—and iconic for her legislation on gay freedoms, including being the first U.S. city to legalize gay marriage. We can hardly think of a more enigmatic, rainbow-lined city to raise a glass to a lifetime alongside your special someone. San Francisco gay wedding destinations don’t get more glam than The Cliff House with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows that reveal striking Pacific Ocean views. Or, for the oenophiles among us, hop over to a nearby vineyard for rolling hills and magical views all within easy access to the highlights of gay San Francisco.

13. Las Vegas

It’s hardly any secret that anything goes in fabulous Las Vegas. While other couples are fretting over registering, so their guests know precisely what to buy a gay couple for their wedding, getting married in Las Vegas means an epic celebration that swaps the typical wedding stress for dazzling decadence—and hopefully a sprinkle of debauchery. With everything from infinity rooftop pools to one-of-a-kind helicopter weddings, narrowing down the top 10 places to get married in Las Vegas will likely be your most challenging task. Yet again, that’s all part of the allure of planning a gay wedding to the inimitable, neon-swathed city that is Las Vegas.

Photo: Marcelo Chagas

Photo: Lanty

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