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Your wedding day is one of the most important events of your life, and you want it to reflect the beauty of your relationship and your future marriage. Though gay and lesbian marriage is legal, there are still daunting obstacles for many same-sex couples, in the form of prejudiced and non-inclusive vendors and venues. Whether you're planning a small, intimate wedding or a big extravaganza though, there are plenty of resources out there to help you find LGBT-friendly wedding venues that perfectly suit your needs and wants, so your wedding day can be everything you ever dreamed of.
Ask your friends and communities.
Perhaps the best way to find LGBT-friendly wedding venues is simply to ask around. Reach out to LGBT friends, especially married couples, for references and experiences. This will not only give you some ideas of places that will support same-sex weddings, but also this will give you the opportunity to hear about the various other important aspects of a wedding venue. After all, on a day as important as your wedding day, your only concern should not be just finding an LGBT-friendly venue. You'll also want to hear about the location, the venue's policies, capacity, and other features that you can only get from first-hand accounts.
Find wedding blogs or sites.
Many people put up wedding sites when they tie the knot, providing information for guests, links to their registry, and a place to put up engagement and wedding pictures. Even if you don't personally know any same-sex couples who have gotten married, you can inform your decision from many couples by looking at their site. This not only gives you some locations to go on, but also provides you with the opportunity to see the location in pictures. Sometimes, couples' wedding sites will also provide contact information (usually an email address) if you have any questions about the venue. This can put you in contact with people who can help you find good locations for the reception or rehearsal dinner, and provide a helpful guide for you LGBT wedding planning.
Use LGBT church services.
While there have long been tensions between traditional Christian churches and the LGBT community, that doesn't mean that the two are incompatible. For many lesbian and gay couples, religion is an important part of life, just as it is for many heterosexual couples. Services like GayChurch can help you find churches in your area that are inclusive and supportive of gay couples. This is important for many for their own personal religious reasons, but it can also be a valuable resource for finding LGBT-friendly wedding venues. Many of these churches are happy to accommodate same-sex weddings, and will allow couples to tie the knot, and hold their ceremony and reception, in a place that is supportive of both their religion and their orientation.
Filter your search.
Many of the best resources for finding wedding venues are not specialized for LGBT couples. Since same-sex marriage was only relatively recently legalized, the biggest databases are not specialized in that way. However, many of these resources allow you to filter your search in order to find the perfect place, and to browse the widest range of options to help you do so. Major wedding venue sites like Venue Report allow you to do this with the click of a button, taking a huge portion of the stress out of your wedding planning. You can also search local wedding venue sites in your area for LGBT-friendly venues.
Thank goodness for the internet. Since the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality in 2015, the market for LGBT-friendly wedding venues and vendors has blossomed. You have plenty of resources for finding great locations and businesses that will support and honor your commitment, and they are sure to help you pull off your dream wedding. Sites like PrideZillas allow you to search for venues by location, as well as offering insights to help you find LGBT-friendly vendors for all your other wedding needs. Another great online resource that offers all of these services is EnGAYged Weddings, which also provides resources for couples in select areas outside of the US.
Although many may feel anxious about approaching a potential site without knowing their attitudes beforehand, one of the best ways to find your perfect venue is simply to ask. If you find a place you love, there's no harm in sending an email and directly inquiring about the venue's policies and attitudes towards LGBT communities. There is always a risk that the answer will be negative, but when it comes to your special day, a brief email exchange may be a small price to pay in exchange for the perfect location; and there are definitely questions you must ask while touring wedding venues anyway. You can also check a venue you're interested in through sites previously mentioned such as GayWeddings or PrideZilla, which have a fairly extensive database and may be able to tell you immediately if that venue is supportive.
Hire a wedding planner.
If you're worried about finding the right LGBT-friendly wedding venue, or any other aspect of your wedding planning, you should hire a wedding planner. You can use resources like enGAYged Weddings and PrideZillas to find specialized LGBT wedding planners, who can help you make sure that every aspect of your wedding is taken care of, respected, and honored by everyone involved. You can, of course, hire a wedding planner that does not specialize, but an LGBT planner will have the best insights and expertise to fit your particular needs, perhaps even having a wider range of options for you to choose from so that you can be sure you find the perfect place to make your commitment official.
Although they're relatively few compared to the overwhelming number of bridal magazines out there, there are, in fact, a number of publications especially for LGBT couples. Dancing With Her and Men's Vows offer specialized insights for same-sex female and male couples, respectively, while more broadly queer publications like Equally Wed and Gay Weddings & Marriage Magazine offer even further insights. These magazines can give you incredible advice and options for your venue and other aspects of your big day, and additional insights into thoughts on married life, new in-laws, and everything in between.
Have a destination wedding.
If you're not happy with your local options, you can plan a destination wedding. You can use sites like GayDestinationWeddings to find ideal locations to travel abroad, which could also help you find the top LGBT-friendly honeymoon destinations. Planning a destination wedding can help you take hold of your wedding planning, and open up a whole world of possibilities in which to find the perfect venue for you. Whether you're traveling to the next state over or across the world, making the decision to travel allows you to explore a lot of new possibilities for your wedding.
Keep it simple.
Not everyone wants a traditional or extravagant wedding. The local courthouse or your own backyard are great alternatives for many couples who don't want to go through the hassle of finding (and paying for) LGBT-friendly wedding venues. At intimate weddings of this kind, it's easy to ensure that you're surrounded by only people who truly love and support you, and who will follow acceptable etiquette for attending a same sex wedding. Being an LGBT couple should never be a hindrance to pulling off your dream wedding, but if a small, personal wedding is the ideal option for you, it's guaranteed to be as LGBT-friendly as you are.