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With gay marriage now legal in 36 states plus the District of Columbia, same-sex couples can get hitched from north to south and east to west. TPG Contributor Drew Limsky leads you down the aisle to some of the best resorts and hotels for getting your gay (or straight, should you be so inclined) wedding party on.
Set atop a 150-foot-tall cliff in Orange County, California, this breathtaking coastal resort offers several grassy spots with unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. These ideal outdoor-ceremony settings come in small, medium and large: the Monarch Bay Sunset Terrace accommodates 74 guests; the Pacific Promenade Lawn can hold 275; and the expansive Gazebo Lawn seats 500. Indoors, the property’s five reception venues range from traditional to lavish; the largest, the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, glitters with Bohemian crystal chandeliers. Menu options are nearly endless—but no one does a chilled raw bar of oysters, baby lobster tails and tuna shooters like the Ritz.
Room rates at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel start at 60,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards, 50,000 Marriott Rewards, or roughly $479 per night. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card can not only help you bank Ritz-Carlton Rewards points quickly, but also earns you automatic Gold status. (For more on this card and the Marriott/Ritz-Carlton redemption affiliation, check out this post.)
The guest rooms and vast pool at this legendary, clifftop Kauai resort (where The Points Guy has stayed twice) afford views of distant waterfalls flowing down Makana Mountain, but the best spot for your wedding party to enjoy this coveted vista is the Bay Terrace. Much of the Hanalei Bay shoreline is also available for your ceremony, including the private Leolani cove, which is perfect for 30 barefoot guests. Various indoor function rooms can accommodate intimate gatherings, and the Astor Ballroom—which, when fully occupied, can hold 500 guests—can be divided into quarters. Another great reason to marry at this Hawaiian resort? You’re already at a honeymoon destination.
The St. Regis Princeville is Starwood Category 7 property, and nightly room rates start at 30,000 Starpoints or about $500. If you want a pre-wedding jump towards SPG Platinum status, consider signing up for the SPG Amex and/or the SPG Business Amex, each of which give you two stays and five nights of elite credit annually.
Marriott has long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community, and if you click on the site for the Essex House (or any of the brand’s other New York hotels), a special LGBT wedding page makes that fact abundantly clear. The Essex House, right on Central Park South, is one of the city’s iconic hotels, and would make a memorable Big Apple wedding for anyone. The Beaux Arts-style Grand Salon seats 550 guests, and it’s a dream venue, with a trompe l’oeil ceiling and gilded moldings.
Through a special promotion, couples who get married at the Essex House in 2015 can earn triple Marriott Rewards points. At this Category 9 property, room rates start at 45,000 points or $329 per night, but to speed up a pre-wedding slide into the perks of Marriott elite status, consider holding the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa, its business version, or the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa.
Long recognized as one of Chicago’s premier hotels—and part of the LGBT-friendly Hyatt brand—this exclusive hi-rise offers the Grand Salon Ballroom for a sit-down dinner and dancing (for up to 250 guests) as well as the Grand Foyer for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Couples with smaller parties will want to look to the Drawing Room, which accommodates 30 to 50 guests. The hotel’s NoMI restaurant is revered, so the chance to have the reception menu overseen by NoMI’s executive chef is a major plus; the staff specializes in elaborate seasonal desserts.
Room rates at this Category 6 property start at $505 per night or 25,000 Gold Passport points. You could get a leg up on Hyatt Gold Passport elite status with the Chase Hyatt Visa, but just by booking your wedding at the Park Hyatt Chicago (or any Hyatt property, for that matter), you’ll earn bonus points toward free nights; for instance, a $10,000 spend will earn you 60,000 bonus points, redeemable for a minimum of two nights at any Hyatt.
This chic Brickell hotel is a favorite of the young, affluent, and creative. Its Kelly Wearstler design is part of the entertainment, from the ample chocolate-and-ivory Great Room to smaller, less conventional venues like the fanciful Fireplace Terrace (pictured above) with its gorgeously oversized fireplace. FIFTY, an indoor/outdoor space on the hotel’s 50th floor, boasts the eye candy of a private pool and city skyline views. (The property offers base wedding packages for 120 guests and up.) The hotel’s 300-foot-long infinity pool seems to hang in a skyscraper forest, so try to leave time for relaxation laps before the big day.
Before you book a block of rooms here, keep in mind that you can’t redeem points to stay at the Viceroy Miami—where room rates start at $309 per night—but for each paid, qualifying stay at this property (or any of the ten other Viceroys), you can pick up 500 Virgin America Elevate points, which TPG values between 1.5 and 2.3 cents per point.
This sprawling Waldorf Astoria resort features the bold, Art Deco aesthetic of Frank Lloyd Wright—and a swimming pool favored by Marilyn Monroe. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding here, be mindful that in summer, the Phoenix heat can be punishing; between September and May, it’s best to choose the grand Squaw Peak Terrace or the Paradise Garden. The Aztec Room, which has a vintage gold-leaf ceiling and two fireplaces, accommodates parties of up to 150 guests, but you could pull out all the stops for 400 revelers in the Grand Ballroom, pictured above.
Room rates at this Hilton HHonors Category 8 property start at $329 or 60,000 points per night. For quick pre-nuptial routes to Hilton elite status, know that Silver status is an automatic benefit of the Hilton HHonors American Express and Citi Hilton Visa Signature cards, and Gold status comes automatically with the Citi Hilton Reserve Visa and Hilton Surpass American Express; charge $40,000 (e.g., wedding and honeymoon costs) to either of the latter two cards in a calendar year, and you’ll be upgraded to Diamond—a fitting symbol for a lasting union.
Planning a gay or straight wedding this year—or been to a great one lately? Please share with us in the comments below.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||16.24%-23.24% Variable||Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95||0%||Excellent Credit|