Baltimore Provides Free Planning Assistance For Same-Sex Weddings After Historic Maryland Vote

On Tuesday, when Maryland residents voted to uphold a law legalizing same-sex marriages, the city of Baltimore was ready. Just hours after the election results were in, Visit Baltimore unveiled a dedicated LGBT Wedding microsite, which provides resources for gay and lesbian couples looking to plan a wedding in the city.

“We encourage the LGBT community to visit Baltimore to celebrate their commitments to one another,” said Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, in a press release. “As a city, we have long been proud to support the rights and equality of our visitors, and the legalization of same-sex marriage is another important step forward.”

Not only is Visit Baltimore extending a warm welcome to same-sex couples planning weddings, receptions and honeymoons, it’s also offering free assistance on tasks like securing marriage licenses, finding caterers and booking rooms at TAG-approved hotels, which are recognized for their non-discriminatory policies toward gay couples. The site also offers up suggestions for unique wedding venues, like the National Aquarium, the Maryland Zoo and the American Visionary Art Museum, with its selection of eccentric “outsider” artwork.

LGBT couples are welcome to apply for a Maryland marriage license starting on January 1, 2013. The Baltimore City license fee is $85, and the fee to be married by a court clerk is $25.[Photo Credit: Visit Baltimore]

Four unusual ways to get married in Las Vegas

Valentine’s Day is here, meaning many people can’t help but have marriage on their mind. It’s estimated that over 300 wedding ceremonies happen per day in Las Vegas–America’s quintessential locale for love, lights, and luck–where there are plenty of options that go beyond run-of-the-mill ceremonies. Below are a few of the most unusual ways to tie the knot in Sin City.Pop-Up Chapel
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
If you find yourself seeking an impromptu wedding, check out the pop-up chapel at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (pictured above). Novelty rings are dispensed from a gumball machine, and a photobooth posts pictures to Facebook and Twitter. Prices start at $80 for the bare-bones “Hitched in a Hurry Package,” which includes the ceremony, champagne, two rings, a photo, and a gift bag.

Photo courtesy The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Marriage in the Sky
Las Vegas Hotel
Say your vows high in the sky as you take a 22-mile helicopter flight over the Las Vegas Strip. At a cost of $1,200, the soon-so-be-wed couple can take off with four guests. The trip starts as the sun sets, and includes pretty much everything: digital photos, a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere for the groom, transportation, and champagne. If a helicopter isn’t for you, there are also several companies doing hot air balloon wedding around Las Vegas.

Underwater Wedding
Silverton Casino
Dive right into married life at the Silverton Casino, where you can share vows inside a 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. More than stringrays, sharks, and more than 4,000 tropical fish will bear witness to the ceremony (plus anyone that just-so-happens to be passing by). The casino’s wedding package includes all the gear you’ll need, a photo package, and officiate service. Mermaids are available upon request.

Photo by mree / flickr.

The Little White Chapel Tunnel of Love
This drive-thru wedding chapel was conceived in 1991, when Charolette Richards–who had been in the wedding industry since the 1950’s–noticed a handicapped couple having difficulty getting out of their car and into a chapel. Today, The Little White Chapel maintains the classic “Tunnel of Love,” a 24-hour drive-up wedding window, allowing couples to get married in limos, on motorcycles, or in their cars. It’s unusual, but it’s also one of the most talked about ways to get married in Las Vegas: the drive-thru chapel has hosted wedding ceremonies and vow renewals for may celebrities, and has been featured on TV shows including Friends and The Today Show.

LGBT travel 2012: Gay marriage becomes legal in Cancun, Mexico

LGBT travelers can add Cancun, Mexico, to their must-visit destination list, as the city has recently legalized gay marriage. In fact, the first same-sex marriages will be taking place this month in the resort area.

While same-sex marriage has been legal in Mexico City since 2009, a recently discovered gap in the Civil Code, which only talks about “people interested in getting married” without specifying gender, has helped to legalize gay marriage in the Quintana Roo area for 2012.

The Mexican Caribbean is already a popular travel destination for the LGBT community, with numerous gay-friendly and focused bars and clubs, hotels, tours and beaches, and the desire for gay weddings in the area has been high. With this new development, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is teaming up with Colectivo Diversidad, Gay Tours Mexico, and Fusion G to work out deals with hotels and airlines so that gay marriage ceremonies can take place all over the region.

From the looks of things, Quintana Roo will be seeing a surge in LGBT tourism and destination weddings in the new year.

Daily Pampering: Renew your vows in Fiji this year

Sometimes, it’s worth celebrating the best day of your life as though it were the first time.

Spend five nights in absolute luxury, and you’ll pick up another two! Turtle Island in Fiji is doing the unthinkable. The incredibly upscale resort has put together a package that can’t be topped. In addition to getting two free nights when you book five, you’ll spend your stay in a two-room beachfront “bure,” have all meals covered – including picnic lunches packed for you to munch on the beach – and enjoy all the wine and alcoholic beverages you like. A “bure mama” will attend to all your needs, and activities such as SCUBA diving and sport fishing are included in the price.

And the revisited nuptials?

Turtle Island will set you up with a private vow renewal ceremony on the beach, complete with flowers, champagne and traditional Fijian garb. This will make the photos spectacular, and the resort will provide you with an album to keep the memory with you forever.

The package is good through the end of the year and starts at $2,499 a night. But, that’s the price you pay for 14 private beaches, amazing culinary creations and lomi-lomi massages, right?

Rates start at $2,499 per night, per couple. Offer not available during certain blackout dates and scheduled family times. Restrictions may apply. Offer is good now through December 31, 2010.

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