Gay Marriage is Legal! Top Destination Wedding Spots for Same-Sex Couples

With more countries recognizing same-sex weddings, we look at the best places for same-sex couples to tie the knot. (Photo: iStock)

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution provide same-sex couples with the right to marry.

The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that resulted in a historic victory for the gay rights movement. From now on, same-sex marriage will no longer be up for debate —it’s now legal in all 50 states.

WATCH: Philadelphia Congratulates America on Marriage Equality

The United States is the 21st country in the world to allow same-sex marriage in every jurisdiction. In May, Ireland made history by becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote, giving gay people the right to marry once the law is written into the legislature in the next couple of months.

Same-sex couples can now be legally married or have a commitment ceremony in an incredible variety of spectacular locations all over the globe — from the world’s most beautiful beaches to the side of a volcano to a game reserve surrounded by wild animals.

Here are Yahoo Travel’s recommendations for some of the best wedding destinations for same-sex couples.


Rolling green hills + castles = unbeatable wedding location. (Photo: Thinkstock)

From July 2015, (when the legislation is due to be passed into law) gay couples will be able to wed in this beautifully green and culturally rich country. With an incredible selection of castles, country house hotels, and historic properties, there will be no shortage of venue options. Vendors are already lining up offerings targeted at the LGBT community.

The one snag in planning an Irish wedding is that both partners must spend at least 15 days in the country before getting a marriage license. You also have to notify the local government of your intent to marry there several months in advance. This is great if you are taking some time to plan your nuptials, but not so great if you want to elope tomorrow.


Dance the tango and chow down on amazing steak in vibrant Buenos Aires. (Photo: Mikel/Flickr)

This progressive South American country was the first in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2010. The country’s colorful capital, Buenos Aires, is the unofficial gay capital of the continent and is packed with gay-friendly hotels, bars, cafés, and guesthouses. The city is incredibly vibrant and sexy — it’s the home of the tango — and is fabulous for foodies, with culinary influences from India, France, Vietnam, Lebanon, Thailand, Mexico, Peru, and many more countries.


Beaches and sunsets are a classic combination. (Photo: Glowimages RM/Alamy)

Why not head to paradise without a passport? Hawaii legalized same-sex marriage in December 2013, and since then, the string of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean has become one of the most popular wedding destinations for gay couples. It is easy to see why. Impeccable white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, active volcanoes, tropical rainforests, diverse food offerings, and a laid-back vibe are just a handful of the reasons Hawaii makes a perfect choice for a destination wedding. Maui and Oahu are both popular hubs for the LGBT community, with tons of resorts, bars, beaches, and B&Bs catering to gay visitors.

South Africa

Stunning landscapes and amazing wildlife make for a dreamy wedding. (Photo: iStock)

Still the only country in Africa to have legalized same-sex marriage, South Africa was also the first country in the world to safeguard sexual orientation as a human right in its constitution back in 1994. Then, in November 2004, a law passed allowing same-sex couples to legally marry. Home to some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet — zebras, hippos, lions, buffalo, dolphins, sharks, and more — and the oldest wine industry outside of Europe, South Africa’s rich culture and stunning geography make it the perfect wedding destination. And why not stay for a safari and wine-tasting honeymoon?

Related: What It’s Really Like to Be a Gay Traveler in Jamaica


Sunset weddings are so passé; aurora weddings are where it’s at. (Photo: Getty Images)

The magical island of Iceland, located in the Northern Atlantic Ocean and on the edge of the Arctic Circle, legalized same-sex marriage in June 2010. Shortly after, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir — the world’s first openly gay head of state — married her longtime partner, putting Iceland on the map as a favorite destination for the LGBT community. With natural hot springs, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, spectacular aurora borealis viewing, and some of the world’s best stargazing, the main problem here is choosing which of the incredible natural wonders would make the best wedding backdrop.

Related: 8 Swoon-Worthy Wedding Destinations


Overwater bungalows have “honeymoon suite” written all over them. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Tahitian islands, part of French Polynesia, legalized same-sex unions in May 2013. The islands have a long history of embracing the LGBT community. Commonly known as “rae rae,” transvestites are well respected within the Polynesian community and are even regarded as gifted and divine. While nightlife on Tahiti is relatively relaxed and low-key, there are several small clubs and a handful of bustling bars, many with live music and even drag shows. The island itself is pure paradise. Most resorts consist of overwater bungalows and beachside villas with breathtaking scenery and fantastic food. It’s a truly romantic and luxurious location.

New Zealand

Mountains, farms, lakes, beaches, and adventure — New Zealand has it all. (Photo: Getty Images)

For the more adventurous brides-to-be and grooms-to-be, the islands of New Zealand offer an array of exhilarating activities and spectacular landscapes to explore. From bungee jumping, skydiving, skiing, whitewater rafting, and sailing to world-famous wineries, breathtaking mountain ranges, geysers, stunning beaches, and glacial lakes, there is almost too much to do and see while there. Legal since August 2013, same-sex marriage has become a big industry in the country, with dozens of couples choosing to marry during the world-famous Gay Ski Week (the Southern Hemisphere’s largest gay pride celebration).

Related: Have the Wedding of Your Dreams — No Husband Required


The picturesque coastal towns of Uruguay provide a perfect background for saying “I do.” (Photo: Thinkstock)

Uruguay followed the lead of its Latin American neighbors Argentina and Brazil by legalizing same-sex marriage in August 2013. This beautiful place was voted the most gay-friendly country in South America, and its capital city, Montevideo, launched a gay-friendly advertising campaign last year in hopes of attracting more LGBT visitors. The picturesque little port town boasts beautiful beaches, a vibrant restaurant and bar culture, and several small hotels exclusively for gay couples. Couples can say “I do” after a 10-day registration wait period, and there are dozens of day trips and activities just a short distance from the city.

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