8 Amazing Places To Get Married Around The World, No Matter Your Gender
With today's announcement that states can no longer ban same-sex couples from marrying, we all have marriage on our minds. And if you're looking to put a ring on it, there are some amazing venues worldwide that already host rocking same-sex marriages — and heterosexual marriages, too. All these places are in countries that recognize same-sex marriage, and even if you lack the bridezilla gene and would rather eat dog food than catch a bouquet, they'll make your eyes roll back in your head with their sheer awesomeness.
Destination weddings are becoming more popular with the comparative cheapness of air travel — but if you've become inspired and want to elope somewhere exotic, check out the hoops you have to jump through first. U.S. consulates don't actually perform wedding ceremonies; you'll have to be married by local authorities. Depending on where you plan to get married, the government may want an affidavit of your eligibility to marry, which can be obtained from some consulates. And you may need to be resident in the country for a certain period of time before you can be married there.
Got your Pinterest board armed and ready? This is going to be awesome – and most of these venues are also open for tourists too, so you can check them out even if you're happily single.
If you've always wanted to pretend you're royalty, you've got to do a castle – and do it properly, the European way. Castle Heeswijk in the Netherlands, south of the town of Hergenbosch, was built in the 11th century, and is every knight-related fantasy you've ever had come to life. Moats, turrets, manicured gardens, suits of armour — you'll feel almost irresponsibly regal. No cut-off-their-heads moments, please.
If you're both massive fans of comics, this is basically your Mecca. The Comics Art Museum includes a Smurf house, huge galleries of historical comic strips, and comic collectables from all over the world. And if you're particular fans of Herge, creator of Tintin, there's even a recreation of the lobby of Marlinspike Hall. Best wedding photo spot ever.
If you're beach bunnies but don't like the idea of a wedding on sand, check out the Convent of Blanes, outside Barcelona. The 16th-century convent is on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean, and spent most of its existence as a convent and monastery, until being sold off in 1845. Most weddings take place on the patios above the sea – but it's something of a hot spot for Spanish celebrity weddings, so book quickly.
This is one of the services offered by Danish Island Weddings, who specialize in weddings on the island of Aero – a sleepy place so renowned for its fuss-free, no-red-tape wedding ceremonies that other Europeans travel there to get hitched. A wedding in a tiny biplane has to be on the bucket list for some pair of aeronautic elopers.
The Tasman Glacier, on South Island, is one of the most stunning parts of the New Zealand landscape. Forget hobbits and Orcs, this is the place in New Zealand to say your vows in an intimate ceremony. You can be helicoptered to a peak with a celebrant and declare your everlasting love on one of nature's wonders. There is nothing that isn't awesome about that idea.
You're not allowed to get married within the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre itself — but for Shakespeare buffs, the Swan, a restaurant in the Globe's complex, is just as good (particularly for the photo ops). It looks out onto the Thames, which is thankfully a bit cleaner than it was in Shakespeare's day. Just be prepared for lots of "let me not to the marriage of true minds/admit impediments" references.
7. Iguassu Falls, Brazil
Being married under a waterfall — or at least while looking at one, from a safe distance — seems like the kind of spectacle that would make wedding photographers foam at the mouth. If you'd like to foam-up your wedding photographer, consider getting hitched at the Iguassu Falls in Iguassu National Park. They are a pretty stunning backdrop, and the Belmond Hotel is smack bang in the center of the UNESCO-protected parkland beside the falls. Check out details here.
A loophole in the law allows same-sex couples to marry in the region of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and it's hardly sore on the eyes. One of the most awesome places in the area, though, has to be Xcaret Park, a privately owned eco-archaeological park with amazing natural pools. Bonus: there are beautiful archaeological ruins that can also serve a civil ceremony site (which is usually not an option at Mayan ruins in Mexico).
Images: Leah Flores/Stocksy; NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images