LGBTQ Planning Tips - Featured Image

Planning Tips for LGBTQ Couples

June 20, 2023
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Valorie Darling Photography

Bernadette Coveney Smith, wedding planner and LGBTQ wedding expert, weighed in on her top tips for pulling off the destination wedding of your dreams while hopefully avoiding any unnecessary complications.

Couple standing on the shore
(Standing on the shores in front of the 
Thompson Zihuatanejo, models Alex Watson and Laura Persons are stunning in gowns by Watters, hair and makeup by Nicole Samara Iyer of Samara Beauty, planning by Jaime Kostechko of Wild Heart Events and travel/production by Renée Strauss and Pamela Goldman of Wedaways. Image captured by the incomparable Valorie Darling.⁠)

Choose a Friendly Destination

The last thing you want on your wedding day is to experience discrimination, so start by choosing a destination known to be LGBTQ-friendly, a place like Mexico, the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao), the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico or one of the countries where same-sex marriage is legal, such as South Africa or Iceland!

Communicate Clearly

When you are booking your wedding venue, be sure to ask the sales manager if all of the staff, including banquet staff who will be with you on your wedding day, are LGBTQ-friendly.

Get The Right Vendors

You may want to bring fully vetted LGBTQ-friendly vendors such as photographers and officiants with you from the States so you don’t have to worry about finding those talents in your destination location. One great place to find vendors is

Help Out Your Guests

Take great care of your wedding guests! They are traveling to be with you and show their support, so make sure they have loads of things to do, have a welcome bag or basket, have airport transfers and otherwise feel well provided for during their stay.

Destination Weddings at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva

Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Destination Weddings
Black couple getting married in Jamaica
Jamaica Destination Weddings
Couple in Cancun doing a gazebo destination wedding
White couple getting married in Punta Cana, DR
destination wedding couple throwing rose petals in costa mujeres

Find a Vendor

Access our list of vendors based on your destination location.