Published on August 16th, 2015 | by Mark Chesnut
LGBT Destination Weddings: Top 3 Places in Brazil for Gay Weddings
While researching a feature about same-sex destination weddings and honeymoons — and while doing research for my upcoming presentation at LGBT Confex, Mexico’s largest gay business and travel expo, which takes place in Mérida in September — I had the pleasure to electronically meet Simone Tostes, a wedding planner based in Rio de Janeiro who also operates AOndeCasar.com, a website with information about destination weddings in Brazil.
Same-sex unions have been recognized in Brazil since 2004, and since 2013, same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide. Add to that the long-standing allure that Brazil has with travelers — Rio de Janeiro, after all, was one of the world’s first glamorous vacation destinations for globetrotters — and it’s easy to see why Brazil should be on the radar for LGBT couples looking to tie the knot or take a honeymoon.
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“It’s very possible to have gay marriages in various parts of Brazil,” Tostes said. “We have quality and service that is not found anywhere in the world.” And today, according to Tostes, more hotels, restaurants and venues are serving the LGBT wedding niche than ever before — making this a “good moment for the LGBT world. After years and years of economic barriers, we finally have big brands seeking this market. Tiffany & Co., Absolut Vodka, O Boticário cosmetics and other large [brands] are developing partnerships, commercial [endeavors], events and investments in the sector.”
To help you narrow down the choices for the best destination wedding options in this ever-popular South American nation, Tostes shared her own insider tips for the three top places in Brazil for same-sex couples to get married.
1. Rio de Janeiro
“Rio is undoubtedly the most gay friendly place in Brazil,” Tostes said. “We don’t have any place that excludes LGBT couples in Rio. Several points, hotels and nightclubs accept and offer special packages for couples, such as The Week [a popular dance club], 00 [another stylish club] and even a ‘beach track’ at the famous Ipanema Beach in front of the Farme de Amoedo Street.” As for accommodations, “hotels such as the Fasano have incredible wedding packages and mini-weddings [for groups of] 30 people.” (You can find general information about travel to Rio de Janeiro on the city’s official tourism website.)
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2. Florianopolis, Santa Catarina
This “stronghold for LGBT lovers of electronic music, beach and sun” is ideal for same-sex weddings and honeymoons with a “food in the sand,” according to Tostes. “The buzz goes the whole year, especially during exciting periods of Carnaval and New Year’s, when the ‘homo-affective’ [vibe] dominates the region. The beaches of the seaside resorts are true havens and have exclusive clubs such as The Week and many [that are] gay friendly, [such] as Cafe de la Musique.” The venues and overall ambiance here is “compared to the Hamptons in New York and St. Barths.”
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3. São Paulo
“Just as in Rio, the upper-middle-class neighborhoods have several bars and five-star restaurants for the gay community, and many others [are] gay friendly,” said Tostes. “The city has several tours and programs for two, like spas, theaters and restaurants, nightclubs and parties every day.”