New York City hotels offer same-sex wedding packages

NEW YORK CITY The state of New York legalized same-sex marriage last week, and several hotels have already begun promoting packages for gay and lesbian guests planning to tie the knot.

The Marriage Equality Act permits same-sex couples, even those who are not New York residents, to marry as of July 23.

NYC & Co., New York City’s official tourism agency, is developing a global marketing campaign called “NYC I Do” to promote the Big Apple as the premier gay wedding destination in the United States. A 2007 study by city officials estimated that same-sex marriage would add US$142 million on a net basis to the city’s economy during the first three years after the legislation was passed, most from the increased number of visitors who would travel either to get married or attend a wedding, Crain’s New York Business reports. The study estimated that more than 56,000 couples would travel to New York from out of state to marry there.

The “Right to Unite” package from W Hotels includes car service to and from City Hall, a Flip video camera to document the nuptials, champagne, a custom wedding cake, suit press and shoe shine or a dress steaming, and, of course, a suite at one of the W Hotels in New York City. For couples desiring something more lavish, same-sex weddings held this year at W New York or W Union Square will include two free nights to honeymoon at W Retreat & Spa Vieques, Puerto Rico. 

Le Parker Meridien New York is offering a pair of packages. The “Love Has No Boundaries” package includes an officiant and ceremony room, a one-hour cocktail reception with butler-passed hors d’oeuvres, a five-hour sit-down dinner, champagne toast, open bar and wedding cake, presidential suite, personalized monogram robes emblazoned with “Mr. and Mr.” or “Mrs. And Mrs.” The package costs US$25,000 for 100 people. Or, for US$125 per person, the “Born This Way” brunch package includesa 30-minute reception with butler-passed hors d’oeuvres; a 2.5-hour sit-down brunch, wedding cake, and a photo booth with costumes for take-away memorabilia.