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The first same-sex wedding performed at W Retreat and Spa, Vieques Island
Same-sex marriage rights are being honored more and more across the country and now Puerto Rico's The W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Islandhas become the first hotel to exclusively partner with an LGBT wedding planner.
The resort has joined with Bernadette Coveney Smith and her customized “14 Stories Wedding Day” business to offer same-sex couples an opportunity to exchange vows on Vieques.
Coveney Smith's 14 Stories is said to be the first business in the U.S. to specialize in planning legal gay and lesbian weddings.
Couples who host their nuptials at the W's deluxe hotel can expect the following:
· A legal marriage ceremony performed in NYC or Boston
· 45 off-site planning hours
· One pre-wedding tasting and planning on Vieques Island with Coveney Smith and the W's culinary team
· Coveney Smith’s attendance fee to personally oversee the Vieques ceremony and rehearsal
· Post-marriage resources specializing in the LGBT community
· A personalized website for guests to book hotel rooms, view photos, learn about wedding festivities and the couple’s complimentary registry
· A donation to a marriage equality charity on the couple’s first anniversary
· 12,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points which can be redeemed towards a free night at W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island and other onsite options.
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Feeling welcome and comfortable has been a work-in-progress over the past decade for LGBT travelers, and while some places certainly still have some work to do (cough Jamaica cough), we are finally living in a world where, for the most part, traveling as a same-sex couple no longer has to be an undercover operation.
And things are getting better on the homefront as well. The Federal Government has some catching up to do, but twelve states have now legalized same-sex marriage, and several others have at least allowed civil unions. With more gay couples deciding to get married and an increased comfort level in terms of "out" travel, this means big things for where the wedding and hotel industries meetit means big things for same-sex destination weddings.
A myriad of obstacles have plagued LGBT travelers over the past decades, situations on the road when things didn’t feel quite right. We’re talking awkward moments at check in when same-sex couples ask for one bed, weird looks after romantic embraces – incidents that have made travel discouraging at times for the nomadic souls of LGBT travelers.
You can find horror stories around every corner, but we’re pretty sure you aren’t going to hear many complaints involving a stay at a Hyatt. For the ninth consecutive year, the hotel chain was honored for its LGBT love, earning a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index and named one of the best places to work for LGBT equal opportunity by the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.
Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, parity of health care benefits for domestic partners, diversity training, internal resources for LGBT workers, and external support for the LGBT community were all areas in which Hyatt received a 100% rating.