The fight for marriage equality remains an ongoing battle in states across the country, but some cities are quick to embrace progress and help the rest of the country move forward. For this study, the team at Shane Co. will look at 50 of the most populated cities across the U.S. to find the best destinations for LGBTQ+ weddings in the country.
The ranking factors we will use in the study include the percentage of adults who are LGBTQ+ in a city, the number of LGBTQ+-owned wedding vendors per every 200,000 people, state non-discrimination laws, and the percentage of workforce members that identify as LGBTQ+. We will also look into the smaller things every wedding needs to succeed, like the number of sunny days, average rainfall in inches, and airfare costs. Read on to see what we found.
The 15 Best Destinations in the U.S. for LGBTQ+ Weddings
Buffalo, New York, comes in first as the best LGBTQ+ wedding destination in the U.S.! Buffalo earns the title for best LGBTQ+ wedding destination due to its high number of LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations per capita and LGBTQ+-owned wedding vendors per 200,000 people, as well as the amount of freedoms for LGBTQ+ individuals based on the percent of non-discrimination and anti-hate crime laws passed there. When it comes to blazing new paths toward equality, Buffalo has made great strides in becoming a safe and welcoming space for all. Buffalo has many resources available to protect LGBTQ+ persons and help them build a stronger community.
For those looking for a sunny wedding down south as chilly weather rolls in, Orlando, Florida, might be the place for you. Orlando comes in third place on our list because of its high marks across the board. Some of this famed Florida city’s highlights include 233 days a year on average of sunshine and a high number of LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations. Aside from Disney World, Orlando has many notable LGBTQ+-friendly attractions to explore with your loved ones.
Washington, DC, is arguably the best city for LGBTQ+ weddings when it comes to representation. Nearly 10% of the Capitol City’s adult population identifies as LGBTQ+, higher than any other city on our list! This is also reflected in the makeup of Washington’s workforce; a solid 11% of persons employed in DC identify as LGBTQ+.
U.S. Cities with the Most LGBTQ+-Owned Wedding Vendors
Whether you’re an LGTBQ+ individual or looking for businesses to support, we want to shout out the cities with the most LGBTQ+-owned wedding vendors! San Jose, California, comes in first with almost seven vendors per every 200,000 residents. For second place, we shoot to the complete opposite side of the country and land in Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh leads the South with 6.49 vendors per every 200,000 residents.
If you’re venturing out to sunny California to tie the knot and need to hire an experienced wedding photographer, Brittani Medeiros may be the right woman for the job. Medeiros captures weddings and intimate moments around San Jose and beyond. Couples looking to create authentic memories through timeless photos should look no further.
Couples looking for a forward-thinking wedding-planning service in the City of Oaks should consider Everything Forward Designs. Everything Forward Designs was founded in 2021 by owner Devon Burnfield in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since then, Devon and his team constantly look for ways to create unique moments for couples that leave a lasting impression for years to come.
The fight for marriage equality is an ongoing cause in different parts of the U.S. There are cities in every corner of the country that are paving the way for future generations to be able to marry whomever they want. If you’re planning a destination wedding or just looking for an LGBTQ+-friendly service that aligns with your values for that special day, we hope this study was able to help you.
At Shane Co., we believe love comes in all shapes and sizes, and everyone should be allowed to marry whomever they fall in love with. We are proud to provide couples of all backgrounds with high-quality engagement rings and wedding bands as symbols of these everlasting commitments.
To find out the best cities for LGBTQ+ weddings, we began with a list of 50 of the largest cities in the U.S. We collected data on 12 factors that pertain to or impact LGBTQ+ weddings and marriages. We assigned cities with a score of 0 to 5 for each factor, with a score of 5 representing the most favorable conditions. We determined each city’s total score from the total of its individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their impact on LGBTQ+ weddings and marriages. Individual factor scores were then added together to give each city a final score from 0 to 100. Higher scores indicated cities that are better for LGBTQ+ weddings. Details on our ranking factors can be found below.
|Number of LGBTQ+-Friendly Accommodations per 100K People||3.00||MisterB&B|
|Number of LGBTQ+-Owned Vendors per 200K People||3.00||WeddingWire|
|Percent of Adults (18+) Who Are LGBTQ+||2.00||Move.org|
|Percent of Workforce That Is LGBTQ+||0.75||MAP|
|Percent of State Nondiscrimination Laws||1.50||MAP|
|Number of Hate Crime Laws by State||1.25||MAP|
|Ability for Transgender People to Correct Gender Marker on Identity Documents||1.00||MAP|
|The Most “Woke” States||2.00||ZIPPIA|
|Avg Cost of Wedding by State||2.50||ValuePenguin|
|Avg Airfare Cost into City||2.50||BTS|
|Days of Sunshine||0.25||BestPlaces|
|Rainfall in Inches||0.25||BestPlaces|