South Florida wedding destinations welcome changes to gay marriage laws

BY JONATHAN DAMATO

Now that same-sex married couples have the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts, how are some of south Florida’s wedding hotspots dealing with the change?

An informal survey of privately and city-owned wedding venues in the Indian River and Brevard counties found that not one establishment would refuse customers based on their sexual orientation.

Same-sex marriage became legal after a series of court challenges. On Aug 24, Florida’s ban on same sex marriage was declared unconstitutional by a U.S. district court. The order was stayed temporarily, with the Supreme Court denying further extensions on Dec. 19. On Jan. 6, same-sex couples could begin receiving wedding licenses in Florida.

A number of well-known venues are showing interest in hosting same-sex marriage ceremonies: The Jacaranda Country Club in Plantation, The Club at Pointe West, and Fellowship Hall, both in Vero Beach.

An executive with the city-owned Vero Beach Heritage Center said the hall was available for rent for any and all events, and always will be. The catering kitchen features refrigerators with freezers, warming ovens, and spacious counters. The room can accommodate up to 180 guests at tables or up to 220 in theater-style seating.

pointe west placeholderSandi Young, director of catering and banquet sales at Pointe West, Vero Beach, said that as the nation’s cultural definition of what a married couple is evolves, so must the massive business that is the wedding industry.

“I do a lot of bridal shows,” Young said. “I want to incorporate that advertising into my bridal show, let people know that we are here, we help.

“I’ve got some great ideas for them, and I just want to make sure that couples know that we are definitely welcoming them.”

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