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Aruba’s Bucuti Beach Resort Specializes in Same-Sex Marriage

By Lavender May 22, 2009

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The recent Iowa Supreme Court decision has made it possible for thousands of Minnesota and Midwestern GLBT couples to make the short trip to the Corn State to have their relationships legalized and certified. In fact, busloads of Minnesota couples already have made the trip, with more likely to follow.

For many Minnesota couples, the opportunity to be married so close to home is a dream come true. But for others, visions of a romantic and extravagant wedding ceremony, outside of Iowa, still have a strong hold. For these folks, Lavender has a solution: the Caribbean island of Aruba.

Board one of the daily flights from Minneapolis to Miami; hop, skip, and jump to Aruba; and presto, you’ve arrived on the doorstep of your dream wedding. While the Caribbean has not been known for being excessively gay-friendly, Aruba—an autonomous region of the liberal-leaning Kingdom of The Netherlands—is. One resort in particular, the Bucuti Beach Resort, has been committed to serving gay couples for more than 20 years.

“Many committed GLBT couples enjoy coming to Bucuti, because the resort caters specifically to couples,” according to Susan Biemans, owner/director of sales and marketing for the resort. “Also, Bucuti’s staff attends regular diversity and sensitivity training, so they are more aware of the needs of GLBT guests. Many of the GLBT couples who have vacationed at Bucuti have passionately praised the resort.”

Guests come to Aruba because so few islands in the Caribbean offer same-sex marriage ceremonies, which Bucuti specializes in for GLBT couples.

“Bucuti Beach Resort is ideal for same-sex couples who want a romantic beach vacation,” Biemans says. “For committed couples who want to exchange vows, Bucuti specializes in oceanfront wedding ceremonies. Bucuti’s full-time wedding planner is able to arrange same-sex ceremonies specific to the couples’ needs.”

While Biemans does not have exact figures on how many same-sex couples stay at Bucuti, she relates the story of a same-sex couple living outside Washington, DC, who regularly vacationed at the resort. They eventually became engaged, got married, and had their honeymoon at the resort.

Biemans points out that it’s easy for couples to be involved throughout their wedding planning process via e-mail, phone calls, or online chatting.

As Bucuti is one of the greenest resorts in the Caribbean, Biemans notes that many couples choose to get married on its beaches.

Beachfront ceremony packages range from a little more than $600 for a couples-only civil ceremony to more than $3,300 for the Diamond Wedding package, which includes a DJ, photographer, videographer, two-tier wedding cake, floral arrangements, and more. In addition, the setup is handled entirely by the resort’s staff, meaning the couple can remain as stress-free as possible throughout the process.

“Bucuti creates a romantic ambience for all couples, and has supported the GLBT community for more than 20 years,” Biemans remarks. “The resort feels all couples should have a romantic haven in the Caribbean, and becoming a TAG [Travel Alternatives Group]-approved accommodation is another step in the right direction to be inclusive of all couples.”

The resort, which boasts 90 percent year-round occupancy, is outside the hurricane belt, so travelers do not have to worry about catastrophic storms interrupting or ruining their vacation or wedding plans.

Rates start as low as $250 per couple through December 22, while high-season winter rates begin at $382.

To learn more about Bucuti Beach Resort, visit www.bucuti.com. If you are a soon-to-be guest, check out www.facebook.com/pages/Eagle-Beach-Aruba/Bucuti-Beach-Resort/33436324298? v=wall&viewas=621550080 or twitter.com/Bucuti.

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