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Ten Places for Gay-Friendly Weddings in New York

New York Gay Marriage Locations

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Gays and lesbians can now marry in New York State beginning July 25, 2011.

The New York State Department of Health's website provides all you need to know about applying for a marriage license in the state, but here are the basics:

Couples must apply in person for a marriage license. The application must be signed by both parties in the presence of the town or city clerk. Also, there is a waiting period of exactly 24-hours from the time your marriage license is issued until you can actually marry. It costs $40 outside New York City to obtain a marriage license, while in the Big Apple the fee is $35.

1. Hudson Valley Ceremonies & Events

The Catskills
© Kim Carson/Getty Images

Hudson Valley Ceremonies & Events, based in Rhinebeck, is organizing a Same Sex Wedding Elopement Event for July 26 27 at various sites along the Hudson River including the Rhinecliff Waterfront, the Ashokan Reservoir and the Beacon Waterfront. For more information and to participate in this momentous event in the Catskill Mountains.

2. The Empire State Building

Empire State Building
© David Lat
The Empire State Building, which immediately turned rainbow colored when the New York State Marriage Equality Act passed the New York legislature, has a contest going to hold your nuptials at this New York landmark on Valentine’s Day 2012. Applicants are asked to submit their personal love stories, photos and an essay about why they want to have their ceremony at the Empire State Building. Winners will be selected based on the originality and creativity of their submissions, as well as their emotional connections the world-famous building.

3. Fire Island

Fire Island Celebrates NY Marriage
© Brandon Sweet
Fire Island is Gay, Gay, Gay. Like, totally G-A-Y! Holding your ceremony on the beach at Cherry Grove or The Pines might just be the Ultimate Gay Wedding Experience. Talk with Lisa Jaffe, the only wedding planner on Fire Island, to work out all the deets.

4. Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz

Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz
Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz (the uber-progressive village where in 2004 Mayor Jason West married lesbian and gay couples at City Hall before the proceedings were halted by a state court restraining order) is a one-stop destination for a sublime wedding, fancy reception and adventurous honeymoon. A 266-room Victorian castle with 2,200 acres of scenic wilderness and recreation, award-winning gardens, a forest and a lake, Mohonk translates as “lake in the sky”. FYI, West is once again mayor of the upstate village where lesbian and gay couples are happily welcomed.

5. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls New York
©jnystrom
Get hitched in Niagara Falls, the uncontested “Honeymoon Capital of the World”. Hold your ceremony in Niagara Falls State Park with the historic, crashing waterfall as backdrop. At The Falls Wedding Chapel. you’ll get one of a group of legally ordained Christian ministers who are keen to serve the state’s lesbian and gay community at non-denominational Christian wedding ceremonies. Additionally, Niagara Falls Tourism is planning the first official group wedding ceremony in Niagara Falls State Park for Monday July 25th. The group ceremony will be a non-denominational affair with a rabbi, a Unitarian pastor, a minister from the Niagara United Church of Christ and representatives from the city of Niagara Falls.

6. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
© Mario Tama/Getty Images
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a lovely sanctuary of trees, flowers, and pastoral scenes. There are various majestic settings on the grounds of this heavenly haven in which to hold your wedding, including the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the Cranford Rose Garden, and the Osborne Garden.

7. Seneca Falls Hotel Clarence

Seneca Sunset
Courtesy of Seneca County Tourism
Seneca Falls, the birthplace of women’s rights in the U.S., boasts the gay-friendly wedding venue Hotel Clarence . The recently renovated hotel (formerly The Gould) is named after the angel in Frank Capra’s iconic movie “It's A Wonderful Life.” Grab your own angel and celebrate all things female at the nearby Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Hotel Clarence is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region and is accessible from the New York State Thruway between Rochester and Syracuse.

8. The Loeb Boathouse at Central Park

Central Park Boathouse
© Buyenlarge/Getty Images
The Loeb Boathouse at Central Park is an extremely classy venue overlooking Central Park Lake where you can rent rowboats and even take a ride in an authentic Venetian gondola. You can dance on the terrace as the sun (or moon) reflects off the water and spread out into the adjacent English Garden for a sophisticated reception. This beautiful oasis is surrounded by the towering skyscrapers comprising the Manhattan skyline.

9. Shadow Lawn in High Falls

High Falls
© Stockbyte
Shadow Lawn in High Falls is a peaceful haven with loads of charm. Located on the crest of a waterfall, Shadow Lawn is thoroughly enchanting. Its 18th century stone house and 19th century barn juxtapose the elegant and sophisticated with the earthy and practical. The babbling brook and supremely manicured lawns contribute to a perfect setting for your special day.

10. Highlands Castle in Lake George

Highlands Castle, Lake George, NY
Highlands Castle is a privately owned residence boasting panoramic views of magical Lake George and the awe-inspiring Adirondack Mountains in an exclusive location. Hold your own storybook wedding at this magnificent mountaintop spot. Highlands Castle offers an elegant wedding/honeymoon package for both weekdays and weekends.
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