By Justin Ocean
Not yer mamma's wedding cake
Here’s the tally: Seven states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage, with another 11 recognizing civil partnerships. Prop 18 has been declared unconstitutional, and a Supreme Court showdown seems likely. Progress is clear and the ultimate showdown in the wedding wars is on the horizon: planning the damn things! Especially when you're considering the destination sort.
Might we suggest a ceremony with a Velociraptor?
Like a fierce Candice Bergen (pardon, we might have just watched some bad Anne Hathaway on the plane), Susan Southerland of Just Marry! recently partnered with Universal Studios Orlando to offer weddings throughout the park and its hotel areas, customizing the resort’s properties to each couple’s idea of a dream wedding -- whatever it is. Jurassic Park. Here. We. Come!
“Some are at the beach area over at the Hard Rock Hotel with just 16 people, toes in the sand at sunrise,” she explains. Pick your perfection -- the Hard Rock, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel, or the bustling CityWalk, can swing from intimate affairs to elaborately formal panoramas with population of a small city and the wattage to match.
For the adventurous, however, and depending on the limitlessness of a budget, practically all 125 acres of the park is up for grabs, especially after-hours. Soundstage 33, Marvel, the Jurassic Park Discovery Center at Islands of Adventure, and the Garden of Allah can all be the backdrop for your I-dos. Recounts Southerland, “We've even done them at one of the Halloween Horror Nights Haunt Houses!”
As one of the top destination wedding planners in the country, and having caught the eye of TLC and the Style Network for her nuptial extravaganzas, Southerland’s weddings (or in the case of Florida laws, a Southerland commitment ceremony) are unique. “We are a one-stop-shop for everything the couple needs. From venues to décor, entertainment to meals, we help each couple put together a beautiful event.”
What’s off the table: Harry Potter and Hogwarts. Alas, Muggle 'Mos, but the Boy Who Lived is beyond even Southerland’s considerable reach. Also a no-go: Shrek officiating. (Sorry bear lovers!) Per resort policy, the people under the costumes are not allowed to talk (that nixes the ceremony) or be anywhere near alcohol (that nixes the reception). Meet-and-greets in all your wedding finery, however, are perfectly on the up-and-up.
Just stay away from the roller coaster. Too many connotations.
Visit JustMarry.com for more information.
-- DAVID PERRY