How to find a venue for your polyamorous wedding

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13290172393 e22803ea5d c alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photo by Carla Ten Eyck Photography

I'm in a polyamorous relationship with another man and a woman and we had decided to have a non-legally binding ceremony. We decided on a Carnival Cruise ceremony followed by a cruise. New Orleans port is same-sex friendly, and they offer ceremonial services that are not legally binding. We can also bring our own officiant. I thought they'd be poly-friendly, but I was told that since we are polyamorous, they could not accommodate us. Okay, fine. I told them we would just have a same-sex ceremony with my girlfriend and I instead, and my boyfriend and I can have a private ceremony separately. Even then, they couldn't accommodate us.

It's frustrating. Is there any place to find polyam friendly venues for ceremonies? I'm a bit heartbroken atm and am worried we won't be able to have any ceremony at all.

Weddings don't all look alike, as we know — and polyamorous ceremonies can be even more varied! Here are a few of the strucutres of the real-life polyam weddings we've featured in our archives since 2008:

  • Three (or more) single individuals may want to have a ceremony combining their lives into one, as you do.
  • Two single people may choose to marry each other, skipping the “forsaking all others” trappings.
  • A married couple may want to bring another couple or another person into their family with a ceremony.
  • One member of a committed, unmarried couple may marry a third member of the throuple.
  • One member of a married couple may want to have a handfasting ceremony with another person, who will join the original couple.

Selecting a venue for your polyam wedding may depend on how many people are involved in the ceremony, and what kind of ceremony it is… But this much is clear: you should be able to have your ceremony. A survey of polyamorous individuals found that 60% would want to marry multiple people if polyamorous marriages were legal. A Utah Senate committee recently approved a bill to decriminalize polygamy.

In the same way that non-legally binding LGBT weddings happened before marriage equality became legal, symbolic ceremonies give polyam folks a starting point, even when the laws may not quite be there.

Poly-friendly venues

Cruise ships may not welcome polyamorous weddings, but here are some other options that Offbeat Bride polyam folks have used in the past. (Click through the links to see the examples!)

  • Your home — backyard weddings are some of the sweetest weddings, right?
  • Someone else's home. Click through the link to see a special polyamorous elopement.
  • A brewery or other interesting eating or drinking place.
  • A city park — many parks have gazebos or other structures that can be rented for parties of any kind.
  • A garden at an estate or museum. Many public spaces will allow commitment ceremonies on their grounds.
  • City hall, the site of so many different weddings.
  • Your church or temple — they might surprise you.

How to start the conversation

Is your wedding venue open to polyamorous ceremonies? Ask ahead, and give them some time to figure it out. Think about it. Your prospective wedding venue is staffed with people who talk about rules and regulations all the time. They are confident that you can throw birdseed but not sequins, and that alcohol cannot be brought into the venue. They might have dozens of rules memorized, and they could spend a fair percentage of their time insisting on those rules.

Chances are they've never thought about a throuple or a quad. In fact, it's very likely that all the rules they know and are called upon to defend have to do with the property, catering, and times of arrival and departure. Maybe there are a few things about safety on the list. Nothing to do with brides and grooms.

So they may respond with firmness — maybe a firm no, since that's how rules often sound — even if they don't know any rules on the subject.

10394521233 063973b651 b alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photos by KevCool Photography

On the other side, you probably think it's none of their damn business, and you might not have been planning to mention this special feature of your wedding.

This is not a conversation you want to have as you set up your candy buffet. Consider saying, “We know this is unusual, and we'd like you to check with your manager before we discuss this.”

If you still hear a no, call the next venue on your list. There are plenty of fish in the sea.

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