The state of Washington legalized same-sex marriage in 2012. Seattle’s mayor, Ed Murray, is openly gay and his husband, first gentleman, Michael Shiosaki, were one of the first couples to take advantage of that new law. Now, Seattle has decided to offer a sweepstakes that will promote same-sex marriage. According to Visit Seattle, four lucky nontraditional couples will win the domestic destination wedding of their dreams.
Visit Seattle is a non-profit marketing organization. They launched their Marry Me in Seattle Sweepstakes on Tuesday. The idea is to promote Seattle as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) wedding destination, particularly for those who cannot legally get hitched in their home states. On the ads for the contest, it is proudly announced, “If you can’t get married in your city, we want you to be married in ours.” The vice president of marketing at Visit Seattle, Ali Daniels, said that they are eager to celebrate the fact that same-sex marriage is something that the city can offer.
The sweepstakes includes airfare, four nights in a hotel, wedding ceremony, catering, professional photographer and a DJ. The first wedding, slated to take place September 3, will be officiated by the Mayor himself. Entry to the sweepstakes begins July 1 at the official website. September through December, one couple will be wed on the first “Wed”nesday of each month. There are over 20 local companies involved in this exciting contest which are donating either goods or services. Alaska Airlines, SkyCity Restaurant and Chateau Ste. Michelle are a few of the notables.
The first wedding winners will get to invite 50 guests to their celebration. The three other weddings will be smaller with less than 30 guests invited. Each couple will have the opportunity to collaborate with Copacino + Fujikado, a local advertising agency. This is where they can personalize their ceremonies and receptions with their choice of flowers, colors and music. Daniels said that they really want the winners to feel as though they are free to have the weddings that they truly desire.
The first winning couple’s four night hotel stay will be at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel. The guests will be offered discounts, complimentary appetizers and a celebratory Champagne toast. Rene Neidhart, the hotel’s general manager, said that they have had the honor of hosting 10 same-sex weddings so far this year. She also pointed out that when that number is multiplied by all the hotels that have the capacity to host weddings in Seattle, it represents a lot of business for the city.
According to statistics from the state Department of Health, 17 percent of all marriages, since marriage equality passed in Washington, were same-sex unions. In about 25 percent of those marriages, both partners lived in other states, primarily California, Oregon and Texas. The sweepstakes is not only a fun way to celebrate the advent of marriage equality, it is also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the tremendous value of same-sex marriage and the bounty of beautiful offerings from the city of Seattle.
By Stacy Lamy