Four nontraditional couples looking to get legally hitched could win their own destination wedding in Seattle — for free.
Visit Seattle, the city’s nonprofit marketing organization, launched the Marry Me in Seattle sweepstakes Tuesday to promote Seattle as an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning) wedding destination.
Out-of-state LGBTQ couples can enter to win free flights, a four-night hotel stay, a wedding ceremony with catering, photography, DJ and music — plus the opportunity to have their wedding officiated by Seattle’s openly gay mayor, Ed Murray.
Beginning July 1, couples can enter the contest at 2DaysInSeattle.com/marryme. One couple will be chosen to marry on the first Wednesday of every month from September to December. Murray will officiate at the first wedding on Sept. 3.
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More than 20 local companies will donate services, including Alaska Airlines, Chateau Ste. Michelle and SkyCity restaurant. The sweepstakes advertises itself by saying: “If you can’t get married in your city, we want you to be married in ours.”
“We really want to celebrate the fact that it’s something we can offer here,” said Ali Daniels, vice president of marketing at Visit Seattle.
For the first wedding, which will kick off the campaign, the lucky couple will be able to invite up to 50 guests. The other three weddings will have smaller parties of fewer than 30 guests.
The couples will work with local ad agency Copacino + Fujikado to personalize their weddings with colors, flowers and music options.
“We want these couples to feel like they can have the wedding that they want,” Daniels said.
Same-sex couples comprised 17 percent of marriages within the first year since marriage equality passed in Washington in 2012, according to the state Department of Health. In nearly a quarter of those marriages, both spouses lived in another state, mostly Oregon, Texas and California.
The Renaissance Seattle Hotel will donate a four-night stay to the first couple. Their guests will receive discounts, free appetizers and a Champagne toast.
General manager Rene Neidhart said the hotel has hosted 10 gay weddings so far in 2014. “If you multiply this by all the hotels, it brings a lot of business to Seattle,” Neidhart said.
Colleen Wright: 206-464-2240 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @Colleen_Wright