When marriage equality passed in Arizona, wedding bells started ringing all over the state, which was perfect timing for a fabulous Arizona LGBT wedding giveaway from our hotels in the Grand Canyon state. You know, that contest where same-sex couples shared their love stories and winners would get a rehearsal dinner from FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, a ceremony and reception at Hotel Palomar in Phoenix, and a minimoon at Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona. Originally, the winners were going to fly to California to seal the deal and come back to Arizona for celebrations. But when Arizona got on board with marriage equality, contest winners Gwen and Ronda decided to stay and do it all Arizona-style.
Competition was fierce and our five finalists earned more than 18,000 votes, but in the end Gwen and Ronda won with their special story and a whole lot of voter support. Theirs is one of those classic rom-com stories where one wants to be more than friends but the other’s not ready, so they stop hanging out for a while. They got back on track when mutual friends helped them reconnect and they’ve been together ever since.
“As I look back, I can’t believe I denied our love for so long,” says Gwen. “We never forget how lucky we are to have this second chance at this beautiful life.”
If that doesn’t give you the feels, then you probably need to check your pulse.
Gwen and Ronda’s rehearsal dinner at FireSky’s Taggia entertained 20 of their closest friends, who enjoyed tasty fare like fresh burrata with caponata and grilled-onion focaccia, lightly smoked salmon filet, and grilled New York strip loin.
Next, they headed to Hotel Palomar to settle down in the Arena Suite and prepare for their rooftop wedding ceremony. Sharing sunset nuptials under the wide Phoenix sky in front of 130 of their guests wouldn’t be possible even a few months ago, so this wedding was extra special. They moved down the hall for the ballroom reception, where guests toasted with custom cocktails called Ginslingers and 6-0-Deuce, and noshed from salad and carving stations designed to get guests up and mingling.
Gwen and Ronda are saving their minimoon at Amara Resort & Spa for later this year, because of course it’s better to spread out the fun. Kimpton is all about celebrating love stories like this and we’re thrilled to wish these lovebirds the best as they start their new lives together.
— Rachel Bell