Well played, Hilton…
Sheraton “Not Specialized” To Carry Out Gay Wedding
Josh Rimer, who is a vlogger and Mr. Gay Canada 2019, shared his experience with trying to lock in a wedding venue in a recent vlog.
He and his fiancé, Heath, who live in Vancouver, planned on having their wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and had reached out to the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center, to host it.
I think it’s worth pointing out that Puerto Vallarta as a destination is extremely gay friendly, so you’d think this wouldn’t come as a surprising request. It would be like reaching out to a hotel in Palm Springs or Mykonos for a gay wedding.
The first thing worth noting is that the hotel seems to have been incredibly unprofessional all along with wedding planning, and that’s before it was even revealed that this was a gay wedding.
What’s much worse is that in an email conversation with the hotel, the couple was told that the hotel is not “specialized to carry out an equal wedding.” Here’s the email from the hotel to the couple:
“I am infinitely grateful that you have thought of Sheraton for your big day, however, our hotel and our staff is not specialized to carry out an equal wedding and we would not like to take your wedding as a trial and error, and our service could be poor compared to what characterized Sheraton, because we know and we are aware that is your special day for you and your fiance, and do not want that by our non-specialed service some conflict can be generated on your big day, my apologies.”
As someone who has gotten (gay) married, and has tried to explain to people that a gay wedding is the same as a straight wedding, this Key & Peele skit certainly comes to mind:
A Marriott spokesperson stated the following in response to this situation:
“Marriott has long been committed to providing an environment where all are welcome including our LGBTQ guests and their loved ones.”
Hilton Puerto Vallarta Offers To Host Wedding For Free
The Hilton Puerto Vallarta has capitalized on this opportunity, and has offered to host the wedding for free. Via an Instagram post:
Hi @JoshRimer, we’re looking for you! We’ve heard you want to get married at Puerto Vallarta and we want to offer you the #HiltonExperience! 🤗
We want to celebrate with you this special day, so we’ll gladly host your wedding ceremony and feast for FREE for you and your 45 guests at Hilton Puerto Vallarta! 😍🌴 Please send us an inbox! *Restrictions may apply
Can The Sheraton Be Given The Benefit Of The Doubt?
I don’t automatically always want to assume the worst in people, so I’ve been trying to think if there’s any world in which this isn’t homophobic.
The person they were in contact with may not have had a great grasp of the English language, so perhaps some benefit of the doubt should be given in regards to how exactly things were phrased.
That being said, I can’t think of any interpretation of the email where it wasn’t intended the way it came across. Josh had no special requests, so it’s not like he was asking the banquet staff to perform a choreographed drag show (though I feel like even that shouldn’t be so hard to find in Puerto Vallarta?).
At an absolute minimum, this situation shows a lot of ignorance on the part of the person they were in contact with. And unfortunately that ignorance when it comes to gay weddings is pretty widespread. I don’t want to name and shame, but I know when I got married someone who otherwise supports my relationship asked (seriously) if one of us was going to wear a dress at the wedding, given that I was explaining gay weddings are the same as straight weddings.
I suspect it’s still somewhat generational.
But seriously, there’s simply no excuse for this, as far as I’m concerned.
What do you make of this situation? Is there any way to interpret the email from the Sheraton in a way that doesn’t seem terrible?