Hilton offers free wedding to gay couple who faced homophobia at rival Marriott
Hotel giant Marriott has issued an apology after a same-sex couple were told to take their wedding booking elsewhere.
Travel YouTuber Josh Rimer and husband-to-be Heath spoke out after booking a wedding at the Marriott-owned Sheraton Buganvilias Resort and Convention Center in the gay-friendly city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Hotel claimed it is ‘not specialised’ to carry out gay weddings
Rimer explained that while making arrangements for the wedding, he had mentioned to staff that the couple would not need a bridal bouquet – only to later be told via email that the hotel “is not specialised to carry out” a same-sex wedding.
The email from resort staff directed the couple to seek an alternative venue.
In a YouTube video, Rimer said it was “probably the most homophobic experience I’ve ever encountered in my entire life.”
He said: “What do you mean specialise? Why do you need to specialise in gay weddings?
“There’s not much to specialise, other than it’s going to be a groom and a groom instead of a bride and a groom.
“I don’t know if she thinks we’re going to show up in speedos with go-go dancers, and we expect the officiant to be wearing leather chaps? This is just a normal wedding, it just happens to be with two guys.”
While Rimer later received an apology from Marriott head office, he has had no further contact from the resort itself – and said he is still unhappy with how the company handled the situation.
He said: “Even if they were just like, ‘we’re going to sponsor an LGBT+ event or donate to an LGBT+ charity in Puerto Vallarta to make a public statement’, it would have nipped this in the bud.
“A phone call apologising and saying you’ll look into it is literally the least you could do.”
Hilton steps in to save couple’s Puerto Vallarta wedding
However, the story has a happy ending after the incident caught the attention of rival hotel brand Hilton – which offered to host Rimer’s wedding for free at its neighbouring Hilton Puerto Vallarta property.
The company is arranging to make the couple’s big day truly special, with wedding vendors stepping up to provide complimentary services.
Rimer said Hilton has offered to host “the wedding of my dreams,” adding: “They are putting out the red carpet for us.
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“When they sent us the write-up of everything that’s going to be included, everything said ‘groom and groom’. Hallelujah!”
He quipped: “I wonder what kind of special training they had to do that.”
Hilton has long promoted itself as an LGBT-inclusive brand, featuring LGBT+ people in its advertising.
Marriott said in a statement: “Marriott is greatly concerned about the experience reported by Mr. Rimer.
“Marriott has long been committed to providing an environment where all are welcome including our LGBTQ guests and their loved ones.
“When we learned about this matter, we immediately contacted Mr. Rimer and expressed our sincerest apologies for his experience.”