Fabulous Lesbian Weddings in Argentina
How a six-month study abroad trip turned into a 12-year adventure of travel and true love.
Laetitia Orsetti grew up with international flair. Born and raised in Arlington, TX., her French parents spoke their native language at home and were very involved in the local French community. Perhaps this is why Orsetti caught the travel bug so early: she was used to living in a European bubble in the middle of the Lone Star State. But before she actively started collecting stamps on her passport, Orsetti studied finance at the University of Texas. It was soon, however, that Orsetti discovered that a sedentary life was not for her.
“I knew that I wanted to do my own thing and go somewhere few had traveled. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I felt a calling, like it came from deep within my soul—to Argentina,” says Orsetti.
In 1999 Buenos Aires was still off the travel grid but Orsetti decided to take up the call to adventure. “It was the best decision of my life! I had planned to study here for six months. Twelve years later, I love this city: its vibrancy, the electricity in the air, the rhythm of its people, and the smell of passion and life in its barrios. I feel as fascinated today as I did when I first stepped off that plane and felt the buzz of energy in the air. It was home on day one and has been ever since.”
Orsetti, a party planner who owns and operates the company Fabulous Weddings, lives in the trendy Palermo Hollywood neighborhood of Buenos Aires, which is also the center of Buenos Aires' nightlife.
“I guess it makes a lot of sense for a party planner to live here. I love my neighborhood because it is so full of life, and you can’t help but feel the joie de vivre in the air. Every day when I step outside I feel inspired by the people and the life around me.”
But it’s not just the nightlife that keeps Orsetti here. Buenos Aires is where she met her soon-to-be wife, Romi.
“It actually started when my Brazilian hairdresser invited me to his birthday party. I showed up thinking I’d have a few drinks and maybe a laugh or two. I had no idea I would fall in love that night. Truly, it was love at first sight. I walk into the party and this tall, gorgeous, full-lipped woman is standing in the kitchen preparing sushi! My heart stopped and I could not take my eyes off of her the rest of the night.”
But fate would not bring the couple together—yet. “Two long years later she moved two blocks down the road from me. This time I was not going to let her slip through my fingers," laughs Orsetti.
After a few months, Romi gave up her apartment and moved in with Orsetti. “We’ve been living together now almost a year and I can’t wait to start planning our wedding.”
Orsetti, who had been working in marketing for an international corporation launching new products and organizing events around the country, had created a network of creative people. As soon as marriage equality was passed in Argentina in July 2010 by president Cristina Fernandez, the idea for her own business crystalized.
Laetitia & Romi
“I knew at that very moment, as we celebrated in the streets outside the Congress building, that I needed to be a part of this historic moment and of everything that was to come afterward. I decided that day to start Fabulous Weddings. I reached out to the absolute best creative minds in the city and before you know it I had launched the business.”
Fabulous Weddings has a mission to give its clients the best day of their lives, from the overall concept to the very last detail.
“Our team dotes over every tiny detail, giving that magical touch and a one-of-a-kind feel tailored to the couple’s wishes. We take their dreams and bring them to life, making abstract ideas come together. It is our natural love for life and creative backgrounds combined, which enable us to create an unforgettable experience rather than a just simple event.”
In its first eighteen months, Fabulous Weddings created four lesbian ceremonies. “We’ve had large-scale, big-budget weddings and smaller, more intimate celebrations. Our lesbian weddings have been more intimate and private, something we value very much. For me, personally, it has been amazing to meet these wonderful people and their families and friends and to hear their stories and life experiences.”
Boda Lola and Carla
But, you may ask, Why marry in Argentina? Isn't that an awful long way from home? Don't they speak Spanish? And aren't there always political protests going on...? Yes, of course. It is, after all, Latin America. However: The Argentine capital is known as the "Paris of the South," not only because of its architectural splendor and natural beauty, but also because of the contagious romance in the air. “The city is alive and filled with love and makes for the perfect spot for a couple to start their life together,” says Orsetti.
And let's not forget it voted in marriage equality years before the U.S., and ranks women highly: The passionate dance of tango is everywhere, Eva Peron is a national icon, and Cristina de Kirchner (often referred to as CFK) was president for 8 years, the second woman to serve as President of Argentina, the first directly elected, and the first woman re-elected to that position. Girl power!
But perhaps the most attractive thing about getting married in Argentina is the cost—a fraction of what a wedding in the U.S. or Europe would be.
Orsetti has received support from the local LGBT community including the Gay Chamber of Commerce. "I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about this? Gay marriage had just passed! Everyone we spoke with was instantly planning their weddings, whether they had a partner or not! Really, people could not be more excited, supportive, and engaged in the entire process. We’ve been really blessed.”
So what might your Argentinean wedding look like? One couple were married on the lush Tigre Delta at sunset and that wedding ranks as one of Orsetti's personal favorites. Another featured show-stopping musical entertainment from Corrientes Street, the Broadway of Buenos Aires. Other couples have requested personalized jewelry, and for that Orsetti works closely with accomplished local jewelers. “We design a logotype for each of the engagement and wedding rings that best represents the brides (or grooms). For one wedding, the logo was also an important part of the wedding, from the invitations, to the place settings, to the centerpieces, you name it. The rings now serve as a lasting testament to the day these women were joined as one.”
After your big day, prepare to party well into the small hours. “Buenos Aires is an amazing and diverse city open for all things. If you can't have fun here, you are doing something wrong!” says Orsetti. There are a few great lesbian bars too, such as Planet BA, right in the heart of Palermo. Casa Brandon, which is lesbian owned, also serves as a sort of community center.
Orsetti highly recommends the Out & About Gay Pub Crawl. “An amazing team of guys bring visitors and locals together on a non-stop, fast-paced crawl through some of the best gay and gay-friendly bars in town. It is a great way to meet some amazing people and tap into the gay scene and see what is offered. At least one lesbian bar is selected every night and the tour always ends at the best club for the night.”