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SEATTLE – Seattle Mayor Ed Murray married Zachary Baker and Samuel Busch, of St. Paul, MN, this evening in Seattle. The couple was the first chosen in Visit Seattle’s Marry Me in Seattle program to receive a hosted wedding trip to the Emerald City. More than 20 local businesses donated goods and services for the wedding, which was attended by visiting friends and family of the grooms, local media and others.
Mayor Murray proclaimed September 3, 2014 as “Zac and Sam Day in Seattle” to honor of the couple. Seattle City Hall, the Museum of History and Industry, the Seattle Great Wheel, Pacific Science Center and downtown buildings displayed rainbow lights, while Safeco Field (home to the Seattle Mariners) and others hoisted rainbow flags to welcome the visiting couple.
Visit Seattle, the city’s nonprofit tourism marketing organization, coordinated a wedding package for the couple that included air transportation from Alaska Airlines, a four-night stay at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, a wedding ceremony at Canlis restaurant, flowers, wedding photography, DJ, ground transportation from Uber Seattle, champagne courtesy of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, beer from Hilliard’s Brewery & Taproom and dessert from Trophy Cupcakes.
The Marry Me in Seattle program was created to lure LGBTQ visitors to Seattle by showcasing the city’s progressive and welcoming culture. Washington State’s early adoption of marriage equality in 2012 presents a competitive advantage for tourism marketers. According to a study by the Williams Institute in 2012, same-sex couples will travel from out of state to marry if they cannot marry in their home state. The Washington State Department of Health reported more than 3,000 same-sex marriages in the state during the year following passage of its marriage equality law – many of them non-resident.
Hundreds of couples have entered the Marry Me in Seattle sweepstakes since the campaign launched July 1. Four wedding trips total are available, with ceremonies taking place the first Wednesday of the month, September through December. Any LGBTQ couple residing outside of Washington State is eligible to win.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray eagerly offered to officiate the wedding ceremony. Previously a state senator, he fought for Washington State’s marriage equality law, which was passed by voters in late 2012. He married his longtime partner, Michael, last year and became Seattle’s first openly gay mayor in January 2014. He obtained his license to officiate marriage ceremonies online.
“I can’t think of a better way to begin my life journey with my special guy,” said Sam Busch. “Seattle has made this possible – what a godsend!”
Zac and Sam met 4½ years ago and became engaged last December. “I’ll never forget that night,” said Zac Baker. “We were dancing the foxtrot and watching the Wizard of Oz on cable TV. Right as Dorothy and her friends emerged from the forest and see the Emerald City, Sam slipped a ring out of his pocket and on to my finger. Now as our own Emerald City is in view, I couldn’t be happier to say ‘I do’ to my greatest ally and closest friend.”
The Marry Me in Seattle program was developed in collaboration with Visit Seattle’s agency Copacino + Fujikado, in partnership with Here Media and funding by the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area, a dedicated marketing fund assessed from guests at 54 downtown Seattle hotels and administered by Visit Seattle.
The campaign web site, www.2DaysInSeattle.com/marryme, features an essential Seattle LGBTQ marriage checklist that includes a link to Washington State’s marriage equality law (Referendum 74 which was passed by Washington voters in November 2012), information and links for marriage applications and licenses and a list of LGBTQ officiants. The web site also features a wedding resource guide that includes more than 30 Seattle romance packages, transportation, wedding music and DJs, florists, photographers, venues and catering companies. The site and resource list are permanent and continuously-updated.
Follow Zac and Sam’s story via social media with the hashtag #MarryMeInSeattle.
Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. Visit our About Us page for more information about Visit Seattle.
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