Gay Weddings in Des Moines Iowa! Let Lamda Weddings Help Make it Perfect!


Des Moines, Iowa

is an open and welcoming destination for gay and lesbian travelers. Iowa’s capital city is a warm, friendly metro of about 0.5 million people including suburbs.

The large number of colleges and universities here give it a more liberal feel than many other towns the same size. It is also the insurance capital of the Midwest boasting more insurance firms than any other city in the nation except Hartford, CT. This has resulted in a diverse and young workforce that keeps the bars full and upscale restaurants open.


 The Iowa Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on April 3, that same-sex marriages have equal protection under the Iowa constitution is further bolstering Des Moines’ diversity by offering a haven for gay travelers who want to plan a destination wedding and a very affordable honeymoon in Iowa’s lush countryside. Iowa does not have residency laws that would prevent out-of state couples from marrying there. Anyone from any other state can get legally married in Iowa after obtaining a marriage license from the County Recorder’s office.


Several local businesses have sprouted up to serve the gay marriage market – one of them is Lambda Weddings,  a newly formed wedding and event planning group , which specializes in serving gay couples from other states.

Lambda Weddings offers easy wedding packages for out-of-state couples who don’t want to be bothered with planning an elaborate wedding or who just want to elope in secret. The base package includes a licensed minister, an elegant ceremony in a charming country setting, a personal wedding planner, chilled champagne, a complimentary cake, digital photos and of course the processing of the marriage license. Additional services such as airport pick-up, elaborate photo shoots, a sit-down reception or theme weddings can all be purchased for reasonable fees.

Getting There

Des Moines is in the middle of the state of Iowa. It is less than a two hour drive from most parts of of Iowa. It is also 2 hours from Minneapolis, Omaha and Kansas City and about 5 hours from Chicago and St Louis. There are many direct flights into Des Moines from 19 cities including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Memphis, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, etc.

Where to Stay

When it comes to choosing a place to stay, Des Moines has the usual offerings like the Marriott, Embassy Suites and the Renaissance Savery. However, it also has several quaint bed and breakfasts for those of you who want something a little unique. The Butler House on Grand Avenue is probably the first place to look into. It is an charming and very elegant early 20th century home that was converted to a B&B in 1996. the owners live on the premises and offer genuine Midwestern hospitality. With a limited number of guest rooms advance booking is highly recommended. Another well-appointed B&B in the city is The Cottage on Kingman Ave.

Ceremony Locations

There are also several secular locations to hold gay ceremonies in Des Moines and depending on whether you want an outdoor or indoor event, there is a wide choice. Outdoor locales include gorgeous scenic spots in Madison County (known after its famous bridges- yes it is just a 15 minute drive from Des Moines!).

A budget conscious couple could have a memorable service and a reception with the rolling hills of Madison County as a backdrop and honeymoon in one of the bed & breakfasts for a very reasonable price. Scenic trails, riding stables and hearty country breakfasts will invigorate anyone jaded by city life and bring back a fresh glow to your face.

Indoor locations for ceremonies also abound, but it is important to book early to get some of the choice ones. Top among these are The Salisbury House, The Temple of Performing Arts and the Renaissance Savery Hotel. For those of you who want a full-scale wedding with an evening sit-down reception and cost is not a consideration, I would recommend a morning ceremony at the Salisbury House and Gardens. It is an early 20th century architectural gem modeled after a 15th century English mansion. You have the option of holding an indoor ceremony or an outdoor one in the gardens behind the estate. An evening reception can be held in one of the ballrooms at the Renaissance Savery in the heart of downtown Des Moines, Holding the reception in a hotel ballroom offers your wilder guests the convenience of staggering to their room or being helped upstairs without worrying about having a designated driver.


Several local churches are open and welcoming of gay couples- the Unitarian Church, St. John’s Lutheran Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church have all opened their doors to conducting same-sex ceremonies- exemplifying a Midwestern “Live and Let Live” spirit.


What To Do While in Town

Des Moines has an active gay and lesbian community with a growing variety of clubs, organizations, activities and events – including a very lively annual Pride celebration – that reflects the diversity of the local community. The center of gay and lesbian life is the area around the Eastside of downtown in the East Village neighborhood. Here you will find Blazing Saddle, the campy neighborhood bar with their happy hours, Martini specials, boys night, girls night and even an occasional “Vegas Style” male revue. East Village also has an eclectic mix of hip restaurants, boutique stores and clubs. Eateries include a commendable sushi restaurant and a boisterous yet elegant piano bar. For the shopper, there are stores that sell original furniture designs like Sticks and local apparel lines like Smash, which was recently made famous by fellow Iowan, Ashton Kutcher.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market is a great way to spend the Sunday morning after the reception. Here you can walk away your hangover among hanging floral baskets, herbs and bedding plants and perennials. Market patrons can expect to see nearly 200 vendors, from 47 Iowa counties, with farm fresh products including Iowa raised pork, beef, lamb, poultry, fish, elk, baked breads, pies and cinnamon rolls. Shoppers can also find nuts, eggs, butter, cheese, wine, jams, jellies, beautiful cut flowers and a vast assortment of locally created arts, crafts, jewelry, rugs, and clothing. Spend a morning walking among flowers and fresh farm produce and then go over to the Gateway Market for brunch and you will begin to appreciate the joys of small town life in the Midwest.


Other sites to take in while in Des Moines include the Iowa State Capitol, which towers over the city from a small hill, facing westward toward downtown. The capitol building is 275-foot tall and has a 23-karat gold leafed dome that glitters majestically in the setting sun. Gently cascading down to the west of the Capitol is a lush 10-acre garden that is meticulously maintained all year around. History buffs can go to the Iowa State historical Museum or the Living History Farms Museum, which tells the story of Midwestern culture and rural life in a 500-acre open-air museum with re-created frontier towns and dressed up actors playing pioneers.

So what are you waiting for?

If Virginia is for lovers, Iowa is for the those of us who are ready to say “I do! To have and to hold, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, from this day forward… till death do us apart.”

Arranging exclusive destination gay weddings in Iowa!