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Heronswood will host same-sex weddings Dec. 9
KINGSTON — Heronswood wants to help same-sex couples plant the seeds for a successful marriage.
On Dec. 9 from noon to 5 p.m.—in celebration of Referendum 74 officially going into effect—the world-renowned botanical garden will open its gates for up to 20 same-sex couples looking to be among the first to tie the knot in Washington state.
As a part of the Dec. 9 wedding event, same-sex couples can book their own private, intimate ceremony at Heronswood. Each ceremony can include up to 12 guests and a wedding officiant will be on site. While donations are appreciated, the rental is being provided free of charge.
Heronswood, which was purchased by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe this summer, is in the middle of an extensive garden restoration effort. The expectation is to reopen the garden to the public, in part, through special events and open houses several times a year.
In spring 2013, Heronswood will also make its debut as a wedding venue. While Heronswood won’t officially begin scheduling weddings until early next year, the opportunity to host same-sex couples as they celebrate their special day was too important to pass up, S'Klallam officials said.
“Heronswood is a magical place that has touched the hearts and lives of many people," said Noel Higa, economic development director for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. "We can think of no better way to show our support and express our congratulations to the gay community than to welcome same-sex couples as among the first to get married there.”
The Tribe supported Referendum 74 while it was on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Weddings on Dec. 9 will be limited to 30 minutes, but the grounds will be open to wedding parties for pictures and self-guided tours.
Heronswood was established in 1987 by famed plant hunter and horticulturalist Daniel J. Hinkley and his partner, Robert Jones, the garden’s architect. Recognized internationally for its beauty and diversity, Heronswood’s display garden features a highly regarded collection of rare and unique plants and has attracted visitors from all over the world. In the 1990s, Heronswood featured a respected plant nursery that lives on in the gardens of enthusiasts across the Pacific Northwest.
The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe bought Heronswood at auction from the W. Atlee Burpee Co., which owned Heronswood for 12 years.
Since taking over stewardship of Heronswood, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe has been actively working to revitalize the garden and create more opportunities for community participation and involvement. These efforts mark a new era for Heronswood, which has been mostly closed to the public since 2006.