Romance Week: Good Scents in Memphis

by Kelsy Chauvin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Mar 12, 2014

This article is from the July 2014 issue of EDGE Digital Magazine.

Same-sex marriage bells are ringing in a growing number of U.S. states and forward-thinking countries. But where should queers-in-the-know head for forthcoming nuptials or fabulously memorable honeymoons? EDGE suggests letting your five senses make the call.

Between its legacies of barbeque and rock 'n' roll alone, one could argue that Memphis is a great city for engaging nearly all the senses, all the time. But it's the olfactory appeal of Blues City that inspires newlyweds to breathe in a unique destination wedding or romantic honeymoon.

A spring or summer visit comes with warm air filled with honeysuckle and magnolias, and fresh aromas from the local Wonder Bread-Hostess Cake bakery in the heart of town. If you're planning a commitment ceremony (since same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Tennessee), officiants from Rainbow Ceremonies or Distinctive Commitment Ceremonies are happy to help.

Memphis Essentials

Music lovers can sniff out truly amazing history in this welcoming Mississippi River port, famously called the birthplace of both rock ’n’ roll and the blues (as well as their love child, soul music). From Sun Studios -- where Elvis Presley recorded his first song -- and Stax Records, to the Rock ’n’ Soul Museum and ever-bustling Beale Street, it’s impossible to visit Memphis without savoring the sweetness of American musical history.

There is no experience that embodies Memphis more than digging into a barbeque platter, nor any shortage of places to inhale all manner of smoky deliciousness.

Locals may not agree on which restaurant is the best, but many recommend Central BBQ, where most days the line extends past the front door (and with good reason), while Tops Bar-B-Q has served up traditional slow-cooked pit barbeque since 1952. But Memphis is a city with a big appetite, so follow your nose to many outstanding restaurants serving old-school or new-wave dishes. Head to the Cooper-Young gay-leaning neighborhood for some of the trendiest spots of late.

With a busy downtown that sees a fair share of convention traffic, it’s easy to find a hotel room for any budget. But there is only one place to mark an occasion as special as a lifelong commitment: The Peabody. Maybe it’s the prestigious architecture or its perfect location a few blocks from Beale Street, or it could just be the famous ducks that waddle through the lobby for their daily swim in the hotel’s fountain. The Peabody is a national classic and an attraction all its own. Plus, who can rival a four-star hotel that boasts the clothier Lansky’s, where Elvis himself once shopped?

Most Romantic Move:
A ride on one of the city’s vintage streetcars will lend some nostalgia to your lovers’ holiday, so climb aboard the Madison Avenue line and exit near Sun Studios. A short walk north will send you into Victorian Village, named for its stunning architecture. There you’ll find the converted three-story mansion now housing the Mollie Fontaine Lounge, where couples can relax on a love seat with fine cocktails, complemented by the smooth stylings of local blues musicians.

Pairs Well With:
Graceland, located a short drive from downtown Memphis, is the ultimate local side trip. Some might argue that no trip to Memphis is complete without a visit to this fascinating time-capsule estate left behind by the King. Graceland may even evoke a sense of carpe diem for your newly wedded life together.

Click and Go

Official Guide to Memphis

Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center

Distinctive Commitment Ceremonies

Rainbow Ceremonies of Memphis

Central BBQ

Tops Bar-B-Q

The Peabody Memphis

Memphis Area Transit Authority


Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBT interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.


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