With fourteen states and counting legalizing marriage equality, the rise of the Gay Wedding Industrial Complex is upon us. A new survey, jointly conducted by Community Marketing & Insights and a place called the Gay Wedding Institute that definitely exists, has the numbers on gay weddings and the planning, rituals, and expenses behind them. And the differences—not just between same-sex weddings and straight weddings, but between gay male weddings and lesbian weddings, too—are more surprising than you might expect.
First, yes: gay weddings are different than straight weddings, and not only because the music’s probably better. Just 22 percent of same-sex weddings are conducted by a religiously-affiliated officiant, and only 12 percent of same-sex weddings are held in “religious spaces.” But the distinctions within gay weddings are even more interesting. Generally speaking, female same-sex couples seem more likely to follow conventional marriage rituals. 66 percent of lesbian couples buy engagement rings, while only 19 percent of gay male couples do the same. First dances, rehearsal dinners, and other ceremonial aspects are also more likely to pop up in weddings with a female-female couple than those with a male-male couple. Finally, lesbians spend on average 15 percent more on their weddings than gay men do. Readjust your stereotypes of cheapness as necessary.
The study also reports on the economic affects of gay weddings, so be sure to forward it along to your Congressperson if he or she still needs convincing. Engaged same-sex couples reported plans to spend much more on their weddings than freshly wed gay spouses in the past. In fact, same-sex couples who get legally married spend a whopping three times as much cash than those who enter into a civil union or domestic partnership, since the latter typically don’t involve elaborate ceremonies. In other words, if you’re still looking for a lucrative path in life, it’s never too late to get into the gay wedding planning business.
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