Now that the Supreme Court has affirmed Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, thousands of LGBT Californians can soon begin marrying the person they love. That means businesses are likely to see an influx of same-sex weddings. But how will they differ from planning a straight wedding?
According to a groundbreaking survey from The Knot and The Advocate, LGBT couples are both honoring tradition and blazing their own trails when it comes to wedding traditions.
The survey, which polled LGBT and straight Americans, found that gay couples are less likely to have a formal proposal than straight couples, 91% of whom experienced the traditional, down-on-one-knee question-popping. Just 58% of gay and lesbian couples reported a formal proposal leading to their marriage. Of those who did engage in a formal proposal, 16% opted for the down-on-one-knee approach, while 14% chose to get more creative.
In perhaps a less surprising statistic, the survey also discovered that same-sex couples are much less likely to seek permission from the family of their future spouse before popping the question. Just 19% of same-sex couples reported checking in with their future in-laws before the proposal, compared with 67% of straight couples who formally asked for their spouse's hand in marriage.
When it comes to planning, same-sex couples are much more likely than straight couples to equally share the responsibilities for planning the wedding. An impressive 55% of same-sex couples split the planning duties evenly, compared to just 19% of straight couples who share those duties equitably. Nearly twice as many gay couples pay for their own wedding as do straight couples — 86% of same-sex couples reported funding their own wedding, while just 40% of straight couples reported shelling out their own hard-earned dough for their big day.
Gay and lesbian couples also tended to opt for a more relaxed atmosphere than straight couples, with 40% of same-sex couples using the term "casual" to describe their wedding, compared to just 16% of straight couples who used that word.
When it comes to traditions, same-sex couples are less likely than straight couples to walk down the aisle escorted by a family member and incorporate religious vows into their ceremony. But while gay and straight couples are equally likely to be married by a friend or family member, gay couples are much more likely to have a justice of the peace officiate their ceremony.
A majority of gay couples — 62% — both kept their distinct last names after marriage, compared with 76% of straight brides who reported taking their husband's last name. Among these groups, self-described lesbians were more likely to follow tradition, with a formal proposal, walk down the aisle, and post-matrimonial name change.
Gay couples are less likely to go on a honeymoon than straight couples, but when they do, they spend, on average, twice as much on the trip as opposite-sex couples.
"At The Knot, we eat, sleep, dream and breathe weddings," said editor in chief Rebecca Dolgin. "We could not be more excited that 12 states, and Washington D.C. (and counting!) are finally allowing same-sex couples the right to marry, declare their love for one another and plan those weddings. That’s why we’re delighted to partner with The Advocate to gain insight into this group’s wedding planning. It’s a historic time for our country as more and more states pass this legislation; we’re excited to be at the forefront by being the first to provide this level of detail and information on how same-sex couples plan and how their weddings compare to those of straight couples."