Spending on same-sex weddings has skyrocketed since it became legal in the United States with the Supreme Court ruling in June, 2015. It’s up 85 percent among LGBT men and 56 percent among LGBT women according to the Knot LGBT Weddings Study which surveyed 979 LGBT respondents in the U.S. who were married or engaged to be married.
The 2016 study, the latest for which figures are available, explored how couples are proposing, how much they’re spending, family acceptance and support, tradition and other statistics related to same-sex marriage. The Knot, a wedding industry brand, collaborated with Logo on the study.
The average cost of a wedding for male couples is $33,822, and $25,334 for female couples. In contrast, wedding spend increased by a mere 1 percent for men and 15 percent for women from 2014 to 2015, and the average cost of a wedding prior to legalization was $18,242 for male couples and $16,218 for females. Couples are now inviting more guests to their wedding, and participating in more wedding-related events than ever before, from engagement parties to showers and more. For the first time, LGBT elopements are down.
There is a 53 percent increase in family acceptance, and more couples are seeking permission from their significant other’s family before proposing. Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the US, 15 percent of men and 10 percent of women reported feeling more pressure to get married. Spending on engagement rings nearly doubled, and 87 percent of men and 90 percent of women report having a formal engagement proposal; of the transgender community, 94 percent of respondents reported having a formal proposal.
“It’s fascinating to see how wedding traditions, trends and spending continue to evolve. Our team at the Knot is dedicated to providing tools for every couple in America to use during their wedding planning process, from ‘I will’ all the way until ‘I do,’” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, executive editor at the Knot. “The Knot is all about inspiring, planning and booking every wedding in America, and we mean every wedding.”
Among the findings are:
- The average age for men was 37; women, 33.
- Men on average spent $5,719 on rings (up from $2,250 in 2015) and women spent $5,349 (up from $3,163 in 2015). Transgender people spent $11,145 on average, a new feature to the 2016 study.
- Men, on average, had 121 guests (up from 77 in 2015) and women had 117 (up from 71). The trans average was 116 guests.
- The average length of engagement for men was nine months (down from 11 months in 2015); women, 11 months (down from 13 months).
- September was the most popular month to get married for men (14 percent) followed by October (13 percent). It was August and October (tied at 16 percent each) for women.
- Destination weddings are extremely popular for gay men (53 percent) and lesbians (49 percent).
Seven in 10 couples report paying for the majority of their wedding ceremony (men, 72 percent; women, 70 percent). When it comes to the wedding reception, 68 percent of men and 64 percent of women reported paying for the majority of the event. Families contributing to the wedding ceremony increased 11 percent for men (up from 6 percent in 2015 to 17 percent in 2016) and 8 percent for women (up from 11 percent in 2015 to 19 percent in 2016). Twenty-three percent of LGBT couples reported the majority of their wedding receptions are paid for by their families.
When proposing, 42 percent of men and 46 percent of women reported asking permission from their partner’s family, up from 24 percent of women and 21 percent of men in 2015.
The number of men insuring their engagement rings more than doubled, from 26 percent in 2015 to 60 percent in 2016. The most popular engagement ring styles for women include a diamond center stone with side stones and/or accents (39 percent) and a diamond solitaire ring (30 percent).
There is a 53 percent increase in LGBT couples gaining family acceptance, but more than half of couples still reported that family was not accepting of their marriage. Up from 28 percent for both men and women in 2015, family approval and willingness to help with their wedding increased to 43 percent for men and 44 percent for women in 2016.
One-third of LGBT couples reported deciding which wedding traditions to uphold was “challenging.” Seventy percent of women and 65 percent of men reported their wedding was or will be “traditional.” The study reported couples are having more wedding-related events than in years past, from engagement parties (24 percent of men and 31 percent of women up from 17 percent and 10 percent in 2015, respectively) to wedding showers (25 percent of men and 45 percent of women having a wedding shower up from 13 percent and 32 percent in 2015, respectively). Seventy-four percent of men and 81 percent of women have a wedding ceremony, up from 67 percent of men and 70 percent of women in 2015.
The majority of couples reported reciting vows at their wedding ceremony (men, 97 percent; women, 98 percent) and having at least one partner walk down the aisle (men, 85 percent; women, 94 percent). As for the “first look,” more than half of all women reported not seeing each other until the wedding ceremony (51 percent). When it comes to the “first dance,” 74 percent of men and 85 percent of women and take part in this tradition.
About seven in 10 couples reported personalizing their reception by adding additional elements. The most popular personalization element for men is a wedding logo or monogram (28 percent), while women reported having a signature cocktail at the reception (27 percent) as their most popular element for personalization. Other personalized elements include having family members participate in the ceremony, honoring deceased relatives, playing or singing original music, using symbolic colors and incorporating religion and other traditions.