Gay marriage has been legal nationwide for a year now. And in many ways, marriage equality means that same-sex and heterosexual weddings are becoming more similar. Namely, LGBTQ weddings are looking more traditional than ever.
Formal proposals are becoming more popular, as is asking a partner’s parents for their permission before popping the question. According to a survey of 925 engaged and married LGBTQ couples, conducted by the Knot, 87 percent of men and 90 percent of women had a formal proposal. Before those proposals, 42 percent of men and 46 percent of women are asking a partner’s family for their permission, nearly double the numbers of those who asked for permission in 2015. This might sound old-fashioned, but asking for a parent’s blessing or permission is a trend that’s growing among heterosexual couples as well.
Kristen Maxwell Cooper, executive editor of the Knot, thinks this embrace of tradition is tied to LGBTQ weddings becoming more mainstream. “There’s this feeling of acceptance from that community,” Cooper said. And couples are “really embracing it, in running with tradition.” According to the survey, women were more likely than men (70 percent of women and 65 percent of men) to describe their wedding as somewhat traditional or very traditional.
And then there’s the tradition of spending lots of money. The average gay couple getting married now spends about $1,000 more than a heterosexual couple tying the knot, while lesbian couples spend thousands less. According to a survey of 925 engaged and married LGBTQ couples, conducted by the Knot, the average cost of a wedding for two men is $33,822 (up from $18,242 in 2015). Women, on average, are spending $25,334 (up from $16,218 in 2015). A separate survey from the Knot in the spring — of nearly 18,000 brides, 97 percent of whom were part of heterosexual couples — found the average price of a wedding to be $32,641.
This disparity in wedding spending appears tied to the gender pay gap. For the couples in the Knot’s survey, the average household income was $109,213 for male couples vs. $82,000 for female ones. Women were also found to be more likely to have kids by the time they’re walking down the aisle — and therefore have less disposable income to spend on a wedding. According to the survey, 39 percent of lesbian couples who are marrying have kids, while 18 percent of men do.
The LGBTQ survey found that couples’ families are helping more with wedding costs than they have in previous years: Seven in 10 couples report paying for the majority of the costs for their ceremonies and receptions. But despite a growing feeling of acceptance across the country, that doesn’t mean every LGBTQ couple has support from their family. In the Knot’s survey, more than half of respondents reported that their families didn’t accept their marriage.
Retailers haven’t quite caught up, either. The Knot’s survey included comments from couples who shared difficulty “finding same sex items not covered in rainbows.” Another comment read: “We are having trouble finding merchandise that are gender specific but tasteful as well. A lot of the items that we are coming across are more comedic than serious and we don’t feel that our love is a joke.”
Maxwell Cooper believes this will change soon. “I think we’re going to see more and more items out there for every couple,” she said. “I hope retailers see the need for that and really fill that void.”