Today, TheKnot.com , the number-one online wedding planning destination, and The Advocate , the world’s leading gay news source, announced the results of their first Same-Sex Wedding Survey. The first-of-its-kind study gives insight into how same-sex couples are integrating existing traditions into their wedding ceremonies as well as reformulating and creating new traditions to fit their nuptials. Plus it offers insight into how these couples’ planning habits compare with those of their straight counterparts.
“At The Knot, we eat, sleep, dream and breathe weddings. We could not be more excited that 12 states and Washington DC (and counting!) are finally allowing same-sex couples the right to marry, declare their love for one another and plan those weddings,” said Rebecca Dolgin, The Knot’s editor in chief. “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, and 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 with those of straight couples.”
“Same-sex weddings are no longer a fantasy; they’re fast becoming the norm,” said Stephen Murray, Here Media’s senior vice president for marketing and brand strategy. “Our 2013 Here Media/MRI survey reports that nearly 20% of our audience is planning to get married in the next one to three years. That’s a huge increase from even a year ago, and one that opens up an array of new opportunities for wedding, bridal and travel advertisers. We’re thrilled to have partnered with The Knot to give these advertisers insight into the latest buying trends and behaviors to help them tap into this lucrative market.”
Highlights from TheKnot.com & The Advocate Same-Sex Wedding Survey
- Same-sex couples are less likely to have a formal proposal than their straight counterparts, with about 58% proposing, compared with approximately 91% of straight couples. They are far more likely to just decide to get married; two out of five (40%) opted for this route, compared with one in 10 (9%) straight couples.
- The proposal is equally as likely to be a surprise. One in four of both couples’ proposals were a surprise. They’re also equally as likely to be private, with one in four proposals for each type of couple done in private.
- While most straight couples stick to tradition with one member getting down on one knee, this is where same-sex couples split – 16% were traditional, where 14% had a nontraditional proposal.
- Same-sex couples are less likely to seek permission from family before the proposal, with only 19% opting to gain permission, compared with 67% of straight couples.
- For same-sex couples, the engagement ring is likely to be a surprise. Of those who received an engagement ring, one in four (28%) were surprised, while for those who proposed, almost half (46%) surprised their partners with a ring.
- Same-sex couples are more likely to evenly split wedding planning responsibilities — more than half (55%) split the planning evenly, compared with just 19% of their straight counterparts.
- Same-sex couples are also more likely to pay for the majority of the wedding themselves. A large majority (86%) paid for the wedding themselves, compared with just 40% of straight couples.
- Of those who took the survey, just under half (45%) are getting married in a state where civil unions or domestic partnerships are legally recognized, while 40% will do so in a state where they are not recognized.
- Same-sex couples face many challenges when planning their weddings. Twenty percent agreed that the paperwork and legal issues regarding their marriages being recognized was their biggest challenge. Another 20% were surprised by how stressful all the planning details could be.
- Same-sex weddings are more likely to be casual and less traditional with 40% calling their wedding style casual, compared with 16% of straight couples.
- While about half (48%) of same-sex couples have a bridal party, they are less likely to do so than their straight counterparts, of which 87% had a bridal party.
- Straight couples are more likely to have pre-wedding events. Twenty-two percent had a wedding shower and 25% had a bachelor or bachelorette party, compared with just 8% of same-sex couples having a shower and 13% having a bachelor or bachelorette party.
- Same-sex couples are more likely to have postwedding events. Nineteen percent had an after-party and 13% a morning-after brunch, compared with 6% of straight couples hosting an after-party and 10% having a morning-after brunch.
- Straight couples are more likely to follow tradition for their walk down the aisle during the ceremony. The majority (74%) will be escorted by a family member, while for same-sex couples, 35% will be escorted. Same-sex couples are much more likely to walk down the aisle together, with 37% doing so.
- Same-sex couples are more likely to be married by a justice of the peace, with 22% using this option, compared with 8% of straight couples. However, many are still incorporating religious elements, with 15% having a religious officiant, just not having the ceremony in a house of worship, and 11% having religious traditions incorporated into their ceremonies. Same-sex couples are also equally as likely as straight couples to be married by a friend or family member (about 13% of straight and 16% of same-sex couples).
- While the majority of straight couples have traditional religious vows (39%), same-sex couples are more likely to write their own vows (45%). Both types of couples are equally as likely to have a combination of their own and religious vows (about 31%).
- In the majority of straight couples, brides changed their names to reflect their new husband’s last name (76%). Among same-sex couples, the majority see both partners keeping their given names (62%). Both types of couples are equally as likely to hyphenate their names.
- Determining how to plan traditions was also a challenge for same-sex couples. About 16% found it difficult to figure out how to personalize existing wedding traditions to suit their needs.
- Same-sex couples are less likely to go on a honeymoon. Sixty-three percent plan to go on a honeymoon, compared with 84% of straight couples. Couples also differ in their honeymoon destination decisions. Straight couples are twice as likely to visit popular honeymoon destinations in the Caribbean (19% compared with 10% of same-sex couples), while same-sex couples prefer to stay stateside, with 1 in 4 (24%) opting to honeymoon in the United States, followed by 15% vacationing in Europe.
- Lesbian couples are more likely to follow tradition, with a formal proposal, a walk down the aisle and one partner’s name being taken by both.
To celebrate Pride Month and the large number of gay weddings taking place, The Knot also launched its first set of special issues devoted to same-sex weddings on June 24 — Gay Weddings by The Knot . The Knot has been a huge supporter of marriage equality since it was founded in 1996. This free digital magazine features wedding inspiration, planning tips, advice from top experts, beautiful, original real weddings and more.
About The Knot The Knot is the nation’s leading wedding resource, reaching nearly every bride in America through the number 1 wedding website, TheKnot.com; The Knot national and local wedding magazines; The Knot book series; and syndicated columns in newspapers nationwide. The Knot is the flagship brand of XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO; www.xogroupinc.com), a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Follow The Knot on Twitter @theknot.
About Here Media Here Media Inc. produces and distributes niche content across all platforms worldwide. Here Media’s iconic brands distribute gay media with universal, humanistic appeal. Its distribution platforms include television, VOD, broadband, online, print and mobile.
Here Media owns and operates a variety of media assets, including:
- Iconic brands including OUT, The Advocate, Here TV and Gay.com.
- Web properties including Gay.com, Advocate.com, Out.com, OutTraveler.com and SheWired.com.