LGBT Couples' Wedding Spending Soars

By Jan Stevenson

Over the past year since marriage equality became the law of the land, LGBT couples are spending a lot more on weddings, and family acceptance of same-sex marriages is up dramatically, according to a recent study.

Male couples increased their average spending on their wedding ceremony and reception to $33,822 since June 2015, up 85 percent, and female couples increased their average spending by 56 percent to $25,334.

The study also found that more couples are seeking permission from their partner's family before proposing. Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the U.S., 15 percent of men and 10 percent of women reported feeling more pressure to get married.

The study was conducted by the national wedding magazine The Knot, in collaboration with Logo, an LGBT entertainment brand within the Viacom Music & Entertainment Group. They surveyed 979 LGBT people in the U.S. who were either married or engaged to be married. This is the fourth annual such survey.

Some local wedding experts have seen similar trends, with significant increases in the number of same-sex couples buying from them, and the amount of money couples are investing in their rings and weddings.

"I think that before (last June) a lot of people were hiding - they were not out at work. So now that it is more accepted they can splash it out a little more," said Tilla Abel, designer and metal smith at Miner's Den Jewelers in Royal Oak. "We are especially seeing it more with couples that have been together a long time - like for decades. They may have a ring they've been wearing for years, and we help to up-cycle it to their next ring - their wedding ring."

Nationally, the average engagement ring price for same-sex couples more than doubled in the last year to $5,719 for men and $5,349 for women, according to the study.

"I've been seeing where LGBT couples are going all out - just like the straight people are doing," said Jim Ankofski, owner of Pastry Palace Bakeries in Wixom, a gay-owned bakery that has created cakes for numerous same-sex weddings. "I just did the cake for two gentlemen's wedding at the Colony Club in Detroit with over 200 guests and the whole event was magnificent."

Ankofski said that the most elaborate weddings he's seen have been of older couples who are together longer. "I guess it makes sense. If you're a little older and have been able to accumulate some money, then you'd have it to spend on a wedding," said Ankofski.

In the LGBT community couples pay the majority of their wedding ceremony and reception costs. The study found that over 70 percent of the responding couples paid for most of the cost of their wedding, reception and honeymoon. Twenty-three percent of LGBT couples reported the majority of their wedding receptions were paid for by their families.

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