What Marriage Equality Looks Like in 2016

BY BTL STAFF

A 2016 Survey of Contemporary Couples & Current Wedding Trends reveals that same-sex weddings have become more elaborate. The amount that LGBT couples are choosing to spend on those celebrations has surged, too. These days, the average same-sex couple spends $11,000 on their wedding, according to the survey. Although that's $4,000 less than the average heterosexual couple spends, it's an 88 percent increase since 2013. The majority of same-sex couples (74 percent) are covering those costs on their own.

With that in mind, many inclusive vendors are invited to the Ultimate LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo to help couples with the planning of their special day. Read more online about the event hosted for the seventh year on March 26, 2017 from 12-4 p.m. at MotorCity Casino Hotel by Between The Lines and Pride Source Media Group. Visit www.btlweddingexpo.com, Facebook or follow @BTLexpo on Twitter and @BTLEXPO on Instagram for updates.

Dimitrius and Jeff Mitchell were married Aug. 13, 2016

"We met the way a lot of people seem to be meeting lately: online," said Jeff. "We talked on the phone for about four to five weeks. You could tell there was a connection. There were so many things we shared in common."

Read "Love is Patient, Love is Kind: Local Couple Details Path to Altar" in BTL Issue 2443 online.

Christina and Alicia Wilk were married June 21, 2016

"We were using all the wedding tools and realized so many didn't offer same-sex labels and same-sex specific vendors. I had to preface every inquiry with 'we are a same-sex couple so we would like to know if you support our love before we give you our money," said Christina. "It was almost like coming out all over again and all those emotions of fear, sadness, and hurtfulness rushing back again."

Read "Brides Celebrate a Perfect 'Just Us' Wedding in BTL Issue 2438 online.

Zack Ismail's and Ken Siver were married March 22, 2014

After their many years together, Siver and Ismail were among the 300 same-sex couples who were married on March 22, 2014, the one-day window when same-sex couples were legally able to marry in Michigan after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the state's prohibition on gay marriage. "We are so appreciative of Lisa Brown's pro-marriage equality stance and everything she did," Siver says. "But we were very happy to be the first couple married at Affirmations in Ferndale, with state Rep. Jeremy Moss as one of the witnesses."

Read "Couple's Great Love Makes History, In More Ways Than One" in BTL Issue 2409 online.

Cindy and Amy Hunter were married June 27, 2003

"I really had to stop and think, 'How do I feel about this person?'" Cindy says. "But Amy was still the same person, and I wanted to go through her experience with her. We stay together because we love each other - that hasn't changed."

Read "Couple's Marriage Proves That True Love Transcends Gender Identity" in BTL Issue 2411 online.

Rev. Jeffrey Seals and Antonio Johnson-Seals were married Jan. 18, 2014

Even in the faith community, acceptance isn't always automatic. According to Jeffrey, this lack of acceptance is often simply a lack of understanding. So he listens, lets people complain that he and Antonio shouldn't be together because it's a sin, but doesn't debate with them. "You believe what you believe," he says. "But once they're around us, people can see it's a strong love and they want that in their own lives. It's much more show than tell with us."

Read "Conversation Sparked Couple's Relationship, Communication Keeps It Strong" in BTL Issue 2411 online.

Amanda and Jamie Lehman-Faber were married May 29, 2016

"I guess the old saying is true -- opposites do attract. She works in finance and was one of the more recent transplants into New York City. Our instant connection was real despite my love for all that sparkles and shines and her love for the grunge of the East Village," said Amanda. "I always felt like I could be myself with her and knew early on into our relationship, there was no one else I wanted by my side on this journey we call life."

Read "Listless to Blissful: The Non-Traditional Bride(s)" in BTL Issue 2447 online.


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Special Section: Marriage
Listless to Blissful: The Non-Traditional Bride(s)

Amanda Lehman-Faber said she was never "that girl" -- the girl who dreamed and imagined every little detail of her wedding day.

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