Same-sex marriage survey shows distinct trends in wedding planning

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July 15, 2013|By Douglas Nivens II, For The Baltimore Sun

In my quest to have a unique wedding, I learned how similar I was to everyone else. According to a recent survey conducted by and The Advocate. I am among the many same-sex couples who are more likely to pay for their own wedding (86%), evenly split wedding planning duties (55%) and keep their given surnames post-nuptials (62%) when compared to different-sex couples.

The survey continues with more statistical differences between same-sex and different-sex couples. Different-sex couples more likely host pre-wedding events, like a wedding shower (22%) or a bachelor/bachelorette parties (25%) as opposed to same-sex couples, who were more likely to hold post-wedding gatherings, like an after-party or a morning-after brunch (which would be totally awesome, but I doubt I’ll get a good turnout on a Monday). 

Interestingly, there are some traditions that continue regardless of orientation. Majorities of both couples have an engagement proposal of some sort, even though there is a large minority of same-sex couples who “just decide” to get married (40%). This makes sense considering the novelty of same-sex civil marriage. Asking on bended knee may be superfluous for a couple who have been together for decades and are already operating jointly as a household. Then again, having someone formally ask is a doting gesture (and I certainly wanted it).

The survey results weren’t a great surprise to me and probably many others. When one doesn’t grow up expecting to marry, with all of its unwritten rules and traditions, marriage takes on a different meaning. When I came out in high school, I longed to have a long-term boyfriend, not to walk down an aisle past crying aunts. I grew older, I saw the loss of marriage as not the absence of a big wedding, but the exclusion to spousal benefits and healthcare decision-making.

Many of those restrictions are now gone. Question 6 passed, DOMA Section 3 was struck down, and I finally found that long-term boyfriend I always wanted – joining the estimated 50 percent of same-sex couples in Maryland who will marry within the first three years of marriage equality.

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