Steven Petrow is the author of Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners and The New Gay Wedding and writes on this website every month as Hilton’s Modern Manners expert. This year he’ll be answering your questions about LGBT life, especially weddings, engagements, and anniversaries. Send him your questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who pays for the engagement rings when there are two brides?
Q: My girlfriend and I are planning to get married sometime in the future, but we haven’t really discussed any of the specifics. To get things rolling, I’d like to get her an engagement ring, but does that mean I should pay for it?
A: Yes, it does! It’s hard to imagine the alternative: You buy her the ring of her dreams, and then hand her an invoice for half the amount? No, I don’t think so. Of course, you could both decide to get rings or bands together, which would be very romantic. In that case, it would make sense to split the overall cost of both (or divide things as you have previously, which may or may not be 50/50).
Your question got me thinking, however, about same-sex weddings now that we are one year out from the Supreme Court ruling. According to a new Gallup Poll, more than 123,000 same-sex brides and grooms have tied the knot since June 2015. We’ve spent more than $1.3 B on weddings (and not just on rings).
The Knot and Logo also published a new study last month with some very interesting statistics about LGBT weddings. One year after the ruling, the fourth annual Weddings Study found that overall spending has increased 85% among LGBT men and 56% among LGBT women. That’s a big jump, and it reflects the fact that same-sex wedding spending is going up, up, up.
When it came to engagement rings, women’s average spending rose to $5,349 in 2016 from $3,163 in 2015. For the guys, the average cost is now $5,719, up from $2,250 in 2015. In fact, the average wedding cost for men (excluding honeymoon) nearly doubled: $33,822 in 2016, up from $18,242 the year before. For two brides, the average wedding spend is $25,334, up from $16,218 the year before.
I suggest you buy those rings sooner rather than later, the way prices seem to be rising. Oh, and congratulations to you both!
When gay men marry, who keeps his own name?
Q: My boyfriend and I are getting married next month, and he’s decided to take my last name. I know this is somewhat unusual, especially for two men, but what do I say to those who react with everything from a raised eyebrow to worse?
A: Well, you could arch yours in return (even a tad higher), or if any comments were made, mutter to yourself: “It’s none of your business.” But here’s what I’d suggest you actually say, depending on your circumstances:
– “We’re celebrating the fact that we now have this option. Changing his name is as much a political statement as an emotional one.” (You can also remind folks that it was equally edgy back in the 1970s for women to hold onto their maiden names after marriage.)
– “We were looking for a single name that establishes the fact that we’re a family, especially since we hope to have children.”
– “We’ve chosen to go with my name, because it’s easier to spell!” Or, easier to pronounce. Or, we simply like one better than the other.
For many reasons (primarily professional identity), most same-sex brides and grooms over 35 tend to keep their respective names after marrying. Younger ones are more likely to make a name change (primarily because of the kids to come), whether it’s hyphenating both last names, creating a new name altogether, or with one spouse taking his or her spouse’s family name.
My advice: Do what suits you both best. As for the rest of us, don’t judge others: A name is a very personal matter.