How same sex weddngs are changing the jewellery market

How same sex weddngs are changing the jewellery market  – words Alexa Wang

Same sex marriages were legalised in the UK in July 2013, after this the first marriage took place in March 2014. Since 2013, civil partnership formations have declined by 85% as couples choose to marry instead.

Same sex couples have their own traditions that they follow, but how are these affecting jewellery retailers who rely on the engagement ring then wedding band buying process? Angelic Diamonds, retailers of trilogy engagement rings, have provided us with further insight.


The legality of same sex marriages

Following the first same-sex marriage in the UK, 15,098 couples legally married under the new legislation up to 30th June 2015 — 55% of these were between women and 45% between men. In the first month alone of legalisation, 1,409 same-sex couples celebrated their love for each other with a wedding.

In America, same-sex couples can now legally wed in all states too. Researchers have already seen an effect of this — it was found that couples spend more on their weddings than they would on a civil partnership. Men were found to spend $15,580 more on average and women $9,116. Many wedding retailers are accommodating to the rise in same-sex marriages as well, by offering bespoke supplies such as his and his (and hers and hers) wedding toppers and signage. It is estimated that the same sex wedding industry is worth $51 billion (£38.8 billion).

There are some countries in which same-sex marriage is not legal. The first same sex wedding in Germany was very recently — in October 2017. Amongst others, Northern Ireland, Australia and Italy still haven’t legalised same-sex marriage.

Different traditions

As heterosexual marriage has been around for hundreds of years, traditions have become associated with a wedding. The man asks for approval from the woman’s parents, he purchases an engagement ring and proposes. At the wedding, the male has his groomsmen and women have their bridesmaids.

It was discovered that although gay men still propose, 81% of them didn’t purchase an engagement ring. Instead, they purchased substitute gifts, such as expensive watches, and then purchased rings for the wedding ceremony.

Same sex wedding ideas can be similar but different. In place of stag dos, research showed that same-sex couples went on a holiday with one another or with a group of their mutual friends. When it came to their wedding parties, the groomsmen and bridesmaids were often mixed sex too.

During the ceremony, the traditional vows cannot be written as they specify becoming ‘husband and wife’. Instead, the partners often write their own personal vows and the registrar marry the couple with the phrase ‘partners for life’.

Some traditions are still followed. For example, more than half of all women surveyed said that they did not see each other on the morning of their ceremony — keeping the surprise for seeing each other at the altar. When walking down the aisle was discussed, some couples reported that they walked down together and others said that they got a parent to walk with them.

The purchase of rings

As same-sex couples are not following the same traditions when it comes to ring buying, jewellers must accommodate. One thing that was picked up by research was that many gay couples chose to do their shopping online, as they found shopping in store for rings to be an awkward encounter. However, many businesses have embraced the changes by presenting gay couples in their advertising campaigns and welcoming couples to their store.

It was found that not all same-sex couples bought engagement rings and instead saved their money for a wedding band (66% of females and 19% of males purchased engagement rings).

When choosing their wedding band, some couples had special requirements. For example, a common request is a metal that has multi-coloured features to it — representative of the flag that the LGBTQ community associate themselves with. One jeweller reported that often same-sex couples don’t request matching jewellery but instead want rings that have matching components, such as the same coloured metal or a similar stone.

How same sex weddngs are changing the jewellery market  – words Alexa Wang




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