Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level



General Human Environmental Sciences


Kelly A. Way

Committee Member

Robert Harrington

Second Committee Member

Jacquelyn D. Wiersma-Mosley


Social sciences, LGBTQ, Same-sex marriage, Wedding spending, Wedding traditions


This study investigated if there was a significant difference in the amount of money spent on same-sex weddings versus heterosexual weddings. The results of this study would assist both the wedding and hospitality industry by providing much needed financial and planning information.

A descriptive, four-section survey was distributed online via Qualtrics utilizing snowball sampling. A total of 152 respondents participated in the study; 84 heterosexual and 68 LGBTQ. The respondents completed the questionnaire that measured wedding traditions, wedding spending, obstacles and challenges faced during their wedding and wedding planning, and demographic information.

The results of this study indicated that same-sex couples getting married did not spend as much as heterosexuals. There were certain aspects of spending and traditions that were closely related including the areas of: purchasing food and beverage, purchasing a wedding ring, having a proposal and having a reception. Results also showed that neither group faced obstacles or had any challenges during the course of wedding planning. Lastly, the results revealed potential for increased wedding spending of same-sex couples as they can begin to plan their weddings now that 37 states have legalized same-sex marriage.

It is hoped the results from this study will lead to further research resulting in greater awareness of the same-sex wedding market and provide more information about this demographic to the hospitality and tourism industry due to the fact that LGBTQ weddings will provide an additional $33 billion to $46 billion in profit to the industry if all states become legal.