On the heels of historic same-sex rulings in the United States this week, wedding-industry vendors should be licking their chops.
Here in Canada, eight years after gay marriage was legalized nationally, same-sex weddings have become an economic bonanza for the industry: nearly $567-million is one potential estimate, according to a new report titled “The Same Sex Wedding Gift to the Economy.”
“There is potential for these earnings out there. It would be in any business’s best interest to accept new business and promote themselves as [being gay-friendly],” said Penelope Graham, the editor of Toronto-based financial rates comparison website RateSupermarket.ca, which crunched the numbers.
With the average Canadian wedding setting couples back $26,961, multiplied by the 21,015 same sex-marriages recorded by Statistics Canada as of 2011, the financial bonus for the $4-billion-a-year wedding industry could be huge.
The Canadian nuptials industry has twigged to the demographic: “Wedding vendors have embraced this marketplace. It’s been 10 years,” says Alison McGill, editor-in-chief of Weddingbells, referring to the year same-sex unions started being legalized provincially. Her magazine has seen a boost in readership as well.
While he says figures on the cost of an average same-sex wedding are still forthcoming, David Toussaint, author of The Gay Couple’s Guide to Wedding Planning, says the gay market is especially lucrative for a number of reasons.
“Gay men and women tend to get married older than straight couples. They tend to have more disposable income because they tend to both be working. This is changing, but they also used to not have children,” says Toussaint.
He adds that gay couples generally pay for their own celebrations, and as such, they write the rules. “Gay men and women want to make a statement. Part of that statement is going all out and having a very expensive, formal wedding. They’re doing very extravagant things and making sure it’s in the paper. They’re really doing it to be noticed, as opposed to the backyard with a few friends.”