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Bernadette Coveney Smith Headshot

Who Pops The Question For A Gay Engagement?

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One of the cool things about gay weddings is that there are frequently two of everything. Two dresses or two tuxes. Two aisles. And yes, often two proposals and two engagement rings.

Think about it -- in a straight wedding, the guy saves up three months of his salary (thank you, Diamond Industry!) to buy an engagement ring. He may hire a Proposal Planner to craft the perfect engagement experience. He gets down on one knee, and well, you know the rest.

With gay weddings, anything goes. And I've heard it all.

Most of my clients have been together 10 or more years so they typically already wear rings. Their proposals may be highly unromantic and go something like this:

"Hey, now that it's legal to marry in New York, we should probably get married."
"Are you asking me to marry you?"
"I guess so."
"Sure, let's do it. We should really find a great gay wedding planner."

And then they call me.

I kid. Kind of. Point being, the legalization of same-sex marriage in a new state prompts a flurry of proposals -- and most of them are not what you'd expect from a traditional wedding.

Still, there is plenty of room for creativity. I love that same-sex couples who do have a proper "pop the question" type experience often get to experience it twice. See, most couples end up taking turns. If one partner is surprised, then the other partner is often surprised at a later date. And usually the answer is still "YES!"

The surprises are varied. I've had proposals out of Scrabble pieces, artwork, Trivial Pursuit cards, on top of the Space Needle. The same type of creativity that comes with straight engagements certainly applies here -- but twice!

What about the rings? Rosie bought her fiancée Michelle Rounds a big diamond engagement ring. Is that the expectation? It's not a clear cut answer.

Same-sex couples (male and female) who are the type to unromantically propose now that it's legal probably already have rings. In that case, they will often buy wedding bands to substitute for their existing rings, skipping over the engagement rings all together.

Some brides like Michelle (and my wife) get the big diamond engagement ring at their proposal. Some brides get cufflinks, a necklace or (like me) a beautiful, non-diamond engagement ring. Most grooms, however, stick with the one ring, and their proposal happens without an engagement ring -- though I've had a few sets of grooms who want the big diamond, but in their wedding band instead.

Now, isn't that twice as nice?