Dan Furmansky, a same-sex marriage activist who runs a side business officiating weddings, says that he has already heard from several couples who got engaged since the referendum passed.

Furmansky, 38, the former director of Equality Maryland, the group that has lobbied for years for same-sex marriage, has presided over several weddings in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and the other few states that allow gays and lesbians to marry.

The weddings of same-sex couples are burnished with a certain intensity, Furmansky says, because each represents a personal and legal triumph.

"Because people have waited for so long, there are a lot of people who have been together 10, 20, 30 years," he said. "Many of them have their children, or their adult children, with them for the wedding. It's such a profound feeling because they've already been married for so many years in their hearts."

Furmansky's own wedding, this past Labor Day weekend, was in Massachusetts, far from his Silver Spring home.

"We were engaged for a year and a half," he said. "We weren't going to wait around to see what happened in Maryland because we were ready to be married then."

For Steve Lemmerman and his fiance, Stuart Parlier, the timing of the vote could not be better. The couple plans to throw an engagement party in a week and a half not far from their downtown apartment.

Parlier proposed to Lemmerman last summer on the dance floor of Grand Central, a Mount Vernon gay nightclub where Lemmerman works as a DJ. It was Lemmerman's 23rd birthday, and his mother, aunt and close friends had been secretly invited to watch the proposal.

But after the engagement, Parlier, 29, an academic coordinator at Johns Hopkins University, and Lemmerman shied away from planning the wedding before the vote.

"We were pretty dead set on holding off until we knew what the plan was for Maryland," said Lemmerman.

The men, who quickly fell in love after meeting three years ago, were certain that they wanted to be married, not to have a civil union.

"A civil union sounds like we live together and clean the house together," said Lemmerman. "I want to be treated equally, and 'separate but equal' has never worked."

Furmansky, the wedding officiant, said gay and lesbian couples planning weddings choose the traditions that feel meaningful to them and shed those that feel sexist or outdated.

Wolt, the NASA worker, said that he and his fiance are figuring out how to have a "big traditional wedding" that feels true to them.

"Just because we're both men doesn't mean we can't have a traditional wedding," he said.

Lemmerman, the DJ, and his fiance are engrossed in similar decisions.

"We're both going to wear tuxedos. No tossing a garter belt," he said. "I don't know about a bouquet. I'm sure he'd love to throw a bouquet, though."

The couple wears matching engagement rings, simple bands engraved with a line from a Radiohead song: "You are my center when I spin." And they have no shortage of help and support from their parents as they plan their ceremony,

"My mother has taken over so much of the engagement party, I'm a little nervous about the wedding," Lemmerman said with a laugh.

Navigating the politics