A study conducted by economists at Emory University found that the amount of money spent on a couple’s wedding and engagement can pretty accurately predict whether divorce is on the horizon. The study, smugly titled “‘A Diamond Is Forever’ And Other Fairy Tales” (love it), surveyed over 3,000 people about their nuptial spending, controlling for aspects of their relationship and demographics. That survey found that couples who spend more on weddings and engagement rings are far less likely to stick it out for the long haul of marriage.
Couples who spend $2,000-$4,000 on an engagement ring are 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than couples who spend $500-$2,000. Oddly enough, couples who spend less than $500 are just as likely to get divorced as the big spenders — I’d really like to know whether that also applies to couples who opt not to get an engagement ring or whether they have a different projection altogether. As for wedding costs, couples who spent over $20,000 are 1.6 more likely to divorce than couples who spent $5,000-$10,000 on the big day. The thriftiest couples have even better statistics on their side — those who spend $1,000 or less boast an even lower divorce rate. Another indicator of marital success was the size of the wedding. Couples who had lots of guests in attendance were more likely to stay together.
The scientists don’t know why thriis correlation exists, but they’ve thrown out a few ideas, like the fact that a cheap wedding saves couples from a major financial strain in their marriage or that couples who opt for cheaper weddings are just great matches. I have to wonder if expensive weddings create a sense of pressure that infiltrates the marriage. Maybe they take away from the relationship and make the marriage more about pressure to fulfill an over-hyped ideal created by the extravagant wedding. Maybe it’s just that couples who spend less have more of a sense of long-term responsibility, in their finances and in other areas of their lives. Maybe not feeling the need to prove their love with an overpriced celebration means the stingier couples have a stronger connection.
Obviously, it would be ridiculous to assume your marriage is doomed if you had an expensive wedding, or even that there’s anything wrong with shelling out the price of a car for your big day if it means a lot to you. I have to assume that these divorces are a result of deeper problems in a relationship that started long before the wedding, and that the spending is just a symptom of that. I guess the thing to take from this is that if you’re in the middle of planning a wedding, err on the cheap side! [CNN]