A study conducted by two Emory University economics professors provides more evidence, documented by formal research, that money can’t buy happiness, or to be more precise, that spending a lot of money on a lavish wedding doesn’t make a couple's future prospects for happiness any more likely than spending less. In fact, according to the findings of Professors Hugo Mialon and Andrew Francis, a couple that spends over $20,000 on their wedding is significantly less likely to have a happy future together than a couple who spends between $5000-$10,000 on their big day. What they found in their study of over 3000 individuals was that those couples that opted for the higher-cost weddings were 1.6 times more likely to divorce than those who paid under $10,000 for their weddings.
According to Mialon and Francis, theirs is the first academic study to examine the correlation between wedding expenses and the length of marriages. The wedding website TheKnot.com stated that a recent survey of 13,000 couples in the United States revealed that the average amount spent per wedding in 2013 was $29,858. Nearly15% of couples spent more than $40,000 on their wedding and related events, not including the honeymoon. Other big-ticket items that contribute to the expense include engagement rings (at an average of $5,598), reception bands ($3,469), flowers, and other decors ($2,069) and wedding photos ($2,440).
Explaining why so many couples over-spend, Professor Francis stated, "The wedding industry has long associated lavish weddings with longer-lasting marriages. Industry advertising has fueled norms that create the impression that spending large amounts on the wedding is a signal of commitment or is necessary for a marriage to be successful. Their findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry's general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes".
The study did find a correlation between the number of people who attended the wedding and the divorce rate. The greater the number of attendees, the lower the rate of divorce. Here are ways to minimize the possibility of divorce and maximize the likelihood of a happy marriage.
Many decide to marry while they are still in infatuation. In this stage, it seems literally inconceivable that either one of us could ever feel anything but adoration. This turns out to be rarely the case, very rarely.
But putting your attention on becoming the person of your dreams rather than hoping that a financial investment in your wedding will produce the real payoff.
The Emory University study didn’t offer any definitive reasons as to exactly why well-attended weddings correlated to fewer divorces, or why more expensive weddings did not correlate with more successful marriages. Feel free to draw your own conclusions. We’re in the relationship-enhancement business, not the wedding business and we don’t see them as being mutually exclusive. What determines the outcome has more to do with what you most value and where you put your energies. Weddings are a one-day event. Marriage is a life-long process. Hopefully.