View Full Version : The cost of a wedding and the divorce rate

06-01-2016, 05:14 AM

If you're serving burgers and Bud Light at your backyard wedding, don't worry. You and your spouse may have the last laugh.
A new study found that couples who spend less on their wedding tend to have longer-lasting marriages than those who splurge. The study, by two economics professors at Emory University (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2501480), found a similar correlation between less-expensive engagement rings and lower divorce rates.
The study's authors didn't examine why, although they floated a few theories.
"It could be that the type of couples who have a ... (cheap wedding) are the type that are a perfect match for each other," said Professor Hugo M. Mialon, who co-authored the study with Andrew M. Francis.

"Or it could be that having an inexpensive wedding relieves young couples of financial burdens that may strain their marriage," he said.
The research was based on a detailed survey completed by 3,151 adults in the United States who are, or have been, married. The authors believe theirs is the first academic study to examine the correlation between wedding expenses and the length of marriages.

Specifically, the study found that women whose wedding cost more than $20,000 divorced at a rate roughly 1.6 times higher than women whose wedding cost between $5,000 and $10,000. And couples who spent $1,000 or less on their big day had a lower than average rate of divorce.
The study won't be cheered by the booming wedding industry, which encourages couples to spend freely on everything from invitations and flowers to videographers and Champagne. Couples in the United States spent an average of $29,858 for their big day in 2013 (http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/28/pf/average-wedding-cost/) -- a record high -- according to a survey of 13,000 brides and grooms by wedding website TheKnot.com.

"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," Francis told CNN in an e-mail.
"Overall, our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry's general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes," he said.

Planning a wedding? In addition to slashing costs, you might want to invite those extra co-workers and far-flung cousins, too. The Emory study also found that the greater the number of people who attend a wedding, the lower the rate of divorce.
"This could be evidence of a community effect, i.e., having more support from friends and family may help the couple to get through the challenges of marriage," Francis said. "Or this could be that the type of couples who have a lot of friends and family are also the type that tend not to divorce as much."

06-01-2016, 06:08 AM
The wedding 'industry'?

06-01-2016, 06:11 AM
The correlation between the cost of the wedding and the life of the marriage is something I've remarked on for years, based on observation.

06-01-2016, 06:14 AM
Put this on my "list of things that don't surprise me".

06-01-2016, 06:16 AM
One of my friends had a Church ceramony, juice and cookies in the hall, and they're going on 30+ years. I think that even beat the cost of a ladder and a trip to Nevada.

06-01-2016, 06:20 AM
Our wedding and reception was at Carol's Mum's house, just a great party with all our friends . 42 years and counting .

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-01-2016, 07:08 AM
£536.00 What are my chances?


06-01-2016, 07:15 AM
Thirty years this August, but we did spend a bit - about $5 or $6 thousand - on the wedding (mostly on booze & food for the big party for all our friends and relatives afterwards). I guess that I better start preparing for the demise of the marriage in the near future. Will somebody tell Maureen about this, please? I just don't have the heart to tell her that our marriage license has an expiry date.

06-01-2016, 07:23 AM
My wife and I spent all $3500 in our savings account on our wedding and reception. We had the benefit of a lot of friends who helped decorate, and got a pretty hefty discount of the reception at the Mobile Yacht Club (her club. I was and am a member of the Buccaneer YC). It wiped us out, and our 'honeymoon' was one night at a hotel about a mile from our apartment that my sailing buddies took up a collection and paid for. But you know, it was a nice day. It was what she wanted and it made her happy, and 34 years later I have to say it was worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I have had two daughters get married. I think the bill for both was about $20K US each. They were nice, simple weddings. Neither in a church, but both presided over by a pair of Methodist ministers (one a very old family friend, the other our pastor at the time). One was at the Five Rivers Center in the Mobile Delta, and the other in an ancient greenhouse on the Malbis Plantation site.

When my daughter Sarah was about to get married she was telling me that the average wedding in the US now costs over $40K US. It is a ridiculous expense and not one I could have imagined spending, but you know, we did spend what we could handle and it did certainly put a crimp on our household budget for some time. Was it worth it? You'd have to ask the kids, since this was all about them and their day.

Logic tells you it'd make much more sense for your parents to write you a check and send you on a cross-country trip or some sort of awesome experience to help you build some memories, but as I say, you'd have to ask my kids how they'd feel about that looking back. I myself would be curious to hear their answers.

Mickey Lake

Todd D
06-01-2016, 07:26 AM
$20.80. The $20 was the fee charged by the judge and the $0.80 was round trip bus fare for two to the county courthouse. No reception or honeymoon trip. 32 years and counting.

Norman Bernstein
06-01-2016, 07:58 AM
I paid nothing. My wedding, in 1973, was my mother-in-law's party, and her opportunity to show off to friends and family. At the time, SWMBO and I were living in a third floor walk-up in Boston, and going to college... we had nothing to do with the planning of the wedding... it was simply something we needed to drive down to NY for.

My MIL even planned our honeymoon. At the time, we were somewhat 'counter-culture', ourselves, but my MIL insisted that we honeymoon in Jamaica. She booked us into the Playboy Club Hotel, which, unbeknownst to us, was a really shabby dump on it's way to bankruptcy.... it was NOT a fun vacation. We felt MUCH better back in Boston, in our jeans and T-shirts, in our third floor walk-up apartment.

We did rake in about $6K in gifts, which we converted to a 1974 Toyota Celica, our first decent car.

On the other hand, I footed the bill for my older daughter's wedding, which was a really nice, and not 'over-done' affair at a local golf course.... very pleasant, no stress. SWMBO did the planning, but with my daughter's cooperation and approval (something that didn't really happen at my own wedding). I worked for months on the speech, and it came out quite well.

I have one more daughter to marry off, although I'm wondering when it might ever occur... she's too busy travelling the world right now, and temporarily based in London.

Dan McCosh
06-01-2016, 08:20 AM
I kind of crashed my son's wedding, who was about to get married in a local courthouse. That was 18 years ago. My daughter had a week-long affair at a resort. That was about 20 years ago. Two of my friends' daughters had rather lavish weddings, and got divorced before the end of the year.

06-01-2016, 08:41 AM
When I got married, 12 years ago, we spent $20K,or maybe $22K, on the reception. Rented a local hall, had a band that did us a solid ( was a friend of my brother, a musician). 120 guests. Took more in in envelopes than the party cost.


Too Little Time
06-01-2016, 08:42 AM
As Norman said parents generally pay for the wedding. While my wife's parents paid for our wedding, I have no idea how much it cost but it was not very fancy - reception was held in the church basement.

Our 2 daughters went to court houses and had a judge do the ceremony and paperwork.

Gib Etheridge
06-01-2016, 09:06 AM
We put the laundry in the washer at the laundromat, went next door to the gov't office and got hitched, went back and put the wet laundry in the drier and went to a friend's house for a glass of wine. 34 years, goin' strong.

ron ll
06-01-2016, 09:22 AM
We didn't get married. And we are still very happily together over 30 years later. Can't get cheaper than that. :D

CK 17
06-01-2016, 10:42 AM
I've never spent more than $2000 for any of my weddings.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-01-2016, 10:47 AM
I've never spent more than $2000 for any of my weddings.

Snap! And I am on no.3...

On the occasion of my third attempt, the bride said in response to the maid of honour's speech that she hopes to do better next time! :d

Bobby of Tulsa
06-01-2016, 10:51 AM
44 years the 9th day of this month, $10.00 for the licence and maybe $10.00 more at the wedding chapel.

06-01-2016, 11:22 AM
Paul and I married in the courthouse and had a small, family reception at a restaurant. The whole thing came to less then $2000, wedding dress included.

Bobby of Tulsa
06-01-2016, 11:31 AM
Forgot to say, we borrowed the ministers ring for the ceremony. She showed me her simple gold band this morning, I think it may have cost $35.00 she said I guess if this ever comes off they will have to cut it off. She is a diamond let me tell ya. I think she probably wore a cotton shirt and bell bottoms, about the same for me.

06-01-2016, 02:37 PM
My brother married between classes at UBC. His bride during her lunch hour. They rondeviewed @ the courthouse, we're married she back to work him back to class. Evening at a restaurant in Chinatown with a big pizza. They were broke. Ate Kraft Dinner 3 times a day for 5 years. This was almost 50 years ago.
Still together.

Keith Wilson
06-01-2016, 04:06 PM
Well, lessee - I think we might have spent maybe $1500, but that was 35 years ago, and that was more money then. It's worked out pretty well.

I think this is one of those 'correlation, not causation' things.

06-01-2016, 04:13 PM
Our reception was at my parent's house 30 years ago. My favorite memory is a photo of my cousin kicking a football to the nephews, holding a beer in his left hand, having just dropped the football in front of him, right leg extended as he kicks the ball. You won't get that memory at a fancy hall.

We lost him about 5 years later. I cherish that memory.

06-01-2016, 05:55 PM
We got married in March, not quite three months ago. For grins, we did get a copy of a bridal magazine. Oh my, the extravagant cowflap in a lot of the weddings! Some people spent more on engraved invitations than we spent on the wedding.

Our only rules were no Elvis impersonators, no dwarves, and I had to wear pants (no kilt)

We were married by my brother in a hotel suite overlooking Snoqualmie Falls in front of close friends and family. The entire wedding sat had dinner at one table.

It really couldn't have been better

Dan McCosh
06-01-2016, 05:58 PM
No weddings wearing sheets in a field of flowers? Went to quite a few of those.

06-01-2016, 06:00 PM
We got married in march too, 34 years ago and neither of us ever remember the anniversary unless reminded.
We married at home, in our rented house in the middle of a 3 day open house weekend. I still remember the fun, and Leroy, the unfortunate guest………….. a lamb on a spit…………delicious!:ycool:

06-01-2016, 06:02 PM
No weddings wearing sheets in a field of flowers? Went to quite a few of those.

but probably not in the last 30 years

06-01-2016, 06:07 PM
These days you might find this…...

or this

06-01-2016, 06:11 PM
Both the wife and i come from big ethnic families. Our wedding was around $10K back in 1970. Our daughter's wedding costs just about $30K and almost 300 guests. Those ethnic clans had grown some by then.But now they're mostly gone or moved on. My grand daughter's wedding will probably cost her dad a lot less in a few years.

I seriously doubt the cost of the wedding has much to do with survival rates; too many variables. That study is pseudo science.


06-01-2016, 06:13 PM
there are a lot of young people focused on the wedding and not on the marriage

06-01-2016, 06:18 PM
there are a lot of young people focused on the wedding and not on the marriage

Very true.

06-01-2016, 06:29 PM
there are a lot of young people focused on the wedding and not on the marriage

I was more focused on the wedding night.......... :)


Bob Adams
06-01-2016, 06:33 PM
One of my friends had a Church ceramony, juice and cookies in the hall, and they're going on 30+ years. I think that even beat the cost of a ladder and a trip to Nevada.

Pretty close to ours. 34 years...still together.

06-01-2016, 06:36 PM
I was more focused on the wedding night.......... :)


lots of times ain't nothing going on then

In the US, twenty-five percent don't


In the UK, it's more than fifty percent.


06-01-2016, 06:56 PM
I've never been a big drinker. I did like to share my weed with the girls so as to facilitate gettin' them in the mood...... :)

BTW; That's my theory as to why pot became so popular.... :)


Dan McCosh
06-01-2016, 07:00 PM
Don't actually remember the wedding much--that was 50 years ago.

Vince Brennan
06-01-2016, 09:17 PM
£536.00 What are my chances?


You are a truly fortunate man. She is lovely.

06-01-2016, 09:40 PM
The second time for both Andrew and I.
We both agreed no alcohol (save for the champagne for the toast and a limited supply of alcoholic punch).
The whole affair was short and sweet but we did want it to be special, elegant and so forth. So we did an afternoon high tea theme. Started at 1pm, we were married by 1.20pm, then we had a fun afternoon of just mixing it up with our guests…. towards the end, NutBush City Limits dance on the grass…thats sort of thing. It finished promptly at five as planned. All our guests have commented that they felt very relaxed and could "feel the love"!!! We asked for formal wear but had everything from a family of four in Hawaiian print, our photographer in flip flops (we call them "thongs" over here) right through to others wearing full suits. All up about $15,000 for everything but we really didnt bother to total it up. We blew out our budget of $10k though obviously. I recently sold my wedding dress and got $500 back on that!

We had the best day of our lives.
And we really love the feeling being married has given us.

Keith Wilson
06-01-2016, 09:49 PM
Our only rules were no Elvis impersonators, no dwarves, and I had to wear pants (no kilt)Wise decisions. :D

Dave Wright
06-01-2016, 10:01 PM
43 years. Pot luck in the park next to a relative's lake house. 35 bucks for the clergyman.

Jim Bow
06-02-2016, 12:50 AM
A Saturday morning 46 years ago. Catholic Church that had been decorated for another wedding that afternoon. The organist was there to practice, so she played us in. I palmed $10 to the priest. No mass.<br>
30 guests walked us back to the house I'd been living in. We had cake, my sister made it, Hills Bros coffee, and Budweiser beer. <br>
Climbed in my 53 VW and drove to Rockaway Beach OR for our honeymoon.<br>
$36.00 a night. A happy hippie couple. Hi my&nbsp;<br>
Went back there last summer. It's now a restored beach cottage. $180.00 a night!

06-02-2016, 01:30 AM
Our first night was spent camping in the sand hills behind the beach, the motel wouldn't take us in, the manager said we were too young and the ring was fake ! :d

06-02-2016, 01:48 AM
We got married at our former sailing club; a wonderful local club that some scumbags had torched a few years before, allowing us to build a shiny new club with the insurance money. My wife and her bridesmaids arrived on the yacht, and we left on the yacht.

It was a fantastic and cheap wedding, the only problem being that we had to leave by a specific time to get away from the pier before the tide got too low.

Dan McCosh
06-02-2016, 08:12 AM
Our only rules were no Elvis impersonators, no dwarves, and I had to wear pants (no kilt)

Been to a dwarf's wedding. They didn't have a problem with big people. Another friend was only five feet, and we were doing OK at the ceremony until the minister said he should "stand tall in the face of adversity", which caused a few of his close friends to lose it.