If You Did This at Your Wedding, You're More Likely to Get Divorced
One study has found a common trait among married couples who split.
Planning your wedding day can be both time-consuming and expensive. And unfortunately, a substantial number of marriages end in divorce, which can take up a lot of your time and money, too, aside from the heartbreak. In the U.S., the average cost of a divorce in 2019 was around $12,900, but it can reach more than $23,000, according to The Ascent. While couples may decide to end their marriage for many different reasons, there are some telltale signs that you're headed in that direction. In fact, one study indicates that your wedding itself might provide some clues as to your chances of getting divorced. Read on to find out what wedding behavior could signal a separation down the line.
If you spent a lot of money at your wedding, you're more likely to get divorced.
You might want to watch how much money you put down for your big day. A 2014 study published in Social Science Research Network looked at the weddings and marriages of more than 3,000 people in the U.S., and found that the price of a wedding is likely to play into your chances of future separation. According to the study, recently married couples who spent more than $20,000 on their wedding were 46 percent more likely to split than those who spent around $5,000 to $10,000. And those who spent $10,000 to $20,000 were 29 percent more likely to get divorced than those who spent in that mid-range cost.
There could be more than one reason why cheaper weddings provide more stable marriages.
Spending less than this mid-range might decrease your chances of splitting in the future as well. According to the study, recently married couples who spent just $1,000 or less on their wedding were 54 percent less likely to get divorced compared to those who spent around $5,000 and $10,000. And those who spent anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 were 19 percent less likely to get divorced.
The researchers for the study did not conclude exactly why cheaper weddings might produce more stable marriages, but there are a number of possible explanations. "It could be that the type of couples who have a [cheap wedding] are the type that are a perfect match for each other," study co-author Hugo M. Mialon, PhD, an economics professor at Emory University, told CNN. "Or it could be that having an inexpensive wedding relieves young couples of financial burdens that may strain their marriage."
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There are other factors related to your wedding that can up your chance of divorce.
According to the study, spending more on the engagement ring was also a sign that you're more likely to end up divorced. The researchers found that spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring was associated with a 1.3 times higher risk of divorce compared to spending between $500 and $2,000. But surprisingly, the more people that attend your wedding, the less likely you are to get a divorce, per the study.
"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," study co-author Andrew M. Francis, PhD, a professor in the economic department at Emory, told CNN. "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."
The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is rather high.
This isn't necessarily good news for U.S. couples. According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in 2020 was $19,000—which, despite being high enough to increase divorce risk, was down from years prior, largely due to the impacts of the COVID pandemic. In 2019, the average cost of a wedding (for both the ceremony and the reception) was $28,000. The cost of 2021 weddings is expected to be around this level or even higher, per The Knot. And according to the researchers behind the 2019 study, the wedding industry is likely to blame for this.
"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.
He added, "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."