Flickr Photo by Paul Papadimitriou
Flickr Photo by Paul Papadimitriou

It’s June, folks.  You know what that means? Wedding season is upon us.

That means ladies in white dresses or colorful lenghas and sarees.

It means floral centerpieces, open bars and horse carriages.  Rehearsal dinners and post-wedding brunches.  A photo booth, photographers and cinematography (because videography is no longer acceptable).

It means an unspeakable number of trees will be killed for invitations inked in gold.

Anything less and your friends and relatives will feel offended.  You (your parents) can’t have that.  It would be social suicide for your family to have anyone say the following about your wedding:

“Can you believe they had their wedding in a BARN?!?!”

“There was no air conditioning.”

 “I didn’t like her dress.  It didn’t feel like a wedding gown to me.”

“The wedding speeches were too long.”

“The ceremony was too long.”

“They had a female priest.”

“There wasn’t enough food.”

“There was too much food.”

“Dinner wasn’t served until 10:30pm.”

“Oh my God, the groom invited his ex-girlfriend (the bride invited her ex-boyfriend)!”

Their love child was at the altar with them.  I mean, why bother at that point?”

Because the most important thing about your wedding day is how comfortable your guests are.

Hey…

What are we talking about here? Weddings?

Yeah, weddings!  That really important life ritual where you and your partner promise to spend the rest of your lives together in a monogamous relationship without killing each other.

When did we forget that?  When did we forget that this precious moment is really just supposed to be about two people making a promise to each other?

 

When and how did things get so out of hand?

In 2014, Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon of Emory University put out the first known study examining the link between wedding costs and the duration of marriage.  They argue that consumerism and the wedding industry’s successful attempts to commodify love and romance are to blame for rising wedding costs.  De Beers, the global diamond company, added fuel to the flames with their “a diamond is forever” slogan in the 1930s that eventually morphed into “isn’t two months’ salary a small price to pay for something that lasts forever?” in the 1980s.

It was brilliant.  As a result of their genius advertising strategy, diamonds went from being purchased for only 10% of engagement rings before World War II to 80% by the end of the century.

Bravo, De Beers.

Worse, what this vile industry has come to tell us is that the more money you spend on your wedding, the longer and happier your marriage will be.

But guess what Francis and Mialon found?

  • Not only is there little evidence showing a positive relationship between the amount of money spent on both the engagement ring and wedding and the duration of marriage but their research shows that relatively higher wedding costs are related to shorter marriages
  • Brides who spend more than $20K on their weddings are 3.5 times more likely to get divorced than their counterparts who spend less than $10K
  • Men who spend between $2-4K on an engagement ring are 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than men who spend between $500-2K

Bottom line: There is no merit to the wedding industry’s message that expensive weddings are directly related to positive marital outcomes.  If anything, given the wealth of literature already linking economic stress to the dissolution of marriages, it’s reasonable to conclude that increased wedding expenses actually raise the likelihood of divorce.

Other theories include the possibility that thrifty couples choosing inexpensive weddings are a perfect match for each other.  Or couples that are big spenders may be more interested in the idea of having a big day or simply spending beyond their means.  Thus, poor habits established at the beginning of a relationship will most likely continue later on, an automatic set up for disaster.

Now, before you throw your champagne glass at me, let me share some more:

  • Across both genders, spending less than $1000 on the wedding is significantly associated with a decrease in the risk of divorce compared to couples who spend between $5-10K (53% less likely, according to Randal Olson who crunched the numbers in Francis and Mialon’s report)
  • Having a large wedding guest list, going on a honeymoon no matter the cost and having a relatively higher household income are all associated with a lower likelihood of divorce

In a nutshell, having a wedding that is relatively inexpensive and highly attended are your best odds for a long marriage.  And what better way to save on wedding costs than by getting eloped?

Intimate Wedding Inspirations

 

Introducing ADNY’s Intimate Wedding Inspirations

Call me crazy, but I think couples should focus on their wedding day being about them.  A long time ago, elopements used to mean trips to Vegas and Elvis-themed chapels.  But today they’ve evolved into small weddings that can still be planned, intimate, inclusive and tailored.  An ideal option for those who have their priorities in order.

Stay tuned this summer at A Desi New Yorker for budget-friendly elopement posts covering:

…and much more!

Takeaway:

Stop reading bridal magazines.  A large rock and expensive wedding are not connected to marital bliss.  Cutting the budget and developing your relationship skill set are.  And I’m going to help you with both.

Resources:

Francis-Tan, A. and Mialon, H. M. (2015), “A DIAMOND IS FOREVER” AND OTHER FAIRY TALES: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEDDING EXPENSES AND MARRIAGE DURATION. Economic Inquiry, 53: 1919–1930.

Fottrell, Quentin. “The Larger the Rock, the Rockier the Marriage.” Market Watch, 04 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 June 2016. <http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-larger-the-rock-the-rockier-the-marriage-2014-10-15>.

Griggs, Brandon. “Want a Happy Marriage? Have a Big, Cheap Wedding.” CNN., 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 June 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/13/living/wedding-expenses-study/>.

Walsh, Meghan. “Why Spending Less on Your Wedding Could save Your Marriage.” PBS, 13 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 June 2016. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/spending-less-wedding-save-marriage/>.


This is the first post in the ADNY Intimate Wedding Inspirations series.  Never miss a post!  If you’re not already subscribed, sign up to get new posts delivered straight to your inbox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.