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Is an Expensive Wedding Likely to Result in a Successful Marriage?

A big, expensive wedding might be the dream of many engaged couples, but it's certainly not a guarantee of marital bliss, according to two economics professors at Emory University who carried out a study on marriage longevity rates. After controlling for a variety of demographic and relationship factors, they found that couples who spend less on their weddings typically stay together longer. In fact, divorce rates among those who spent more than $20,000 USD on their weddings were 1.6 times higher than those who spent between $5,000 and $10,000. Truly thrifty couples who managed to pull off their big day for less than $1,000 had lower-than-average divorce rates, according to the study. While the researchers weren't looking to determine the reasons for this correlation, they speculated that the big financial debt from a costly wedding could put a major strain on newlyweds, or it could simply be that the more frugal couples were better matched all along. They also found a correlation between having a large number of wedding guests and marriage longevity, suggesting that support from family and friends can help marriages to succeed. The study involved more than 3,000 married and formerly-married people in the United States.

Tying (and untying) the knot:

  • The marriage rate in America has dropped from 72 percent in 1960 to approximately 50 percent today.

  • On the other hand, divorce rates have also dropped; couples married in the 1990s are more likely to stay together longer than those who wed in the previous two decades.

  • In 1477, Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave his fiancĂ©e, Mary of Burgundy, the first known diamond engagement ring.

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