Spend Less On Your Wedding, Stay Married Longer?

By the numbers

I love numbers. Some of my favorite things at work involve taking metrics. I read an article yesterday that was chock-full of numbers and it made me revisit something I had previously written of, my “wedding”. A few months ago I had written an entry about being an Anti-Bride, a fact I’m comfortable with. A wedding didn’t seem practical for Mr. JD and I, and I was fine with that, but when I read the click-bait title of the article my stomach dropped.

“Study shows this is how much you should spend on a wedding to stay married!”

I did some googling to substantiate the study’s findings and much to my shock, it turns out that the less you spend on a wedding, the more likely it is that you and your spouse will make it as a couple! I thought it would be the exact opposite, I mean, if you drop $35,000 on a wedding, you’re going to make it stick, right? Not so much; here is a summary of the findings:

  • 1 in 8 couples will spend $40,000 on a wedding (WOW!)
  • The average wedding is $30,000. Now this I can verify. For about 100 people, depending on the venue, you could be looking at $2,500 – $6,500 (at least where I live), catering including table set up, service, bussing, etc, upwards of $6,000 if you want something decent, alcohol can run up to $5,000, decorations, flowers, dresses, the list goes on. My Rentals Manager ventured a guess to say our average 100 person wedding at our facility is around $30,000 including everything, and our rental prices are very affordable.
  • Gentlemen who spent $2,000-$4,000 on a engagement ring found themselves 1.3 times more likely to get divorced.
  • For both sexes, spending more than $20,000 on a wedding increases your chance of divorce 3.5 x.
  • For the best odds, keep your wedding to less than $1,000.

While this was totally unexpected, I took a look at couples I knew who have been married and divorced. I am probably too young to see the long lasting implications, but I can say my parents had a pretty big wedding and they will be divorced within the month.

Practically speaking, I would imaging some of the stress comes from the financial realization that you and your spouse just dropped a down payment on a house for a big party. Which is what I would choose to spent the money on, because being a homeowner is awesome (but stressful). Stress is real and with student loans, going into further debt just to get married does not sound fun. However, if you are lucky enough to have your parents chip in this might not apply.

I guess I’ve always been worried that, because Mr. JD and I didn’t care about a wedding, people thought we didn’t care about each other as much as people who have giant weddings. The numbers, however, speak for themselves—so elope, have a small ceremony, go to the courthouse—and don’t feel bad about it, but be sure to invite some friends because the study also shows that a small group at your ceremony is better than no group!

Again, this is a study and isn’t written in stone–and while my preference is to be more practical with nuptials, that is my opinion as well—I knew that before I wrote my Anti-Bride entry my opinion wouldn’t be shared by everyone—I know I’m the outlier in that sense, but it’s pretty cool to have numbers on my side! In the end, what’s important is that you and your spouse/partner are stronger and better together than you are apart, you respect each other and your marriage, and you are both committed to empowering each other to do the best you can for your family, community, etc.

Besides, if I have to plan something right now—I am really excited about it being a baby shower/gender reveal for my friend Julie. Stay tuned for more on that, I have some great ideas!


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