Money is known to be a point of contention in Massachusetts marriages even when it’s being put toward a good cause. Research has found that if you’re spending piles of money on your wedding, you’re more likely to get divorced. A 2014 study, published in Social Science Research Network, found that as the price tag for the wedding went up, the likelihood a couple would stay together went down.
Researchers found that for each jump in wedding price, the divorce rate shot up. Couples who spent $1,000 or less on their wedding were 53 percent less likely to get divorced, while those who spent anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 were 18 percent less likely to part ways. On the other end of the spectrum, if a couple dropped $10,000 to $20,000 on their big day, the marriage was 29 percent more likely to end in divorce. And blowing over $20,000 on a wedding made couples 46 percent more likely to split.
These numbers don’t bode well for many Americans, as the average wedding cost—according to The Knot—is $33,900, including the price of the engagement ring. The study suggested that the financial burden that accompanies such extravagant weddings could be the cause of these splits. Beginning a marriage with money stress is a rocky foundation to build on.
“Inevitably, every married couple is going to face difficult financial decisions—buying a house, public versus private school for the kids, retirement savings, etc.,” says attorney Derek Bradford, a founding partner of Bradford & Gordon. “If you can start off on firm financial footing—and not incur debt with your wedding—then it gives you some time to learn about each other’s approach to money and hopefully be better prepared to make those important financial decisions together.”
Additionally, spending a significant chunk of money on the wedding can signal that one or both of the partners don’t have their priorities straight. “If a couple is focused only on the materialistic/monetary aspect of things, it brings into question their values of one another and what they emotionally bring to the table and the relationship. Using a big extravagant party to show how great their relationship is often reflects that there might be more flaws than they are willing to admit,” says relationship expert Lauren Peacock, the author of Female. Likes Cheese. Comes with Dog.: Stories About Divorce, Dating, and Saying “I Do.”
Peacock also mentions the role that pressure can play on a wedding and, ultimately, marriage. “Weddings that have a lot of money behind them typically have a lot more pressure behind them—whether it’s social pressure or family pressure,” she notes. “Sometimes that takes away from the bride or groom really knowing what they really want for themselves, if they are allowing outside influences.”
Oddly enough, the study found that larger weddings equated to a higher likelihood of the couple remaining married. Couples who had one to ten people at their wedding were 35 percent less likely to get divorced than those that just got married on their own. The likelihood of divorce dropped as more guests were tacked on to the guest list: Pairs that invited 200 or more guests to their wedding were 92 percent less likely to get divorced than couples that got married alone.
So, if you follow the study’s logic, you want your wedding to be cost-effective, but you also want it to be on the larger side—a tricky proposition for any couple.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.