According to a recent study highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, two economists at Emory University identified a correlation between expensive weddings and high divorce rates. In addition, the researchers also noted a connection between the price of the engagement ring and the rate of divorce. The more expensive the ring, the more often the marriage ends in divorce. Despite the statistical link between an expensive wedding or engagement ring and a subsequent divorce; the researchers were not able to conclude that the price of the wedding or the engagement ring was the cause of the divorce.
The Knot, a popular website used by brides to plan their dream weddings, reports that the average U.S. wedding costs approximately $30,000. The wedding industry today is brings in roughly $52 billion dollars in revenue each year. As a result, the industry pushes the idea that expensive weddings result in long-lasting happy marriages. In addition, the more the couple spends on their special day, the more they must love each other and want to share their joy with friends and family. Although the economists discovered that high attendance at less expensive weddings is actually correlated to a long-term marriage, the price for wedding guests to attend the wedding (often priced per person) is typically the most expensive part of a wedding.
The study conducted by the economists tends to disprove the message perpetrated by the wedding industry based on the following findings:
Cost of the Engagement Ring: Couples who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring are 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than couples who spent between $500 and $2,000 on an engagement in. It looks like less is more when it comes to the ring after all.
Cost of the Wedding: Couples who spent $20,000 or more on the wedding were 1.6 times more likely to get divorced.
Common Factors in Long-Term Marriages: High wedding attendance, taking a honeymoon, relatively high household income, regular attendance of religious services, and having at least one child together.
These initial findings are interesting, but the economists are not finished with their work on this subject. They are discussing additional research which dives deeper into specific populations and following couples through multiple stages of their relationship.