I am sure everyone has seen an episode or a commercial for the TV show Bridezilla. I watched a couple of episodes of this show right before my wedding in 2006 and knew right away that expensive weddings were not for me.

Instead, I made my own dress, had a potluck, and planned the wedding at my home church. Lots of friends and family showed up, and everyone had a good time. I was also very happy that my husband and I did not spend a lot of money.

This is a good thing considering a study has shown that the more money that is spent on a wedding, the higher the likelihood of divorce.

The study was co-authored by two economics professors at Emory University, Professor Hugo M. Mialon, and Andrew M. Francis.

The research was based on a detailed survey completed by over 3,000 people who are or had been married once in their lives.

Wedding_dance_of_Azerbaijanian_couple Wikimedia

Specifically, the study found that women whose wedding cost more than $20,000 divorced at a rate roughly 1.6 times higher than women whose wedding cost between $5,000 and $10,000. And couples who spent $1,000 or less on their big day had a lower than average rate of divorce. (CNN)

This is interesting information considering couples in the United States spent an average of $29,858 for their big day in 2013– a record high — according to a survey of 13,000 brides and grooms by wedding website TheKnot.com.

Spending so much on one life event has become the norm, much to the delight of the wedding industry.

“The wedding industry has long associated lavish weddings with longer-lasting marriages. Industry advertising has fueled norms that create the impression that spending large amounts on the wedding is a signal of commitment or is necessary for a marriage to be successful. Overall, our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes,” Francis told CNN in an e-mail.


The amount of money spent on the engagement ring also plays a role in the longevity of the wedding.

Guys, dropping $2,000 to $4,000 on an engagement ring means you’re 1.3 times more likely to get divorced compared with the more frugal fellows who only allocate $500 to $2,000. (PBS)

However, when cutting wedding costs, do not limit the amount of guests. The study also found that married couples that had larger weddings had a higher chance of a successful marriage.

“This could be evidence of a community effect, i.e., having more support from friends and family may help the couple to get through the challenges of marriage,” Francis said. “Or this could be that the type of couples who have a lot of friends and family are also the type that tend not to divorce as much.” (CNN)

Arab_Christian_wedding_party Wikipedia

It is important to note that even the lead authors of the study are unsure as to why there is a correlation between the amount of money spent on the wedding and the marriage’s chance of success.

I, for one, am happy my wedding did not bankrupt us. I am also happy all my family and friends were able to celebrate with me.

How expensive was your wedding?