Huge Weddings Lead to Better Marriage, Says New Study

So, your mom and in-laws have taken over your wedding planning and are threatening to turn it into a three-ring circus? Instead of cursing them beneath your breath and fighting them every step of the (chocolate waterfall) way, a new study suggests you should probably be grateful to them for turning your intimate affair into one filled with 300-plus guests whom you wouldn't know if you passed them on the street.

According to a report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, couples who have a large, formal wedding are more likely to be happy together later on in life. The authors of the study tracked 418 couples for five years from the date they tied the knot. After half a decade, it was discovered those who threw big weddings perceived themselves to be "happy" and thought less about splitting up when times got tough. Are you ordering 100 more invitations and going for the lobster?


The authors of the study made sure to mention something you may be thinking -- if a couple has a large wedding they're likely spending more money on that wedding, which means they -- or their parents -- are probably more well off than some others who struggle to make ends meet while married.

While we know money isn't everything, we have to also be logical and understand that one of the reasons couples divorce is because they can't see eye to eye on financial issues. If you have money, that's one less problem to have to contend with as husband and wife.

Another reason I could totally see this report holding water is because, when your family and friends are invested in your relationship and well-being, you are more likely to seek their advice and help if you should need it. And, let's face it, most of us need to consult with others from time to time because sustaining a strong marriage isn't easy.

I had a fairly large wedding -- not because my husband and I were opposed to running off to some remote island and eloping, but because my huge Italian family and his relatives and large network of childhood friends would have felt insulted and hurt if we left them out. Even after I thought our guest list was complete, we were both asked to invite additional people because our parents had relationships with those people -- and we had no problem doing so because we viewed our celebration as one that was as much for the people in our lives who would provide emotional support to us when we needed it as it was for us.

I've been married for 6 years and -- two babies, an apartment and a house later -- I definitely feel like a "happy" wife. I'm not going to lie -- there are moments when I've fantasized about living a stress-free life in solitude, where my only concerns are me, myself and I. I know for a fact that my husband has felt the same. I'm certainly not going to credit a large wedding with marital bliss because it's far more complicated than that. Plus, two of our best friends married on that remote island I mentioned earlier and they are the happiest couple you'll ever meet.

But when you realize your relationship isn't just about you -- that you have a whole guest list of people to answer to -- who will call you immediately when they hear something isn't right in paradise -- I feel you're more likely to take a deep breath and try again.

Do you think there's a link between having a big wedding and being a happy couple?


Image via Juice Images/Corbis

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