Huge Weddings Lead to Better Marriage, Says New Study

Stats 9

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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TNRCa... TNRCatLady

Sure it could be true for some people but definitely not all. I had a tiny ceremony with just me and my husband's siblings, parents and grandparents. We didn't do it because of lack of money it's just what we preferred. I hate crowds and family is what matters to us. It was perfect for us and we are still incredibly happy together. A lot of people I know who had huge weddings aren't even together anymore, they were more about showing off with a big, fancy wedding than actually caring about the whole point of a wedding-two people getting married. Everybody's different and I definitely don't think it's that cut and dry. Some people love the big weddings and their marriages end up great and others not so much.

tbruc... tbrucemom

TNRCatlady-I agree. I think those that have a big showy wedding sometimes do it just for that and don't think about the actual marriage. I also think they probably are more shallow.

the4m... the4mutts

If I had a big wedding, I would have ran away half way down the aisle! I do NOT enjoy having my private moments be viewed by hundreds of people.

nonmember avatar randi

Big wedding equals more money equals more education equals more general satisfaction in life equals better marriages. But don't expect readers of CafeMom to understand that.

jec72579 jec72579

Okay, I'm sorry to say this, but when you ask couples after ONLY 5 years, of course they are mostly going to be happy!!! So was I after that long! !!!

But I am a very happily divorced mom now!!! 


tbruc... tbrucemom

randi-wow you are very pretentious. Some people that have big weddings really can't afford them but they'll mortgage a house to pay for it. Lots of people that made a lot of money didn't have a formal education. Don't know why you think more education means more satisfaction in life. And then you diss the readers of the website. I'm going to add that you're also a troll.

2cent... 2centsCDN

I think I would put more stock in a study like this if it covered a longer period of time. Five years is really not that long of a time considering the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is 8 years. In the long run I don't think the size of a wedding determines longevity.

Darnell Davis

We spent $22 to get married at the court house in the judges chambers. The only ones there were me, my husband, my mother, and my step father. And come October we will be married for 28 yrs. Happily married!!! It's the people involved in the marriage, not how they got married matters. When we hit 30, then we will have a party with friends and family, because to us after 30 yrs we earned the big party lol.

Karen Macdonald

Had a small wedding wih a reception at home. My nieghbor made my dress, family members cooked, sister-in-law made the cake, brothers-in-law tended bar, friend was the photographer. We are extremely happily married 45 years later. Five kids, 7 grandkids, 6, going on 7, great grandkids. Not the size of the wedding but the size of the love and commitment.


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