Wedding cost vs marriage duration

Well, yeah, except it’s in direct proportion! A fancier coffin might hold up better under burial conditions, whereas a plain pine box would rot away and return its occupant to the earth a lot faster :D.

We had a very low-key wedding (magistrate, and a lunch afterward), 4 weeks after my brother married in a fairly large deal. I doubt it was the 1983 equivalent of 100,000, but there was a big rehearsal dinner, and a big country-club reception afterward. Also church-sanctioned (ours was not).

We are still married. They are not.

The movie “Father of the Bride” (the original) showed some excesses but was not too awful. The remake, with Steve Martin, showed the bride going really, really crazy for ridiculous stuff, and the father getting conned into permitting it because she (or the wife) batted their eyes and looked teary. We couldn’t even watch the whole thing.

My interest was sparked by a young man being interviewed on TV, He said something to the effect that his partner would not settle for anything less than a lavish wedding and reception. My immediate though, right or wrong, was ‘it won’t last’.

Forty years ago my wife and I got married on a budget, The vicar was a friend so the church was free; it was Easter so the church was already full of flowers. My lovely wife found a bargain dress in town and the reception was in a village hall, catered by friends and relatives.

Cras were not free but they were at least ‘mates rates’ and the honeymoon was at a small country hotel that was offering bargain weekend breaks.

Yeah, me too. Although both were scary and both were a hell of a lot of work, I think my daughter edged out the wedding day. As it should be.

I’ve heard more tales of Motherofthebridezilla than Bridezilla herself.

I just skimmed the paper, and I think this is exactly on target.

The authors used Amazon Mechanical Turk to pay people less than $1 to take the survey. They then used a variety of factors to try to weed out survey respondents who didn’t fit the profile they wanted (and weed out the garbage surveys). But right here you have a huge selection problem.

People who can actually afford a $20k+ wedding are not doing surveys on Mechanical Turk for $0.50. The combination of those two is very likely to select for people who have made poor financial decisions in the past, and bad financial decisions are a huge contributor to divorce.

BINGO! IMNSHO, it’s not so much the size of the wedding, as the attitude about the whole thing. Being a bridezilla (or, for that matter, a groomzilla) does not bode well.

Since you mentioned that, when my friend’s uncle died unexpectedly a few years ago, his funeral was delayed by a few days because the family placed an order for a casket painted official John Deere green, which cost an extra $2,000 for the paint job and express delivery, but they did it because he had told them that this was what he wanted.

I once had a receptionist who was a bit of a flake and dumb enough to give the other blondes a bad name. In her defense, she was seriously hot and had worked as a scantily clad spokesbabe for the local beer distributor at major events. Her on-again-off-again with her equally flaky BF was the stuff of office legend. Such lame people with lame thinking. They eventually decided to get hitched and arranged an all-expenses-paid week long destination wedding and party event for 50 of their “closest friends” on the far side of the USA.

I’m sure her Dad had not made the last payment on the loan or CC to pay for that shindig when the divorce was finalized.


Many years earlier while living in Las Vegas I had a different receptionist. Who was no rocket scientist but was down-to-earth and sweet as all get out. Her BF owned a small electrician service and moonlighted as an Elvis impersonator. They got married in a Vegas wedding chapel with him in his Elvis gear and her in a snazzy white dress despite her prior marriage and two kids in elementary school. My whole office attended and it was a real tearjerker - He sang Love Me Tender while playing his guitar during his walk up the aisle. That joint would marry you for $50. We held a reception back at the office on my nickel.

They’re still married ~30 years later. Though the chapel went out of business 10ish years ago. I walked by where it had been last weekend. When your marriage outlasts your wedding “church” you know you’re doing something right.

Well, I think spending a lot on drug paraphernalia pretty much ensures the “Happiest Day of Everyone’s Lives”…

By the way, I hope the simplistic thesis here turns out to hold true. Our wedding* and the two most recent weddings we’ve been to (daughter’s and niece’s) were all very DIY…and damn cheap.

*And we just celebrated our 33 1/3 anniversary (wife did not understand why I was giving her a very flat present).

I worked as a hotel banquet server when I was in college, and the first big party I ever worked was a wedding reception that included a sit-down dinner for 300. I asked a co-worker if they were always this way, and she replied, “No, thank heavens.”

Around the same time, “Hard Copy” or some similar program that was on at the time (early 1990s) had a story about a wedding reception that was ruined because the ceiling at the hall had caved in, several years earlier, and the wife was crying and saying, “We can never have another wedding reception!” IIRC, they could report on it because all the lawsuits had been settled; there were no serious injuries but a lot of property was damaged.

Darling, if that’s the worst thing that happens during your marriage, consider yourselves very fortunate.

A tad harsh - the ceiling falling in on one’s wedding reception is pretty upsetting. I think I could justify a bit of a cry over it.

At a cousin’s wedding the bride and groom did that thing where they each take a candle, light a third, and blow out the ones they’re holding. (Aw!) There was music playing, so they had to stand there until it finished. They just held hands, chatted quietly, chuckled a little. I loved that they had that private moment in a public ceremony.

They’ve been married about forty years and are still sickeningly adorable together.

Sure - a bit of a cry. But as the years pass, it will be a heck of a better story than the average reception memories.

We had a potluck reception in our back yard. Still together 35+ years later. I’ve been to very elegant weddings thinking “this won’t last” and they usually didn’t. A fancy wedding doesn’t guarantee a divorce and a cheap wedding doesn’t guarantee success, but it seems to me that those who put the most time, effort, and money into the wedding often aren’t prepared to work as hard on the marriage.

I sense a bit of bias on the part of the researchers in the referenced study, notably in remarks about the wedding industry “commodifying” weddings and the claim that said industry attempts to link spending on weddings with longevity of the marriage (if that’s the case, they did a poor job of documenting it).

Their conclusions fit my particular sample though.

Spending on our wedding cost in the hundreds (OK, it was the late '70s)*, with the major expense as I recall being the hiring of a magistrate (a local attorney who later gained notoriety as the defense lawyer in a highly publicized murder trial). Income at the time necessitated a low-cost engagement ring, though I did sneak the ring away from Mrs. J. many years later for a stone upgrade.

The study’s conclusions appeal to those of us who are revolted by lavish spending on celebrations of various kinds (weddings, gender reveal parties etc.) but I’m not so sure there’s a dependable association between wedding costs and marriage longevity.

*“According to a national survey conducted annually by the top wedding website TheKnot.com, the average wedding cost was $29,858 in 2013.” Sheesh!

I was unable to find the survey protocol, but it wouldn’t surprise me if TheKnot’s survey had the opposite selection problem: they’re going to focus more on people who are interested enough in wedding planning to be aware of the services provided by a wedding planning website.

At first you may have no idea what to pay, but I figure by the third or fourth time you have it dialled in.

What you spend it on matters, too, I think. My wedding cost a few thousand, like, IIRC, around $4,000. Half of it was for the caterer. My dress was not a typical wedding dress. It was just a nice dress, and it was new, but it cost about $25. The special “easy-brake” wine glass cost more.

We were more interested in our guests having a good time than we were in putting on a show. We didn’t release butterflies, or doves. The entire service lasted about 20 minutes. “Dodi Li” was sung by a music student from the Hillel who volunteered to do it. She did it beautifully, and didn’t want to be paid, so we made a donation to Mazon in her name.

Most of the wedding was our friends, dancing, eating, and talking. And the food was really, really good.

We didn’t make the attendants wear anything special. I had three, and I just told them to wear something they felt good in, and not to buy anything new, unless they were inclined to anyway. They were a little eclectic, but they all looked good. They were very different types, though, who would not have looked good in the same thing, nor even the same style.
Just had our 20th anniversary.

I think I knew we were really meant to be when we both confessed to the other how much we wanted to take the dogs with us on our honeymoon.

It was a road trip to the Grand Canyon, with three pretty big dogs. The smallest one weighed 70lbs.

Depends. Were they Quarter Pounders or Big Macs and did you have to share the fries?

When Desertwife and I got married back in 1985 we spent about $2,000 on the wedding and the party – we refused to call it a reception. The wedding was on a Thursday and included only family and a couple closest friends. The party was that Saturday and was over a hundred from the various circles we knew.

The party had a fancy cake but the wedding was a sheet cake with
Happiness is
Someone to love
Something to do
Something to look forward to

on it and the baker threw it in for free.

Sheesh - it was 1983! I’m lucky I remember it was McD’s… :rofl: