We have updated our Privacy Policy to provide you a better online experience.

Does Spending Big on Wedding Mean Shorter Marriage?

Study suggests extravagant costs of engagement ring and wedding ceremony results in shorter marriage. AG family ministries leader advises to focus on long-term relationship instead.

A new study suggests that couples who spend an extravagant amount of money for an engagement ring and wedding ceremony will have a marriage that won’t last as long as those who are frugal regarding the trappings involved with their big day.

Emory University economists Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon examined data from 3,151 couples and concluded that lavish weddings don’t guarantee a fairy-tale marriage.

“Relatively high spending on the engagement ring is inversely associated with marriage duration among male respondents and relatively high spending on the wedding is inversely associated with marriage duration among female respondents,” the researchers reported. “Relatively low spending on the wedding is positively associated with duration among male and female respondents.”

Specifically, women who spent more than $20,000 on a wedding are 3½ times as likely to divorce as those who spent between $5,000 and $10,000, the study indicates. Furthermore, men who spend between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring are 1.3 times more likely to divorce than those who spend between $500 and $2,000.

“Spending $1,000 or less on the wedding is significantly associated with a decrease in the hazard of divorce in the sample of all persons,” Francis and Mialon wrote.

Roger Gibson, senior director of Adult and Family Ministries for the Assemblies of God, cautions couples about going overboard in the spending on a wedding ceremony.

"As wonderful as a wedding is, it last only for a brief time,” Gibson says. “Yet, God designed marriage to last a lifetime. You can't buy your way to a great marriage, but a couple who prioritizes their relationship with God and each other over ‘stuff’ will be well on their way to a lasting, loving marriage."

Factors that lower the risk of divorce include a relatively high household income, regular church attendance, and having a large number of wedding guests, the Emory researchers stated.

According to TheKnot.com, the average U.S. wedding cost $29,858 last year.


Article image used in accordance with Creative Commons license. Photo credit: jdickert, Flickr

John W. Kennedy

John W. Kennedy served as news editor of AG News from its inception in 2014 until retiring in 2023. He previously spent 15 years as news editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and seven years as news editor at Christianity Today.