This 2014 paper from Francis & Mialon has lots of fun data in it; you can see why it has been downloaded over 40,000 times. They say it is the first study to examine the link between wedding expenses and marriage duration. They end up with a conclusion that probably isn’t too surprising but, hey, now you have science on your side in any future discussions.
In 1959, Bride’s recommended that couples set aside 2 months to prepare for their wedding […] By the 1990s, the magazine recommended 12 months of wedding preparation
Some of the key findings
- “spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring is associated with a 1.3 times greater hazard of divorce as compared to spending between $500 and $2,000.”
- “spending $1,000 or less on the wedding is significantly associated with a decrease in the hazard of divorce”
- “spending $20,000 or more on the wedding is associated with an increase in the hazard of divorce”
- “going on a honeymoon […] significantly associated with a lower hazard of divorce”
Thus the evidence suggests that the types of weddings associated with lower likelihood of divorce are those that are relatively inexpensive but are high in attendance.
The authors theorise that the underlying cause is that higher wedding expenses cause more financial stress which is a known factor in higher divorce rates.
I reckon that just confirms something many believe anyway: cheap & cheerful all the way.