In 1964, Paul McCartney of the Beatles famously sang, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.” While Mr. McCartney’s sentiments were definitely a major foreshadowing of the hippie, free-love movement that was to come in the ‘60s, it appears as though he was also onto a big truth that wouldn’t be proven for another 50 years.
Seven years ago, researchers Hugo M. Mialon and Andrew Francis-Tan from Emory University embarked on the first study to determine whether spending a lot on a wedding or engagement ring meant a marriage would succeed or fail.
The pair wanted to see if the wedding industry was being honest when it came to claims that the more money a couple spends, the more likely they are to stay together.
“The wedding industry has consistently sought to link wedding spending with long-lasting marriages. This paper is the first to examine this relationship statistically,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers carried out online surveys with more than 3,000 ever-married people living in the United States.
After reviewing the answers to the questionnaire the researchers learned that spending big bucks on a wedding and engagement ring made a couple more likely to get divorced. The researchers determined that “marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.”
Conversely, they found that “relatively low spending on the wedding is positively associated with duration among male and female respondents.”
The researchers also found that the number of people who attend the wedding matters, too. The questionnaire revealed that “high wedding attendance and having a honeymoon (regardless of how much it cost) are generally positively associated with marriage duration.”
The researchers haven’t studied why people who splurge on weddings and rings have a greater chance of having to hire divorce lawyers, but they have a few theories.
“It could be that the type of couples who have a … (cheap wedding) are the type that are a perfect match for each other,” Mialon told CNN. “Or it could be that having an inexpensive wedding relieves young couples of financial burdens that may strain their marriage,” he added.
Francis-Tan believes that people who have weddings with a large number of attendees are more successful because they have a lot of support.
“This could be evidence of a community effect, i.e., having more support from friends and family may help the couple to get through the challenges of marriage,” Francis-Tan said. “Or this could be that the type of couples who have a lot of friends and family are also the type that tend not to divorce as much.”
Could it also be that people who put a big emphasis on a flashy wedding and jewelry tend to bit a bit more materialistic? It makes sense that couples that are really into keeping up appearances may not have their properties straight when it comes to building a loving relationship.
To finish things off with another pop music analogy, “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it,” (just make sure it’s an inexpensive one, in front of a lot of people, in your backyard).