This summer, Brian and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. We were married in 2004 in the picnic grove in a state park, which we reserved for $50. I wore a bodice I bought on eBay, paired with a skirt made by Brian's mother, and a wreath of ivy on my head; Brian wore his good suit. We served a light lunch of sandwiches, fruit, cheese, punch, coffee/tea, and wedding cake, which we ate at picnic tables covered in dollar-store tablecloths and decorated with flowers from the local farmers' market. Planning this green and frugal ceremony, I often think, was what first got me interested in the topic of ecofrugality. (It was later featured in a story by American Public Media about wedding costs.)
All this has given me a lingering interest in the topic of weddings and, specifically, the cost of weddings. It led me to do a post on budget weddings (many of them ones that I learned about while planning my own) and a more recent one on how to find dresses for a beach wedding at a reasonable price.
So, naturally, I was interested when I first read about a study at Emory University that found the cost of a wedding is inversely related to the length of time the couple is likely to stay married. Spending big bucks on an engagement ring is also a predictor of shorter marriages. On the other hand, this doesn't mean a small private ceremony is the best way to start a lasting marriage; couples who didn't invite friends and family to their weddings were also more likely to end up divorced.
All this was so intriguing to me that I decided it was enough material for an entire Money Crashers article. In the piece, I go over the findings of the Emory study, one by one, and translate them into practical advice for couples. It's useful advice for anyone planning to get married in the near future, and interesting stuff to know for everyone else.