Survey says spending under $1,000 on your wedding may increase your chance of divorce

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“It is such a happiness when good people get together – and they always do,” wrote Jane Austen about weddings. Yes, but how much will it cost, how many people will you invite – and, most importantly, will there be an open bar?

Novi Money surveyed 1,000 people who have married in the last 10 years about how much they spent on their wedding, how they paid for it, and how they felt about it all.

How much to spend?

“Money can’t buy you happiness, so you may as well give your money to us,” said newspaper columnist Dave Barry on the wedding industry.

But it seems like there’s a sweet spot in the spending – according to survey results, couples would do well not to  spend too much or too little.

Don’t be too cheap – or else

Interestingly, divorced people are about twice as likely to say they spent less than $1,000 on their first wedding — 40% of divorced people and 48% of remarried people say that’s what they spent, compared to just 22% of people who are still married.

Don’t go for broke

Then again, you needn’t spend too much, either. The majority of couples were reasonable; 60% of people say they spent under $10,000, and 44% spent less than $5,000 on their wedding. (The national average cost of a wedding is $33,931, according to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study.)

Spending too much can lead to marital strife: 82% of those who went into wedding debt said they found repaying it to be stressful.

Taking that line of thought even further, the survey found it is a source of conflict for 79% of marriages that ended in divorce.

Fun fact: one in 10 people surveyed skipped the wedding ring entirely. A little over a third (36%) spent $1,000 or less on the ring.

Ominously, divorced respondents were twice as likely to have skipped out on buying a ring.

Wedding costs spiral… easily

Keeping the cost of their wedding from ballooning and keeping to their budget was the most difficult part of getting married for 42% of respondents.

Even when couples tried to keep costs down, 46% found themselves with a wedding that cost more than they expected, generally in the range of $1,000-4,999.

When costs runneth over, one in three couples takes on debt. Relatedly, respondents who took on wedding debt were found to owe two and a half to four times more on consumer debt.

How are weddings paid for?

  • 30% were paid for with couples’ available cash
  • 28% were paid for by family
  • 19% were covered with debt – credit cards or personal loans
  • 15% were paid for with couples’ own savings

With all that in mind, don’t be self-conscious what other people think if you want to keep costs down and have a small, intimate affair for your nuptials.

As Judith Martin, aka “Miss Manners” wrote, “A small wedding is not necessarily one to which very few people are invited. It is one to which the person you are addressing is not invited.”