The secret to a long marriage could be starting life together with a big but cheap wedding.
Couples who spend tens of thousands of pounds on their big day or invite just a handful of friends and family are more likely to end up divorcing, a study has found.
Researchers discovered that ten per cent of marriages that started with a wedding costing more than £20,000 broke down within three years – twice the overall divorce rate of five per cent in that time.
They also found that 34 per cent of couples who had ten or fewer guests at their wedding ended up divorcing within a decade – again almost double the sample’s total rate.
The findings emerged in a survey commissioned by pro-marriage think-tank the Marriage Foundation.
Its research director, Harry Benson, said: ‘The data echoes previous research from the US suggesting expensive weddings can be bad for marriages because of the risk of debt.
But more guests are good for marriages because they affirm the choice to commit to one person and rule out all other choices.
‘Taken together, these findings deliver the clear message that marriage doesn’t have to cost the earth and couples should celebrate their special day with their friends and family where possible.’
The study of 2,000 people also contradicts a claim four years ago by the website Bridebook that the average cost of a wedding had risen to £30,000, not including the honeymoon.
The Marriage Foundation’s survey, conducted by Savanta ComRes, found the average cost of a wedding had risen from £3,729 in the 1960s to peak at £9,832 in 2010.
Since 2017, the average cost has been £8,957. The number of guests at a first wedding follows a similar pattern, rising from an average of 50 in the 1960s and peaking at 80 in the 1990s before dropping back to 50 since 2017.
Mr Benson said the latest results were significant because previous research had found almost one in three unmarried young adults said they would be more likely to tie the knot if the typical wedding was cheaper and smaller.
He added: ‘These figures bust the myth that wedding costs are out of control and routinely exceed £30,000.’
Sara Davison, a ‘divorce coach’ who helps couples cope with relationship breakdowns, said: ‘With some weddings it becomes more about having the wedding than about anything else.
‘So the wedding day, the big dress, the beautiful country manor house, all of those things can overshadow the real reason for getting married.
‘Then when the wedding day is over, you’re sitting there looking across the table at the person you’ve married and you’re thinking, “Well the wedding day was fun but this isn’t really matching up.”‘
Source: Daily Mail UK