Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Saturday 20 April |
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Why spending less on your wedding day is better for your marriage

wedding, bride, groom, kiss, couple

Taras Budniak | Pexels

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 05/20/22

Weddings have gotten ridiculously out-of-hand, and it turns out the excessive spending is not great for marriages.

If you’ve been paying attention to wedding trends in the past few decades, you’ve probably noticed that things have gotten ridiculously out-of-hand. It turns out that all the excess spending is actually quite bad for marriages. 

The average wedding costs almost $30,000, not even including the honeymoon. One in 8 couples spend more than $40,000 on their nuptials. 

You might think, “Well, if they’ve got the funds, why not? It is the biggest day of their lives!”

Actually, spending so much on a wedding is ill-advised, even if a couple has the funds. Here’s why.

It sets an unattainable standard

The impossibly high expectations for a wedding day are actually preventing many couples from getting married. 

I saw this first-hand when I spoke to a neighborhood pal who told me she didn’t have a wedding in the Church because a “big wedding” would be too expensive

This is absolutely heartbreaking, as she and her husband, who live together with their children, are missing out on the graces of the marriage sacrament because they think a Church wedding and party has to be extravagantly expensive. 

So the culture of excessive spending on weddings is actually preventing couples from getting married when they want to and very much should. This is frankly tragic. 

Not getting married at all is not the solution. The solution is making it commonplace to have a simple, low-cost wedding celebration.

In our grandparents’ day, the wedding Mass was followed by a bridal luncheon at the family home, or a community gathering with everyone pitching in what they could for the festivities. Whatever happened to these uncomplicated and unfussy wedding parties? 

The return of this kind of wedding celebration would be a refreshing change that would make getting married much more attainable for the average couple. 

It’s actually bad for the marriage

You might not find this first argument all that convincing. Why should a couple with the resources forgo an extravagant party just to set a good example?

Well, a new study uncovered an even more compelling reason. 

A simple wedding celebration is in a couple’s own best interests. It turns out that having a modest wedding party is actually better for their own marriage. 

New research shows that, by and large, the more you spend on your wedding, the shorter your marriage will be: “Marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.” 

In other words, 

Guys, dropping $2,000 to $4,000 on an engagement ring means you’re 1.3 times more likely to get divorced compared with the more frugal fellows who only allocate $500 to $2,000.

For both sexes, spending more than $20,000 on the wedding ups the odds of divorce by 3.5 times compared with couples who keep it between $5,000 and $10,000.

For the best odds, though, keep the festivities to less than $1,000.

I don’t know about you, but I found this result kind of shocking. I never would’ve guessed that expensive weddings were actually bad for marriages. 

But it makes sense when you consider that an extravagant wedding implies that the big day is the pinnacle and capstone of your lives. Instead, it’s much healthier to think of your wedding day as the foundational cornerstone of your relationship. It’s the beginning, not the culmination, of your life together.

So what are some ways to cut the costs on your wedding day? 

Hold your reception in the church hall, your parents’ backyard, or another inexpensive venue.

Create invitations and programs using Canva or another inexpensive program. 

Recruit friends and family to help create simple flower arrangements

Create your own music playlist instead of hiring a band or DJ. 

Shop thrift stores or your relatives’ attic storage for decorations. 

Serve food buffet-style instead of sit-down table service.

Get married during the Christmas or Easter season so the church is already beautifully decorated with flowers.

There are lots more great ideas over at A Practical Wedding.

It’s OK to skip the limo. It’s OK to skip the big weekend trip for the bachelor/bachelorette party. It’s OK to skip dancing if you’re not into it. It’s OK to do a brunch or lunch reception. It’s OK to keep the guest list short. 

Think outside the box. Ask yourself whether you’re doing something because you actually want to or because you feel that you “have to” because “everyone does it.”

And one last idea: If you opt for a simpler, less expensive wedding, I suggest you go all out to celebrate your anniversaries instead. If you ask me, it’s far more impressive to make it to 15 or 25 or 50 years of marriage than to have a wedding in the first place!

Catholic LifestyleWeddings
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.