People have long been speculating over the recipe for a happy marriage, but a recent study has found that there is one thing that correlates to wedded bliss — a big wedding with a lengthy guest list.
The study, which was conducted by University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project, found that the more people that attended a couple’s wedding, the happier the couple was later on in the marriage. This largely has to do with the ceremony itself and the way it celebrates the joining of the couple and their families.
The authors of the study, Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley, looked at data collected from 418 people who were married between the years of 2007 and 2013.
Couples who had more than 150 guests at their wedding were 47% more likely to have a happy marriage. Couples who had between 51 and 149 guests at their wedding were 37% more likely to have a happy marriage, and couples who had fewer than 50 guests at their wedding were only 31% likely to have a happy marriage.
Since wedding costs are notoriously high — the average cost of a reception alone in the U.S. in 2012 was over $13,000 — some couples to balk at a growing guest list. However, the average length of an engagement is two years, which means that couples have plenty of time to plan the Big Day, even if it also has a big guest list.
“Places such as Deerfield who have a large ballroom often specialize in weddings of all sizes as well as have an event coordinator on staff for no additional cost,” said Jeff Robinson, sales and marketing director at Deerfield Golf Club. “When you have a big family and lots of friends attending, it provides the happy couple with a cheering section. If there is a correlation between size of the wedding and marriage success, then this may be the reason why.”
According to Business Insider, there are a few causalities that come into play here. One of them is that a ceremony helps cement the couple and their community and indicates that the couple has a good network of social relationships to begin with.
Additionally, rituals like having a formal ceremony and the white dress (which has been a trend since Queen Victoria started it in 1840) give meaning and purpose. Lastly, the public announcement and performative nature of a wedding can cause people to feel more compelled to uphold their word and commitment.
Throwing a big wedding could put some pressure on the wallet, but couples might now be able to justify that as an investment in many years of marital bliss.