Think a small intimate wedding is the way to go? Think again.
If you are planning a wedding and thinking about just eloping…DON’T.
Not because you might disappoint your family, but because it means you will have an unhappy marriage. Because science.
Same goes for how many people you invite to your wedding. Put simply, you want those annoying relatives (who you don’t want at your wedding) to RSVP yes. And to bring their friends.
A recent study by The National Marriage Project, at the University of Denver, discovered that your happily-ever-after is affected by your guest list. Or lack of.
They surveyed 418 couples who said “I do” over a period of 5 years and checked on how happy they were with their marriage.
First finding. Don’t elope! It doesn’t matter if you mother-in-law is driving you crazy over ‘convincing’ you to wear her smelly vintage veil, or if you are thinking of slapping your mum over table-seating arrangements.
Those who eloped were not as happy in their marriage as those who had a wedding. According to the study, 41% of those who had a wedding were in the top happily-ever-after category. While only 28% of those who eloped were happy. Turns out being married by Elvis is only fun at the time.
Moving onto the wedding.
Your guest list matters. A lot. (Wedding companies and reception locations are currently rejoicing at this news.)
If you have more than 150 guests at your wedding, you might have a headache after finishing the seating chart, but you will be part of the 47% of married couples who are in the top happily-ever-after category.
As your guest numbers drop…so does your chance at happiness. For those in the study who had 51 – 149 guests, 37% were in the top happy-marriage group, while a “nice, quiet intimate” wedding with 50 guests or fewer only had 31% of couples super happily married.
So why do the guests have such a big impact?
Researchers said that the bigger the crowd to say “I do” in front of meant more pressure to follow through on the commitment. “Commitment is strengthened when it is publicly declared because individuals strive to maintain consistency between what they say and what they do.”
While the director of the National Marriage Project W. Bradford Wilcox said, “Couples with larger networks of friends and family may have more help, and encouragement, in navigating the challenges of married life. Note, however, this finding is not about spending lots of money on a wedding party, it’s about having a good number of friends and family in your corner.”
So…how many guests did you have at your wedding?