You know that saying: the bigger the wedding, the more likely a divorce.
The above quotation was whispered to me as I was planning my wedding last year. I immediately froze as I stared at the person in front of me, who just happened to be my mother. As I was trying to contemplate why on God’s green Earth why she would say such a thing to her only daughter, I started to understand her intentions. In a society where people are just as quick to get divorced as they are to get married, it’s good to have the priorities set.
I didn’t want anything extravagant and what I had planned was a small affair. I mean, real small: my total guest list was 45 people and even my husband thought that was pushing it. Due to budget concerns, we chose to have a civil ceremony at the local courthouse—Beverly Hills, of course—and plan a bigger celebration later.
Our total civil wedding and reception budget? $600. Not too shabby, huh?
This leads to the V-Spot commentary for this week. There has been prevalent news regarding celebrity couples getting divorced. The most recent failed marriage was Eva Longoria and Tony Parker. Their divorce is on top of the others already this year: Elin Nordergren and Tiger Woods, Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman, and Courtney Cox and David Arquette. The list goes on.
While I’m sad of yet another divorce, I’ve noticed a small and peculiar fact in some failed marriages: they have had big and lavish weddings. From designer duds to a fireworks display to guests getting Tiffany favors, these couples went all out on their big day. All of these couples spent a small fortune for their big day, just to end it years later. I guess Courtney and David would be the exception to this rule, since they have only separated and not filed for divorce. Personally, I’ve been to three weddings within the past 15 years, invited to several, and guess what? Only two marriages are still standing out of 10 possible. That’s 20 percent. That’s worse than the national divorce rate.
But this topic raises an interesting question: Does a big and expensive wedding predetermine a marriage is over before it started?
Again, I couldn’t do this topic without a bit of research and here’s what I found: according to the National Center of Health Statistics, 43% of marriages will end in divorce, down from the widely reported figure of 50%, which was true. So let’s break it down: if 10 couples were to get married this week, only six will stay married. That’s a pretty astounding figure if you think about it.
Now before any of you Intoxication readers harp in the on fact that I’m implying my marriage will last because I didn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a wedding, I’m not. I have also known couples who’ve divorced even when they went to the courthouse or eloped. Who knows what these couples were going through? When you’re only privy to the outside smiles and laughter, you often don’t see the shouting matches inside. However, I have noticed when a couple (or even one-half of the couple) is focused on the wedding itself, they tend to forget that pink elephant in the room called MARRIAGE.
I’m going to share a little story on my pre-nuptial planning. I didn’t care about it. I kept changing my mind over details such as what type of liquor I wanted rather than stationery and all that other wedding bullshit. My attitude, as my Honor Divas (bridesmaids) told to me, was very ‘whatever.’ In fact, I so didn’t care about the details of my wedding, I didn’t even have a bouquet! My ceremony was a whopping three-minutes long.
My main concern about my wedding was whether I would be a good wife. My husband’s main concern about the wedding was whether he’ll be a good husband. You see where I’m getting at? We really just didn’t give a damn about the wedding. If my husband had it his way, it would’ve just been the two of us and a judge (I managed to convince him to have a few guests. It was about 10 of us total).
Now wedding planning is fun. The trying on gowns. The color-scheming. The choreography of everything. It’s fun and it’s really easy to get caught up in it. The stress level will push you to the brink and people who have never bothered you a day in your life will suddenly work your last good nerve. Planning a wedding, however, does push aside any existing problems. Here’s a hint to future brides: if there are problems before the marriage, they will only intensify—not go away—during the marriage. If he had a wandering eye before you got married, chances are, he’s going to have that same wandering eye after the wedding. If she was sloppy before the marriage, she’s going to remain sloppy after the fact. I’ve read so many stories of brides realizing how unhappy they were until after the guests are gone, the gifts are unwrapped and they realized they just married a roommate, not a life partner. My only reply to hearing that news is very rarely does someone change their colors. Some women married into the fantasy instead of accepting the reality.
What about the aforementioned couples? Did the brides marry into the fantasy or did they truly believe it was going to be happily ever after? Were they better off eloping and calling it a day? Well, no one knows for sure. I believe that if the option of divorce wasn’t so readily available, people would be more hesitant about getting married. Getting married is about being with someone forever, not just when you’re no longer the couple-du-jour.
In case you’re wondering about the cost of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker’s wedding? Over one million dollars.
So let’s go back to the original question of this V-Spot: do big weddings predetermine divorce? My answer? They don’t. While I know quite a few couple who have spent a small fortune on their wedding and divorce just a short time later, I also know several couples who have remain married. My conclusion? If I’m spending a minimum of five figures on a wedding, you best believe you are stuck with me—FOR LIFE—or I want my refund. And I don’t take checks.
And there you have it,