The bigger the wedding, the happier the marriage

The bigger the wedding, the happier the marriage

Women dream about their wedding day beginning when they are little girls. Every woman wants to feel like a princess, prince charming smiling and nodding with every wedding detail. While some brides opt for an inmate exchange of marital vows, other brides figure go big or go home.

New research from the federally funded Relationship Development Study at the University of Denver suggests that these brides are onto something—at least when it comes to having a happy home post “I do.” According to a study released Tuesday by the National Marriage Project, couples who have big weddings with lots of guests are linked to having high-quality marriages.

It is not how lavish and extravagant the weddings are, but more about the couple’s social network that shows up to support them.

Researchers studied about 1,300 people ages 18 to 34 in 2007-2008, who were in opposite-sex romantic relationships, but not yet married. Researchers followed the 418 of the adults that married for five years.

“In what might be called the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” factor, this study finds that couples who have larger wedding parties are more likely to report high-quality marriages,” says W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project.

41% of participants who had formal weddings reported having a higher-quality marriage, compared to the 28% whose weddings were less formal.

“One possibility here is that 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,” he concluded.

Researchers found that high-quality marriages were linked to strong social support.They found that 57% of adults who enrolled in a marriage-preparation program also reported higher-quality marriages. Having multiple sexual partners and “sliding” into marriage casually rather than planning it out was linked to lower-quality marriages.

“Our bottom-line advice to Americans hoping to marry is this: Remember that what you do before you say ‘I do’ may shape your odds of forging a successful marital life,” said study co-author Scott M. Stanley, research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver.

You may think living with your partner before marriage would be linked to a stronger union, but the study found that multiple cohabiting experience with a parent before tying the knot resulted in less happier unions.

Those who had multiple sexual parents were linked to having more breakup experience, which can “make it harder to maintain commitment” and lead to “a more jaundiced view of love and relationships,” the study says. Similarly, the research found those with a child from a previous relationship were linked to have lower-quality marriages.

No matter your past, couples are encouraged to talk to their partners about their futures. Happy marriages come from mutual love, respect and support between the couple —and even their social circles.