What Kind Of Wedding Ceremony Leads To The Longest Lasting Marriage? Research Answers
Our wedding day can influence the fate of our marriage significantly. Here's how to plan for success in both areas.
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | November 8, 2023
Every bride- and groom-to-be dreams of the “perfect wedding,” with pristinely planned bridal and bachelor parties, guest lists, venues, receptions and honeymoons. However, psychological research underscores that these rituals and ceremonies can influence your satisfaction with your wedding, as well as happiness and commitment within your marriage.
To delve deeper into the connection between marital rituals and wedded bliss, here are three ways your special day can influence your marriage.
1. Traditional Versus Modern Weddings
A study investigated how traditional and modern wedding preferences influence expected marital outcomes. Participants rated the happiness of hypothetical marriages set in churches or courthouses—representing traditional and modern weddings, respectively—after their wedding preferences were measured.
Surprisingly, those who favored tradition but envisioned a non-traditional courthouse ceremony predicted greater long-term happiness and love for the hypothetical marriage, more so than those who preferred either a traditional or non-traditional wedding but envisioned a church scenario.
Despite holding more traditional values regarding weddings, these individuals still admired couples who took a different and more unconventional approach to their wedding. The researchers suggest that these individuals might secretly wish for a more modern wedding, but may feel obligated to pursue traditionalism due to pressure from friends, family or the media.
So, as you embark on the journey of planning your big day, reflect on how you think your wedding choices can shape your happiness within your marriage. Know that there’s no need to be bound by tradition if it doesn’t resonate with you and your partner. You might find that many will celebrate your choice to chart a unique path, one that reflects your genuine love story. Embrace the freedom to create a wedding that speaks to your heart and begins your lifelong adventure with authenticity and joy.
2. Bachelor Parties, Bridal Showers, Receptions And Honeymoons
Further studies examining the influence of wedding rituals on marital outcomes show that conformity to traditional wedding customs can influence marriage happiness and commitment in different ways. The researchers found that bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, wedding receptions, and honeymoons were all associated with satisfaction and commitment within marriages, as they predicted.
The researchers also found that general enactment of wedding rituals were associated with marital satisfaction. However, satisfaction with the rituals themselves did not contribute greatly to this marital satisfaction.
So, it seems that going along with traditional pre- and post-wedding customs can positively influence your marriage. Intriguingly, just going through these rituals can boost marital satisfaction, even if you’re not over the moon about each of them.
So, even if you’re not entirely enthusiastic about your different pre-wedding parties and plans, they can still play a part in making your marriage happier. The key here is to focus on the bigger picture—your commitment and shared experiences with your spouse-to-be—as opposed to stressing over how perfectly each ritual goes.
3. Lavish Versus Laid Back Weddings
One study explored the emphasis placed on extravagant weddings, as well as the related effects it has on perceptions of marriage. The researchers found that smaller, more inexpensive weddings are perceived to lead to happier marriages by others. However, upon studying actual married individuals, it was found that the size and cost of their weddings made no difference to their relationship satisfaction.
If you’re worried that you’re going too “all-out” for your wedding, you shouldn’t be concerned; having a lavish celebration isn’t harmful to marital satisfaction, as some may believe. So, if a big wedding fits your budget, go for it. And, if you’re keen on a smaller, more intimate and inexpensive wedding, there’s no sign that this could harm your marital satisfaction either.
So, whether you’re planning an opulent affair or a cozy, budget-friendly celebration, rest assured that your choice won’t determine your future marital bliss. Yet, as you prepare for your big day, it’s crucial to remember not to prioritize the wedding itself over your marriage. Your wedding is just the beginning of a lifelong journey, and the quality of your relationship ultimately depends on the love and commitment you bring to it. Embrace your wedding dreams, but keep your focus on the enduring partnership that follows.
The beauty of weddings lies in the freedom to tailor your day to your unique love story. Whether you’re drawn to tradition or prefer a modern twist, choose what resonates with your heart. Revel in the pre-wedding festivities and lavish celebrations if they bring you joy, but also know that intimacy and simplicity hold their own magic. Ultimately, your wedding is a chapter in a love story that will be penned over a lifetime, where the strength of your commitment and shared dreams will write the most enduring pages.