There’s now a scientific reason to increase your guest list at your wedding. A recent study by a pair of psychology researchers from the University of Denver has found that larger weddings may mean stronger marriages.
The study, called the Relationship Development Study, followed 418 people all of whom were single and between the ages of 18 and 40 when they joined the study in 2007 and 2008. Five years later when the researchers checked in with them, all 418 of the participants had gotten married. The goal of the study was to identify what patterns of behavior tended to set people up for successful and fulfilling marriages. The researchers asked study the participants questions about their marital happiness, how much they confided in each other, if they believed or felt that things were going well in the relationship, and whether or not they had thoughts of divorce. The researchers considered those who ranked in the top 40% to have “high-quality marriages.”
One of the things that top 40% had in common was that they had weddings with 150 or more guests. The researchers found that 47% of couples that got hitched in front of 150 or more guests had high-quality marriages, compared with only 31% of those who had 50 or fewer guests. That means that couples who had big weddings were 52% more likely to have high-quality marriages than couples who had smaller weddings. The researchers mused that perhaps making the promises to each other in such a public way, made people more likely to commit. Or it could be that having a supportive network that is also committed to your marrige provides a couple with more support.
But all is not lost for those who have more intimate weddings… it should be noted that the marital happiness was self-reported by the couples and there is no real way to judge the veracity. And it was only a 5 year study, so no sense yet of how these happy couples fare after 10, 20 or more years.