Valentine's Day Group Wedding Held At Palm Beach County Clerk's Office
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Planning your wedding? Bigger isn't necessarily better.

This Washington Post piece, based on a study by Data Analyst Randal Olson about the cost of getting married in America, concluded with an unsettling tidbit: apparently, once the final bill for a wedding passes the $20,000 mark, marriages are 3.5 times more likely to end in divorce.  

So what to make of this? Do great expectations lead to greater disappointment?

According to wedding authority The Knot's annual Real Weddings Study, the average wedding cost in America has reached an immodest $31,213 ...............minus the honeymoon.

This means the average marriage in America is seemingly doomed — at least if you compare them to ones that begin with more frugal weddings:

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We all know marriage is work, but in some ways, maybe less can be more. As best-selling author and relationship expert Andrea Syrtash says:

“Do something small, on a regular basis, that you know your partner will appreciate...Even if you only have an hour for date night, it's better than avoiding a date altogether.”

So instead of big, lavish events meant to symbolize your union, it seems that what really counts are the simple - and small - things. Event designer Shondra Cheris provides a good example of this logic:

“I have clients regretting spending over-budget for the fabulous dress that they are uncomfortable in the entire wedding.....shoes that they take off as soon as they are able.”

In other words, what's the point of an expensive dress, if you can't dance in it?

In an academic paper by Emory University Economics Professors Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, we see the relationship between greater wedding costs and debt-related marital strife:

“Spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on the engagement ring is associated with 2 to 3 times the odds of reporting that debt resulting from wedding expenses caused stress in their marriage relative to spending between $500 and $2,000”

If, as the experts claim, good marriages involve compromise, clear communication, and managing expectations, then a one-time event may not be the wisest investment. You can have your wedding cake and eat it too, but that's just the beginning.

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