Study: An Expensive Engagement Ring Increases Risk of Divorce

The true cost of an expensive engagement ring may be your marital happiness: researchers have found that the more a couple spends on the engagement and wedding, the greater the risk of divorce.

By Divorce Magazine
Updated: January 10, 2015
Divorce Statistics and Studies

Whether you swoon or scoff at the idea of an expensive diamond engagement ring can provide insight into your risk of divorce. A new study from Emory University in Atlanta found that a fancy wedding ceremony and an expensive engagement ring are linked to less successful marriages. The more a couple spends on the engagement and wedding, the shorter their marriage will be, according to the study by two professors of economics, Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon.

The duo released the telling study last month after examining data from a survey of 3,000 American citizens. They excluded any data submitted by same-sex couples, participants over 60 years old, and anyone who submitted the full survey in less than two minutes or provided inconsistent information.

In the Emory report, researchers cite bridal magazines and the robust wedding industry as partly to blame for the rise in high-cost weddings that lead to short-term marriages. “The wedding industry has grown substantially throughout the 20th century in part due to the rise of consumerism and industry efforts to commodify love.” 

According to the report, the average price of an engagement ring is around $2,500. Couples who spend more than average on a ring are considered to be at a higher risk of divorce and will stay married for a shorter amount of time.

A graduate assistant at Michigan State University, Randal Olson, used the data presented in the Emory report to map out exactly how wedding spending influences marriage duration. He found that couples who spend $10,000-$20,000 on their wedding (not including the price of the ring) are 29% more likely to divorce than average, while those who spend $20,000 are 46% more likely to divorce than the average couple. However, spending between $1,000 and $5,000 on a wedding makes a couple 53% less likely to divorce.

Debt incurred from an expensive wedding is often a culprit in causing marital stress, which can lead to a higher chance of divorce.

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By Divorce Magazine| October 21, 2014

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