Photo: IFC Films/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
The survey asked 418 recently married couples a series of questions, aiming to find a correlation between the size of the couple's big day and the quality of their marriage, the Washington Post reports. "Quality of marriage" came down to a set of questions related to happiness in the union, such as how often they confide in one another, if they have any thoughts of breaking up, and general questions about how the marriage has been going.
The study found that the more formal the wedding, the happier the marriage — and a good 41 percent of subjects surveyed had just that, as opposed to the 28 percent who didn't throw an outlandish affair. The study also found that couples who had children before getting married (like so many of our favorite celebs) were less likely to have a formal wedding, and thus, were less happy in their marriages.
The number of guests subjects had at their wedding also largely correlated with marital bliss. Participants with 150 guests or more accounted for 47 percent of happy marriages. Fewer guests corresponded with the lower percentile of happy marriages. Of course, the authors of this study couldn't account for outside factors like the wedding's price or how much either set of parents contributed to the budget.
If this all seems like some sort of conspiracy to get people to plan big, fancy weddings, it's not! Other psychologists have backed up this theory, as well. As Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley, the authors of this most recent study, wrote in their findings:
"[T]here is some reason to believe that having more witnesses at a wedding may actually strengthen marital quality. According to the work of psychologist Charles Kiesler (Kiesler, 1971), commitment is strengthened when it is publicly declared because individuals strive to maintain consistency between what they say and what they do."
Remember, though, to take this data with a grain of salt. While having more family and friends present to witness your commitment may make your marriage happier, the sample here is relatively small. At the end of the day, you should have the wedding of your dreams, and the rest should all fall into place!