A lavish reception, small guest list and a meringue gown: Tracey Cox reveals the warning signs at YOUR wedding that could predict divorce

  • Our sexpert says your ceremony can give away telltale signs of a divorce
  • Warning signs include a big dress and an expensive ceremony
  • Large guest lists and lots of couples suggests a strong marriage  

Couples are always being told that marriage isn't about the actual ceremony.

But new research suggests your wedding day gives far more clues about your long-term marital happiness than you might think.

The number of guests, the money you spent, the dress you wore and how many happy couples you invited to the ceremony - all offer vital, telltale clues.

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Sexpert Tracey Cox say that certain aspects of a wedding could indicate a divorce 

Sexpert Tracey Cox say that certain aspects of a wedding could indicate a divorce 

The more guests you have at the wedding, the happier you'll be.

Two psychologists from the University of Denver discovered higher wedding attendance was associated with lower odds of divorce.

Even when factors such as education, religion, race and income were controlled, the more people who watch you stand up and say 'I do', the higher the level of marital quality.

The psychologists suggest this might be for two reasons.

Firstly, making a public declaration in front of lots of people we know, makes us more inclined to stick to it. (It's a bit like giving up smoking: the more people you tell you're going to quit, the higher the odds of succeeding.)

Most people like to maintain consistency with what they say and what they do.

The other reason is logical: if you've got lots of friends and family supporting the marriage, you've got more people to help and support you during tough times.

'Just the two of you' weddings with obligatory witnesses sounds romantic but it's often done because family or friends don't approve of the choice being made.

If you wore a big, puffy, 'meringue' wedding dress, you could be headed for disappointment.

Those who opt for Cinderella style wedding gowns are more likely to have 'fairy tale' expectations of marriage.

A big puffy dress is said to indicate having unrealistic expectations in your marriage 

A big puffy dress is said to indicate having unrealistic expectations in your marriage 

We'd like to think we've all progressed beyond the 'Princess rescued by the knight in shining armour' model - but some people haven't.

They're still caught up in dated expectations that simply don't work in today's society ( and some might argue, never did).

Expecting your husband to be 'The Man' - be the breadwinner, not show vulnerability, make most of the decisions - sparks negatives on both sides.

Even if you are a 'traditional' female who wants to be shielded from the big, bad world, the reality of having all major decisions made for you feels controlling rather than protective.

For men, forced to be 'strong' and unable to admit weaknesses, there's no 'you and I against the world' quality, resulting in a marriage based on pretence.

The sort of marriage where men who lose their jobs continue to dress for work and go and sit on a park bench all day because they're terrified to tell their wives the truth.

A recent US study found women who expected the fairy tale rated their marriages as less satisfying and were more prone to depression than women who didn't.

The more money you spent, the greater your risk of divorce.

Two economists from Emory University, who studied couples both before and after their weddings, found spending more money on weddings and rings did not make for a more stable marriage.

The couples who splashed the most cash were, on average, at greater risk of divorce.


They speculate an expensive wedding puts a higher degree of stress on the marriage before it's even started: 'We/our parents spent so much money, this had better work out!

Opting against an extravagant wedding ceremony also might mean the couple are better at managing money.

The more happy, long-term couples at the wedding, the better.

Marriages are like everything else in life. There are good days and bad days.

On some days, you will sigh contently, look over at your spouse and think, 'Marrying them was the best decision I've ever made'.

Other days, you'll catch sight of them doing something that provokes screaming-point annoyance and think, 'What the hell was I thinking?'.

Accepting that relationships aren't static and dip and peak means having realistic expectations about what a 'happy marriage' means.

The more couples you know in long-term relationships who've been there done that and navigated their way through it all successfully, the better the advice you're likely to be given.

For more of Tracey's advice on love, sex and relationships, visit traceycox.com.


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