A Great Reason Not to Splurge on a Fancy Wedding (and Gigantic Engagement Ring)


WeddingGood news for many of the soon-to-be-grooms out there! It turns out that money doesn't buy love, and you don't need to go broke buying your fiancée's ring bling.

As it turns out, spending less than $2,000 on an engagement ring and less than $10,000 on a wedding leads to longer, perhaps happier marriages, according to the study "'A Diamond is Forever' and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration" by Emory professors Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon.

Francis and Mialon collected the results from an online survey of more than 3,000 people, and even after controlling for demographic and relationship characteristics, they found an inverse association between money spent on engagement rings and weddings and the duration of marriages. The less money people spent, the longer their marriages were.

The average cost of an engagement ring is $4,000, no matter what Kim Kardashian or De Beers ads tell you, but going under-budget may benefit you in the long-term. According to this survey, spending between $2,000 to $4,000 is associated with a 1.3 times greater chance of divorce compared to spending between $500-2,000. Just don't avoid the ring all together – those who bypassed engagement rings had higher divorce risks, too.

The same rule applies for your big day. The risk of divorce in couples spending more than $20,000 on their wedding is 3.5 times more than the risk of divorce for couples spending between $5,000 and $10,000 on a wedding. With weddings averaging about $29,858, per theknot.com, it's not surprising that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

So what gives? The experts speculate that spending a lot of money, especially money that you don't really have to spend, can cause what they call "wedding-related debt stress." Because financial or economic stress is a known cause of divorce, starting your marriage with money troubles may intensify other lingering issues, too.

But, there is a silver lining. Having all your friends and family present at a large event didn't seem to have a negative effect on marriage, and neither did going on a honeymoon, no matter how much your post-nuptial trip costs.

But guys, be sure to check with your fiancée before downsizing her engagement ring. Keeping your wife-to-be in good spirits is important before you walk down the aisle. Remember, happy wife, happy life!

-- Mara Betsch

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You Have to Hear This Best Man's Speech to "Let It Go"


Trust me, even if you think you've heard enough rendentions of "Let It Go," you need to hear this one. With a fresh take on wedding speeches, the brilliant "Best Man Joe" tweaks the lyrics of the "Frozen" hit to create a personalized song for this lucky couple. Don't worry, he gets a few jabs and inside jokes in there as well as a nice shout-out to a deceased parent. Though customized wedding dances, songs and raps aren't exactly new ideas, especially on our shows like "Four Weddings", this one seemed refreshingly original. The overall result is a thoughtful performance that actually made us LOL. Watch the charming video below:

-- Mara Betsch

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The Pros and Cons of the 10 Most Popular Wedding Venues


You'll see all sorts of unique venues on "Four Weddings," including everything from a trapeze school to a zoo. There are wedding venues to fit every bride's personality, but the hardest part is picking the right one for you (and your budget). Every venue has its perks, but it also has its downsides. So how do you choose the perfect place for your perfect day? Before you sign on the dotted line, take a peek at our pros and cons list, which will make finding the ideal setting much easier.

Tlc-wedding-blog-04-250x1501. The Rustic Chic Barn or Ranch

Pros: A laidback country feel and a guaranteed killer sunset.

Cons: Barns don't always have air conditioning or heat and cranky neighbors may be an issue. According to the New York Times, some rural residents have begun protesting some barn owners. And no one wants Farmer John chasing rowdy guests with a pitchfork.

Tlc-wedding-blog-vineyard-250x1502. The Vineyard

Pros: An awesome setting and probably some great deals on the wine made there.

Cons: If there's not a large tasting room or gather space, you may have to rent a tent and/or flooring. Vineyards are also rarely close to, well, anything, so you may need to consider transportation for guests.

3. The Big Hotel Banquet Hall Tlc-wedding-blog-hotel-banquet-5

Pros: They've done hundreds of weddings and have everything you need on-site. And, if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, they can stay on-site.

Cons: Depending on the size of your wedding, there may be a food or drink minimum. Also, depending on the venue, you may have to bring in lots of décor items to personalize a bland ballroom.

Tlc-wedding-blog-02-250x1504. The Seaside Venue

Pros: A positively lovely backdrop and the distant sounds of waves hitting the shore to complement your stringed quartet.

Cons: Unpredictable weather and the potential for some seriously windblown guests. And if you're a fan of heels, sand may make it tough to walk down the aisle.

5. The Historic Home Tlc-wedding-blog-historic-250x150

Pros: You get a charming, intimate setting without even trying. If you're going for a vintage or romantic feel, this type of venue is a great choice.

Cons: Size. Most historic places were built a long time ago, when 200-person weddings weren't the norm, so spacing may be an issue. If you're planning on having a big band, the acoustics in an old home may also be tricky.

6. The Art Gallery or MuseumTlc-wedding-blog-gallery-250x150

Pros: Who needs decorations when you have amazing original art as your backdrop?

Cons: You'll probably be restricted to certain parts of the venue, and if you have a rowdy group, you may have to put down a big security deposit.

7. The Country Club

Tlc-wedding-blog-03-250x150Pros: Amazing service. Country clubs usually have excellent, experienced staff.

Cons: Not a lot of flexibility. These places typically have designated caterers and other vendors that you may be obligated to use. And if you're not a member, they can get pricey.

8. The Botanical Garden

Tlc-wedding-blog-botanical-garden-250x150Pros: Nature is your background and you may be able to use some of the plants as décor, saving you money in your flower budget.

Cons: Weather can be an issue if the ceremony is outdoors, and, unfortunately, bugs can also be a big problem in the warmer months.

9. Backyard Affair

Tlc-wedding-blog-01-250x150Pros: You'll be saving money on the cost of a venue.

Cons: You have to organize everything, including restrooms, electrical set-up and a bunch of other important but annoying details. If there's no kitchen on-site, finding a caterer may also be problematic.

10. The Urban Loft

Pros: You can have any theme Tlc-wedding-blog-loftyou want in this space, plus it's conveniently located in town so guests probably won't have to drive very far.

Cons: Most of the time, these venues require you to bring everything in – that includes tables, chairs, plates, silverware, linens, and the list goes on. They also don't always have staff available for setup and cleanup.

-- Mara Betsch

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Boston Bombing Victims Get Their Dream Wedding


Nearly one year after sustaining severe injuries in the Boston Marathon bombing, Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino took an emotional walk down the aisle.

In 2013, the couple went to Boston to support DiMartino's mom, who was participating in the historic race. They were at the finish line with the bomb exploded, and Gregory broke almost every bone in her foot, leg and ankle while trying to protect her son. Now, 15 surgeries later, she's in a wheelchair and will have her leg amputated later this year. DiMartino lost 90 percent of his Achilles tendon and also broke multiple bones in his foot as well as rupturing his eardrum.

Though the past year has proved to be a struggle, both physically and emotionally, this couple will have their happy ending. Last October, DiMartino surprised Gregory with a proposal. Though they planned on having a small event, TheKnot.com offered to throw them The Knot Dream Wedding, which the company pays for and readers vote to decide every wedding detail, from the cake to the dress. See one of their wedding pictures below:

With the help of celebrity wedding planner Marcy Blum, the couple tied the knot in early April in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Biltmore Estate. In front of 150 of their closest family and friends, Gregory walked down the aisle in a absolutely gorgeous strapless fit-and-flare Sophia Moncelli for Kleinfeld gown.

After a moving ceremony, the wedding moved to an enchanted garden-themed reception that featured romantic rose centerpieces and a cover band that kept everyone on the dance floor.

The newlyweds will spend a few days in the Dominican Republic before heading to Thailand in June for their honeymoon. They seem to look forward to moving on and enjoying married life. Gregory told PEOPLE "Come next year, when we're in the month of April, we're not going to say, 'This is the month we got blown up. We'll say, 'This is the month we got married.'"

Watch their video below (and try not to tear up). Don't they make a handsome couple?


-- Mara Betsch

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Why Is Johnny Depp Wearing a Man-gagement Ring?


Johnny Depp is known for being eccentric, both on and offscreen, and his newest fashion statement has us scratching our heads.

Recently the Oscar-nominated actor has been sporting his fiancée Amber Heard's engagement ring. A source told Us Weekly that it's 'too big for her so he started wearing it.'

While promoting his new movie Transcendence in Beijing, a reporter asked him if she could take his wedding talk as confirmation of his engagement. He responded with a laugh: "You can take that any way you like – absolutely. The fact that I'm wearing a chick's ring on my finger is probably a dead giveaway. Not very subtle."

Depp isn't alone, either. Man-gagement rings are on the rise, with 5 percent of guys wearing them, according to a recent survey. Do you think Depp is following the trend of men sporting their own engagement bling? Or do you think he's wearing her ring to officially announce their engagement?

Either way, don't expect Depp to take the reins when it comes to wedding planning. He also told the reporter "I think that I would be better at making women's shoes than I would be at wedding planning, I can't plan anything. I'm really bad at that stuff."

See Depp's answers and his left hand sparkler below:

Would you want your fiance to sport an engagement ring?

-- Mara Betsch

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Savannah Guthrie's Beautiful Wedding and Baby News!


Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 3.01.40 PMSavannah Guthrie, the pretty and poised Today show co-anchor, tied the knot this weekend with Michael Feldman, a communications strategist, in a secret ceremony outside of Tucson, Arizona.

But that wasn't her only big news – she also announced that she is four months pregnant!

In front of 80-90 of their closest friends and family – including many Today show anchors – Guthrie and Feldman wed as the sun set in the desert near Tucson. Guests were seated at a beautiful candlelit reception when Guthrie and Feldman thanked guests, reminded them to keep things quiet until Guthrie made the news public on Monday, and then the bride happily announced: 'So, should we break some news? Okay. I – we – are four months pregnant!'

Everyone broke out into whoops, hollers, and applause.

The duo first met in 2008 at Feldman's 40th birthday party and became engaged last May. Looking radiant, the bride stunned in a romantic, lacy A-line Monique Lhuillier gown (accented with a megawatt smile) that hid a barely there baby bump.

She admitted her nervousness about the dress on the Today show this morning: 'We set the wedding date, I bought my dress, and then I found out,' she said. 'So I did a little praying... I feel great, and actually I'm so happy to tell the world because I can't suck in this gut anymore.'

Though Guthrie returned to work today, she plans to take a honeymoon in April. Congrats to the happy couple (and soon-to-be parents).

We can't wait to meet their little one at the end of the summer.

 -- Mara Betsch

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Watch: A Sweet Lip-Dub Proposal With 80 Of The Bride's Closest Friends


Vancouver, Canada, resident Alex Chuang wanted to do something really special to propose to his girlfriend of seven years. So he got together 80 of her closest friends and family, and created a super special lip-dub to Stefano's song "Yes to Love." The cute video features Susie's friends holding up photos from the couple's relationship, and posters urging her to just "say yes." 

On the big night, Alex told her that he was taking her to a private screening of "Captain America 2," but when the couple got to the theater, Chuang surprised her with the video.

Check out how it went below!

And don't miss more wedding wonderfulness every Friday on Say Yes To The Dress, starting at 9/8 c. 

Tears! Homeless Veteran Gets Dream Wedding


Ryan Sexton is no different from many Army veterans returning from the front lines. After years of serving his country abroad, he came home to find little financial and psychological support. More than 58,000 veterans are currently homeless, and many of them suffer from mental health issues.

Things were fine for a while, but then he lost his job, and had nowhere to turn to, so he and his fiancé Lea Lutman moved in with a friend in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. And then, this past October, the friend was kicked out of their apartment, and they were forced find alternative housing. 

Thankfully, Sexton, who did two tours in Iraq, was able to appeal to his local community service group for housing. They were granted housing through TLC, a transitional living center program that operates through the Lebanon VA medical Center. Lea, Ryan, and their 2-year-old daughter Rylee were able to move into a house in the neighborhood. 

But then they had a wedding to attend to. And with scant resources, no idea how to plan it. Thankfully, local community businesses stepped in to make sure the couple would have a great experience. A local bridal salon donated a wedding dress to Lea, but bridal shop owner Janell Berté wanted to make sure other areas were covered for the couple. So she reached out to others in the wedding community, and asked for donations. A baker donated a wedding cake, and a local jeweler even donated the wedding bands and engagement ring. Flowers, photography, and the DJ all came free, as well. 

And the icing on the cake? An interfaith minister officiated the ceremony free of charge. “I’m not brave enough to go into the military, so this is my way of saying thank you,” said Rev. Kelly Jo Singleton.

“I am humbled and extremely appreciative of everyone who has gone above and beyond to put this on,” said Sexton, of the kind deeds from everyone. "I still can’t really believe it.”

For more great bridal stories, don't miss #Brideday, every Friday starting at 9/8 c. 

"My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding" Returns!


David Warren/DCL

They’re ba-ack! The over-the-top gowns and out of this world weddings of “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” return for an all new season with more bling than ever before.

In the premiere episode, you’ll meet a pair of star-crossed lovers from two feuding Gypsy clans who are determined to marry despite the fact that both of their mothers would rather they have nothing to do with each other. And oh, did we mention the 16-year-old groom is an aspiring jiu-jitsu champ? 

Each week “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” will introduce a new couple, including a Gypsy couple who met online and will meet for the first time on their wedding day; a young Gypsy woman who wants to become the first Romney supermodel; and a Gypsy teen who hopes to become a successful Gypsy rapper. This season also features a double wedding with a pair of Gypsy sisters marrying non-Gypsy fiancés—against their parent’s wishes.  

Don’t miss a single minute of it—“My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” returns April 3 at 9|8 c. 

A Fake Arrest Leads To A Marriage Proposal


Guys, I know you want to surprise your girlfriends with totally shocking, mind-blowing marriage proposals, but remember: your lady should be crying happy tears, not scared tears, when you pop the question.

See more US News from ABC|ABC World News

Someone should have told that to Matt Van Vliet, who concocted a fake arrest plan to propose to his girlfriend Samantha Labo. You see, Labo and Van Vliet met when they were both arrested at a college party for underage drinking (how romantic). After staying together for four years, Van Vliet decided he wanted to propose, so he called up the arresting officer, and got him in on the act. He and Chief Edward Andersen concocted a plan to have the couple pulled over and arrested again. In the midst of the arrest, Andersen would find the ring on Van Vliet, and that's when the proposal would happen.

And this sounded like a good idea how? 

The couple were on their way to a celebratory graduation dinner with friends when Andersen pulled them over. 

“We got pulled over and the cop was being so rude,” Labo said. “Matt was driving so I asked what we did wrong because we were going the speed limit, and he [Andersen] just gave me a rude remark back and I started crying.”

Andersen pulled the couple out of the car and began cuffing them. “He pretended to put the cuffs on me," explained Van Vliet. "And as he was patting me down, he took the ring out of my pocket and asked me what it was.” Van Vliet then walked over to Labo and got down on one knee, and proposed to her. 

“I was like, ‘Wait, is this really happening right now?’ I thought I was dreaming,” Labo said of the shocking ordeal. “It was just amazing. I went from being completely terrified to completely happy.”

Well, that's certainly one way to do it! The couple are planning on getting married next August--hopefully without police incident. 

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