Tracey Cox reveals wedding red flags that suggest marriage will fail

Why budget brides don’t get divorced! Tracey Cox reveals why you should have a no-frills wedding like Sophie Turner – and 13 red flags on the big day that mean the marriage will NOT last

  • Tracey Cox reveals red flags at weddings that point to unsuccessful marriages
  • Sexpert says that successful marriages are more likely to have ‘lowkey’ wedding 
  • Actress Sophie Turner married Joe Jonas in no-frills ceremony last week
  • Tracey also gestures to drunken behaviour and poor communication as red flags

They might be brothers, but their weddings couldn’t have been more different.

American pop star Nick Jonas married Indian actress and celebrity Priyanka Chopra last year in a lavish ceremony that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and was three days long.

His brother Joe married British actress and Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner earlier this week In a Las Vegas chapel by an Elvis Impersonator with a handful of guests.

The pair are planning a bigger celebration in France this summer but judging by Joe’s comment that the only thing he really needs to have at his wedding is an ample supply of Coors Light, it’s unlikely to rival Nick’s extravagant affair. (Nick and Priyanka apparently ran out of beer at their wedding which was ‘a big issue’. The best laid plans…)

Sophie Turner had a low key ceremony last week with husband Joe Jonas, which Tracey says could be a good sign for a long and happy marriage 

The contrast was stark and begs the question: What does your wedding day say about your marriage? Can the sort of wedding you choose predict whether you’ll last the course?

Are lengthy preparations and expensive celebrations a sign of long-lasting true love? After all, the bigger the fuss, the bigger the embarrassment if it all falls apart.

Or do cut-price, no-fuss weddings mean the couple are marrying for much more than just the pomp and ceremony of the wedding day?

I’ve liked Priyanka since I saw her at Megan and Harry’s wedding. I reckon I played the video of her walking to the church about six times (still think she was the stand out best dressed guest).

But even she admits the bill for her wedding (around $500,000USD) was ‘an eye-opener’.

You obviously need to take into account that these are celebrities, not average people, when trying to predict their future happiness. Celebrities write their own rule books – and are stinking rich.

Even so, research does mean there is evidence to suggest what happens on your wedding day can predict how successful your marriage will be.

Handy to know for us mortals.

For instance…


A recently published study (‘A Diamond is Forever’ and other Fairy Tales’) found the amount the couple spend on the engagement ring and the ceremony is inversely associated with marriage duration.

The objective of the study was to determine if there’s an association between wedding spending and marriage duration by using a sample of 3000 married (or previously married) people in the US.

The results were clear: the less expensive the wedding, the more likely the marriage was to last.

Other characteristics also increased the likelihood of divorce but stress over wedding debt was one of the most significant. Financial arguments are one of the most common reasons for divorce.

If you’ve got the cash to splash, go ahead and do it.

But if you don’t, you’re putting a nail in the marriage coffin before you’ve even tied the knot if you spend so much on the wedding day that you start your marriage in debt.

Priyanka and Nick had a lavish wedding, spending an estimated $500,000 on their mammoth celebration. But Tracey believes the more you spend, the higher the chance of divorce 


Priyanka is 36, Nick is 26. Sophie is 23, Joe is 29.

Sophie narrowly escapes falling into the ‘marry too young’ high-risk category.

Research shows if you wait until you’re 23 to commitment, you’re less likely to get divorced.

A US study of American women who cohabitate or get married at age 18 have a 60 per cent divorce rate, it falls to 30 per cent for women who wait until 23.

The longer the couple wait to make a serious commitment, the better their chances for marital success.

Tracey points to other potential red flags including drunken weddings, disapproving relatives and lack of communication 

It also helps if you’re matched age wise: the closer a couple are in age, the less likely they are to get divorced.

One study found a one year discrepancy makes you three per cent more likely to divorce than couples the same age. A five year difference makes you 18 per cent more likely to split and a 10-year difference makes it 39 per cent more likely.


When a couple have two ceremonies – in Priyanka and Nick’s case, one Christian, one Hindu – it can be a red flag.

Interfaith marriages often come with a heavy price. They’re more likely than same-faith unions to be unhappy and, in some circumstances, to end in divorce.

The reason why is that interfaith marriages often mean different set of values and beliefs. If neither of you are particularly religious – it’s not a big part of who you are – it’s unlikely to cause problems. But if it is important, there may be trouble ahead.

How independent you are from your family, what their view is on the marriage, what your friends think, agreeing on which religion will be followed on a regular basis, how to raise any children you have – all of these are tough questions the couple have to answer.

Looking on the bright side, if both of you are religious, it often means you both have a commitment to the commitment as well as each other.

A strong belief in the institution of marriage means it has a much higher chance of lasting long-term. If getting divorced just isn’t something you’ll consider, it’s unlikely to happen.

‘I love that our wedding was a religious mash-up,” Priyanka said in People magazine “We took beautiful traditions that we both grew up with and personalised them in a way that made sense for us.”

This augers well for their future.

Another plus: while they have different faiths, it’s well known Nick Jonas wore a ‘purity ring’ – ‘proof’ of virginity – and didn’t lose it until his 20s.

He’s quoted as saying his belief in God is strong and important to him.

They might not be the same faith but they both have strong faith.

Regularly attending religious services is another factor that research suggests makes a marriage more likely to last.


Not being able to make decisions together.

There are a lot of choices to be made when planning a wedding – and not just whether to go for the fish or the chicken. When will it be, where, who’s coming, what’s going to happen, do you invite the guest who’s guaranteed to get trashed and behave badly – but also happens to be a best friend?

Of course, you’ll disagree on some things but if you can’t agree on most things, it’s not a great sign.

Zero communication.

If you can’t plan a wedding day together, what chance have you got of tackling bigger issues in life? When a bride and groom haven’t even discussed their ideas with each other before seeing us, you know there’s trouble ahead, say wedding planners.

Tracey also suggests it could be a warning sign if a couple spends a lot of time focusing on the wedding day, rather than on the marriage 

Major focus on the wedding day, none on the actual marriage.

Plenty of couples are more interested in the show-off appeal of the big day and getting friends together than they are making sure they have what it takes to make the marriage work.

If you haven’t looked beyond the ceremony, you come back to earth with a BIG bump after the fuss is over – and that’s when it can hit that the only thing you have in common is liking being the centre of attention.

One person’s not interested in being photographed.

Even if you hate getting your photo taken, you do it for your partner. Who doesn’t want evidence of what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life?

How you pose for photos is also important: body language gives a lot away. The bride who turns her head away when her new husband goes to kiss her, the groom who’s clearly hating all the attention while the bride revels in it.

Couples who focus too much on getting the perfect Instagram pic rather than having a good time and celebrating their love for each other also don’t fare well.

You’re marrying for looks.

How important the partner’s looks were in the decision to marry is a factor significantly associated with shorter marriage duration.

Looks change, our personalities are less likely to.

More than 20 per cent of invited guests don’t come.

Tracey also suggested that if more than 20 percent of the invited guests don’t come, it may be a sign that the marriage will fail 

This is a huge red flag: if the people who love you the most don’t want to come to watch you marry, it means they don’t condone the match.

The more support you have around you, the more chance you have of lasting the distance.

Bickering on the wedding day.

If you can’t stop making put downs or arguing on your wedding day, when everything is meant to be near perfect, what hope have you got for making it through tough times ahead?

Not spending time together at the reception.

Sure, brides and grooms do have to mix with their guests and make people welcome. Not great, though, when the bride or groom are more interested in drinking with their bridesmaids or groomsmen than being together.

The speeches suggest friends and family don’t approve

Ideally, you want speeches from both sides talking about how much they love their choice of partner.

When the maid of honour doesn’t mention the groom in her toast or talks about him in a sarcastic way, the future’s not looking good.

If the friends don’t approve, the wedding is on shaky ground: lots of studies show friends are a better judge of how well a couple are matched than family.

Tracey reveals another warning sign may be if one member of the couple is more excited than the other  

How well each of the friends and family get on is also a good indictator of marital success.

I went to one wedding where each ‘side’ eyed each other warily. The wedding was way too early: no-one had met each other’s friends and family, everyone was suspicious of motive. It lasted under a year and I don’t think one person was surprised.

Only one thing worse than lukewarm speeches from best men and maid’s of honour: a speech by the bride or groom that don’t mention each other.

One person’s over-excited and the other couldn’t care less.

It’s not uncommon for the bride to be more into the planning than the groom but if he couldn’t care less about what’s planned, there’s trouble ahead.

Even if you have no interest in weddings, if it’s important to one of you, it should be important to the other.

The bride and/or groom get absolutely sloshed.

Why are you drinking so much? Why so nervous? You’re trying to obliterate what’s happening.

Tiddly, fine. So drunk you’re nearly passing out, not so good. 

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