Numbers Behind the Big Day: 30 Wedding Stats You Need to Know

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1Princess Diana’s Marriage

Princess Diana’s Marriage

Princess Diana was 19 when Prince Charles, 31, proposed to her. Because royal custom required Charles to marry a virgin, nearly every other woman of good lineage close to his age was disqualified.

2. Charles Darwin and his wife were first cousins. They had 10 kids, 7 making it to adulthood. Worried that his marriage had something to do with the deaths, he began to experiment with plants. He learned that with any kind of breeding, it's better to cross-breed than to keep relatives together.

3. In 2014, Charles Manson was granted a marriage license, but the wedding was canceled after it was discovered that 26-year-old Afton Elaine "Star" Burton only wanted to marry Manson so she and a friend Craig "Gray Wolf" Hammond could use his corpse as a tourist attraction after he dies.

4. William the Conqueror (aka William the Bastard) was denied a marriage proposal by Matilda of Flanders who felt marrying a bastard was below her. He won her heart by reading the response and immediately riding 250+ miles from Normandy to Bruges to grab her by the hair and throw her in the mud.

5. The “50% of marriages in the USA end in divorce” statistic is misleading. In reality, divorce rates peaked in the early 1980s and have been steadily decreasing since then. If current trends continue, only a third of today's marriages will end in a divorce.

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6Diamond Rings

Diamond Rings

The diamond engagement ring fever was invented by an ad campaign in the 1930s. Before that, few Americans proposed with the precious stone, and the price of the diamond was falling.

7. In medieval Germany, married couples could legally settle their disputes by fighting a Marital Duel. To even the field, the man had to fight from inside a hole with one arm tied behind his back. The woman was free to move and was armed with a sack filled with rocks.

8. Throwing rice at weddings will not cause birds to explode and the myth that it is harmful was probably started by churches and wedding venues who didn’t want to clean it all up and for them to avoid potential slip-and-fall lawsuits.

9. Actors Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, who played brother and sister on “Dexter” began dating, fell in love, got engaged, got married, and got divorced, all while continuing to play brother and sister on TV.

10. Traditional Samoans valued a bride’s virginity so much that the chief would break her hymen in public so that the entire tribe could see his bloody fingers.

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11Viking Brides

Viking Brides

Vikings used to give kittens to new brides as an essential part of a new household. Also, cats were considered appropriate since they were associated with Freyja, the goddess of love.

12. In 1914, Henriette Caillaux, the wife of the French PM assassinated a newspaper editor to prevent him from leaking that she and her husband had been dating while still married to their previous spouses. She was acquitted for ‘uncontrollable female emotions.’

13. US president Cleveland developed a close relationship with his friend’s baby daughter. When his friend died, a court-appointed him to administer her estate, making him closer to the then 11-year-old girl. When she graduated from university at 21, 49-year-old Cleveland married her while he was the President.

14. A wife’s happiness is more important than her husband’s when it comes to keeping a happy, lasting marriage, in a study that surveyed older couples married for an average of 39 years.

15. John Belushi forgot to bring any form of ID to his own wedding. He called a judge, asked him if he watched SNL, and got him to sign an affidavit for the wedding license.

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16Best Man

Best Man

The best man’s original purpose was to serve as an accomplice in case the bride needed to be kidnapped from disapproving parents.

17. “Ring Of Fire” popularized by Johnny Cash was actually written by June Carter about her falling in love with Johnny Cash while he was still married to his first wife.

18. Oktoberfest started off as a wedding reception for a Prince in Bavaria in 1810, and the newlyweds enjoyed it so much, they suggested making it an annual event.

19. In ancient Egypt, couples were considered married whenever they moved in together. Wedding ceremonies were reserved for the upper classes.

20. In 1901, a woman in Spain adopted a male identity and married another woman. The couple was later discovered and had to escape to Argentina. Their marriage certificate was never annulled, so this is the first recorded same-sex marriage in Spain, 100 years before it was legal.

21Jewish Wedding in a Death Camp

Jewish Wedding in a Death Camp

A Nazi judge whose job was investigating corruption and irregularities in the SS, discovered a death camp hosting a Jewish wedding, attended by over 1,000 guests, including members of the SS.

22. JRR Tolkien initially fell in love with his future wife at 16 years old. His guardian, a catholic priest ordered him to not have any contact until he was 21. He obeyed. He met her under a railroad viaduct and she broke up her engagement, converted to Catholicism, and married Tolkien.

23. King Harald of Norway vowed to remain unmarried for life unless he could marry his true love, the daughter of a cloth merchant. She became the Queen of Norway and they are still married (as of June 2020).

24. In 1904 a Swedish sailor named Carl Emil Pettersson was shipwrecked on an island in Papua New Guinea that was inhabited by cannibals. The king’s daughter fell in love with him. They married and he eventually became the king of the island.

25. Musician Jerry Lee Lewis courted so much controversy by marrying his 13-year-old cousin at the age of 22 that he went from playing $10,000 concert halls to $250 dollar a night dive bars.

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