For some math fans, Pi Day is special for more than just the opportunity to celebrate the mathematical constant whose first three digits are 3.14. It’s their wedding anniversary.
Getting married on 3/14, like getting married on Valentine’s Day or on other special number days like 01/02/03, is a popular trend among would-be spouses. It’s an easy theme to plan the day around, and gives it a memorable touch.
There’s a catch, though: economists at the University of Melbourne found that weddings planned on “gimmick” dates are between 18 and 36 per cent more likely to end in divorce than weddings on dates without that association. “The researchers say that it’s not the date itself that increases the couple’s vulnerability,” writes Crys Ja for Phys.org, “but rather what the choice of date reveals about the couple.”
“Couples who marry on ordinary dates may be more strongly influenced by characteristics of their relationships and their compatibility than those who married on ordinary dates,” researcher David Ribar told Ja.
The economists think their 2016 study, which looked at marriage and divorce data of more than a million marriages in the Netherlands between 1999 and 2013, is the first of its kind. It is currently a working paper and has not been through peer review.
“The decision to marry involves choices about whether and when to marry,” they write. “For some couples, considerations of when to marry, specifically the opportunity of holding a wedding on a romantically or numerically special date, may influence the decision of whether to marry.”
But decisions of whether to marry should come before decisions about when to marry, they write.
Pi Day weddings got a lot of coverage in 2015–3/14/15, get it—dubbed Super Pi Day. But this year, too, mathy folks are planning to get hitched. One pizza restaurant headquartered in Washington, D.C. has made headlines with its plan to host more than 50 couples in Vegas-style weddings. These appeal as “quirky and cool” celebrations, as one bride told Rachel Kurzius for DCist.
There’s a hitch in the restaurant's pi day narrative: &pizza’s pies are square, not round. Calculating the circumference of a circle requires pi, which is part of the reason pi and pies (pizza) and pies (pastry) are all connected in the popular imagination. But it probably helps that &pizza’s logo, which couples stand in front of for their big moment, is an ampersand.