A wedding can be the most magical – and stressful – day of your life. It’s a big commitment to the person you love and a chance to share that commitment with extended family and friends.
Despite all the thrifty tips you’ve collected on #WeddingTikTok, your wedding budget is … well, over budget. But at least you know you’re in good company. After a quick search, you learn that the average cost of a wedding in 2021 was $28,000. 🤑
So, is a wedding loan your best option to help bridge the cash gap?
If you’re contemplating saying “I do” to a wedding loan, we can show you the best loan options and offer steps to apply for a loan. But loans aren’t your only option. We’ll also share a few savings tips to help you pay for your big day.
What Are Wedding Loans and When Do They Make Sense?
A wedding loan is an unsecured personal loan (meaning the loan’s not tied to anything you own like your house or car) marketed for wedding expenses. You borrow a predetermined amount of money and agree to pay it back (plus interest) in fixed monthly installments over 1 – 5 years.
Depending on your credit score (and other factors), your personal loan could come with a steep interest rate. Lenders typically prefer a credit score of at least 650 to approve borrowers for wedding loans. Most unsecured personal loans offer interest rates starting around 10%, but rates can climb as high as 25%.
Let’s say our fictional couple, Dallas and Taylor, apply for a $15,000 wedding loan with a 10% interest rate and 36-month loan term (that’s 3 years). Their monthly payment would be $484.01, and the total loan cost would be $17,424.28.
Taylor, however, goes rogue and applies for a loan solo. You should know that Taylor’s credit score is significantly lower, so it’s no surprise when the lender offers Taylor a $15,000 loan with a 20% interest rate. If Dallas accepts Taylor’s loan offer, their total loan cost will be $20,068.34. That’s nearly $3,000 more.
Granted, we don’t know the happy couple and would hate to make assumptions, but if we had to guess, they will likely pick the loan that costs them less in the long run.
Like Dallas and Taylor, getting a wedding loan makes sense for many couples because weddings can cost a lot of $$$.
If you can afford it and are eager to save money on interest, you can shorten your commitment to the loan by paying more than your monthly balance. But be careful. Some lenders charge prepayment penalties for paying all or part of your loan off early.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Wedding Loans?
It’s time to break out our nifty pro/con list to help you figure out when it makes sense to finance your happily ever after.
Personal loans usually have lower interest rates than most credit cards.
Wedding loans have fixed monthly payments, so you’ll pay the same amount each month.
Wedding vendors usually want cash upfront to secure your date. A wedding loan can help you get the funds you need quickly.
Interest is the price you pay to borrow money. When you add interest to a loan, it makes the loan more expensive.
Carrying a lot of debt will hurt your credit score. Opening new accounts and increasing your credit utilization (the amount of credit you’ve used compared to your credit limit) can harm your credit history.
Depending on the loan’s term, you could be repaying your wedding loan for 7 years or more.
How Do You Apply for a Wedding Loan?
Are you ready to commit to a wedding loan? Follow these steps to get a personal loan:
- Check your credit score: Check your credit score before you apply for a loan. The better your credit score is, the better interest rate a lender will likely offer. If your credit score doesn’t hit the lender-preferred 650 mark, you may want to put your plans on pause and use these five tips to help you build your credit score.
- Get a co-signer or co-borrower: Tying the knot could mean tying up your finances. If you and your partner have low credit scores, consider recruiting a co-signer or a co-borrower for the loan.
- Get prequalified: Think of prequalification as the “engagement ring” phase of your application process. To pick the right loan and lender, you’ll need to prequalify for a loan. Lenders will perform a quick, informal review of your debt, credit and income to decide how much you’re qualified to borrow and what loan terms they’ll offer.
- Pick a lender: You know the importance of shopping around for the right (and most affordable) wedding vendors, right? Well, the same logic applies to lenders. Look at a few lenders and compare their interest rates. Even a 1% difference in interest can produce hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in savings.
- Compare loan offers: Look for the loan offer that gives you the best rates. And take into consideration how the lender collects payments. If you want to pay your bill online and they don’t offer that, you may need to pick a different lender.
- Apply and get your money: When you’re ready to apply for the loan, your lender will request any remaining documents and run a hard inquiry on your credit report. Make sure to carefully review the loan’s details before you sign on the dotted line. Once you receive the money, you can start paying off your growing wedding costs.
Other Ways You Can Pay For a Wedding
Loans aren’t the only game in town when you need to pay for a wedding. You don’t always have to apply for a loan or worry about your credit score to pay the band, the bartender or the open bar tab.
Promotional credit cards
Credit cards with promotional offers can help you pay for your wedding. Many credit card companies make low- or no-interest offers that last up to 18 months. As long as you pay off your balance before the introductory period ends, you’ll pay zero in interest.
Avoid post-wedding surprises by verifying what the interest hike will be after the promotional period ends. It’s usually 15% – 25%. Make a plan to pay back the card balance in case there is a balance on the card after the promo period ends.
Are you traveling for your honeymoon? Consider applying for a rewards card with travel perks.
Open a personal savings account
Consider creating a savings plan to pay for your wedding. (Hello, spreadsheets! 📈) Set a goal for how much you want to save and how long it will take.
If you managed to save half the cost of your nuptials, it would help reduce the amount you’d need to borrow. Think of your savings as a down payment. Every penny will help decrease the size of the loan you take out.
Trim your budget
Here are some tips to help you slim down your budget and uncover extra savings:
- It might be time for more romantic dinners – at home. Limiting delivery or dining out may uncover a few hundred dollars you can park into a savings account.
- Cut subscriptions for a few months. Use those monthly $30 or $50 subscription fees to help pay for your wedding.
- Your “junk” might be someone else’s treasure (and your extra income). Consider selling items you don’t use or need. If it’s worth the gas to deliver it, sell it.
- If you can carve some time out of your busy schedule, consider getting a side gig to funnel extra cash to your wedding.
Avoiding Debt Could Save You a Lifetime of Unhappiness
Whether your money jiggle jiggles or folds, you are probably going to need a lot of it to pay for your big day. But getting a wedding loan is only half the battle. The other half is to create a plan to repay your loan so you can marry now and (comfortably) pay later.
he Knot. “This Was the Average Cost of a Wedding in 2021.” Retrieved July 2022 from https://www.theknot.com/content/average-wedding-cost
National Credit Union Administration. “Credit Union and Bank Rates 2022 Q3.” Retrieved August 2022 from https://www.ncua.gov/analysis/cuso-economic-data/credit-union-bank-rates/credit-union-and-bank-rates-2022-q3