Are Wedding Loans a Good (and Smart) Way to Cover Costs?
Even though the average cost of a wedding is $30,000, it's possible to have an amazing wedding on any budget. The keys to success are saving, setting priorities and sticking to your budget. But it's not always easy to do, that's why some couples consider wedding loans. If you and your partner are willing to accept the risks of taking out a personal loan for a wedding in exchange for getting what you want, that's your choice. But before you make any final decisions, learn how they work, if wedding financing is the right choice for you and what alternatives you have so you can go into your next life phase financially aware.
In this article:
What Are Wedding Loans?
Wedding loans are for engaged couples who need help financing their weddings. This is another payment option rather than using credit cards or cash. But first things first, there's no such thing as a "wedding loan." You can't walk into a bank and request a wedding loan. What we're talking about is using a personal loan for your wedding.
Can You Get a Loan for a Wedding?
Yes, you can definitely get a wedding loan, but most financial advisers would tell you to not pursue this option. "Taking out a personal loan is kind of a last-ditch effort," says Lauren Lyons Cole, a Certified Financial Planner and former writer for Business Insider. "The problem with personal loans is that people often take them out because they're trying to spend cash they don't have. I would also lump in credit card spending here because I think many people pay for wedding-related things with a credit card, but they may or may not have the cash to pay it off in full," Lyons Cole adds. Personal loans are good to avoid spiraling into credit card debt but aren't a quick fix for a down payment on your venue. That being said, taking out wedding loans isn't unheard of, and there are a few ways to get a personal loan to help cover wedding costs.
The Pros and Cons of Wedding Loans
Now that you know you can finance a wedding with a loan, it's time to answer the really important question. Should you take out a personal loan for your wedding? Keep reading to learn the main pros and cons of this decision.
Pros of Wedding Loans
Not everything about wedding financing is scary. Here are some of the main pros of this option.
- They're a convenient way to get money. As you start planning your wedding, you'll discover your venue and vendors expect upfront deposits to book their space and services. These costs can add up quickly, especially when you add your wedding dress and accessories into the mix. If you don't have a chunk of money sitting around in your savings account, a marriage loan can give you the cash you need to cover your deposits.
- They're easy to get. In many cases, you can apply for your wedding loan online in minutes once you get your financial documents in order. Your bank or loan provider will review your application and, if you're approved, will deposit your loan amount directly into your account.
- You'll get your money quickly. Most lenders can review your application, approve it and deposit your loan amount in a few days. Some lenders even promise loan funding in 24 hours.
- Wedding loans can have better interest rates than credit cards. If you have a good credit score and a strong credit history, chances are you can get a marriage loan with an interest rate lower than your credit cards.
- Some loans don't charge for prepayments. Some loans will allow you to pay off your loan early without penalty fees, which can decrease interest costs. If you plan on paying off your loan with cash gifts from wedding guests or if parents or other family members have offered to help fund your big day, you may not have to pay any interest at all. Double-check the language of your loan to make sure prepayments are allowed.
- You'll improve your credit score. Couples looking to build or improve their credit can boost their score by successfully paying their marriage loan. Make sure not to miss payments or make late ones. A higher credit score will make it easier to get loans in the future and keep your interest rates low.
Cons of Wedding Loans
We wouldn't feel right telling you about all the pros without warning you about the cons. These are a few things you need to look out for if you're considering wedding loans.
- Interest, interest, interest! By taking out a loan for your wedding, you'll be paying interest on the loan for years. For example, if you take out a five-year loan for $15,000 at a 10% interest rate, you'll end up paying over $4,000 in interest throughout the loan. Is splurging for your special day worth an extra $4,000?
- You'll be starting your marriage in debt. Money troubles are a common cause of relationship stress. Do you want to start this new and exciting chapter of your life with a monthly loan payment for the next three to five years?
- Existing loans make it difficult to qualify for new ones. Are you thinking of buying a new car or home after your wedding? When a bank considers giving you a loan, they'll look at your existing loans to determine if you can afford the new loan. If you have a lot of existing loans, the bank may not give you a loan for the amount you want, or they may deny your loan altogether.
- They could make you spend more. Getting the money for your wedding loan in your bank account could make you feel flush with cash. You may feel more comfortable upgrading your floral arrangements, choosing that dress that's out of budget or inviting a few more people to your wedding. All of these upgrades add up.
The decision to take out a loan for your wedding is one you must make with your partner because it'll affect financial decisions in your marriage later. It's important to talk about whether or not that financial burden is something you want to deal with when you get back from the honeymoon.
How to Get a Loan for a Wedding
Wondering how much money you can get with a wedding loan? The answer is anywhere between $1,000 to $50,000. The same goes for online companies like Upstart. "Upstart offers three and five-year loans with no prepayment penalty. You can decide what amount and term length you and your partner are most comfortable with," says Jungwon Byun, Co-Founder and COO of Elicit and former Head of Growth at Upstart. Since you now know how much you can possibly get, here are three steps you need to take to get a loan for your celebration.
Ensure you have good credit.
If you want a wedding loan, you'll have to ensure your financials are in order. Traditionally, the biggest factor is your credit score. Anything above 700 is usually considered a good credit score. However, you can still get a loan with a lower score. For a lending website like Upstart, you'll need a score of 620 or higher to qualify for a loan, Byun says. To figure out your credit score, try a trusted free credit score site or use your bank's app to see your score.
Have your financial documents in order.
Beyond the credit score, your institution will want to look at your proof of income, bank statements and any other debt you might have (like student loans or mortgages). You'll have to check with your institution to find what specific documents and qualifications you'll need. In other words, online wedding loans require many of the same types of documentation as any other loan. "At Upstart, they worked hard to automate much of the process. This makes applying for a loan incredibly simple and fast. The customer service team is also available to help every step of the way," Byun explains.
Apply for a wedding loan through a financial institution.
You can apply for the wedding loan as an individual or with your partner. Determine this decision based on whether your credit score is better than the joint one and if you would like to share the responsibility of the loan. Once you have your credit and documents in order, apply for the loan in person or online. Then, your desired financial institution will take it from there.
Use an online personal loan company.
Lots of internet loan companies have sprung up over the past few years, and most offer crowd-sourced loans. Here's how it works: Online investors front money for you once you've been approved by the company similar to how you'd be approved by a bank. Then, you pay them back, including interest, in the same way you would a bank. A good site (read: trusted) for online wedding loans is Upstart. This website allows you to safely fill in your information and shows you the types of loans (and the personal loan rates) you qualify for. "Unless you can pay off the monthly balance immediately, credit cards aren't a great option for long-term debt," Byun advises. "The Upstart platform is smart; it uses education, employment and credit history to determine the APR. The entire process is also online and very simple, which makes it a fast and easy way to borrow."
Alternatives to Wedding Loans
Don't feel like you have to turn to a wedding loan to pay for your big day. There are lots of ways to save and cut wedding costs. We know budgeting for the wedding can be arduous, and some things are too cool not to have, but starting your future in debt is not a good way to kick off your marriage. Below are a few ways to cover costs without taking a loss.
Take out a home equity line of credit.
This one is only for homeowners and usually for parents paying for their children's nuptials. The idea behind a home equity line of credit is you borrow against the mortgage on your home. Again, though, it's not a good idea. Neither the financial experts nor we would recommend doing such a thing. "I've seen parents take out a home equity line of credit, which is basically borrowing against the value of your home," says Lyons Cole. "Especially for a lot of parents, if you're throwing a wedding, you're probably mid-40s to 50s, you're not that far away from retirement, you probably just put your kid through college—there are so many expenses and pressures put on a parent, and chances are you need that money for something else," Lyons Cole adds.
Use a credit card.
We should warn you most financial advisers are wary of credit cards and lines of credit when it comes to alternative ways to pay for your wedding. For Lyons Cole, this is one of the fastest ways to get into deep debt. "Obviously, as a financial planner, my advice would always be to create a budget and only pay for things you can afford," says Lyons Cole. That said, if (and only if) you have the cash to pay for your wedding, a credit card can be a good option. A credit card can protect your money from fraud and help you earn points for flights and hotels (hello, honeymoon).
Extend your engagement and save for the wedding.
This is hands down our favorite option. Avoid wedding loans by taking the time to create a wedding budget and save up for the things you want. There's no harm in a long engagement. Many venues are already booked more than a year in advance anyway. "I would rather have you postpone your engagement six months to a year to save money. Paying forward by saving is much better than paying backward with debt," Lyons Cole says.
Please note: The Knot and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute financial or tax advice and should not be used as such. You should always consult with your financial and tax advisors about your specific circumstances.