A wedding is a joyful occasion, but it’s also an expensive one. If you’re getting ready to tie the knot, you may be looking for ways to cover some of your wedding costs. Wedding planning is stressful enough, and money matters only create additional challenges.
According to Wedding Wire’s latest report, the average cost to get married in the U.S. is now $38,700. This includes the engagement ring, ceremony, reception, and honeymoon. Weddings have become so costly that 28% of couples worldwide now go into debt to pay for them.
If you have upcoming nuptials, you may be thinking about using a wedding loan to help cover some of the costs. Here’s a quick primer on what to consider before you commit to borrowing money for the big day, and where you can get the best wedding loan offers.
What Are Wedding Loans?
Wedding loans are still personal loans but the stated purpose is for wedding expenses. Your loan’s APR may be lower because historical default rates for wedding loans have been lower than other personal loans.
In general, the amount that you can borrow will depend on the lender and your creditworthiness. In addition to your credit score, a lender will likely review your income, debt-to-income ratio, and various other factors when making lending and favorable terms decisions.
Ways to Lower Your Wedding Loan Amount
Paying for your important day is possible without taking out huge loans. Here are several simple ways that you can reduce the amount of money you need to borrow for your wedding.
1. Plan a Longer Engagement
Times have changed. Younger Americans now owe a stunning $1.5 trillion in student loans, and many young adults aren’t eager to take on more debt.
According to a recent study released in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, many couples are choosing to cohabitate longer instead of jumping into marriage. This includes having longer engagements and waiting until their 30s to say “I Do.”
While you may not want to go to this extreme, you wouldn’t be alone if you postponed your wedding a bit to save more money. This can help you avoid being tied down to monthly payments and the higher total costs associated with loan interest rates.
The author of this page personally waited eighteen months between engagement and the wedding to save enough money to not need a wedding loan.
2. Simplify Your Arrangements
Wedding costs can quickly get out of control. While there may be some aspects of the celebration you simply can’t live without, there are many things you can simplify or eliminate.
According to a study by the Knot, one of the largest spending categories is wedding decorations. This is something you can certainly work to pare down if you’re willing to take on some DIY projects and source local instead of exotic flowers.
Other ideas to save costs include:
- Not having your wedding on a Saturday
- Opting for a cheaper venue
- Inviting fewer guests
- Having a buffet instead of a sit-down dinner
- Using a wedding planner app instead of a wedding planner
- Hiring a DJ instead of a live band
- Simplifying the wedding cake or foregoing a wedding cake altogether
- Considering a second-hand wedding dress
3. Postpone the Reception
If you don’t want to delay your wedding but still dream of a big reception, have the wedding now and the reception later—after you’ve saved up enough cash to pay for the event. This way, you can have your big day according to your schedule, and start married life while you set money aside for that reception of your dreams.
And if you haven’t combined households yet, you may find that doing so will help you trim some costs to meet your goals. For example, getting rid of an additional rent payment, cable subscription, and power bill can already save you $1,000 or more a month.
4. Earn Some Extra Cash
Another great way to avoid having to get a wedding loan is to generate some extra income. You can take on a part-time job, such as retail work or one of those make-your-own-hours gigs. For example, you can freelance by consulting, tutoring, writing, or putting your technical skills to work.
An upcoming wedding is also a great excuse to tidy up your life Marie Kondo-style. If you have extra furniture, collectibles, or sporting goods that you’re no longer using or that don’t bring you “joy,” list them for sale and use the proceeds to pay for your pending nuptials.
How Much Should You Borrow for Your Wedding?
If you decide to borrow money to pay for your wedding or honeymoon, you should only borrow what you can’t save. In other words, you’ve already taken several steps to cut costs and save some extra cash, and now just need a bit more to make the magic happen for you and your future spouse.
How much you should borrow will depend on your circumstances, but keep in mind that just because a lender offers you $20,000, doesn’t mean you need to borrow this much. If you only need $12,000 (or less), don’t just accept more and book a fancier honeymoon. Your budget will thank you later.
It’s also a good idea to wait until closer to the wedding date to take out a personal loan. That way, you’ll have a better idea of your expenses and you can reduce the total interest accrued.
The Best Wedding Loans of 2019
If you need a loan to pay for your big day, the good news is that there are plenty of choices. Here are some of the companies that offer loans for special occasions:
Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that offers fixed-rate personal loans, with no penalties for early repayment. When you apply, you can select “special occasion” as the purpose of the loan.
Loans from Prosper range from $2,000 to $40,000, with APRs from 6.95 percent to 35.99 percent. There are only two loan repayment term options: 36 and 60 months. Prosper also charges an origination fee for your loan from 2 percent to 5 percent.
To qualify for a personal loan with Prosper, you will need a credit score of at least 640.
If you can’t qualify for an individual bank loan, OneMain Financial wants to help you with its online personal loan products. Its unsecured loan does not require that you offer collateral as security.
While there isn’t a minimum credit score required, most borrowers have at least a 600 score. Loans range from $1,800 to $20,000 with APRs from 18 percent to 35.99 percent and repayment terms from 24 to 60 months. There is an origination fee built into the payment, but no prepayment penalties.
SoFi is the nation’s largest provider of student loan refinancing, but it also offers a variety of low-cost personal loans for people with good credit.
SoFi’s loans range from $5,000 to $100,000, but it likely won’t approve a $100,000 personal loan for wedding expenses. Its APRs range from 5.99 percent to 17.665 percent, with repayment terms from two to seven years. SoFi is also a zero-fee lender, which makes it an attractive choice.
The average SoFi borrower has a credit score over 700, but the company also looks at other factors such as your income, career experience, and financial history.
Another lender that looks at more than just your credit score is Upstart. When you apply for a personal loan, it will also consider your work experience and education.
This is a peer-to-peer lender whose loans range from $1,000 to $50,000, with APRs ranging from 4.68 percent to 35.99 percent. The loan term options are 36 and 60 months, and the types of fees charged will vary depending on the borrower’s creditworthiness and the loan amount.
Lightstream offers wedding loans from $5,000 to $100,000, and it is known for the quick funding of its loans. Rates range from 3.99 percent to 16.99 percent, and there is a 0.5 percent discount for AutoPay enrollment.
Repayment terms on these loans range from 24 to 144 months, but longer terms are only available on larger loans. The company does not charge any additional fees and even promises to beat the rates of other online lenders.
Have a Plan Before Taking Out a Wedding Loan
Before you take out a wedding loan, create a plan to repay your debt. The last thing you want is high-interest debt that will become an issue in your marriage. Shop around and compare your personal loan options.