In 2016, the national average cost for a wedding was a whopping $35,329. Many couples don’t have that kind of money lying around to afford their dream wedding. Because of that, nearly ⅓ of couples choose to go into debt to pay for their weddings using credit cards and/or personal loans. If you’re considering paying your wedding with credit, here are the pros and cons of a wedding loan.
Saving up money to pay for the big day is, of course, the most desirable way to fund a wedding. However, credit cards with 0% APR intros can be a saving grace for cash-strapped couples who want to avoid accruing any additional extra costs, such as interest fees.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for everyone. That’s why there’s such a massive growth in the market of “wedding loans.” Here are the pros and cons of paying for your wedding with a loan.
What are “wedding loans?”
Wedding loans aren’t an actual type of loan that you can apply for. They’re personal loans with an APR that’s based on factors such as your credit score, whether they’re secured or unsecured, and the amount of money you’re seeking to borrow. However, many lenders are starting to hone in on this niche with unique offerings.
Lightstream, for example, pledges to provide fast and easy financing for weddings to avoid any extra drama for brides in the midst of planning their big day. Prosper offers borrowers cash from their peer-to-peer lending market to not only cover the wedding, but also the honeymoon. Avant is also becoming a popular source to help couples fund their dream wedding.
However, this relatively easy access to cash should not make a wedding loan the first thing you reach for in order to fund your big day. “Taking out a personal loan is kind of a last-ditch effort,” warns Lauren Lyons Cole, certified financial planner.
The downside of wedding loans
Cole says, “The problem with personal loans is that, most often, people are taking them out because they’re trying to spend cash they don’t have.”
Unsecured loans have a much higher APR than loans secured by assets like your car or home as an asset, but this is only an option if they are fully paid off. Starting out your new life with burdensome debt isn’t the best idea and one that should be avoided if possible. This is especially true if you’re saddled with other financial obligations like student loans.
“If you start your marriage by going into debt, you are setting yourself up for a rocky beginning,” says Jarett Topel, a certified financial planner with Topel & DiStasi Wealth Management.
Finances are the number one cause of divorce, so it can be hugely detrimental to begin a marriage with money already being a source of difficulty.
The upside of wedding loans
The simple fact of the matter is that having money in the bank feels good. With wedding loans, you bypass the need to empty out your savings account. Your parents will also feel less obligated to chip in for the cost of the wedding, so no undue burdens are placed on them.
With cash in hand and the feeling of financial restriction off, you can focus more happily on planning what is supposed to be the happiest day of your life.
It should also be said that most wedding loans have a low APR (depending on your credit score), and, with terms of three to five years, you won’t be making payments on it any longer than you would a car. The APR can be lowered significantly by securing the loan with an asset such as your car or home as collateral.
Use this personalized loan offer tool to help you find the right loan for your unique situation.
How do you get a wedding loan?
With so many funding options out there, getting a wedding loan is easier than ever. Just be sure you’ve carefully considered the impact this might have on your finances, relationships, and overall future before proceeding.
Here are some tips to get the best deal on a wedding loan:
Know your budget
Carefully plan out the details of your wedding, including the cost of all items and labor involved in putting it together, so that you know exactly how much you’re going to need to borrow. The best way to minimize debt is to minimize spending, and this can be done with proper planning, research, and preparation.
Build good credit
The biggest factor for any personal loan is your credit score. Anything above 700 is ideal. This will help you lock in a lower APR, as well as give you access to greater amounts of cash.
Have your documents in order
Aside from your credit score, the lender you work with will request items such as proof of income, bank statements, and a summary of any other debt you have (such as student loans and car payments).
“At Prosper, to make the process go smoothly, you should have basic income and identity documentation on hand when you start your application. For example, that would include W2s, driver’s license, and Social Security card,” says Sarah Cain, director of communications at Prosper.
Is a wedding loan right for you?
If you don’t want to spend the next three to five years saving money to fund your wedding and you don’t have access to substantial credit card limits (especially those with 0% APR intros), wedding loans may be your only, and best, option.
With the market for wedding loans getting so large, more and more lenders are creating personal loan products that are favorable for consumers with these needs.
Our personal loans review page makes it easy for you to review and compare top lenders so that you can find the best option to help you fund your dream wedding.