Before You Say ‘I Do’ To A Wedding Loan
If you’re considering a wedding loan to cover the cost of your special day, make sure you’re ready to make a serious financial commitment… Weddings are expensive.
According to a recent survey of 16,000 brides and grooms who married in 2014, the average wedding cost was $31,213. And that doesn’t include the honeymoon. The Knot’s 8th annual report is the most comprehensive of its kind and suggests that wedding outlay has increased almost 10% since 2012.
In 2009, average wedding costs were $19,581. If you take into consideration the relative value of money and increase in the Consumer Price Index, $19,851 would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $21,000 by 2015 standards. It’s just an indication that, even with the adjustment, people still spend on average $10,000 more than they were six-years ago.
How Much Should You Expect To Pay For Your Wedding?
It’s no wonder that couples are searching for viable ways to cover the expense. However, it’s important to remember that how much you spend on a wedding is completely up to you! There are varied options that will prevent you from going into debt. You could always budget carefully or save money until you have enough without requiring assistance. But if you are set on going the conventional route with all the bells and whistles, the average cost does appear to be related to where you actually get married.
Geography Plays A Role In How Much You Spend On A Wedding. Does your location fall at the top of the wedding spending spectrum?
Top 10 Most Expensive Places To Get Married
- New York – Manhattan – $76,328
- New York – Long Island – $55,327
- New Jersey – North/Central – $53,986
- New York – Westchester/Hudson Valley – $52,954
- Illinois – Chicago – $50,934
- New York – Outer Burroughss – $49,781
- Pennsylvania – Philadelphia – $44,090
- Rhode Island – $41,914
- California – San Francisco/Greater Bay Area – $39,690
- New Jersey – South – $39,191
What Is A Wedding Loan?
The phrase ‘wedding loan’ is essentially a marketing term used by lenders to attract customers. Wedding loans are an unsecured personal loan. They’re typically advertised as flexible, low-interest, fixed-rate, no-fee, and no-penalty loans. Sounds ideal, right?
In order to get an agreeable, unsecured personal loan, you must enjoy a pristine credit history. If you have an excellent credit score you might expect 5.9% APR but if your credit score is among the poorest, you can expect to pay an astronomical 36%.
Where Do You Get A Wedding Loan?
- Bank or Credit Union – Banks and credit unions are migrating back to the personal loan market after the sub-prime mortgage crash of 2008. One reason why they are returning, however, is to boost revenue in an attempt to claw some ground back from upstart companies that took their place while they were out of the game. Big name banks might consider the next category online ‘Peer-to-Peer’ lenders the largest portion of that upstart market.
- Peer-to-Peer Lending – Online sources for unsecured loans are becoming more and more popular. However, proceed with caution. Do your research before you borrow online. If you feel that you’ve thoroughly researched a Peer-to-Peer group enough to confidently apply for a wedding loan, know that origination fees can be quite high, very often the money won’t be immediately available, and you are limited on terms. Peer-to-Peer might be somewhat more flexible with credit scores, entertaining scores as low as 600 – 640, but you’ll pay much higher interest rates.
- Family – According to The Knot’s comprehensive report, couples do get help from family. On average the bride’s family contributes 43%, bride and groom contribute 43%, and the other 2% comes from others. Only 12% of couples pay for a wedding on their own. While this is a viable option for some couples, you might wish to think long and hard about the possible implications before you become indebted to the in-laws. They may wish to help out of the goodness of their own hearts, but lending and borrowing money between family members tends to have a psychological element which can also be detrimental.
Is a Wedding Loan Right For Us?
A wedding loan might be right for some couples, but it might be exactly the wrong thing for others. There are some situations in which a wedding loan will be the perfect solution. However, one of the biggest concerns is whether or not you’ll be able to meet the terms of the loan successfully. Simply put: will you be albe to pay it back.
Heavy debt can be an incredible burden on a new marriage. It might ruin your chances of getting off to a fair start and it could certainly ruin your credit score if you don’t pay it back promptly or begin defaulting on other financial obligations because the loan payments are too high.
Putting a new marriage under a burden like this will be a strain that some relationships won’t survive.
There Might Be A Bright Side To Wedding Loans
However, if you are both working and have reasonable incomes, then it might be the perfect option for you. You could have the wedding of your dreams without having to delay.
Some suggest that it’s not a bad idea to employ a wedding loan for the short-term if you know you have a windfall waiting. What they mean by this is, if you know you have an inheritance on the way soon or if a settlement will soon payout. However, unless it’s a sure thing it’s not a risk that is necessarily viable. Do you really want to base payment of your special day on the hopes that grandma dies soon and leaves you all her money? And other instances like insurance settlements could take years.
Is A Wedding Loan Better Than Using A Credit Card?
There are certain situations in which using your credit card for wedding purchases might be the perfect option. However, if you don’t plan on paying it back quickly and you aren’t familiar with how credit card interest works, you should familiarize yourself with how credit card companies work before you put a chunk of your wedding expenses on plastic.
If you take The Knot’s average wedding expense for 2014 ($31,213) and put it all on a credit card (credit cards) that charge 18% APR and then find that you’re only able to make the minimum payments, it will probably take you somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 years to pay it off and you will pay over $50,000 in interest. Happy Anniversary, right?
Instead Of A Wedding Loan Consider Budgeting For Your Wedding
Almost half of couples go over budget. 45% went over budget, 1 in 4 stayed in budget 26%, 6% came in under budget.
Here is an idea of how your wedding budget will be spent.
Wedding Budget Breakdown
- Overall Wedding Spend $31,213
- Venue (Reception Hall) – $14,006
- Photographer – $2,556
- Wedding / Event Planner – $1,973
- Reception Band – $3,587
- Reception DJ – $1,124
- Florist / Decor – $2,141
- Videographer – $1,794
- Wedding Dress – $1,357
- Groom’s Attire and Accessories – $254
- Wedding Cake – $555
- Ceremony Site – $1,901
- Ceremony Musicians – $637
- Invitations – $439
- Transportation / Limousine – $767
- Favors – $275
- Rehearsal Dinner – $1,206
- Engagement Rings – $5,855
- Catering per person – $68
- Officiant – $266
Wedding On A Budget? Tips On How To Save!
Perhaps one of the best ways to save is to first know how much you have to spend. Set yourself a realistic budget and stick to it. Next, you may wish to have a real heart-to-heart discussion with your partner and find out what is important and what isn’t important on the special day. You might be surprised what you realize about your expectations for the wedding. Quite often brides and grooms start out wanting modest ceremonies only to find themselves caught up in a monster wedding machine fueled by familial expectations and responsibilities.
This is your special day, make the memories that will be meaningful to your new family. You might just find that spending thousands on a wedding doesn’t appeal to you at all.
Having said that, if you find that after your heart-to-heart discussion that you are more passionate than ever about sharing your wedding in glorious style, you may still want to pinch a penny or two in the following ways:
Think of the Guest List
How many people are you going to invite? If you are going to invite 250 people to an evening wedding with a full reception afterwards, keep in mind that figure above which hints that the average amount spent on catering per person is $68. This could affect your decisions in several ways. You might wish to ease off the guest list just a tiny bit and you might wish to consider a time of day that you wouldn’t have to send so much on an evening meal and/or a venue to suit such a large party. (People tend to drink less and eat less in the mid-morning or early afternoon, too!)
Super Formal Style is Your Thing?
If your idea of the perfect wedding is ultra-formal, just keep in mind that it will be more expensive. Once you set the element, you will have to run a thread throughout the event and that means matching venue, food, attire, entertainment. It will typically mean an evening wedding and a larger event. All of these things inrease cost.
Where You Get Married
Take advantage of the list above and note the most expensive places to get married. Unless you’ve got the bucks to splash, you might wish to choose somewhere else to hold your dream wedding. Aside from the State or City you select, there are numerous options for venue that can save money. Have fun with it and be experimental. More and more couples are doing just that, straying from traditional settings and choosing a place that means something special to them; somewhere significant to their relationship and their future together.
Final Thoughts On Wedding Financing
A wedding loan will keep you on schedule and make your dream wedding a reality without waiting to build up a savings. If your combined income is strong and you plan to pay off the loan quickly, it could positively affect your credit score.
You begin your marriage under the cloud of debit. The financial strain is often too much for new couples, causing divorce or default on the loan. Depending on credit score you could end up paying very high interest.
The bottom line is, it’s never the best of ideas to go deep into debt without a concrete plan of how to clear that debt quickly. It makes even less sense to take out a loan for over $30,000 for an event that might last for less than four hours; especially if you are putting the very heart of that ceremony at risk by loading it with too much financial burden.
However, should you decide to take out a wedding loan, keep your wits about you. Shop around for the best possible rate out there before applying. Remember that each hit on your credit could reduce your credit score, so be smart about submitting applications. More than anything, here’s wishing you a happy wedding day!