The most important day of your life isn’t always cheap. From the dress and the venue to the catering and the wedding car, your special day can cost you upwards of $50,000. If you don’t have that kind of money saved, you may need to turn to other ways to finance your wedding.
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While there aren’t many lenders that specifically offer loans for weddings, there are plenty that allow you to use your funds toward any legitimate expense — including weddings. The financing option you choose should depend on your current financial circumstances, how much you need to borrow, your outstanding debts and your active credit accounts.
Personal loans are offered by a variety of lenders, and you may be able to borrow up to $35,000 – or sometimes more. If approved, you’ll receive a lump sum that can be used for anything from buying a dress to throwing an engagement party or even financing part of your honeymoon.
Lines of credit
Not sure how much you need to borrow? Lines of credit work like personal loans, but rather than borrowing a lump sum, you can withdraw as much as you need (up to your credit limit) when you need it. There may also be monthly fees while you have the line of credit open.
If you already have a card with a low purchase interest rate, then you may want to consider using it to make wedding-related purchases instead. Or, consider signing up for a credit card with a low introductory purchase rate to cover a few purchases — just don’t go overboard so you can pay off your balance before the intro rate ends and the higher revert rate kicks in.
With more crowdfunding sites popping up, some couples have opted to reach out to friends, family and even strangers to help pay for their big day. Sites like GoFundMe and KickStarter allow soon-to-be newlyweds to set up campaigns to raise wedding funds. Typically, these online fundraising platforms charge an overall service fee as well as a fee per donation. However, you usually won’t be on the hook for any upfront costs to set up your campaign.
How do I find the right financing for my wedding?
When comparing loans, pay special to the following features:
Perks and discounts. Some lenders may allow you to bundle a personal loan with other financial products to get a discount, while others may have flexible repayment options. If you opt to use a credit card, you may be able to earn rewards points, miles or cash back for your purchases. Take a look at some features offered by these lenders and see if any of them can make your life easier (or less expensive).
Repayment flexibility. Check if you are able to repay the loan early without penalties or if you’ll be able to extend the loan if you need more time to make payments.
Prepayment options. You may be able to pay off your loan early, but check to make sure you aren’t charged a prepayment penalty. This can offset any benefit you get from making the extra repayments, so check your lender’s terms before you apply.
Fixed- or variable interest rates. A fixed-rate option can help you plan your repayments because they’ll stay the same throughout the life of your loan, but this may also mean you miss out on lower interest rates. Fixed-rate loans usually have terms of one to five years. Variable rates start off low but fluctuate over the life of the loan, making it harder to budget for the repayments.
Things to consider before taking out a wedding loan
Before applying for a wedding loan, it’s crucial to understand the financial commitment required for servicing the borrowed amount. You and your future partner should sit down and discuss your financial situations beforehand. Below are some of the questions you should be discussing.
What are the fees that you’ll be charged? When you look at the fees of a loan, you should remember to check the upfront fees as well as any ongoing charges. Upfront fees cover the cost of setting up the loan, for example origination fees, while ongoing fees can include monthly account-keeping fees or amounts charged for using some of the features of the loan. You should also be aware of late fees and NSF fees.
What interest rate are you being offered? When looking at the rate offered by the lender, make sure to check whether the rate is fixed or variable. You can also see if the lender offers an introductory rate that can help you save money over the first few months of the loan.
Are the loan amount and terms affordable? You need to ensure that the amount you want to borrow and the length of time you want to borrow it for is offered by the lender. You can check the minimum and maximum loan amounts each lender offers and see if they suit your needs. You’ll also need to be sure that you can actually afford the monthly repayments.
Compare personal loans for financing a wedding
Representative example: Sam and Chloe are getting married
Sam and Chloe are set to get married in a few months and they’ve organized everything from the venue to the dress. Unfortunately, Chloe has picked out a rather expensive bridesmaid dress, and realizes that she can’t expect her five bridesmaids to fully cover the cost of the $800.00 dress. Although they’ve already spent over $15,000.00 on their wedding day, Sam and Chloe agree to cover $500.00 from each of the five dresses, for a total of $$2,500.00.
Since they haven’t budgeted for this unexpected expense, Sam and Chloe will need to take out a loan. They head to their local bank but are rejected for a personal loan since both Sam and Chloe already have student loan debt. They decide to head online to compare personal loan providers and luckily come across a lender willing to allow them to borrow money – even though they already have debt. They’re approved for $2,500.00, which is to be paid back over one year – but due to their existing debt, they’re offered a higher interest rate of 15.00%.
Cost of dresses
Origination fee of 3% ($75.00)
Total loan cost
*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.
Should I use a loan to pay for my wedding?
It depends. Some financial experts advise against it, stating that you’re better off saving for this big expense. But while building up your savings will mean you don’t pay interest, for many people, that’s often an unattainable goal — especially if you’re hosting a large reception at an expensive venue.
A wedding loan can make it easier to afford your wedding, even if it costs you more in the long run. As long as you and your partner agree to the expense beforehand and have a plan of action in place for dealing with the repayments, a wedding loan can be helpful. However, it’s still important to explore other options.
How else can I finance my wedding?
While there are plenty of ways you can make your wedding more affordable — including choosing a less expensive venue or renting a dress — these are four common ways people avoid borrowing a large amount for their big day.
Savings. The primary way people pay for a wedding is through savings. It might mean a smaller honeymoon or a more simple reception, but by using your savings, you can avoid paying interest for your wedding.
Family and friends. It’s not uncommon for family and friends to help out a little with paying for your big day. Parents are usually willing to foot a portion of the bill, and friends may be interested in DIY centrepieces or discounting services like photography and flower arrangements.
Budgeting. Even if you don’t have a huge savings account, you can still work your way to borrowing less. By cutting back on things like coffee, takeout and other unnecessary expenses, you can add to your wedding budget without too much sacrifice.
Postpone the ceremony. It might not be ideal, but if you don’t have any set plans, consider extending your engagement. The longer you have to build your savings and find deals, the better off you’ll be — and the less you’ll need to borrow.
Other financial obligations to consider for the wedding
Whether you’re having a small ceremony, or an all out extravaganza for your big day, there is always going to be a range of items and services you may need financing for. Consider the expenses below:
Engagement party invites
Engagement party venue
Engagement party food and drinks
Bachelor/bachelorette party and bridal showers
Wedding invites and thank you gifts
Wedding dress and accessories
Bridesmaids dresses and accessories
Groom/groomsmen suits and accessories
Flower girls, ushers and pageboys outfits and accessories
Wedding location/church and marriage officiant
Reception location, catering and decorations
Photography and videography costs
Make up, hair, nails and facials for bride and bridal party
When you find the right loan and want to apply, click the Go to Site button to be directed to the lender’s website. To qualify for a loan in Canada, you generally need to be 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory, and be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. You will also usually need to have a good credit rating, which typically means a score of 650 or higher.
Have the following information on hand before you apply:
Personal details including your full name, age, address, contact details and proof of your identity
Financial details including your assets, debts and liabilities
Employment details including your income, job title and the name and contact details of your employer
There are a few ways to finance your wedding when you don’t have the money available. If you’ve decided to take out a personal loan, compare your options and make sure you’re applying for a loan that’s competitive and affordable for your budget. Planning is a must, so compare at least 3 to 4 lenders and take your time when selecting the right lender and loan terms for your big day.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can. If you’re already planning your wedding with your significant other but haven’t picked out the perfect engagement ring, we have some tips. You can use a personal loan, credit card or jewelry store financing – but remember to stick to what you can afford.
Yes, you could potentially. There are a number of lenders that offer loans to people with bad credit. However, this isn’t the best choice. You’ll often face high interest rates and poor terms, which can quickly make the loan unaffordable if you’re on a budget.
While this varies from couple to couple, most often the reception is the most expensive part of the wedding.
If you’re using an unsecured personal loan, lenders often don’t care what you use the funding for, as long as it’s a legitimate purpose. You can therefore use the funds for a domestic or an international wedding.
A credit card may charge foreign transaction fees (usually 2.5%), so keep this in mind if you’re planning an international wedding. To avoid this fee, consider applying for a no foreign transaction fee credit card.
Some lenders will loan up to $35,000 for an unsecured personal loan, but you’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria. Good to excellent credit is a must, and you will likely need to make above a certain amount annually to qualify.
Remember that borrowing more than you need leads to unnecessary debt, and can mean paying a fair bit in interest over the long loan term.
Matt Corke is Finder's head of publishing for rest of world and New Zealand. He previously worked as the publisher for credit cards, home loans, personal loans and credit scores. Matt built his first website in 1999 and has been building computers since he was in his early teens. In that time, he has survived the dot-com crash and countless Google algorithm updates.
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