Family Finances

Wedding Loans 101: Everything You Need to Know About Borrowing For Your Wedding

Published on November 3, 2017

If you’re currently in the process of planning a wedding, you’re likely enjoying the endless cake samples and making difficult decisions, like whether to have a donut bar or a candy station at the reception. But unfortunately, wedding planning isn’t just about cake samples and dessert logistics. It can be stressful, especially when it comes to figuring out how you’ll pay for all those Boston creams and/or Swedish fish-laden gift bags.

According to The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Survey, the costs of planning a couple’s special day has reached an all-time high. Couples are spending a national average of $35,329 on their wedding, an increase of $2,688 since 2015. Across the country, average costs vary from a high of $78,464 in Manhattan to a low of $19,522 in Arkansas.

While there are ways to save on wedding costs that don’t involve cutting back on mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or maple-glazed donuts, more couples are finding that they need a little bit of extra cash to get them through the wedding planning process. This is especially true when every vendor seems to require an immediate deposit. That’s why people turn to wedding loans. Find a venue right out of a Pinterest post, but need a $10,000 deposit by next week to secure it? Try on the dress of your dreams, then discover it’s $2,500 more than you have in your checking account? A loan could be just what you need to keep your dream wedding from being derailed.

What is a wedding loan?

A wedding loan doesn’t come from a wedding fairy godmother with a wave of her wand—although that would make for a better story. A wedding loan is simply a personal loan that you use to pay for wedding expenses. So, what’s a personal loan? It’s an unsecured installment loan that you borrow for a specific term and pay back in monthly installments.

The interest rates on personal loans are either fixed or variable. Most lenders will also allow you to pay off the loan early, even if you’ve signed up for a three, five, or seven-year loan. Variable rate loans may help you save money on interest now, but the amount you’re charged could go up if interest rates rise, whereas fixed rate loans will remain the same even if interest rates shoot up faster than the price of a good DJ on a Saturday in the summer.

Who should consider a personal loan for their wedding?

Personal loans are a great option for those who have budgeted to pay for their wedding expenses, but just don’t have the cash on hand to cover immediate deposits or a slew of bills at once.

Maybe your parents committed to helping out with wedding costs and promised to send a cash infusion next month, but the florist whose work looks like a living Instagram photo will go with another couple if you don’t book now. Or maybe you and your betrothed are putting aside a certain amount each month for wedding expenses, but you don’t want to put the catering deposit on your credit card because all the travel rewards points in the world will not outweigh the interest you’ll be charged. In other words, if you have a good plan for paying your personal loan back and you just need it to bridge the gap, then a personal loan for your wedding might be perfect for you.

However, if you don’t know how you will pay off your loan but you really want a little extra room in your budget to buy that Vera Wang dress, you might want to think twice before signing on the dotted line for a personal loan. The last thing you want to do is start your marriage off knee deep in debt you can’t pay back, even if the pictures look amazing.

Pros and cons of wedding loans

Pros

• Wedding personal loans are fast, easy ways to get some extra cash when you have to pay for deposits or cover expenses quickly.

• You can apply online.

• You can get your money in as little as one business day, depending on the lender.

• They typically charge less interest than credit cards.

• They can help build your credit if you pay them back on time.

Cons

• They can tempt people to spend more than they can afford.

• Some have prepayment or origination fees.

• It might be a better bet to save up for your donut bar rather than finance it.

• You might be paying off your party years later.

How much can you borrow for your wedding?

To qualify for a personal loan with a competitive rate, you’ll likely need a good credit score and a well-paying job, or a co-signer who has both of those things. Many lenders consider a good credit score to be anything above 700. You might be able to get a loan if your score is below that, though it’s possible you’ll have to pay more in interest or you might qualify to borrow less money.

Things like how much debt you currently have, including in the form of student loans or a mortgage, can also impact how much you can borrow. At SoFi, we offer personal loans for anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. Other online lenders offer less, typically topping out at $35,000 to $40,000. But unless you’re planning a wedding at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan complete with champagne towers and children dressed as cherubs, you’re unlikely to need that much for a personal loan.

Getting the funds you need for you wedding day

Just like with any loan, you need to have all your financial information and documents in order. Be sure to have things like proof of income, bank statements, information about your other debt, your social security number, and your identification ready. With most online lenders, you can get pre-approved with a quick online application and then choose your rate, answer any additional questions, send copies of necessary documentation, and sign the loan agreement all within a day or two. Don’t forget to do your research and understand everything you should be looking for in a lender so that you don’t get stuck with a loan that’s about as appealing as that ugly set of grey serving platters your Aunt Ina bought you for your wedding shower.

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