Engaged couples about to take a trip down the aisle are increasingly choosing to pay for the wedding themselves. Where it used to be tradition for the bride’s parents to handle the bill for the occasion, today the responsibility for funding has largely fallen into the hands of the prospective bride and groom. To meet the financial demands of the modern wedding, some individuals turn to loans for financing a portion or all of the wedding. You may question whether this is a good idea.
As with any situation, there are pros and cons. The same can be said about a wedding loan. The following are some factors you will need to consider before taking out a loan.
One of the most important things to realize is that a wedding loan, like any loan, will need to be paid back and interest fees will be included. What that means is that, by the end of the payback period, you will have spent several thousand dollars more on the loans than the original principal amount when interest is added in. If you’re taking out a loan because you’ve already gone above budget on wedding expenses, a loan may push that budget even further into the red.
That being said, there are some instances where a loan may be an option that works for a couple. For example, couples who anticipate considerable monetary gifts from guests attending the wedding can offset the cost of the loan with those gifts. Some couples might begin their professional careers after their wedding, which will increase their salary enough to repay the loan quickly. Others may actually have the money for the wedding, but want to use a loan as a way to establish strong joint credit as a new couple.
However, many couples take out loans because they simply cannot afford their dream wedding. In a world where many people already live beyond their means — financing cars, homes, retail purchases — a wedding loan may just be another shovelful of soil on a financial grave. The consensus among financial experts is that it is better to scale back the wedding or postpone it until you can save money the old-fashioned way instead of taking out a loan.
But if a loan seems the only option, here are some tips.
* Shop around on a wedding loan, just as with any other loan. Find the best rates and terms before settling on a lender.
* Decide how much you can afford to pay back within 2 to 3 years and how much the monthly payment will be. Then take out the loan only in that amount.
* Figure out which portions of the wedding can be scaled back to make the finances work.
* See if options like refinancing a home or borrowing from family would be better than taking out a loan.
* Look at banks, credit unions and even programs sponsored through your employer to compare rates on loans.
* Wedding loans may be secured or unsecured. A home or car can serve as a form of security in a secured loan. Unsecured wedding loans do not require a form of security.
* Personal loans, like wedding loans, generally have low annual percentage rates. It may be worth it to take out the loan rather than using a credit card for financing because the card’s rates could be double.
Keep in mind that a wedding loan — even if it comes at a low interest rate — means you’re starting out your new life together with a large amount of debt for an event that lasts one day. Think about whether the wedding of your dreams is worth using that joint checking account to pay off months of wedding debt.