Getting engaged can be an exciting life event. Planning a wedding can be fun, but it can also be overwhelming too. When you think about all the decisions you’ll have to make and all the money you’ll spend, this can easily make the process seem more stressful.

Today, the average wedding costs around $33,000. This is a lot of money, so you may have considered getting a wedding loan. A wedding loan is just a personal loan, and it is often not the best option when trying to cover wedding costs. Here’s why you shouldn’t take out a wedding loan and what to do instead.

A Wedding Loan Can Put You in the Hole Financially

With any personal loan, you can typically borrow up to $30,000 to $40,000 depending on your creditworthiness. This is a large sum regardless of your credit score. But, if your credit is poor, you could be paying a ton of interest on this loan. Suddenly, borrowing $20,000 is more like borrowing $25,000 or more because loan interest adds up quickly.

Added Stress on Your New Marriage

Whenever you take out a wedding loan or use a credit card to fund expenses, it can add financial stress to your marriage. As soon as the wedding and honeymoon are over, you’ll need to settle into life together. This often means deciding how you’ll budget and handle finances.

You or your partner may already have debt like student loans or a car loan. Now consider adding an expensive wedding loan to the mix.

What if you want to buy a home together or set an exciting financial goal? The wedding loan you took out may affect your chances of pursuing those goals, which could cause further stress in your marriage.

It’s Often Unnecessary

I know some people who have spent quite a bit on their weddings and others who haven’t. There’s no rule that says you need to spend $30,000 to $50,000 on your wedding.

Your wedding is just one day. While you may want it to be a wonderful day you’ll never forget, this can be accomplished without a wedding loan.

If you prefer to avoid a wedding loan at all costs, I don’t blame you. Here are a few things you can do to avoid a wedding loan and save money on your big day.

What To Do Instead

Determine What’s Important

My husband and I spent a little over $7,000 on our wedding and managed to pay for it in cash and with a few family gifts. We weren’t necessarily cheap but we were both adamant about determining what was important.

After discussing what we really wanted and what we didn’t care much about, we realized a lot of things. For starters, we didn’t need to have an open bar or even have our wedding on a Saturday. We opted for a Sunday and a cash bar, and this cut our venue expenses in half.

I wasn’t too crazy about having a ton of flower decorations, but I did want a nice bouquet for myself and my bridesmaids. We also wanted to get nice wedding bands for each other.

Narrowing down what’s important and what isn’t can help you decide what to put your money toward. That way, you’re not wasting money on certain expenses just to appease other people. It’s your big day so what you and your partner want is all that matters.

Don’t get into debt trying to please or impress other people.

See If You Can Lower Your Biggest Expenses

One way to keep your wedding costs low so you can avoid a loan is to cut some expenses. I recommend focusing on your largest budget line items instead of trying to penny-pinch some of the smaller details.

Some people prefer to keep the guest list smaller to keep costs down while others may opt to invite more people but serve baked chicken instead of steak.

Others plan to have their wedding during the middle or the day or in the morning so they can serve brunch and avoid dinner costs altogether.

What you decide is totally up to you but the biggest expenses are often the venue, meal, alcohol, and flowers. If you can find a way to cut one of these costs, you can save thousands of dollars and still have the wedding of your dreams.

Gather Estimates and Work Backwards

Some people consider taking out a wedding loan just because they think their wedding will be expensive. You can’t really know this without doing research and gathering quotes. Get multiple quotes from venues, photographers, DJs, and florists so you can come up with a realistic budget for your wedding.

Let’s say after running the numbers you come up with $17,000 for your wedding. From there try to work with the number. See how long you may want to save for your wedding and if you can stagger expenses along the way.

Examine where you can cut expenses or earn more, and set a goal of how much you can set aside each month. Breaking your budget down will make it seem more attainable. If you know that during one month you’re buying a dress and shoes and the next month you’ll be put a deposit down on the cake, this makes things seem more manageable.

Ask Loved Ones to Share a Talent

Your friends and family may be interested in assisting with your wedding and you just don’t know it yet. If a friend does photography or knows someone who does, you may be able to score a nice discount. Or, you can have your bridesmaids help make wedding favors to cut costs in that area.

If anyone you know has a talent they’re willing to offer as a wedding gift, take them up on it. I was able to get a photographer referral from my sister for our wedding, and my uncle paid for the DJ as a gift to us. My friend gave me a major discount on my wedding bouquets since she used to be a florist.

Every little bit counts so don’t be afraid to ask friends and family if they’re open to helping with the wedding in some way.

Barter When Necessary

I didn’t do this much with my wedding, but I really should have. Bartering can be a great way to avoid a wedding loan and keep costs reasonable. If you have something to offer in exchange for a vendor’s product or service, be sure to speak up.

They might say no, but it’s worth a try. Since I’m a writer, I thought about asking people to allow me to write or update the copy on their business website in exchange for something for our wedding.

Had our wedding not happened so fast and already been pretty affordable, I would have been more proactive about actually following through with this.

Summary

In most cases, a wedding loan isn’t worth it. Think about if you really want to wake up the day after getting married and realize you have a new debt.

Personally, I would much rather invest in pre-marital counseling or a nice honeymoon than take out a loan for a wedding. The key is to get creative and be willing to narrow down what you truly want. Then, find ways to make it work and don’t worry about including the aspects that are not important to you or your partner.

Would you ever consider taking out a wedding loan?

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