In the age of wedding boards on Pinterest and viral first-dance videos on YouTube, wedding standards are on the rise, as ceremonies are becoming spectacles as much as they are celebrations.
Cookie-cutter and run-of-the-mill options just won't do as couples seek unique ideas to display their sense of style and show off their personalities on their big day.
Of course, with customization comes cost. Wedding expenses are also trending higher; average wedding costs hit an all-time high of $31,213 in 2014, according to TheKnot.com.
And averages don't tell the whole story. Lavish nuptials are relatively common now, with about one in eight couples spending more than $40,000 on their wedding in 2013, and nearly one in four brides steered clear of the confines of a budget altogether, TheKnot.com reports.
How are couples coming up with so much cash? Many benefit from parental contributions, but cost burdens are increasingly being shifted toward couples as more twosomes wait until later in life to tie the knot. According to a TheWeddingReport.com article, 26 percent of couples use personal loans to help pay for their weddings.
Is It Wise for Brides and Grooms to Borrow?
Financial advisers typically recommend savings over loans to fund a wedding, viewing financing as something appropriate for more justifiable investments. After all, personal loans can carry a double-digit interest rate. Any time a borrower takes on a loan, the borrower should determine if the extra interest is worth the investment. With a wedding, it may be tough to justify paying so much interest.
And let's face it: money problems remain a common cause of marital discord. Starting a marriage in debt, no matter how beautiful the wedding, can cause stress down the road.
When considering getting a personal loan for a wedding, it's important to keep in mind that your big day is only day No. 1 of the rest your life together. Heed the following advice when planning for a wedding loan to ensure you’re borrowing responsibly and keeping your larger personal and financial goals in mind.
Calculate Cash Contributions First
The average length of an engagement these days is 14 months. This gives couples more than a year to get creative with saving money to put toward their wedding, as well as find ways to earn extra money that can be put toward the big-day fund.
Combine your cash contributions as a couple along with any backing from parents and family members. If your funds still fall short of paying for your wedding wish list, it’s time to think of creative ways to get more bang for your buck, so you can minimize the amount you plan to borrow.
Adjust Wedding Plans to Fit Your Budget
The venue and catering are the most expensive line items in the average wedding budget, according to TheKnot.com. Reining in expenses in these areas can really bring down your wedding expenditure.
When it comes to your wedding setting, one rental fee is less expensive than two, so you might want to consider having one location for both your ceremony and reception.
You may also want to time your nuptials in order to get the best deals. Only seven percent of brides chose winter weddings in 2013, so think about setting your date for the off-season to possibly snag discounted pricing.
Food costs balloon as your guest list expands. The average number of guests was a hefty 136 last year. Couples who opt for a more intimate event can save big on cost-per-head.
There are countless ways to get creative and host a high-impact event on a reasonable budget. Follow a few of the many budget bride blogs online for inspiration, ideas, and support from like-minded brides.
Shop Around for the Best Deal on a Loan
After ramping up savings and trimming expenses, if you do decide to bridge the gap between your wedding fund and your wedding plans with a personal loan, allow yourself plenty of time to shop around.
Before taking on debt, prospective borrowers should first make sure their credit score is as high as possible, and then shop around for the very best rate that they can get.
In addition to the interest rate, will the monthly payments comfortably fit into your budget? How long will you be paying off the loan? It’s important not to overextend yourself, so stick to a loan amount that will keep payments low and short-term, from six months to two years. If you’re extending the loan beyond that time frame, you’re probably taking on too much debt.
Put Monetary Gifts to Work
Cash registries, especially when combined with traditional gift registries, are growing in popularity and becoming less taboo. If you have an idea of how much money you may get from cash registries, you can factor that into your wedding planning costs.
If you do decide to take out a wedding loan, you may consider using any cash gifts you receive to accelerate repayment of your wedding loan.
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