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What is a wedding loan?

Weddings can be expensive. With the cost of a big day standing at anything between £16,000-£30,000, a wedding loan might seem like a good way to help pay for the day of your dreams.

A wedding loan is essentially just another name for an unsecured personal loan. It lets you borrow money to help pay for your big day that you pay back over time.

You’ll be able to choose how long you want the loan for, typically between one and five years. Most banks and building societies offer unsecured personal loans of between £1,000 and £25,000. They usually have a fixed rate of interest so you should know exactly how much your repayments will be.

How much should I borrow for a wedding?

From the venue and catering to flowers and the all-important dress, there’s a long list of things you’ll need to pay for when you tie the knot. Start by creating an overall budget and break it down into categories to see whether there’s anything you might be able to save on. It’s also a good idea to put aside a bit of extra money to account for the unexpected expenses that will inevitably come up.

With a clear budget in mind, you can decide how much you want to borrow. Ideally, you should be in a position to pay for most of your wedding yourselves as no one wants to start married life with a big debt.

Why it’s important to consider how much money you need 

Knowing how much you need to borrow will help you decide where best to find that extra cash injection. 

  • If you only need to borrow a small amount of money for a very short time, consider using your interest-free overdraft, if you have one. If not, it could be worth looking at different current accounts that offer this facility.
  • Credit cards with 0% interest on purchases could be worth a look, particularly if you need to buy something specific. As long as you pay back what you owe within the interest-free period (and make at least the minimum monthly payments on time), you can be smug in the knowledge that the credit hasn’t cost you a single penny extra. 

If you need a larger sum of money, a personal loan could be the answer. You can usually opt to borrow a minimum of £1,000, with upper limits depending on the lender. Most will lend you up to £25,000, although some may go as high as £50,000. 

The best APRs (annual percentage rate – this is the amount of interest, plus any fees, you pay on top of your loan) are reserved for customers with the best credit ratings. That’s why when you apply for a loan, you need to know that the APR you see might not be the one you get, unless it’s labelled as a guaranteed rate.

Why take out a wedding loan?

If you think you might need a loan to pay for your wedding, these are some of the ways it can help:

  • Fast access to funds – marrying in haste? Or keen to start planning? The loans process is quick. Once you’ve been approved for a loan, you’ll usually have the money in your bank account within a day or so.
  • Spread the cost – you’ll have flexibility over how much money to borrow and for how long. A short term means you’ll pay less interest overall. A longer timeframe means you’ll pay more interest but your monthly repayments will be lower.
  • Fixed rates – you’ll repay a fixed amount of interest each month, which makes it easier to manage your spending.

What are the downsides of a wedding loan?

A personal loan can help you have a day to remember, but there are some disadvantages you may need to consider:

  • Advertised rate not guaranteed – you may not get the annual percentage rate (APR) you see advertised unless your credit record is good. It’s only an example of what you could get, although it must be offered to at least 51% of successful applicants. However, that means the other 49% are likely to pay a higher rate. Some loans providers that you can compare through Compare the Market do offer guaranteed rates.
  • Start married life in debt – the honeymoon period will soon be over if you’re constantly worrying about money. And if the worst happens and your relationship breaks down, settling the debt could cause even greater tensions. 

Frequently asked questions

Can I get a wedding loan with bad credit?

When you apply for a loan, lenders will use your credit score to help them decide what interest rate to charge you and how much you can borrow. If you have a poor credit rating, this means you won’t be eligible for the best rates. Or you may even be refused credit altogether.  
Our loans eligibility checker can help you see the loans you’re most likely to be accepted for without damaging your credit score. 

What happens if my wedding is cancelled?

We sincerely hope this never happens, but you’ll still need to repay your loan in full if your wedding doesn’t go ahead. If you’ve already forked out for some aspects of your wedding using your loan money and you’re unable to get a refund, you might be able to claim it back on your wedding insurance (which can give you extra protection). 

Is a wedding loan better than using a credit card?

If you’re looking to borrow a lump sum and spread the cost, a wedding loan can be cheaper than a credit card. You may also be able to borrow more. Personal loans typically let you borrow up to £25,000, while credit cards have a limit on how much you can borrow, usually no more than £5,000.

For small amounts, 0% purchase credit cards can offer an affordable way to borrow. These are interest-free for an introductory period (often at least 12 months), so you can spread the cost of most of your main wedding expenses. Make sure you pay off your balance in full before the 0% period runs out though, or you’ll start being charged interest.

What are the other alternatives to wedding loans?

Aside from credit cards, there are a few other options you could consider to help you finance your big day.

If you think your credit score might stop you from getting a personal loan, you might be accepted for a secured loan instead. For this, you’ll need to put up your property or another asset as security, so only do this if you’re absolutely sure you can repay the loan.

If you’re lucky enough to have an interest-free overdraft, you could make use of it. But typically, interest rates for overdrafts are very high so this isn’t likely to be a good option. If you’re constantly overdrawn it won’t reflect well on you if you want to get another loan in the future.

Alternatively, you could ask a family member to lend you the money. It may be that they won’t charge you interest. But bear in mind that it could harm your relationship if you can’t pay them back.

What do I need to get a wedding loan quote?

You’ll need to give us a few details about yourself and the loan you’re looking for, including:

  • How much you want to borrow
  • How long you want the term of the loan to be
  • Your annual income
  • How many people depend on you financially

Our loans eligibility checker will help you find the loans you’re most likely to be accepted for. Once you’ve chosen one, you’ll be transferred to the lender’s site to apply.

Anelda Knoesen

From the Money team

What our expert says

“Getting married should be one of the happiest times in your life, and a wedding loan can help you have the day you always dreamed of. But it’s vital to budget carefully so you can comfortably afford the monthly repayments – and try to pay back the loan as quickly as you can to reduce the amount of interest.

“The last thing you want is to be saddled with loads of debt as you start your married life together.”

Why use Compare the Market?

See loans from a wide range of providers  Find loans you’re most likely to be accepted for with our eligibility checker 93.8% of users would recommend Compare the Market to friends or family**

**For the period 1st September to 30th November 2020, 12,477 people responded to the recommend question. 11,706 responded with a score of 6 or above, therefore 93.8% are likely to recommend.

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