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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, you’ll probably be looking for some sort of wedding financial support. 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, though some will lend as much as £50,000. 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?

There’s a long list of things you’ll need to pay for when you tie the knot. There’s the venue, catering, the dress, suits, photography, the band, cake, flowers, the list goes on, and that’s before you start counting all the small things. 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. 

If you do decide you need to take out a wedding loan, our loan calculator can help you work out how much it could cost and what your monthly repayments could be.

What types of wedding loan can I get? 

There are several different types of loan you can get to pay for a wedding: 

  • Personal loan – a personal loan, also known as an unsecured loan, allows you to borrow up to £25,000 for up to 10 years. This could cover the entire cost of a wedding, allowing you to spread that cost over an agreed period. However, the amount you can borrow and terms of the agreement will come down to your credit score and history.
  • Secured loan – if you’re declined an unsecured loan, you could have a higher chance of approval for a secured loan. With a secured loan, you’ll need to offer a valuable asset as collateral, such as your car or home, but this can provide you with access to larger amounts (up to £100,000) and potentially on a lower interest rate. However, if you’re unable to keep up with your monthly repayments, you could have your collateral repossessed.
  • Guarantor loan – this type of loan is designed for couples with poor credit scores or no credit history. This means you’re more likely to be accepted, but you’ll need a guarantor to agree to the loan with you. A guarantor is someone who offers to make the repayments on your behalf, if you can’t keep up with them yourself.
  • Peer-to-peer loan – peer-to-peer loans are borrowed from other people, rather than a financial institution, like a bank. They’re unsecured and don’t require a guarantor, but the interest rates are set by the people who are lending to you. If your credit score is good, risk-averse investors may offer you lower interest rates, while people with bad credit scores may be able to secure a loan they might not be eligible for elsewhere, but at the cost of a high interest rate.

What are the benefits of taking 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. 
  • Can build your credit score – like any type of loan or credit, paying off a wedding loan on time and in full can help build your credit score. By repaying your wedding loan, you’re proving you can handle the responsibility of borrowing money, which could improve your chances of being accepted for other loans or credit in future.

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 isn’t always guaranteed – if it’s labelled as representative, 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, meaning you’ll get the advertised rate if you apply.
  • 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. 

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: 

  • Secured loan – 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.
  • 0% credit card – if you’ve got a good enough credit score, you might be able to cover at least some of the cost of your wedding on a 0% purchase credit card. This means you won’t be charged any interest on the money you borrow. However, credit cards normally come with limits, as well as conditions attached to the 0% interest rate. This means you should be careful when using a credit card to make large purchases, pay off at least the minimum repayments each month and ideally the whole amount before the 0% period expires.
  • Interest free overdraft - 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.
  • The bank of mum and dad - 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.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get a wedding loan with bad credit?

When you apply for a loan, lenders will use your credit file to help them decide what interest rate to charge you and how much you can borrow. If you have a poor credit rating, there are bad credit loan options available, but 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. 

Check your eligibility

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 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.”

Can I make an overpayment on a wedding loan? 

Yes. If you want to make a partial overpayment, then a 28-day notice period applies. You’ll be charged interest on the full amount you owe for 28 days after you notify your lender of an extra payment. 

If you want to pay your loan off in full, you’ll need to ask your lender for an ‘early settlement amount’, which is a recalculation of what you owe based on: 

  • what you’ve already paid and the amount you still owe
  • what interest charges apply
  • whether there are any early payment fees. 

Your lender’s obliged to give you this figure if you ask for it and to give you at least 28 days to think it over. If you decide to go ahead, you’ll need to pay the outstanding early settlement amount by the settlement date the lender has given you – otherwise it will need to be recalculated. 

If you don’t ask the lender for the figure, you may end up paying the wrong amount. 

You don’t have to pay off the loan if you decide you’d be better off continuing with your monthly instalments.