Should I Raid My Emergency Fund to Pay for My Wedding?

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KEY POINTS

  • You don't want to end up with piles of debt from your wedding.
  • You also shouldn't take money out of your emergency fund for a non-emergency.
  • Look at ways to save money on your big day (such as a smaller guest list or a cheaper venue), or consider a personal loan (which would come with a fixed interest rate).

Getting married is exciting -- but it can also be expensive. In 2022, the average cost of a wedding was $30,000, according to The Knot. And even if you've been diligent about socking money away in a special savings account to pay for your upcoming wedding, you might still end up short of the total sum you need.

Unfortunately, because weddings are so expensive, many people wind up accumulating credit card debt in the course of paying for them. And clearly, that's not ideal.

If you'd rather steer clear of wedding-related debt, you may be tempted to pull some money out of your emergency fund to pay for your big day. But that's a move you might sorely regret.

Don't forget why you built your emergency fund in the first place

The reasoning behind an emergency fund is simple. You need cash reserves to fall back on when unexpected expenses pop up, or when circumstances make it so you're unable to work and earn money for a period of time.

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Let's say you bring home $4,000 a month. Chances are, you don't save half of your paycheck. Well, what if your car were to need a $2,000 repair? That's where your emergency fund would come to the rescue.

Similarly, if you were to get laid off at work, it might take a few months to find a new job. In that scenario, you'd want your emergency fund on hand to cover your bills.

It's for these reasons that tapping your emergency fund to pay for a wedding is really not a good idea. You might think it makes sense to raid your own savings before resorting to debt since, well, the money is already there, and it's already yours. But if you take a withdrawal from your emergency fund to cover your wedding costs, that money won't be there for you when you truly need it.

A better way to pay for a wedding

In an ideal world, you'd be able to pay for your wedding outright. And to be clear, there are steps you can take to limit your costs. These include keeping your guest list on the smaller side, choosing an inexpensive venue, opting for a weeknight wedding, and asking friends to help out to minimize the number of vendors you have to hire (for example, have your buddy who's great with a camera take pictures).

But your wedding is also, well, your wedding. And there are certain details you may not want to compromise on.

As such, if you need extra money to pull off the big event, consider looking at a personal loan. You'll still end up having to pay interest on the sum you borrow, but you might spend a lot less on interest than you would with a credit card.

All told, it's hard to pull off a wedding on a shoestring budget. And even if you do your best to save for yours, you might still end up with a shortfall.

The one thing you don't want to do, however, is pull money out of your emergency savings to cover the cost of your wedding. Doing so could leave you extremely vulnerable when an actual emergency happens.

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