Planning a 2021 Wedding? A Loan Could Help Cover Your Costs

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on March 26, 2021

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
A bride feeding cake to a her groom at an outdoor wedding surrounded by guests.

Image source: Getty Images

Weddings can get very expensive. Should you borrow money to help pay for one?

Getting married can be expensive. The average cost of a wedding in 2019 was $33,900 -- that's enough money for a down payment on a home in some parts of the country!

Of course, the amount of money you spend on a wedding will depend on several factors:

  • The number of guests you have
  • The timing of your wedding
  • The professionals you hire
  • The location you choose

Unless you're planning a super low-budget affair, you can expect to plunk down a notable amount of cash. And if you don't have that money on hand, borrowing may seem like your next best bet.

You have several choices if you want to borrow to finance a wedding. You could put some of your expenses on a credit card and pay them off over time. Or, you could take out a personal loan and do the same. Here's why the latter option really makes the most sense.

Why a personal loan could be a good choice for your wedding

Let's be clear: In an ideal world, you wouldn't have to borrow money to pay for your wedding. When you borrow money, you sign up to pay interest and run the risk of falling behind on your debt, which could damage your credit score. But if you really can't swing the cost of a wedding and don't have a family member who can give you a loan for it (which, let's face it, many of us don't), then a personal loan is generally your best option.

A personal loan lets you borrow money for any purpose. And unlike, say, a home equity loan, which uses your home as collateral, personal loans are usually unsecured. That means you'll need a reasonably strong credit score to qualify. There are also personal loans available for borrowers with poor credit that charge higher interest rates.

Personal loans are paid off in equal installments over time, and you're not usually penalized if you want to pay one off ahead of schedule. The predictable nature of those payments, coupled with the more reasonable interest rates, make personal loans a good option. Better than financing a wedding with credit cards, whose interest can be variable, as well as outrageous.

That said, before you apply for a personal loan for your wedding, see how much you can trim your costs. You might be able to limit the amount you need, or even avoid having to borrow money at all. Some options to consider:

  • Cut your guest list. You don't need to invite second cousins you barely speak to.
  • Consider a weeknight wedding. Your guests may be tired the next day, but you could really save a bundle.
  • Enlist friends to take the place of vendors. You don't have to hire a professional photographer if you've got a buddy with a great eye for photography. It could save you thousands.
  • Make your own centerpieces. That'll be a lot cheaper than paying for flowers.
  • Skip the fancy wedding cake. Those cakes often don't taste nearly as good as they look, and you can save money and offer more variety with a small dessert buffet.

If you've spent half your life dreaming of your wedding day, you're bound to want to get it just right -- even if that means spending more money than you have. If that's the case, a personal loan could be a good bet. Just make sure you fully understand the terms of that loan so you don't wind up in over your head.

The Ascent's best personal loans for 2022

Our team of independent experts pored over the fine print to find the select personal loans that offer competitive rates and low fees. Get started by reviewing The Ascent's best personal loans for 2022.

About the Author