You don’t have to settle on a budget wedding. Use these websites for wedding loans for your special day.
There are few times in life you’ll remember as often as your wedding day. My wife and I had a beautiful wedding but we definitely kept it to a budget wedding.
I still regret not spending a little more on our wedding.
It was 2009 and the recession had hit our savings. We were making big plans for buying a house and wanted to go as frugal as possible on our wedding. Now, whenever we see a wedding on TV or go to one for family, we’re reminded of our own wedding and how we wish we had invited more people and done a little more.
We’re not talking about the tens of thousands of dollars some people spend on a wedding. Neither of us come from rich families and we know that a lot of the weddings you see in movies are fairy-tale entertainment.
Your wedding day represents a major turning point in your life. It’s one of the few times you’ll be able to get everyone together. It’s also the symbolic start of your new life as partners.
Unfortunately for a lot of people, banks are still hesitant about making loans after the financial crisis, especially unsecured wedding loans. These kinds of personal loans have been all but cut off to even good credit borrowers.
There is another option, an online option for wedding loans with peer to peer lenders.
Do You Need a Wedding Loan?
Let’s get something straight first. I’m not saying anyone needs to spend tens of thousands or go into debt for their wedding.
The average wedding costs over $30,000 according to industry surveys with just the venue costing well over half that amount. When you add in all the other costs like catering, which averages $71 a person, a wedding could be one of the biggest expenses your entire life.
You don’t HAVE to spend that much on a wedding. We’ll get to paying for the wedding of your dreams and how to get the best rates on a wedding loan, even if you have bad credit, but I feel like we have to spend a little time talking about getting a great wedding on less as well.
If you’re set on a dream wedding though, feel free to skip over to the next section.
You can easily put together a great wedding on $10,000 or less. There’s nothing wrong with spending a little money on a day you’ll remember forever but remember your long-term goals like saving for a down-payment.
If you plan on hiring a wedding planner, put together a wedding budget first. Visit a few websites to get an idea of how much things cost and what you want for your wedding. This will help you keep the wedding planner grounded in reality when they’re suggesting ideas and pricing.
Put together your list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘would-likes’ for your wedding before you price everything out. Once you figure out how much everything costs separately, you can start putting it together within your budget.
When you get to a good compromise between your budget and wedding plans, you can start looking at how much you’ll need after savings.
I’ve sourced some of the best sites for wedding loans below but remember a few rules while you’re looking through the list.
- You can check your rate on multiple websites without affecting your credit score. Even if you think you might not qualify for a wedding loan on one site, spending the time to check your rate might save you hundreds in interest.
- Always figure out how the new payment on a loan will fit with your budget. You don’t want to start your marriage off with not being able to pay your bills.
- Start working on improving your credit score when you get engaged. I’ve added some tips for this in the last section. It takes just a few months to raise your credit score enough to get better rates on a loan.
How Do Wedding Loans Work?
The term wedding loan is a little misleading because it’s really just a personal loan you use to pay for wedding expenses. Personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t put up any collateral like your home or car, and you can use the money for whatever you choose.
So it’s not necessarily only a wedding loan you’re looking for but a loan you can use for your wedding.
Of course, you probably don’t care about the definition. You just want to know how to get a loan to pay for the cost and want to know how to get the lowest rate possible.
When Do You Need a Wedding Loan?
You may be itching to start planning the biggest day of your life, but before you do, it's important to think about whether or not you need a wedding loan.
Many couples jump into wedding planning with both feet because they don't want to miss their chance at having the special event of a lifetime. But while weddings are indeed memorable, they can also be expensive—and if your dreams exceed your budget, you may be tempted to borrow money for the occasion. Unfortunately, wedding loans come with several risks that many people don't realize until it's too late. Wedding loans can lead to financial problems that will haunt you even after the honeymoon is over.
There are several signs that indicate you might need wedding loans if you want the perfect day:
You've reserved a beautiful location or reception hall but can't afford both without borrowing money. Instead of borrowing cash, try finding alternate that also provide catering services so you won't have to bring in a separate caterer.
If you can plan your wedding in a more intimate location with less people, then it will cost a lot less.
You're borrowing money from family or friends to finance your wedding. Instead of borrowing money, practice budgeting and ask for a monetary gift instead. Family members will be happy knowing they have helped you to achieve something special in your life.
You're putting other goals aside until after the honeymoon because you feel like it's necessary to pay off wedding loans right away; however, there isn't one single financial behind door number one (wedding) and behind door number two (mortgage), it's a surprise. In today's financial climate, you definitely don't want to neglect your long-term goals as they will end up paying off in the end if you stay focused.
You're convinced that everything is going fine with your wedding planning but every time you speak with someone, whether it be friends or family about finances for the big day, they always nod their head and silently disagree with the budget. If this happens a lot, everyone is trying to tell you something without coming out and saying so – maybe reevaluate how much money you have saved up right now or talk to a professional about how to handle your current situation.
Start with asking yourself instead when dealing with the cost of weddings. Take your time and decide whether borrowing money is right for you at this juncture. Be sure that by taking out loans, you won't end up losing more than what you saved up. Don't forget that even though weddings are meant to be a special occasion, you don't want your finances to force your friends and family who can give you a wedding gift to choose between attending the celebration or sending a present.
Cheapest Rate Wedding Loans
Loan rates are primarily based on your credit score pulled by a lender and from your credit report history. Interest rates are exceptionally low right now and you can get unsecured wedding loans for as low as 7% if your credit is good.
This first group of websites for wedding loans will be mostly for people with credit scores of 670 or higher though I’ve seen people with a FICO as low as 580 get a loan.
SoFi is best known for its student loan refinancing but also makes unsecured personal loans you can use for anything. The peer-to-peer lender is on track to reach $6 billion in loan originations this year and is one of the largest lenders online.
SoFi doesn’t disclose the minimum credit score you need for a loan but it seems to keep standards fairly high. This means lower defaults on its loans and the ability to offer them at rates as low as 5.5% on unsecured terms up to five years.
Upstart has a unique underwriting model on its loans which uses educational attainment in the application process. Looking at more than just your credit score allows it to approve loans for new graduates and others that just haven’t built up credit yet.
That could come in handy for people planning on getting married after graduation. Your lack of credit history will be a problem for most websites but might not be as much an issue on Upstart.
Wedding Loans for Bad Credit
This is where most of us are, somewhere between a good credit score and no credit at all. Credit scores have been improving since the recession but one-in-five people still have a FICO of 600 or less.
That’s going to make it more difficult to get a wedding loan from a bank or one of the p2p websites above.
Fortunately, there are still websites available and rates low enough to get a good loan without sending you to the poorhouse.
Personalloans.com is my most recommended website for personal and wedding loans. I’ve used the website several times in the past for debt consolidation and home remodeling. The p2p lender is a loan aggregator, meaning it sources different kinds of lenders depending on your credit score and needs.
This network of lenders helps to get the lowest rate available for a loan including traditional bank loans, peer-to-peer and short-term advances. PersonalLoans is one of the few bad credit websites available in almost every state. Loans are available for up to $35,000 and on monthly payment terms up to five years.
NetCredit isn’t yet available in all states but is another option you want to try if you need a bad credit wedding loan. Rates and fees will vary depending on your state and the loan amount but are generally comparable to other p2p lenders.
I like that NetCredit caps their loans at $10,000 so it makes it a little more difficult to get in over your head with the debt. This might limit your wedding plans but you can still put together an amazing day and don’t have to worry about getting too far in debt.
NetCredit also offers some great tools to see exactly how much your loan is going to cost. There are no origination or application fees or penalties for early payment.
Wedding Loans with No Credit Check
If you have absolutely no credit or have destroyed your score, you might not have many options left. I generally warn people to steer clear of ‘no credit check’ loans because the fees and rates are so high.
If a lender is willing to make a loan without even looking at your credit history…they are going to want to make a lot of money in return.
There is one website that I recommend for no credit check loans though the rate on loans is still extremely high.
OppLoans is a specialty loan company for loans up to $10,000 on payment terms of up to three years. The loans work just like any unsecured personal loan but there’s no credit check. That makes the application process even faster than the p2p websites highlighted above.
Just like personal loans, you can use an opportunity loan for any purpose including for wedding plans. There are no hidden fees but interest rates start at 36% so it’s important to borrow only the bare minimum you need and pay the loan off as fast as possible.
Can I Finance a Wedding Dress?
There might be a happy medium between going into debt for your wedding costs and just getting a loan to cover some of the costs. You might consider getting a loan for the venue or the big expenses but pay cash for the rest.
While the venue is by far the biggest expense for a wedding, I’ve seen brides take out a loan for the dress and pay for other expenses out of savings. Using a loan to pay for the wedding dress lets you splurge a little on what is probably the most important part for most brides while still sticking to the budget on the other costs.
Again, since it’s a personal loan, you can spend the money on whatever you like whether it’s financing a wedding dress or other expenses.
How to Get the Best Rate on Your Wedding Loan
With rates starting around 6% only for the best credit scores, increasing your credit score before applying for a wedding loan should be your #1 priority.
The average wedding engagement length is just over 14 months. That leaves you a huge opportunity to improve your credit but even three months can help you boost your score high enough to save thousands in interest every year.
The idea is to start working on your credit score as soon as you get engaged.
- Check your three credit reports and FICO score to see where you stand. Don’t fall for the scam sites trying to trick you into paying for your report. Watch this video for the only TRULY FREE way to get your credit report.
- The easiest way to increase your credit score is to get any errors removed from your report. As many as one-in-five credit reports contain an error that is hurting the borrower’s score.
- Revolving debt, the kind in credit cards and credit lines, hurts your score the most so try paying these down at least three months before applying for your wedding loan.
- Ask to get your credit limit increased as well. This decreases your credit utilization ratio and looks better to new lenders.
- Don’t apply for any new loans or credit at least six months before you apply for your loan.
How to Apply for a Wedding Loan
Applying for a wedding loan takes less than five minutes and you can have the money in your bank account within days. Qualifying for a personal loan generally requires a credit score of 540 FICO or higher, a job making $2,000 or more a month and U.S. residency. You’ll need a checking account to receive the money and make automatic monthly payments.
After filling out basic contact and employer information, you’ll connect your bank account and get pre-approval on your loan. It’s very important that you look at the estimated monthly payments and interest rate before accepting the loan. You don’t want to start your marriage off in debt you can’t cover.
The biggest delay most people see in getting a personal loan is in providing verification documents. The peer-to-peer lenders and personal loan sites only ask for these from about one-in-ten borrowers but it’s best to have the documents ready just in case. This means having pay stubs, identification and maybe a utility bill with your address ready to email.
Pros and Cons of Wedding Loans
I think loans in general get an unfair reputation and wedding loans are no different. The critics say you shouldn’t borrow to pay for one day of your life but the proponents say, shouldn’t that one day be as special as it can be?
It’s a personal decision and I’ve tried to lay out the good and the bad of wedding loans as well as offer some alternatives.
Pros of Getting a Wedding Loan
- This is something that may only happen once in your life and you want the memories to be special. Why not spend a little more?
- Wedding loans give you the opportunity to have a little nicer wedding and pay it off over months or years.
- Rates are at historic lows for peer-to-peer loans and other credit.
- Loan applications take less than five minutes and you can shop your loan around on multiple sites.
Cons of Getting a Wedding Loan
- Having a bigger wedding budget can tempt some people into overspending.
- Personal loans can come at higher rates since it’s not secured by collateral.
- Borrowing too much can mean trouble making the payment and financial stress for newlyweds.
You don’t have to settle on a budget wedding. There are options and websites available to fill the gaps in your wedding plans to get everything you want out of your special day. You can get a wedding loan even on bad credit but take the time to get the best rates possible. Work on improving your credit score when you get engaged and check your rate on several sites to get the best deal possible.
Read the Entire Budgeting Series
- 6 Budgeting Hacks to Beat Your Savings Goals
- Budgeting Help and Tips I Used to Save $54K in Interest
- Top 10 Questions on Budgeting and How to Save Money
- The Money Lessons about Budgeting that Pay Off
- Turn Budgeting from Necessity into Smarter Spending Habits