Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Updated on Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Updated – November 28, 2018
Your wedding day is bound to be one of the most important days of your life, and because of this, you may be tempted to go all out.
According to WeddingWire, the average cost of a wedding ceremony in the United States runs around $27,000, with another $4,000 for the honeymoon. Further, 80% of engaged couples are millennials who pay approximately 40% of the wedding costs themselves — that’s a big chunk of change.
If you’re tying the knot, you may be looking to use a personal loan to help cover wedding costs. Here’s what to consider before you commit to a loan and five lenders you should consider.
Cut costs before considering a loan
Kicking off your marriage with fresh debt may not be the best idea. That’s why, before taking out debt, you should review your wedding’s costs to see where you can save.
Consider these average costs from The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Study and ways you could cut costs:
Skip out on a wedding planner and take advantage of free wedding planner apps, such as The Knot and Zola. These apps can keep you focused and organized from the day of engagement to the day of the ceremony.
Opt for a cheaper venue. For example, a church or firehouse that has a reception hall attached might not cost as much as a hotel ballroom.
The more guests you have, the more expensive catering becomes. To bring down this cost, opt for a buffet rather than a sit-down dinner. Keeping your food options simple and trimming your guest list will also help minimize the catering fee.
Almost every wedding incorporates flowers, so you may not want to do away with this tradition. But instead of hiring a florist, you could save by having your bridesmaids help you arrange the flowers yourself (keep in mind that flowers that are in season in your area will have a cheaper price tag).
When shopping for a wedding gown, keep an eye out for bridal shows and sales. You’ll also want to consider second-hand shops, as wedding dresses have only been worn once and are typically in excellent shape.
Photographer and videographer
Check your contacts to see if you know any photographers or videographers who’d be willing to capture your wedding at a discount. If not, contact local studios to see if they have an associate or intern you could book for less.
Do you really need a DJ or live band at your wedding? Consider creating your own wedding playlist and plugging into your venue’s sound system instead.
A large number of cake tiers drives up the cost of a wedding cake. Stick with one or two tiers using less expensive fillings for a smaller price tag. You can then order a sheet cake on the side to have enough cakes to serve all of your guests.
Your decor is probably the easiest category to save on — using sites like Pinterest can help you come up with ideas of centerpieces and decorations you can make yourself.
Still need a loan? What to look for in a wedding loan
A personal loan is likely your best option for covering wedding expenses you can’t cover out of pocket. Unless your credit card has a promotional 0% APR, it likely has a higher interest rate than you’ll find on a personal loan. Furthermore, you may not want to tie up your assets by opting for a secured loan.
With a personal loan, you’ll make payments over a set period of time. In the MagnifyMoney personal loan marketplace, you’ll find loan terms from one to 12 years. The rate you receive will depend on your credit score and the lender.
When choosing a loan, there are a few things you’ll need to consider:
- Credit score: Applicants with higher credit scores will receive better offers than those who don’t have the best credit. Equifax considers a score of 725 to 759 as good, and 760 to 850 as excellent.
- Loan amount: The more money you borrow, the harder it will be to pay back. Never take out more than you need — so make sure to review your wedding expenses first to see where you can cut back, so you know exactly how much to take out.
- Term: The shorter the term you select, the larger your monthly payment obligation will be. On the other hand, you’ll have the debt paid off much faster. Check your monthly budget to determine the shortest term you can afford.
- Interest rate: Higher interest rates mean larger monthly payments. Always shop around and select the loan with lower rates.
- Fees: Some personal loans come with fees. Check to see if there are any application, origination or prepayment fees, as some lenders charge these.
5 personal loans to pay for a wedding
You have many different lenders you can choose from to apply for a personal loan for your wedding. While you can shop among local banks and credit unions, you should also consider online lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney, offers a tool you can use to see loan offers. Using the tool, you’ll input basic information about yourself and what you’re looking for out of a loan. Afterwards, you can review loan offers from up to five different lenders.
As low as 3.49%
Minimum 500 FICO®
24 to 60
LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender. Terms Apply. NMLS #1136.
As of 17-May-19, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.49% (3.49% APR) on a $10,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected). Terms Apply. NMLS #1136
To help kickstart your search, consider these five lenders:
Earnest is an excellent choice: their personal loans have no origination fee or early prepayment fees and their interest rates are on the lower side. While they do list a minimum credit score of 680 in their eligibility requirements, they also state that they consider other things, such as:
- How much money you have in savings
- Your educational background
- Your earning potential
Applicants must be 18 years of age, U.S. citizens or long-term permanent aliens with residence in either the District of Columbia or one of 45 partner states (excluding Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, and Rhode Island).
Loans of $5,000 to $75,000 are available in terms of 36 to 60 months at APRs from 5.99% to 17.24%. Once you receive an offer from Earnest, you have seven days to accept it.
First Midwest Bank
First Midwest Bank offers low APRs of 6.65% to 15.44% for loans between $5,000 and $25,000. In addition, they allow you to repay the loan in as little as 12 months or as long as 60 months.
The downside to First Midwest Bank is the $100 loan documentation fee, and the 0 minimum credit score with five years of good credit history requirement, which may not be attainable for all couples.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and live in one of the following 26 states to qualify: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
You won’t have to worry about any origination, prepayment or hidden fees with LightStream’s personal loan. However, for the best rates on offer, applicants will need to have excellent credit (a minimum 0 credit score will be considered), five years of good credit history and proof of their ability to save.
Couples can take out between $5,000 and $100,000 with terms between 24 to 144 months. If you’re willing to sign up for AutoPay, you’ll enjoy 0.50% off your APR, making the range 3.49% to 19.99%.
LightStream also has two additional perks that set them above other lenders. First, if you have a better offer from a competitor, LightStream will not only match it, but give you a rate that’s 0.10 percentage points below the competitor. Second, if you are unhappy with any part of the loan process, LightStream will refund you $100.
Loans can be approved and funded the same day you apply if you’ve completed all of the steps by 2:30 pm EST.
Applicants can borrow between $4,000 and $25,000 at APRs between 5.99% and 29.99% with a 36-month term. However, it is important that couples are aware of the many fees involved with using Peerform.
All personal loans are subject to origination fees of 1.00% - 5.00% and check processing fees of $15 per check. If you send your payment in late, or your payment is rejected due to insufficient funds, you’ll have to pay additional fees. When you submit an application with Peerform, you may receive multiple loan offers. You’ll be able to review each offer and choose the best one.
PenFed Credit Union
In order to apply for a personal loan with PenFed Credit Union to cover your wedding expenses, you’ll need to first become a member. Eligibility depends on where you’re employed, where you volunteer, whether you are in the military and which associations you belong to.
If you qualify, you can borrow between $500 and $20,000 at a starting APR of 6.49%. Terms range up to 6 to 60 months, and the loan does not have any origination or other fees attached to it. All loans are subject to a minimum $50 monthly payment.