MoneyLife

How To Pay for a Wedding (and Avoid Debt)

By Kaitlyn Wolf
how to pay for a wedding

It’s no secret that for most couples, your wedding day is the most expensive party you’ll ever throw. From picking the perfect venue to a hefty catering bill, your big day can come with a massive price tag.

Many people lack the financial security to pay for expenses up front. This often means going into debt or having to make sacrifices on your special day. If you’re trying to figure out how to pay for a wedding, we’ve put together this guide to help you save, plan, invest, and borrow. 

We’re covering everything from budgeting and saving to getting the best loan or securing a credit card so that you can avoid starting your new chapter in a mountain of debt. Let’s get into it!

Average cost of a wedding

It may be true that fewer young adults are getting married these days, but for those taking that next step, the traditional wedding is a significant financial event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most weddings looked much different in the last year. 

Many couples opted for elopements and small weddings in favor of large ceremonies. For those who went the route of having a wedding ceremony and reception, the average cost of a wedding in 2020 was $19,000. This is much less than the cost of 2019 weddings, which was about $28,000 on average. 

For some, the old-fashioned method of having parents foot the bill is certainly a financial godsend. But currently, that option isn’t always available because wedding costs are sky high. The reality for many couples is that they might receive partial financial help from family, but they usually need to come up with the remainder on their own.

Now, let’s get into how to create a wedding budget and how much you should spend.  

Create a budget

Be realistic. Figure out how much money you need for your wedding and determine how much you can reasonably afford. Make it a point to understand your income, spending habits, and what you can comfortably set aside. A good first step is establishing a budget using a budget app. There are several great apps out there specifically designed for wedding budgeting. 

From there, figure out how much debt you have by collecting your bills and adding your monthly payments together. That will help you decide on a wedding budget. Consider which expenses are must-have purchases versus costs that you can forgo. 

Once you understand your monthly bills and how much a wedding loan will cost, you’ll be able to decide what feels best to you. If you’re comfortable with the amount of money you will need to repay, you can start planning for monthly installments. Otherwise, think about where you can make adjustments to lower the overall costs of your wedding.

How much should you spend on your honeymoon?

The amount of money you end up spending on your honeymoon will depend on your budget. It also depends on how much debt you’re willing to acquire if you can’t pay the costs upfront. That being said, the average honeymoon cost is around $5,000

If you’re set on an extravagant honeymoon, you can use HoneyFund to create a registry. That way, guests can contribute to your honeymoon fund as a way of helping you pay for a trip to your dream destination. 

Another option is to use cashback rewards to create a honeymoon fund ahead of time. When you open a RoarMoney account, you can earn cashback on everyday purchases, making it easy to start funding the honeymoon of your dreams. You’ll also have access to a fully managed investment portfolio to grow your cash even more!

Things to consider before borrowing money

Make sure you’ve explored other avenues to get the cash you need before jumping into a loan for wedding costs. Even if you’re seeking a loan for half of the average wedding cost, that’s still more than $14,000 in debt, which could take you several years to repay. 

With that number staring you in the face, it’s worth thinking hard about options that will let you avoid taking on that financial burden. If that’s the case, consider pushing back your wedding date to allow you more time to save. 

You could also start a side hustle like driving for Uber or working for Instacart to bring in more cash every month. If you have assets, like a second car or an investment account that is not tied to retirement needs, you could sell these items in order to put more money in your bank account. 

Find the right loan

If debt is inevitable, seek out a low-cost loan. Consider securing a loan through a credit union because credit unions often offer the best rates available. Online lenders are also a good option, but make sure the rates aren’t too high.

The better your credit score, the better terms you’re likely to get. If you need to build or establish your credit score, you can get our MoneyLion Credit Builder Loan to help you build your score. An added benefit of our Credit Builder loan is that you’ll be able to earn, budget, and borrow money for your wedding as well.

Beware of credit card interest rates

This is a popular option when looking to cover wedding costs. However, it’s only wise if you have a healthy credit score and don’t require a large sum of money for your wedding. 

Look for cards that offer a zero-percent annual rate, which will let you pay off your wedding debt interest-free over the next 12 to 18 months. If you can’t pay off the entire amount in that time, be aware of what the rate increases to after the initial 0% APR period. 

If using a credit card is a good option for you, you can also use the points you earn from a rewards card to offset the cost of your honeymoon with cheap flights and hotel bookings. But keep an eye on your spending and make sure you don’t go crazy. Credit cards can entice you to overspend beyond your original budget.

Celebrating your big day

Remember that your wedding is about celebrating the abundance of love, connection, and personal touches in your life, not about how much you spend. Give yourself time to save money and make extra cash to put towards your wedding day and honeymoon. Most importantly, set a budget and stick to it. 

Starting your new chapter of married life with a ton of debt can put a toll on your relationship and leave you feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Let the focus of the day be about you and your partner. That way, you’re sure to have a magical day that you’ll remember forever!

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