Paying for a wedding may take saving and sacrificing, or a little of both. Finding ways to finance the event is important, especially when you consider that the median wedding budget was about $20,000 in 2021, according to Brides.
You can pay for a wedding by setting a savings goal based on your budget and setting aside money each month. But, if that isn't quite enough and you need to finance some of the cost, look for options with low interest rates and affordable payments.
7 Ways to Pay for Your Wedding
It's no secret that a wedding is pricey. Because it can be one of the banner days of your life, you don't want to scrimp too much, but you don't want to break your budget, either.
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can raise additional funds or cut costs so you don't start off married life in a mountain of debt. Here are seven things you can consider to give you the wedding of your dreams.
1. Set Up a Sinking Fund and Start Saving
If you've settled on how much you're willing to pay for your wedding, it's time to start saving.
Setting up a sinking fund can help you keep your wedding money separate from the funds you use to pay for your regular expenses or save for other goals. Every month, set money aside for items like the venue, catering, entertainment, decorations, flowers, professional planning and the like. Saving in smaller increments rather than one big chunk all at once can be easier to manage.
For instance, if you have one year to plan for the big day, take your wedding budget and divide it by 12. Take that number and start putting the money in a separate savings account.
If you don't think you can set aside enough each month to reach your goal, consider a lower budget or set aside what you can. Keep in mind that, on average, couples pay for about 47% of all wedding costs, with nearly half of them reporting paying for their wedding from savings. If your family is contributing to any of your wedding expenses, you won't need to save the full amount the day will cost.
2. Cut Back on Expenses
Cutting back on a few discretionary expenses is one way to save for your wedding. That doesn't mean giving up Starbucks or canceling Netflix forever. Cutting back means finding a balance between what is important and what you can do without until after the wedding is paid for.
To figure out where you can trim, sit down with your partner and look at your budget—or both your budgets if you don't live together yet—and look at ways you can temporarily scale back to funnel money toward your wedding. The more you can cut down on lunches out, trips to Target or other extraneous spending, the more you've got to spend on your wedding.
3. Check Out 0% Intro APR Credit Cards
The national average credit card APR is currently 16.17%. That's a substantial additional cost if you have to carry a balance on a credit card. But, if you can qualify, 0% intro APR cards are great options—as long as you pay off the balance before the higher standard rate kicks in.
These cards offer interest-free introductory periods, so you won't be charged interest on balance transfers, new purchases or both, depending on the card. Just be aware that opening a new line of credit may cause a temporary dip in your credit score, so plan carefully if you're looking to start your marriage off by buying a new house and getting a loan for a mortgage.
4. Ask Family to Help
It's still fairly common for your families to help pay for your wedding. In fact, in a 2020 report by WeddingWire, respondents said the parents of the couple paid for 52% of all wedding expenses on average. If your family hasn't expressly said they'd like to help out, consider asking if they'll contribute as a wedding gift to you. How much they contribute should be based on their finances and willingness to help foot the bill.
5. Work a Temporary Side Hustle
Planning a wedding takes time, and you may feel there aren't enough hours in the day to take on a side hustle to help with wedding costs. However, with a little extra coming in each week, you may save enough to pay for your flowers or the DJ.
For example, taking paid online surveys may not be the most lucrative side hustle, but it can be flexible. Places like Swagbucks, MyPoints and InboxDollars even offer sign-up bonuses. Or, you might consider dog walking or running errands for an elderly neighbor.
Just be careful to keep track of your side hustle income and plan for the requirement to report self-employment income in your taxes.
6. Consider a Wedding Loan
If you can afford to pay off the loan in a reasonable time, a wedding loan could be an option.
Many wedding loans, which are basically personal loans, are unsecured and offer low interest rates to borrowers with good credit. Some lenders offer loans to individuals with poor credit, but you may pay a higher interest rate. Just be sure you can afford the ongoing payments.
7. Consider Downsizing
Downsizing your wedding expectations can help kickstart a more secure financial future for you and your soon-to-be spouse. Downsizing or skipping on overly pricey items may not be your first choice, but it doesn't mean you have to forgo your dream wedding entirely. It just means it may be a bit smaller.
Instead of inviting 250 people, for example, consider an intimate ceremony with your closest family and friends. The money you save can help with the downpayment on your home or be used to pay off student loans and other debt.
Should You Finance Your Wedding?
Your wedding is a time to celebrate your future life together, not stress over added debt. For that reason, financing your wedding can be for better or for worse.
Benefits to Financing Your Wedding
There are some benefits to financing your wedding, including:
- An unsecured personal loan or 0% intro APR credit card is a convenient way to get the money you need to pay for flowers, the caterer or make the deposit on your venue.
- Paying back your loan in a timely manner can even boost your overall credit score.
- Using a 0% intro APR credit card accrues no interest during the promotional period.
- Many personal loans have lower interest rates than credit cards, depending on your creditworthiness.
- You'll be able to have the wedding you want without having to ask for money or cut corners.
Disadvantages to Financing Your Wedding
Financing your wedding isn't without its downsides, however, such as:
- You may end up splurging more on your wedding than you would if you only used the money in your savings account.
- Your credit score may take a hit if you can't pay back the loan or miss your payments.
- If you use a 0% intro APR credit card and don't pay off the credit card balance in full before the introductory period ends, you'll be charged interest at the standard rate on the remaining balance.
- Poor credit or no credit history can make it challenging to qualify for financing.
Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
With proper planning, saving and sacrificing, you can have a wedding made in heaven without breaking the bank. Search for affordable options like creating a sinking fund, asking your family for help or checking out low-interest loan options to fill in the gaps in your budget.
If you opt for a wedding loan, many lenders will ask you to submit a prequalification online to see if you'll qualify for a loan. Use the Experian CreditMatchTM tool to submit your request and see multiple offers from our partner lenders—without hurting your credit.