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BLOG: A £9,000 wedding loan is foolish

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

The average couple looks to borrow more than £9,000 to cover the cost of their wedding day. In my opinion, this is a foolhardy decision which could have a negative and lasting impact well into your marriage.

Price comparison site MoneySuperMarket has revealed the amount couples look to borrow for their big day stood at £9,206 in January 2018.

According to its wedding loan applications data, this is an 11% increase compared with the £8,261 engaged couples looked to borrow a year earlier.

Based on analysis of 160,000 loan requests, Londoners want to borrow more for their wedding – £10,774 compared to the national average of £8,462.

But the average wedding costs £20,000 so there’s still a big funding gap.

Another interesting find from the data is that 60% of Brits taking out a wedding loan in January don’t own property – this is the highest level for two years, highlighting the upward trend of tying the knot over getting on the property ladder.

I’m just going to come out and say it – borrowing money (especially from an APR-charging lender) for your wedding is nonsensical. It’s particularly foolish for those who don’t own their own property, who then bemoan rising house prices, mounting student debt, sky high rents, while all the while attempting to portray an envious lifestyle as they rack up Instagram followers and Facebook likes.

Yes, personal loan rates have been coming down in recent years, but do you really want to start married life in debt? A wedding is one day, a home can be for life.

In our case, our Polish wedding was over a weekend – three separate days of food, drink and entertainment. We were engaged for three years – we were engaged when we bought our first home. On our first night we celebrated with a bottle of red and a microwave meal as we sat on garden furniture in our empty home. But it was ours; we saved hard for our house and we saved hard for our wedding.

We haggled, charmed, borrowed and made what we could (see my Money-saving wedding tips for more information). My father paid for my wedding dress which really helped cut the bill. A loan from family or as a wedding gift is invaluable. Though I recognise that not everyone can rely on family or friends which is why a loan may be on the cards.

But taking out a loan will impact your credit score and could affect your chances of getting a mortgage down the line as lenders assess you on affordability and check your incomings and outgoings. It could also mean renting for longer – perpetuating the debt and household squeeze on wages that many are already worried about.

Everyone wants to have an amazing and memorable wedding day, but it can be done on a budget and it doesn’t need to be booked in right after your engagement. For me it was fun and challenging having time to mull over the details of the wedding and a budget we worked hard to achieve.

Once the haze of the wedding day fades, do you really want to be left paying off your wedding debt?

‘Many put life experiences above bricks and mortar’

Calum Bennie, savings expert at Scottish Friendly, said: “While tying the knot is obviously a monumental occasion in one’s life, it does seem remarkable that many people choose to spend big and do so while relying heavily on credit. Ultimately they are putting the, albeit unforgettable, experience of one day above saving for a home that could last a lifetime, but then again that’s what today’s society is like. Many young people, particularly in areas where house prices are way beyond their means, put the experiences of life such as an unforgettable wedding or adventure holidays above bricks and mortar.

“The Bank of Mum and Dad has played a big part in helping many young people on to the property ladder and perhaps a similar solution can be sought by less hard-pressed families to help with the cost of their children’s wedding. By having the foresight to take out an investment plan like an ISA or a bond when their children are very young could help them to prepare for the occasion. Paying monthly means the parent will hardly notice the money coming out and in 15, 18 or 21 years’ time, it will have built into a sizeable sum to help the child pay for the wedding day they dream of.  There might even be something left over to help with house purchase!”