Wedding Loans: Financing The Big Day

by TTMK on May 20, 2013 · 11 comments

I think many people would consider their wedding day to be a special occasion.  Probably the vast majority of people.  Given its significance and its emotional importance, it’s something that many folks view with the lens of “wants” instead of “needs”.  Even if it means borrowing money for a wedding.

Now, I’m definitely a proponent of being able to discern wants and needs.  There are some things that we really want, but don’t need.  Or, as is often then the case, we do actually need certain things, but simply want more expensive versions of those things.  This can happen with cars, and even homes.  You know, the dream car, and the dream house.

Dreams are great, and I’m all for pursuing them.  The thing is, those dreams often come to fruition after a lot of hard work and effort.  Certainly, the really big dreams don’t just happen overnight.  When those dreams involve big purchases of material items or grand experiences, I think we should make sure that we can actually afford them.  Yet, I know a lot of people go for broke (literally), and pursue the dream before they’re financially able to do so.

One such dream, aside from the typical examples I noted above, is a wedding.  Not just any wedding, but a dream wedding.  You know – that perfect wedding that someone just has to have.  Complete with a great venue, amazing dress, grand reception, and tons of guests.  It’s so special of an occasion that you just have to stretch to make it how you want it.

Right?

Well, I can’t tell people how to spend their money.  I just think that it doesn’t make sense to view a wedding as being some exception to the principle of living with ones means, or a time to forget about needs to the point where we solely focus on wants.

I was talking to someone recently who is getting married later this year.  This same person previously told me how expensive the wedding was, and how she and her fiancée were really draining their bank accounts to pay for the whole thing.  She also told me how it was like a second full-time job trying to plan the whole thing.  Now, she recently commented that they might take out a loan for the wedding, to cover some expenses with the reception, actually.   But it’s going to be special and so worth it, she added.

It’s great to see somebody so excited about such a special occasion and amazing time of life.  You’re genuinely happy to hear and sense such pure happiness.  That being said, I can’t help but wonder why it’s necessary to empty accounts and take out loans for a wedding.  Maybe it’s better to make the wedding a modest affair, and save some money to start life together with a solid foundation? What do you think?

My Questions for You

Do you think that a wedding is an exception, when it comes to taking on debt for wants vs. needs?

What would you say is better: a dream wedding that makes you so happy (but you’ll drain savings and go into debt), or a modest wedding that falls short of your dreams (but leaves you solvent with no added debt)?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle May 20, 2013 at 8:47 am

I would never finance a wedding, but that might just be me!

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TTMK May 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Michelle – I agree with you, though I think not everyone shares our view.

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Emily @ evolvingPF May 20, 2013 at 10:54 am

I think a wedding budget should be based off of cash. That said, we received money from our parents that was a gift toward the wedding expenses and I suspect they took it, directly or indirectly, from their HELOC. But they didn’t outright tell us that.

I think the real mistake here is letting expenses snowball – that is, not knowing ahead of time that debt will be needed. You should have a pretty good idea of what the total expenses will be before starting to commit to things.

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TTMK May 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Emily – that’s a really generous gift. I think you’re on to something, that many people let expenses snowball. The idea that this is an emotion-driven event makes a lot of people just get carried away and let costs go beyond reason. Best to plan and budget!

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SavvyFinancialLatina May 20, 2013 at 11:39 am

I would never finance a wedding. How can people go into debt for an experience of one day? To me it doesn’t make any sense. It’s possible to have a beautiful, sensible wedding.

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TTMK May 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm

SFL – agreed totally. All for one day is excessive and illogical.

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Well Heeled Blog May 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Financing wedding = nooooooooooooooo! A dream wedding is only one day, seriously, and with higher budget comes higher expectations that will be harder to fulfill. Debt, on the other hand, may not be forever but it’s going to be for a long time.

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TTMK May 22, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Wise words, well heeled!

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Andrew@LivingRichCheaply May 23, 2013 at 10:56 am

Yes, definitely agree with everyone else. Financing a wedding is not worth it. It’s only one day, a special day, but only one day. The bride and groom would be much better off having the money to buy a house and to start off on solid financial footing. Taking out a loan and having to pay it back causes stress…don’t want that stress so early in a marriage. Finances are often the biggest cause of arguments.

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TTMK May 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Andrew – agreed. That dream wedding is just one day, a solid financial foundation helps set people up for real day-to-day life.

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Eva May 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

It would be wonderful to have a wedding where money didn’t matter. Sadly this is not going to be the case for me. I’m only seventeen but I already have a fabulous DIY wedding planned on Pinterest! I cannot imagine going into debt for a wedding. To even think about having a monthly payment at the beginning of my marriage for a one day event makes me feel sick. Yuck…

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