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Personal Loans

Wedding Loans: Compare Your Options

Getting married is one of the most memorable days of your life—for the wedding as well as the hefty price tag. 

In 2023, the average wedding cost $35,000, according to a survey by The Knot. That’s a $5,000 increase from the previous year, with rising inflation making the prices of goods and services more expensive. 

If you’re wondering how to pay for your wedding, keep reading to find out how wedding loans work, whether taking out a loan is a good fit for you, and other financing alternatives to explore. That way, you can say “I do” to your new spouse and your new finances.  

How do wedding loans work? 

Some lenders offer “wedding loans,” which they market to couples planning a wedding. However, marketing is the only difference between a “wedding loan” and any other personal loan

You can use personal loans for just about any reason, including wedding expenses. Many local and national banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer personal loans. Borrowers receive a lump sum of money at the beginning of the loan term and then make fixed monthly payments for a period. 

If you don’t restrict yourself to specialized “wedding loans” and shop around among personal loan lenders, you may get an offer with a better loan term and lower interest rates.

Lenders can vary in terms of the credit score you’ll need to get a personal loan. Personal loans for weddings feature different monthly payments and loan amounts, so we recommend comparison shopping to find the right option for your budget.

Best personal loans for wedding expenses 

Lenders vary when it comes to available loan terms. Compare offers just like you would a wedding gown or tuxedo—after some research, you’ll find the perfect fit. Look at available loan amounts, interest rates, and monthly payments to make sure you’re comfortable with the final product.

To help you with that, we’ve rounded up our picks for the best personal loans you can use to fund your wedding. In addition to favorable rates, these lenders work with borrowers across a range of credit scores, so you can still find wedding loans for bad credit if you need one.

LenderRates (APR)Loan amounts
Credible7.49%35.99%$600 – $200,000
SoFi8.99% – 29.99%$5,000 – $100,000
Upgrade8.49% – 35.99%$1,000 – $50,000
LightStream9.49% – 25.49%$5,000 – $100,000

Best marketplace – Credible

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Wide array of loan options
  • Simple and fast application process
  • Transparent rates and terms

Credible is a top-notch online loan marketplace that allows you to compare personalized loan offers from various lenders in one place. Its platform stands out for its simplicity and speed—borrowers can access prequalified rates from its network of lenders in just two minutes.

We like Credible’s transparency. It offers comprehensive information on the rates and terms of each loan offer. This makes it easier for you to choose the best deal for your financial situation. Credible’s broad range of loan options ensures a likely fit for your specific needs and financial situation.

Best for good credit – SoFi

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Fast, easy application: Get a decision in minutes
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months

SoFi is another online lender that offers competitive rates, fast funding times, and no required fees for its personal loans. It offers a “wedding loan,” which is the same as its regular personal loan. 

SoFi wedding loans advertise low rates, but you must sign up for autopay and set up direct deposits into a SoFi checking account to earn them. If you don’t, your rates will be up to 0.50% higher. 

You’ll also need a good to excellent credit score—at least 670—to qualify for SoFi’s lowest rates. It offers soft-credit-check prequalification and funding as soon as same-day. Be aware: SoFi may charge an origination fee of up to 6%.

Best for fair credit – Upgrade

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Credit health tool to monitor your credit score and get personalized recommendations
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months
  • 15-day grace period before late fee is assessed

Upgrade is another solid option for borrowers, especially those with bad to fair credit (scores 560 and above) or consumers who need smaller wedding loans. Upgrade allows you to check your rates without harming your credit score, so you can consider it if you have excellent credit too. 

Upgrade offers decent rates on its personal loans, but they come with high fees, including an origination fee of 1.85% – 9.99%. It doesn’t provide specific “wedding loans,” but you can use one of its loans to pay for your wedding expenses. Upon approval, funds are deposited as soon as the next day.

If you have bad credit, Upgrade is unique because it allows you to use a car as collateral for a loan if you can’t get approved otherwise. Remember that if you default on the loan, Upgrade can repossess your car—which could make the start of your married life more difficult. 

Best for excellent credit – LightStream

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rate Beat program: Will beat a competitor’s offer by 0.10% APR if approved for a lower rate elsewhere
  • Unique satisfaction guarantee: Borrowers who are not satisfied with their loan experience can get a $100 refund
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months

LightStream offers “wedding loans,” but they’re the same as its regular personal loans. With low rates and no fees, it could be a cost-effective option—especially considering its Rate Beat program, where it will beat any competitor’s offered rate by 0.10%. 

LightStream is a solid choice if you need fast funds to pay wedding vendors or buy supplies. LightStream’s application process is primarily automated. If you’re approved and complete all paperwork before 2:30 p.m. Eastern, LightStream will wire the money to your bank account that same day.

One of the few downsides to LightStream is that it’s exclusive. It tends to approve applicants with good or excellent credit (scores 660 and above) and doesn’t offer prequalification for its loans. You must submit a complete application when you apply, which can result in a slight dip in your credit score due to the hard credit check. 

Do people take out loans for weddings?

Many people take out personal loans or some other type of financing to pay for some or all of their wedding expenses. A recent nationwide study by Provident Bank revealed that 22% of respondents took out a personal loan or home equity loan to pay for their wedding. 

In addition to exploring alternatives (more on that below), it’s important to understand how a personal loan for your wedding will affect your finances as newlyweds. Use a loan calculator to see what your monthly payments might look like and compare them with your budget. 

If you can afford those payments, and your wedding plans are nonnegotiable, a personal loan could be suitable. But just remember that any amount you borrow now is less you’ll have later to take a vacation, buy a house, or start a family. 

As always, discuss the pros and cons of wedding loans with your future spouse so you’re on the same page from the beginning of your marriage.

Pros and cons of using a personal loan for wedding expenses 

If you’re funding your wedding, wedding personal loans can seem like a quick way to make your dream wedding plans a reality—and they can be. But they can also cause financial stress later. We always recommend weighing the pros and cons before making financial decisions. In this case, it should be a joint conversation between you and your partner. 

Pros

  • Potential for lower interest rates

    Using a personal loan to fund your wedding often costs less than putting the costs on a credit card.

  • Unforgettable memories

    You may decide it’s worth the cost to borrow the money to make memories.

  • Can help you build credit

    If you make all your payments on time, a personal loan can help you grow your credit score. This comes in handy if you want to finance a car or a house later.

Cons

  • Start your married life with debt

    Money is one of the leading sources of stress in a relationship. When you start your married life owing money, you could face challenges if you can’t afford the loan payments.

  • Delay other financial goals

    When you’ve borrowed for a wedding, you may have less money available to fulfill other financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a house or starting a family. The balance on your wedding loan could also affect your debt-to-income ratio (that’s your pretax monthly income divided by your monthly debt payments), making it harder to get approved for a mortgage to buy a home.

  • Increase the costs of your wedding

    Financing the cost of an average wedding over five years at a 10% interest rate could mean paying an additional $8,200 in interest alone. Weddings already cost a fortune; a loan will only boost those costs.

  • Can hurt your credit score

    If you make late payments—or worse, default—wedding loans can harm your credit.

Our expert’s take: Want vs. need

Erin Kinkade

CFP®

In my personal and professional life, I have not met anyone who has financed a wedding. I know it happens, but I have not encountered this decision. The only time I would be comfortable with an individual doing this is if they have planned a reasonable wedding with respect to their income and budget, and of course, they can pay off the loan without affecting their cash flow too much so that they are left with no funds remaining for savings, leisure activities, and for their other near-term and long-term goals. I do believe it is an important day to celebrate, but this is a “want” and not a “need.” And it’s OK to finance a want if you can afford to make the payments!

How to get a loan for a wedding 

Here’s what you can expect when applying for wedding loans.

  1. Decide who is applying: First, figure out who will apply for the loan. Some lenders allow co-applicants or cosigners, who can help you qualify for a higher loan amount by adding more income to the application. Anyone on the loan is equally responsible for payments and can have a damaged credit score due to missed payments. 
  2. Check your credit score: Before applying, make sure your credit report is accurate. You can contest any errors with the credit bureaus. Knowing your score helps you target lenders who work with borrowers in your credit range. 
  3. Compare loan prequalification offers: Many lenders allow you to get a prequalification loan offer with just a soft credit pull rather than a hard check. This gives you an estimate of how much you may be able to borrow and what interest rates and monthly payments could look like.
  4. Choose a wedding loan that fits: Review the loan offers to see which ones look like the right choice for you and your fiance. Monthly payments should feel comfortable, and you should feel positive about how the loan term fits your other financial goals as newlyweds.
  5. Submit a formal application: After you select a lender, you’ll submit a formal application. You may need to supply a copy of your photo ID, pay stubs, and bank statements. The lender also runs a hard credit check at this time.
  6. Sign your agreement and receive your wedding loan funds: If your application is approved, you and anyone else on the loan must review and sign the loan agreement. Then your loan funds will be deposited into your selected bank account. 
  7. Start making payments: Make your loan payments on the first due date assigned by your lender. 

Alternatives to a wedding loan 

Wedding loans aren’t your only option if you can’t pay cash for the big day. Before you take out a wedding loan, consider these alternatives: 

  • Reduce wedding costs: You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a great wedding. Look for ways to cut expenses and pay out of pocket. For example, could you get married at your alma mater or a national park for less than the cost of a fancy venue?
  • Scale back your guest list: Consider inviting fewer people to your wedding, reducing your spending on space, food, and drinks. 
  • Push back your wedding date: If you can delay your wedding date, you’ll have more time to save up to pay cash. Taking on extra work or starting a side gig can help speed up your savings faster.
  • Elope: The Provident Bank study revealed that 20% of respondents eloped to save money on the wedding. This may not feel right for everyone, but it may be attractive to some couples. You could always host a low-cost dinner or party to celebrate with friends and family when you return.
  • Use a 0% interest credit card: If you can qualify for a card with a 0% promotional APR, you may be able to charge what you need for your wedding without paying interest for a certain period. This can be a solid option if you’re sure you’ll be able to repay the balance before the promotional period ends. 
  • Tap into the equity in your home: You could use a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit to borrow against your home. The interest rate on a home equity loan or line of credit is often lower than a personal loan rate, so this could be more affordable. But consider that you’ll risk losing your home if you can’t pay it back.
  • Crowdfund: Instead of wedding gifts, consider asking family and friends to help cover your wedding costs.

FAQ

Can I get a wedding loan with bad credit?

Yes, securing a wedding loan with bad credit is possible. However, your credit score has a massive influence on the interest rate and terms of the loan. A lender assesses the risks associated with lending you money based on your credit score. 

A wedding loan may be attainable, but it could come with higher interest rates and less favorable terms.

How long does it take to get wedding loan funds?

Most lenders understand the urgency of a wedding loan and aim to process loan requests as fast as possible. The time it takes to receive your funds depends on the lender and your personal circumstances. 

A fast approval could see the money in your account within a day, but some lenders take up to one week. Be sure to factor this in when planning your wedding expenditures.

What types of wedding expenses can I pay with a wedding loan?

Wedding loans are versatile and adaptable to an array of wedding costs. You can use the funds to cover everything from your venue to your wedding dress, catering, flowers, and even your honeymoon. 

A wedding loan can extend beyond the event itself. It can also cover surrounding expenses, such as engagement parties or guest accommodations.

Recap: Best wedding loans

LenderRates (APR)Loan amounts
Credible7.49%35.99%$600 – $200,000
SoFi8.99% – 29.99%$5,000 – $100,000
Upgrade8.49% – 35.99%$1,000 – $50,000
LightStream9.49% – 25.49%$5,000 – $100,000