Ways to Fund Your Wedding
In an age where credit card companies are plying us with 'free' applications and debt is a way of life rather than something to avoid it's no wonder that a quarter of people in the UK have no savings at all, and another quarter have less than £3,000 in the bank. Set that against the £20,000 it takes to fund the average wedding today, and it's clear that more and more people need to find alternative ways of financing their nuptials. Here's a look at some of the most popular ways to scrape together the cash for your big day.
LoansIf you don't have the year or two it requires to save up for your wedding, you can reverse the process by taking out a lump sum and paying it off afterwards. However, the downside of a loan is that you'll always end up paying back far more than you borrowed, so only enter into this if you don't think you can pay your bills any other way.
Budget for your wedding before going shopping for a loan. Once you've worked out a total figure, add an extra 10 per cent as 'contingency' money to cover unforeseen expenses.
Next, examine your income and outgoings, and work out the maximum you can afford in loan repayments every month after you've paid all other expenses (and left yourself a small amount of disposable income).
After this homework, you'll be much more informed once you start receiving quotes from loan companies. If the size of your wedding budget outweighs your ability to repay it within five years, go back to the drawing board and scale things down. A marriage might last a lifetime, but your wedding day is only one day - there's no point beggaring yourself for the next 25 years trying to pay for it.
A good starting point for a loan quote is your bank, who are likely to offer existing customers a good rate of interest on any loans and be a little more understanding if you ever have trouble making repayments. Having said that, there are a huge number of companies out there offering loans, so it's worth shopping around for a good deal. Apart from the rate of interest, you should also look for payment plans that will allow you some flexibility, so that you can pay off a little bit more than usual if you get a windfall.
RemortgagingBrides and grooms who are already homeowners can consider using their house as collateral to find the cash for the wedding. If you already have a mortgage, talk to your provider about adding to it. The advantage of this process over a conventional loan is that you can borrow bigger amounts at a lower rate of interest - mortgage rates are typically several per cent lower than even the most generous of loan providers. Bear in mind, though, that this is offset by the extra length of time it'll take you to pay back.
Anyone lucky enough to own their house outright can also consider equity release - a scheme that allows you to use home as an asset to borrow a lump sum, which is taken away from the value of the property on its sale. Such schemes carry the risk of dramatically reducing the amount you'll get back when the house is sold, but much depends on the plan you opt for and the amount you wish to borrow. Do some careful research before deciding whether this is for you.
Family and FriendsIt's no longer expected for the bride's parents to pay for the wedding, but don't underestimate the desire your nearest and dearest will have to help you. Don't think you have to go cap in hand and ask for a handout to cover the entire day - there's several more subtle ways in which they can help.
If any of your relatives or friends offer to help with the wedding costs, the best thing to do is ask how much they're willing to give you, then match up the amount with an item on your 'to-do' list that they can afford. In this way, one person might be able to buy your flowers, another the champagne, and so on, reducing your personal costs considerably.
Alternatively, ask your guests for money instead of wedding presents. Now that many people live together before getting married, nobody expects them to need domestic items, so requesting money is a perfectly valid alternative. If you find it distasteful to ask for cold hard cash, suggest vouchers for your favourite department stores or travel vouchers towards the cost of your honeymoon - leaving you free to use your honeymoon budget to treat everyone at the wedding to a good time!