The perfect venue, dress, flowers, décor and — don’t forget — food and drink for your friends and family can break the bank if you’re not careful. According to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a U.S. wedding is $35,329 (and doesn’t include the honeymoon!) — that’s no small amount.  

So, what makes a wedding so expensive? According to The Knot, the most expensive items included:

  • Venue: $16,107
  • Engagement ring: $6,163
  • Reception band: $4,156
  • Florist/décor: $2,534
  • Photographer: $2,783
  • Videographer: $1,995
  • Wedding dress: $1,564
  • Catering (per person): $71 (If your guest list includes 120 people, that’s more than $8,000)!

And, there are even easy-to-forget charges that can increase the cost of your wedding.

If you don’t have the cash to finance your dream wedding, you may be wondering what your options are. After all, this is the big day you’ve dreamed about since you were young. You’ve heard the saying “something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new,” but are you willing to borrow funds to make your big day happen? We consider the pros and cons of taking out a personal loan to cover your wedding.

Pros:

  • Wedding loan lenders will take your income and credit score into account. These types of loans are generally easy to secure if your credit score is in good shape.
  • Interest rates will often be lower on a personal loan than on a credit card — especially if you have a good credit score.
  • The application process is typically the matter of a little paperwork.

Cons:

  • You’ll begin your new married life in debt or with even more debt if you already have student loans, a mortgage, car loans, etc. A wedding loan could leave you on the hook for several years. And, beginning your marriage with extra debt could add more pressure to your new marriage.
  • With the interest your loan incurs, you could be paying off that loan for years, while paying back much more than you had borrowed.
  • Taking a loan for a wedding with bad credit can mean paying high interest rates.

Before you take a loan out for your wedding consider other options you can take to still have that wedding you’ll remember for years to come.

  • Opt for a longer engagement, and put more money away.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. It’s way too easy to inflate your budget as you go through the planning process. There are likely less expensive options to consider for each category. Instead of booking an expensive outdoor venue, you could go with a quiet backyard wedding, or instead of a live band for the reception you could consider a DJ.
  • Downsize your guest list. It’s always hard to cut people from your guest list, but opting for a smaller more intimate wedding may be one way to have the wedding you’ll cherish, while saving some cash.
  • Shop around for the best deals. Time is key. Securing a vendor farther out from your wedding day can mean more choices and more opportunity to compare prices.

Your day will be special no matter what you choose — from the food to the venue — because you are surrounded by those you love and are beginning a lifetime of memories with your special person.

Planning a wedding can be a good exercise for making tough financial decisions as a couple. As you think more about your finances as a married couple, it’s a good idea to connect with a Farm Bureau agent to discuss your future and ways we can work together to protect it.