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Should You Say I Do to Debt When Planning a Wedding?

By Rebecca Lake

Published October 15, 2019 • 4 Min Read

Planning a wedding can be an exciting — and expensive — adventure. Many couples plan, thinking they can keep costs under control, but when the honeymoon is actually over, find themselves starting married life with considerable debt.

31 per cent of couples say they took on debt to pay for their wedding, either with credit cards or loans, but do you want to be one of them?

Here are four budget considerations to think about before going into debt to pay for your big day.

Figure Out Your Wedding Budget

Create a wedding budget that accounts for all the expenses of your wedding. This may help outline the amount of debt you are willing to carry as newlyweds. Include expenses such as:

  • The venue rental

  • Your wedding attire and rings

  • The officiant

  • The reception and rehearsal dinner

  • The wedding cake

  • The flowers and decorations

  • Gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen

While building your budget, consider that the average cost for a wedding is $30,717, and 75 per cent of brides say they spent more than they originally budgeted, according to the Better Business Bureau Canada.*

Include Your Honeymoon in Your Wedding Budget

If you’re not willing to take on more debt for your wedding, consider if taking a honeymoon right away fits your plans. While technically not part of the wedding, honeymoons might add thousands of dollars to your wedding budget. It might make sense instead to:

  • Wait to take a honeymoon

  • Find an inexpensive destination

  • Ask friends and family to contribute to a honeymoon fund on your behalf (in lieu of a wedding gift)

Weigh Your Debt Options

Before you say “I do” to taking on debt for your wedding, you and your soon-to-be spouse should discuss options of funding and paying off the debt.

Sit and work out a household budget that includes both of your incomes, your joint expenses, and other debts like credit cards or student loans.

Create a timeline for paying off your wedding debt. Using your household budget, decide how much you can afford to pay monthly, and how long it would take you to pay off the balance.

All debt isn’t created equally. If you’re thinking of borrowing to cover wedding costs, it’s important to weigh your options.

  • Credit cards might offer convenience and you might even earn reward points on what you spend. But a credit card that carries a high interest rate can make wedding expenses higher in the long run if you don’t pay the balance in full.

  • Personal loans could offer funding with a scheduled payment plan at a potentially lower interest rate. Unlike a credit card, you wouldn’t earn any reward points.

  • Lines of credit from a bank is similar. Instead of receiving a lump sum, you’d be able to tap your credit line as needed and only pay interest on what you use.

  • Borrowing money from friends and family. They may be willing to lend you money for a wedding interest-free. The caveat there, of course, is that failing to repay what you borrowed could cause a rift in your relationships.

Protect Your Loved Ones

While planning a wedding, thinking about setbacks may be unromantic; however, if one of you lost your job, became disabled, or worse, you’d want to make sure wedding debt wouldn’t become a source of stress for either of you. Having insurance helps protect your debt and your love one’s financial future.

Getting insurance coverage for your outstanding credit card balances, for instance, may help in case the unexpected happens. You can also get insurance designed to help cover outstanding loan balances or lines of credit in the event of death — or help make your payments in case of a disability.

While it may feel unromantic at first, having a plan in place to protect yourself and your loved ones from debt can be one of the most caring things you do. It can offer reassurance as you prepare to begin your married life together.

Source: “Average Prices for Wedding Services” Better Business Bureau Canada.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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