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How to plan your wedding finances

Wedding - bride and groom

If you’re due to get married any time soon, financial considerations will be high up your list of concerns. The typical UK wedding now costs more than £20,000 and, despite the tradition, most couples can no longer reasonably expect the bride-to-be’s parents to stump up that sort of money.

Establishing your budget

One of the first steps in planning any wedding should be to establish what sort of budget you are going to need. Although costs may increase to some extent further down the line as you realise you’ve forgotten to invite a couple of people, or if you have a late change of heart about the menu, this gives you a starting point.

Costs will largely depend on where you hold the wedding, what time of year it is, how many guests you are planning to invite, and what sort of catering and entertainment you intend to provide. Extras such as the photographer and venue/table decorations are also likely to add to the overall expense.

Finding the money

Once you’ve got a rough idea of the total amount of money you’re going to need, think about where the cash is going to come from. It could be that you and your other half have already saved up quite a bit for your big day, and that these funds – combined, perhaps, with some form of parental contribution – should cover the total costs.

If not, you’re faced with a choice between saving and borrowing. The obvious downside of saving is that you’re going to have to wait longer to get married: so if you don’t fancy hanging around, what are your borrowing options?

Credit card vs loans

It can be tempting to pay for wedding expenses on your credit card in the hope or expectation that you can start to clear some of this debt once you get back from honeymoon. But cards can store up all sorts of problems for the future. You may, for example, be able to start off with a low or zero rate of interest.

But if this runs out before you’ve cleared your balance, you’re likely to be looking at annual interest charges in the region of 20%.

Repayments

On top of that, you could be hit with penalties for missing payments – and if you do pay a monthly bill late, you are likely to lose your low-interest perks. A personal loan, on the other hand, comes with none of these pitfalls. You just choose how much you want to borrow and how long you need to pay it back, and you’ll be given a fixed monthly amount to repay.

Unlike with a credit card, the rate will not change – it is also likely to be much lower – and you know exactly when the debt will be cleared.

Find out more about Zopa wedding loans.