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Tackling your debts

Couples regret saying I do to wedding debts

Posted 09 June 2014

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Half of couples who borrow money for their wedding regret going into debt

Half the brides and grooms who borrow to pay for their wedding in the UK regret falling into debt, according to research* conducted on our behalf.

It’s easy to understand how it happens - the pressure to spend money is huge. From the invites, hen and stag parties to the clothes, venue and food, the costs soon add up: the average wedding in the UK costs £18,000, according to website UK Wedding Belles**.

How much easier is it to stick the price of your bridesmaids’ dresses on a credit card than tell them they have to wear a cheaper dress that they hate? Or to take out a loan to secure the venue you have been dreaming about, rather than settle for a marquee in the back garden?


Hangover

But the debt hangover caused by choosing more expensive options can be severe. Even though many of the couples questioned for the survey have been married many years, one third are still paying off the debts they built up at the time of their wedding.

The problem is worst for young couples who don’t have as much time to save up for their nuptials as older brides and grooms. Our survey shows three quarters of those aged 18 to 24 start married life in debt.


Money worries

Sadly, even though people usually borrow to ensure their wedding day is really special, the debt means it can become “special” for the wrong reasons.

Worrying about money, and debt in particular, is one of the most common causes of rows between husband and wives. A recent survey*** in the US even found that more than a quarter of people getting divorced said their arguments started over money.


Wedding planner

If you are planning to get married this year, it makes sense to limit the amount you spend, however unromantic that sounds.

Better to ditch the fourth bridesmaid and switch to white wine instead of champagne rather than start your marriage with a load of debts hanging over your heads.

There’s nothing romantic about scrimping on spending so you can meet repayments, just when you want to be setting up your first home together.


Debt problems

But if you have already married and are still trying to cope with any debt taken out to pay for your wedding, it could be time to seek help.

It’s horrible struggling with debt at any time, but loans and credit taken out to pay for a wedding could end up causing real bitterness and could possibly damage your marriage.

Approaching your lenders may help - they could suggest an affordable repayment plan that enables you to get back in control of your finances.

If that doesn’t work, the Debt Advisory Centre may be able to help. We have a wide range of solutions to debt problems, and there may be a way we can assist you. Fill in the form below and we will call you to talk through the options.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 2nd May and 12th May 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents.

**http://www.ukweddingbelles.com/weddingmagazine/budgeting/309-wedding-costs-2014

***http://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2012/pages/finances-causing-rifts-for-american-couples.aspx

by Emily Bancroft

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.