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Tackling your debts

Something borrowed: should you get into debt to pay for your wedding?

Posted 19 August 2013

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Getting married can be expensive, which may be why many couples resort to borrowing money. However, this can lead to regrets further down the line, especially as one in three couples who borrowed are still paying it off.

Many people have an image in their head of what their 'perfect wedding' would be like. However, with the average wedding now costing around £20,000 (according to recent figures), this can be out of many couples' price ranges.

That leads to the question: should you borrow to fund the day of your dreams? According to new research* from Debt Advisory Centre, 17% of married couples (which works out to 5 million people across the UK) borrowed at least some money to pay for their wedding.

Something old

The older you are, the less likely you are to have funded (or partly funded) your wedding with credit. Only 3% of over-65s told us that they'd done this - compared with four in ten (41%) 25-34 year-olds.

Perhaps this is because credit is much more widely available now, and borrowing to fund your wedding seems more 'normal'. As your older relatives are much less likely to have borrowed to pay for their big day, it's likely that they might have some tips that could help you.

Something new

Although younger couples are more likely to borrow money for their wedding, they do have an 'advantage' over couples who got married in the past.

The internet is full of wedding blogs and websites that could show you how to achieve your dream wedding for a bit less. It's well worth browsing around for tips and inspiration before you commit to borrowing money.

Something borrowed

The majority of couples (69%) who borrowed money took out under £5,000. However, 10% borrowed over £10,000.

It doesn't matter what other people are doing, though. If you want to borrow money for your big day, the main thing you should be thinking about is how much you can actually afford to pay back. Here are a few tips to help you borrow responsibly:

•  If you're taking out a loan, use a loan calculator to see how much you can borrow, how big your monthly repayments might be, and how much you'll end up paying in interest

•  Look for low interest rates

•  Try and pay back what you borrow as quickly as possible, otherwise interest will have more time to grow

•  Look for a credit card that has 0% interest on purchases for a certain amount of time. Be sure to clear or move the balance before this period ends - or be prepared to pay interest on the full balance.

•  Every month, pay more than the minimum repayment required. If possible, pay off what you owe in full.

Something blue

Borrowing money to fund your wedding may seem like a good idea, but down the line it could leave you feeling a little 'blue'.

Nearly half (46%) of the couples who borrowed ended up regretting their decision to some extent. This figure is made up of couples who wish they'd borrowed less (28%) and those who regret borrowing anything at all (18%).

It's well worth making your wedding a day you'll remember forever - but remember that it's only the beginning of your life together. There are big financial commitments to be made after the 'big day' - for example, buying a house or starting a family.

And remember that, in some cases, debt can lead to debt problems. Even if you borrow responsibly and only take what you can afford to repay, a change in circumstances could leave you struggling.

If you're struggling with debt, whether it's because you borrowed for your wedding or one of the many other reasons we hear at Debt Advisory Centre every day - we could help. Get in touch with us today, using the form below, and one of our advisers could recommend a solution to suit you.

* Consumer Intelligence carried out online interviews with a nationally representative sample of 2,202 people between 31st July and 5th August 2013. Figures have been extrapolated to fit 2013 ONS population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.

by Shelley Bowers

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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.