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Wedding Loans: Compare Your Financing Options

Oct. 22, 2018
Loans, Personal Loans
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A critical question couples must ask when planning a wedding: How will we pay for it all? Not everyone can cover wedding expenses with savings or help from family, and credit cards can carry high interest rates and the potential to overspend.

Another way to borrow is with a wedding loan — an unsecured personal loan with rates that may be lower than credit cards and fixed monthly payments that can make post-wedding budgeting easier.

Here are options for wedding loans, tips on how to qualify and how personal loans compare with credit cards:

Lenders that offer wedding loans: Earnest, LightStream, OneMain and Prosper are four online lenders to consider.

How to qualify for wedding loans: Strong credit boosts your chances, but there are other options, too.

Wedding loans vs. credit cards: Weigh the pros and cons of each.

Lenders that offer wedding loans

Some lenders market personal loans specifically for weddings, but you can spend the money on practically anything, including honeymoon expenses. Online lenders use different criteria to evaluate loan applicants, and most will give you a quote without hurting your credit, so it pays to compare options. The four lenders here offer a range of loan amounts and qualification requirements.

LenderAPR range and loan amountsGet started
4.5 NerdWallet rating
6.99% - 18.24%
$5,000 - $75,000
5.0 NerdWallet rating
5.74% - 16.99% (with autopay)
$5,000 - $100,000
4.0 NerdWallet rating
16.05% - 35.99%
$1,500 - $30,000
3.5 NerdWallet rating

6.95% - 35.99%
$2,000 - $40,000
Click “Check Rate” to pre-qualify and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.

  • Earnest personal loans can be used for engagement, wedding and honeymoon expenses. It requires a minimum credit score of 680 to qualify, as well as proof of consistent income and savings to cover at least two months of regular expenses.
  • LightStream provides wedding loans with borrowing amounts up to $100,000. Its annual percentage rates vary depending on loan purpose; for wedding loans, rates range from 5.74% to 16.99%. LightStream also accepts joint applications, and only one applicant must have the minimum credit score of 660.
  • OneMain offers wedding loans to borrowers who don’t have great credit. Borrowers’ average credit scores range from 600 to 650, and you can add a co-signer to strengthen your application. OneMain’s APRs are higher than other loan options.
  • Prosper loans can be used for special occasions, including weddings and honeymoons. The lender requires a minimum credit score of 640 to qualify, although customers have an average score of 710.

Credit unions are good alternatives for wedding loans, as they typically offer low rates and flexible terms. The maximum APR for loans at federal credit unions is 18%. You must become a member of a credit union before applying for a loan.

How to qualify for wedding loans

Borrowers with the strongest credit typically get the lowest rates on personal loans. In addition to building your credit, consider these options to boost your chances of qualifying and receiving a low rate.

Check your credit reports: In addition to paying your bills on time and keeping debt levels low, check your credit reports for errors, like accounts that aren’t yours or inaccurate data. You can dispute the errors online or by phone.

Add a co-signer: If you and your partner don’t have good credit, asking a parent to co-sign a loan can increase your approval odds and may get you a more favorable rate. Keep in mind that your co-signer is on the hook if you can’t make the payments.

Pre-qualify for multiple loans: Rates and terms vary between lenders, so consider pre-qualifying with a few lenders to compare offers. Pre-qualification typically involves a soft credit inquiry, which has no impact on your credit score.

» MORE: 5 ways to boost your chances of getting approved

Wedding loans vs. credit cards

There may be advantages to using a credit card instead of a personal loan for wedding expenses. If you have good to excellent credit, a 0% APR credit card charges no interest on purchases during a promotional period, typically six to 18 months. You might also rack up points with a rewards credit card.

But if you don’t pay off the balance of a 0% card within the promotional period, a high APR (typically 16% or more) kicks in, adding significant interest costs.

For example, if you carry a $10,000 balance on a card with an APR of 18% and make minimum monthly payments of $200, you’ll pay $8,600 in interest. It would take almost eight years to repay the debt, according to NerdWallet’s credit card payoff calculator.

Wedding loans have fixed interest rates and payments, and you get only the loan amount you ask for, which helps you stick to your budget. For a borrower with excellent credit, a 3-year, $10,000 loan at 13.9% APR would cost $341 a month and $2,276 in total interest, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.

With either option, create a budget with your partner and see if you can pay off the loan or credit card early to save on interest costs. Credit card issuers and most online lenders charge no penalty for early repayment.

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