Avoid The Wedding Debt Trap

On average, a wedding in the U.S. will cost $20,000. The factors that most affect how much a couple will spend on their wedding are number of guests, geographical location, and availability of funds or credit. If a couple puts the full cost of a wedding on a credit card and pays only the minimum allowable payment per month, that couple will, literally, NEVER get out of debt.

Traditionally, the bride’s family bore the bulk of the financial burden for their daughter’s wedding expenses. This has changed dramatically in the last decade or so as the groom”s family is contributing more to help out the couple. However, many couples – especially those into and past their mid-20’s – are paying for their own weddings with modest or no help from relatives.Because the pressure to throw a huge, pricey wedding still exists, many couples find themselves turning to credit cards to pay for wedding expenses. These couples will begin their married life together deep in debt that will haunt them for years to come.Some numbers for you to consider

We used the Credit Card Payoff Calculator from Genus Credit Management to do some quick debt calculations.

* A credit card debt of $20,000 with the average interest rate of 18% will take you 125 months to pay off with a minimum allowable payment of $500 per month.

* A debt of $10,000 with an “good” interest rate of 14% will take you 4 years to pay off using the minimum allowable payment of $200 per month.


Scared? This is serious, life-long debt for ONE DAY of celebration.

Don’t let the credit card companies fool you

Many couples get giddy when they see credit card offers for zero percent interest. While it may seem like a great deal, it’s important to read the fine print.

* Some zero percent offers are an introductory rate meaning that the zero percent rate is guaranteed for a limited amount of months before they raise it. Expect it to go to at least 7%, but, more likely, 14% – 18% after the introductory offer expires.

* Zero percent may apply to only balance transfers from your other credit cards, leaving you to pay a hefty percentage on any new purchases you make. Or, conversely, you may pay zero percent on new purchases and a high percentage rate on balance transfers.

* Another issue with zero percent cards is you must pay on time each month. One late payment – even by a single day – can cancel the whole 0% deal and you’ll end up paying high interest rates… some over 24%! And don’t forget the late fees. One company we know of charges an extra $35 on top of a higher interest rate for late payments.

You may be better staying with a low interest, guaranteed rate card in the long term… and don’t use it for wedding expenses.

Always read the agreement and look for the annual percentage rate, annual fees, late fees, and any other fees or rate changes that may affect you.

Where to find the money

If you find that you need extra funds for your wedding celebration, you have few options.

* Personal Loans – Your bank or credit union may have decent rates on personal loans.
* Credit Cards – As stated above, this is a bad, bad idea. Resist at all cost.
* Donations From Family – You may be surprised at the generosity your families may bestow upon you. Graciously accept financial help they may offer, but don”t demand or expect them to shell out big bucks for your celebration.
* Extra Jobs – You and your fiance can take on extra jobs for a few months to generate extra income. This is probably the best way to get the money you need. If your own wedding isn’t worth working extra-hard for, think about your plans and re-budget for something within your means .

Your best chances of beginning a debt-free married life is to live – and create a wedding – within your means. There’s no shame in creating an inexpensive, affordable wedding!


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