Paying for a wedding with a home equity loan
Picture this: friends and family gathered around enjoying food, drink and conversation…golden rings…lovely flowers…beautiful music…photos capturing all the special moments. These are important things couples dream about for their wedding. However, the cost for all these special details can be a rude awakening — the 2022 U.S. national average for wedding expenses was $30,000.1
Given these high costs, soon after the engagement is announced, the spouses-to-be (or their parents) are often left wondering: "How do I pay for wedding expenses?"
Paying for a wedding
It's important to create a budget with good estimates of all wedding costs and a thorough list of items. Do sound research to get current realistic costs appropriate for your wedding location, not just wishful estimates. Take a hard look at the results to see if you can afford everything on the list. If not, prioritize what is truly important and cut costs in areas that are simply "nice to have."
Typical sources of wedding funds have included the couple's parents, the couple's savings, tax refunds, credit cards and, to a lesser extent, pre-wedding gifts.
In fact, a home equity loan may be a great choice if you own a home with enough equity already built up. Traditionally, you may think of a home equity loan as a source of funds to improve your home, but more recently home equity loans have been used for other needs — including consolidating high-interest debts and covering major expenses.
Home equity loan for wedding
A home equity loan lets you borrow against the equity that you have in your home. Equity is not the sum of all the payments you've made. Instead, it's the difference between the current market value of your home and the amount you have left to pay on your mortgage. Because your home serves as collateral, a home equity loan typically has lower interest than credit cards and other non-secured loans.
Although the home equity loan is collateralized by your home, this doesn't restrict use of the loan to home-related improvements. Paying for a wedding is one of the major expenses that fits nicely with this type of loan.
- Lower interest rates: Home equity loans typically have lower interest rates compared to credit cards and personal loans. This can save you money in the long run.
- Large borrowing capacity: Depending on the equity in your home and the loan limits sent by your lender, you may be able to secure a substantial loan amount to cover your wedding costs. This can allow you to have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of without compromising your vision.
- Flexible repayment terms: Home equity loans typically offer longer repayment terms compared to other forms of financing. This can provide you with a more manageable monthly payment and give you the flexibility to pay off your loan over time.
- Risk of foreclosure: When you use your home as collateral for a loan, there is always a risk of foreclosure if you are unable to repay the loan. It’s important to carefully consider your ability to make the monthly payments before proceeding with a home equity loan.
- Closing costs and fees: Just like with any other loan, home equity loans may come with closing costs and fees that can add to the overall cost of borrowing. These costs should be factored into your decision-making process.
- Second mortgage payments: It’s common for home equity loans to be taken out as second mortgages, so it will come with a new payment in addition to your existing monthly mortgage payment. If you are close to paying off your mortgage, you may not want to borrow against your home equity and prolong your debt.
Alternatives to finance your wedding
While using a home equity loan to finance a wedding may be a great option for some, it may not be the right choice for everyone. If you are looking for alternatives to a home equity loan, there are several options that can help you fund your wedding without using the equity in your home.
- Personal loans: Personal loans are unsecured loans, meaning you don’t need to use an asset as collateral for the loan. These typically have fixed interest rates and repayment terms, which can make it easier to budget and plan for your wedding expenses. Shop around for competitive rates and favorable terms to find the best personal loan option for your needs.
- Credit cards: If you meet the qualifications for eligibility, you may be able to open a credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer to save on financing charges while you pay for wedding costs. However, it’s important to set up a repayment plan and ensure that you pay off the balance before the promotional introductory period ends to avoid normal interest charges. You can also find credit card offers that come with cashback on purchases or no annual fees.
- Savings and budgeting: Another alternative is to save money over time and budget strategically for your wedding. This option may require planning and discipline with spending and saving, but it can help you avoid debt altogether. Start by setting a realistic budget and prioritize your expenses. Cut down on non-essential expenses and consider allocating a portion of your monthly income towards your wedding fund. Additionally, explore cost-saving measures such as DIY decorations, less expensive venues, or opting for a smaller guest list. You may want to look at your options for opening high-yield savings accounts to earn interest.
- Borrowing from family or friends: You may be able to reach out to your close family and friends and ask for financial assistance for your wedding. Borrowing from loved ones may provide interest-free or low-interest options, and they may be more lenient with repayment terms. However, make sure you are transparent about your ability to repay the funds and openly communicate about the borrowing terms to avoid straining relationships.
No matter which options you’re exploring, remember to compare and evaluate interest rates, repayment terms, and potential risks before selecting a financing option.
Closing thoughts: A home equity loan for wedding costs
Planning a wedding should be fun, but it can also be hectic. Setting up a budget and ensuring that you have a match between what you want to spend and sources of funds will remove some of the uncertainty and financial tension before the big day.