The majority of loved-up couples are determined to make their wedding day perfect, from the venue to the DJ to the honeymoon. But with the average British wedding now costing in excess of £20,000, many are loading themselves with debt before the marriage even begins.
If you, like most brides and grooms-to-be, are unable to fork out for your big day upfront, here are some tips on avoiding potential financial pitfalls in the run-up to your nuptials.
Save if possible
Ideally you'll have the time and spare cash to save for your wedding. With interest rates still not yielding much of a return on your cash, it could pay to opt for a high-interest regular savings account. While those with the highest rates impose restrictions such as a regular monthly payment with none missed, and no withdrawals during a 12-month period, the rates make them worthwhile for wedding planners, since you'll be forced to put the money away.
Existing customers at the likes of First Direct and HSBC will get the best deals, with six per cent and four per cent respectively, while Leeds Building Society, Yorkshire Building Society and Norwich & Peterborough Building Society all offer rates around the three per cent mark, and are open to new or existing customers, some with one free withdrawal per year.
Avoid 'wedding' finance deals
There has been an increase in the number of lenders offering finance packages specifically for weddings. Yet these are often just designed to lure borrowers into loans with inflated interest rates.
Instead, go for a personal loan that will offer you a better rate of interest. Currently topping Confused.com's personal loans are Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, both of which offer a rate of just 5.8 per cent for loans of £20,000 up to a seven-year term, leaving you with monthly repayments of £289.28. Following those top-rated lenders are Sainsbury's Bank and Tesco Bank, both with a rate of 6.6 per cent.
If you've managed to save a sizeable lump sum, or are receiving welcome help from family members, then short-term borrowing may be the best option when it comes to paying for wedding day essentials.
As long as your credit rating isn't in the doldrums, many lenders offer credit cards with interest-free periods on purchases, so it's always worth checking out what deals are available. Santander are currently top of the pops on the interest-free credit card list, with an impressive 18 months free on purchases before the standard APR of 18.9 per cent kicks in. Tesco Bank also offer 18 months interest-free, while M&S are next best with zero interest to pay on your first 15 months' of purchases.
Paying by credit card offers the added security of being covered should a supplier go bust or fail to come up with the goods on the big day, but remember, you must be able to clear the minimum monthly repayments throughout the interest-free period or you'll be hit with some nasty charges.
Whichever method you choose to pay for your perfect wedding day, sticking to a budget is absolutely essential, and not just in the lead-up to the nuptials. As well as being absolutely sure that you can repay credit cards or other short-term borrowing, it is equally important to know that you can afford monthly repayments over a long period if you take out a personal loan. If you're borrowing the full cost of your wedding, you could be paying for it well into your marriage, so before you contact any lenders, make sure that you've worked out your worst case scenario budget to be sure you don't start married life on the financial wrong foot.
How did you manage to pay for your wedding? Leave your comments below...