How to Pay for a Wedding Without Your Parents’ Help

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

couples first wedding dance, paid for a wedding without parents' help
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Weddings are joyful celebrations. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 couples said weddings are a source of financial stress in our recent wedding survey. It’s not surprising that couples are worried about the big day. Wedding information website The Knot putting the average cost of one in 2017 at $33,391.

Brides and grooms typically paid around 41% of costs themselves, with contributions from parents covering around 57% of expenses. But not everyone has parents who’ll spend thousands. So how do you pay for your wedding when your parents can’t help you?

Here are five steps to funding your wedding without relying on the bank of mom and dad.

1. Set a wedding budget

According to our survey, around 89% of people planning a wedding set a budget, and doing so is important. Setting a budget affects what venues you look at and how much you spend on wedding necessities, such as food, refreshments, and attire. Decide on your budget together, taking into account:

  • Your current financial situation: If you have a lot of debt and no savings, set a lower budget.
  • Your future financial goals: Do you want to travel, buy a house, or start a family soon? Setting a smaller budget could make sense.

Whatever you decide, make sure you’re both comfortable with the budget. This is one of the first financial decisions you’ll make together, and you don’t want it to be a source of conflict.

2. Prioritize what’s most important

Typical expenditures for a wedding include:

  • Ceremony site and reception venue
  • Photographer and videographer
  • Wedding planner
  • Band or DJ
  • Flowers and decor
  • Wedding dress and the groom’s attire
  • Catering and the wedding cake
  • Transportation
  • Wedding favors
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Rings
  • Invitations
  • Hair and makeup

There’s a lot of things to spend money on. If you try to make every single aspect of your wedding Pinterest-worthy, you’ll blow through even the largest budget. Instead, decide on what’s most important:

  • Do you want to include all of your friends and family? A bigger guest list may mean you need a cheaper venue.
  • Do you care a lot about where you say ‘I do?’ If you have a specific location in mind, cut costs elsewhere.
  • What are your must-haves? Maybe one of you is a big music lover and would like a great band. Or maybe you want a fantastic photographer.

Talking about how you envision your wedding will help you decide where to splurge and where to save.

3. Make your celebration an affordable one

As you plan your wedding, look for ways to cut costs. A few ways to save include:

  • Getting married on an off day: You’ll pay more to get married on a Saturday during peak wedding season than if you get married on a Sunday or during a month when there’s less demand. If you have a preferred venue, ask what days you could score a discounted rate.
  • Renting a wedding dress: You’ll only wear it once, so there’s no need to spend a fortune when there are rental sites such as Rent the Runway. Or shop for a pre-owned dress if you’d prefer to own.
  • Skipping the pricey decorations: Pick a venue that’s naturally beautiful, such as a national park. If you’re crafty, make your own decor.
  • Tapping into your network: Do you have friends or family with a lot of talent, such as a photographer, DJ, or baker? Ask if they’d help out as your wedding gift. Just make sure they have some time to enjoy the festivities.
  • Getting creative with food: Out-of-the-box solutions such as a food truck wedding could be cheaper and more memorable. Cupcakes or a pie buffet, for example, are a lot less expensive than a fancy cake.
  • Negotiating with vendors: Some couples have been able to secure discounts on a wide range of wedding services simply by asking for a better price.

The more areas where you can cut costs and choose creative solutions, the less you’ll need to save or borrow.

4. Figure out your wedding finances early

No matter how creative you get, no wedding is free. You’ll have to figure out how to pay for your wedding when your parents can’t help you. Most couples fund their wedding with savings. This is the best approach, since going into debt means everything costs more due to interest.

To save for your wedding:

  • Make a plan ASAP: Specify how much you’ll need and your deadline date.
  • Work out a wedding budget: If you’ve combined finances, set a monthly budget to live on so you can save. If you’re maintaining separate accounts, decide how much you’ll each contribute. You might decide to split bills evenly or according to a percentage of your individual incomes.
  • Look for ways to cut spending and increase savings: Have dinner dates at home and put off exchanging gifts for holidays until after the wedding. Put any savings into your wedding fund.
  • Consider a side hustle: Doing a little extra work could give you more money to spend on your big day.

When you’ve made a plan, open a joint wedding account so you can both watch the money grow. By teaming up, you’ll stay motivated and accomplish your first financial goal as a soon-to-be-married couple.

5. Be smart about borrowing

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to save enough to fund your big day. If that’s the case, shop around carefully for financing.

Our study found that credit cards are the second-most popular way to fund wedding costs. But interest rates on credit cards tend to be higher than for personal loans.

Personal loans allow you to borrow a fixed amount of money. You have a set amount of time to repay what you borrow. If you choose a fixed-rate loan, you’ll know exactly how much your monthly payments will be and how long you’ll be in debt.

With credit cards, however, you borrow up to your card limit. As you pay down your credit card debt, you can borrow more.

Compare credit card interest rates and personal loan rates, and see which option offers you affordable payments and the lowest overall cost. The less you borrow — and the better the terms — the more money you’ll have available to enjoy life as a married couple. You may also experience less stress while planning your wedding and as you embark on your future together.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.58% APR to 14.87% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.275% APR to 12.575% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of July 16, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.275% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.10% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  • Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  1. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  2. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  • Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  1. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  2. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
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6.28% – 14.87%1$5,000 - $100,000
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6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
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4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.