Weddings tend to be a critical moment in a person’s life. It’s no wonder that we spend so much time and money on making sure that they’re perfect. For people with bad credit, doing so can be significantly more difficult. Paying for a wedding on bad credit can mean bad news – If you had the cash, you'd pay off your cards, so you probably have neither cash nor enough credit left to pay a big bill for a wedding.
When you can’t simply use a loan or credit card to cover your major expenses you need to get a little more creative.
There are plenty of options to choose from. The trick is to find the ones that are most relevant to you and to plan well. By doing so, you can be sure that you get the wedding you want, without crippling your finances. As a guy, I'm probably speaking the language of other men here when I say, It's just one day in your life. Do the smart financial thing, and set your future up properly. However, I know that many women will cringe when I say that, and argue that it only happens once in a lifetime, so it's important to make the day special and memorable.
Lucky for everyone, there's a way to balance out these priorities.
Step 1 (VERY IMPORTANT!): Work Out Your Needs And Priorities
One of the most important aspects is the simplest – figure out matters to you. There are many different components of a wedding. Most aren’t necessary; they’re simply traditions. You’ll probably find that some of the aspects really matter to you, while others are less important.
For example, are you really worried about having a traditional wedding dress? Having a nice-looking dress, even if non-traditional, could save you thousands. Do you really need to give matching gifts to the bridesmaids and groomsmen? They'll probably just stick them in a closet when they get home anyway.
For that matter, some things are very expensive when you go through traditional channels, yet there are many alternative approaches out there. Take the venue as an example. This is often a large chunk of the cost, but there are many less expensive alternatives. Nice venues can cost upwards of $10,000 or more!
Some people get married at the beach or in a friend’s backyard. If the weather is right, outdoor locations can be great for your budget. There are plenty of romantic locations to choose from too, including some less common options. You can also ask around your local area. You might be able to get access to a church hall for a relatively low cost.
Your wedding doesn’t need to look and feel budget to be low in cost. You can still have an amazing day by simply being smarter about where you spend your money. The wedding dress, flowers and cake are all examples of this angle. Some people spend a thousand dollars or more on a cake, while inexpensive cakes from local bakers often look just as good, if not better. Have you ever actually eaten a good wedding cake? I haven't. I'll take a cheesecake over wedding cake any day.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. Many costs can be avoided altogether if you plan well. Chair rental is one example. You may be able to borrow chairs from a local church or something similar. Some people even just buy them from Costco and return them the next day.
Step 2: Be Careful With The Guest List
The guests you invite play a large role in the final cost of your wedding. The smaller you can keep this number, the lower your costs will be. End of story. There are many factors that will influence how many people you ultimately have, including your social connections and your family.
One good general rule is to invite the people you and your partner want to, not people that others request. Be realistic with extended family too. You don’t have to invite everyone that you’re related to. This is especially true if you have a large extended family and don’t know them all well. Focus on the people that mean the most to you and don’t involve anyone just because you feel like you should.
A strategy that works is to set a limit for each half of the couple. With a hard set rule in place, people who are not invited are less likely to complain. For example, each person can get 10 family members and 3 friends. That's a total of 26 people. This cuts down on food cost, venue size cost, wedding invitations, and let's not forget time spent coordinating the whole thing.
Step 3: Choose The Time And Date Well
This is your day, and you should be able to have your wedding whenever you want. The timing of your wedding can have a huge impact on the cost. If you’re getting married in the late afternoon on a Saturday, you can expect to pay a premium. The same venue at midday on a Friday is going to cost significantly less.
Time of year works in a similar way. Getting married at the height of summer or the height of winter will often be less expensive, just make sure you account for the temperature when you plan.
When and where the wedding happens can also play into other ways you save money. If you go somewhere cold and have an outdoor wedding, you can save on your wedding dress by wearing something warm, albeit probably unexpected. I don't know exactly what that would look like, but the opposite is quite common. Beach weddings in casual clothes are not unusual.
Step 4: Turn To Family And Friends
Even if your family cannot pay for your wedding, they may be able to help with some of the costs. They may also know cheaper options for some services that you need, such as a local baker for the cake.
Some people may also be able to provide services that you can use, such as photography or invitation design. Just make sure that you iron out all details early on. People often have different perspectives on the same situation. You don’t want to assume that people are providing a service as a gift, while they’re expecting to get paid.
You can take this one step further and ask for money instead of gifts. This idea sounds garish, but it doesn’t have to be. A key aspect is figuring out how to phrase the request. There are various poems that you can look at, which could be included in the wedding invitation. You can also search online for what other people have done.
Honestly, asking for money as a gift isn’t as rude as it might sound. The practice is becoming more popular, especially for people living in expensive cities. Most guests are quick to understand the practicality of doing so. Yes, there's an app for that.
You can also create a GoFundMe account and ask people to contribute there. The great news about asking for (or borrowing) money from family and friends is that it won't affect your credit score!
Step 5: Find Ways To Save Money
Saving at least some of the money first is another powerful way to pay for your wedding, regardless of your credit score. Some couples do this by prolonging their engagement and using the extra time to save for their wedding.
You can also look at cutting down household costs to help with the process. This might include living somewhere less expensive or even moving in with family in the short-term. Every little bit counts. Even if you can’t save enough for the entire wedding this way, you should be able to knock down the bill somewhat.
There are many ways to save money – an infinite list online of various things you can do to save. The core concept of all of these is stop spending money on junk, stop spending money on stuff you don't need, and stop buying new things. In other words – cut the cable, stop buying Starbucks, quit eating out, and have a good, long think about what you're buying online when you're bored or drunk.
Also, keep in mind that many people stay engaged for a year or longer. If you can save just $100 per month each, that's $2400/year you can save towards your wedding. No, that specific amount will not get you much, but if you can save $200, that's five grand extra by the end of the year you can spend on your wedding day.
Step 6: Find New Income Sources
This approach goes hand-in-hand with saving. Finding ways to make extra money means that you can save more. It’s a particularly important idea if you don’t have many expenses to cut back on.
There is no shortage of different ways to make money. The real trick is figuring out which ones work best for you. One of the most immediate methods is to sell things that you no longer need. Have a clear out and sell items on eBay. You could even hold a garage sale. You’ll be surprised at how much your stuff is worth to the right people.
If you have more time up your sleeves, you could look at a business-based approach. Being an affiliate marketer online is one example, freelancing is another. You can do something similar offline too, like doing odd jobs for people in your neighborhood.
Making more money over the course of the next year or two could actually help boost your credit score, and help you get a loan or credit card to help cover wedding costs.
Step 7: Be Realistic. Don’t Be Extravagant.
There are many ways to cut costs with a big wedding, but let’s be honest, that type of wedding isn’t essential. The main point is simply that you’re getting married. That aspect doesn’t cost much at all. Pushing yourself financially for a single day is rarely ever worth it and the stress isn’t great either.
If doing a big event is stressful and difficult financially, it may end up compromising your marriage itself. Some people end up resenting their spouses because of the process or find that it adds an additional strain to the marriage.
For people who cannot afford a large wedding without significant challenges, the best answer may be something as simple as getting married in someone’s backyard or a registry office. This places the focus firmly on the marriage itself rather than the event and is often better in the long-term.
Some couples choose to do this and have a traditional ceremony years later, when they renew their vows. In many ways, this is the best of both worlds. If nothing else, it’s an alternative option to consider.
Do You Qualify For An Online Loan?
With bad credit, you may be turned down by credit card companies which are just looking the “typical” person and their spending habits. With bad credit, you may not qualify for a new credit card. Even if you do qualify, you may not get the amount you want.
Online lenders have a wide variety of loan options, and they tend to be more relaxed in their approval process.
This isn't always a good thing. If credit card companies are turning you down for money, then you might not be in a great situation to borrow, and finding a lender that will lend to you could hurt you financially in the future.
That being said, there are options. If you are set on having a nice wedding and absolutely must borrow money, White Rock Loans (affiliate link) is worth trying.
Even with bad credit, having the wedding of your dreams is entirely possible. More than anything, you need to get a little creative and be willing to compromise on some areas. This doesn’t mean that you’re missing out. Let’s be honest. You don’t need to spend boatloads of money to have a fantastic day. Many of the common costs are nothing more than traditions anyway.
Doing things this way means much less stress overall and you get to focus on what really matters – the marriage.