A quarter of couples get in debt to fund their big day

29 April 2015

Couples face so much pressure to have a dream wedding that 23% are prepared to borrow money to fund a lavish event, according to new research.

A poll of 2,000 adults by the Debt Advisory Centre found that, on average a wedding now costs £24,000 and newlyweds borrow £3,800 to pay for it.

Almost half (47%) soon regret splurging on the big day, wishing they'd borrowed less or that they hadn't taken out a loan at all.

What is particularly worrying is that almost a third (29%) of couples are still repaying their debts after six years of marriage.

Unsurprisingly, men are more likely to view their wedding day spending as a drain on their resources, with 52% of men more likely to regret taking out the money, compared with 40% of women.

And it is younger newlyweds who are more likely to splash out, with two-thirds of 18- to 25-year-olds using credit, and 15% of them taking out more than £5,000.

There are also regional variations in how much couples are prepared to borrow for a wedding, with couples in the South East remaining cautious and borrowing £1,600 on average, while couples in the West Midlands are more likely to splash out, spending £7,100.

Stress and friction

Melanie Taylor, a spokesperson for Debt Advisory Centre, says: "The harsh reality is that money and debt is the cause of a huge amount of stress and friction in couples and starting married life with an additional, and sizeable, debt from the wedding isn't ideal.  

"At Debt Advisory Centre, we see plenty of clients where debt and relationship breakdown have gone together – many relationships can't take the strain that financial difficulties impose. Splitting up can then make the problem worse: in most cases both people are 'jointly and severally' liable for debts taken in joint names, so if your ex refuses to, or can't, pay, then your lenders may come after you for the full amount owing.

"We'd urge couple planning their wedding to take a long hard look at their budget and work out what they can really afford to spend. A more modest wedding may be the best start, financially, to married life."


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