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If you’re planning a wedding, you are probably starting by considering your wedding budget. Although no two weddings are alike, the average cost of a wedding is between $24,000 to $35,000. That amount will vary significantly based on the number of guests, location, and the features of your ceremony and reception. As you research wedding costs and venues, you might be wondering how to pay for it all. While there are many options for financing a wedding, a popular choice is a wedding loan.
Depending on your situation, how much you need to borrow (and for how long), there various options to choose from. We reviewed a range of wedding loan providers, interest rates, application experience, overall APR, fees, customer feedback, and reviews. Based on our research, here are the best wedding loans.
The Best Wedding Loans of 2021
Best Overall: Upstart
Why We Chose It: Upstart stood out because its innovative approach to loan approval helps more people get approved at lower APRs than competitors. Because of this, Upstart provides options for people through the largest range of credit rankings (from new or low to excellent).
What We Like
- High customer satisfaction ratings on Trustpilot
- Uses AI resulting in 23% to 29% more approvals than traditional loans
- Data shows Upstart’s AI allows for 15 to 17% lower APRs
- 69% of loans are fully automated
- No prepayment penalty
What We Don't Like
- Minimum loan amounts may vary by state
- The website requires a lot of Captcha security checks
- Below average overall consumer lending satisfaction score
Upstart uses AI to assess loan eligibility. Although it refers to a minimum FICO score (a measure of consumer credit risk) of 620 to qualify, the company says it uses over 1,600 data points to assess eligibility.
This innovative approach results in up to 29% more approvals than traditional loans and up to 17% lower APRs, saving you money in the long term. Although Upstart was slightly below average in overall customer lending satisfaction studies, customer service reviews are among the highest we saw among all our top picks, with 96% of respondents on Trustpilot rating Upstart as excellent.
As of January 2021, loan amounts can be as little as $1,000 and go up to $50,000, which is a good upper limit for most weddings. If you decide you can afford to pay the loan off sooner than later, the company has no prepayment penalty.
Loans are offered on a fixed interest rate basis. In some states, such as Massachusetts, Ohio, and New Mexico, the minimum loan amounts will vary. An additional advantage of an Upstart wedding loan is that it offers fast service with personal loan funds available as soon as the next business day.
Although the application process is quick online, the user experience navigating the Upstart website is challenging at times. The site is heavily guarded by Captcha, with fairly frequent error pages. This can be annoying to navigate, so you are better off exploring everything in one session once you get past the Captcha.
Best Online Marketplace: Earnest
Why We Chose It: Earnest is a great place to explore many wedding loan options at once, which is why it earned a place on this list.
What We Like
- Provides an overview of multiple loans options in one place
- Offer a broad range of loans from $1,000 to $100,000
What We Don't Like
- May incur origination fees from the lender
- APR, loan terms, and amounts will depend on which lender you select
Earnest offers a variety of different kinds of loans; one of them is a special occasion loan.
Earnest works by giving you a series of questions, including what you need your loan for, and it will search all the available options based on the answers you provide. Expect to enter all kinds of information (including your address, email, and annual income) before seeing the options.
Earnest partners with an extensive list of personal loan providers, including some of the top-ranked lenders for wedding loans (some of which we included in our list), plus banks to search for the best wedding loan options for you. Some of the lenders it partners with include LightStream, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Upgrade, Upstart, and USAA.
To qualify for a loan, there is no minimum credit score specified. As of January 2021, APRs start at 4.99%, with loan amounts ranging from about $1,000 up to $100,000 (up to 84 months).
Earnest has high customer service ratings on Trustpilot, with 85% Excellent and 4.7 stars overall.
Best Finance Terms (Low APR): LightStream
Why We Chose It: LightStream offers some of the lowest APR. The flexibility and savings are why LightStream made our list.
What We Like
- Rate beat program
- No fees and no prepayment penalty
- Same day loan acceptance and funding possible
What We Don't Like
- No option to pre-qualify on the website
- If you do not choose auto-pay, your APR is .5% higher
- Excellent credit required for their lowest rates
- Uses a hard credit inquiry with TransUnion or Equifax
LightStream offers loans as a division of Truist Bank (formerly SunTrust Bank). The company ranked number one for overall customer satisfaction in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study. Although we did not find mention of a minimum credit score on its website, the service focuses on good to excellent credit scores, tailoring its best rates to those with excellent credit.
Rate advantages with LightStream include no fees, a .5% lower APR when you choose autopay, a rate beat program, same day loan, and acceptance possibilities. LightStream outlines all of its rates in easy-to-use tables. As of January 2021, estimated APRs range from roughly 5.95% to 20.49% and loan amounts go from about $5,000 to $100,000 (from 2 to 7 years).
It's important to note that there is no pre-qualified soft credit check option, so if you decide to qualify for one of its loans, the company will do a hard credit inquiry, which can impact your credit score.
Best for Personalized Service and Credit Issues: OneMain
Why We Chose It: When you have credit issues or poor credit, finding a lender can be challenging. We chose OneMain because it offers pre-approval online but will work with you to find a solution for your wedding budget.
What We Like
- Checking for wedding loan offers online will not impact your credit score
- Fixed interest rates and monthly payments
- No prepayment fees
- You can go to a local branch for personalized service and advice
What We Don't Like
- Branches not available in six states
- A personal wedding loan may require collateral
- Maximum unsecured loan amount varies by state
- Rates are high compared to other lenders
- Loans are subject to an origination fee
OneMain has been offering personal loans since 1912 and is highly ranked for excellent customer satisfaction on Trust Pilot. The service approaches loans slightly differently than others on our list with hands-on counseling, so you can review your needs in person at local branches.
OneMain has fixed interest rates and monthly payments which can help you budget your loan payback and no prepayment fees (if you decide to pay your loan back early). However, minimum loan amounts and eligibility for secured vs. unsecured loans vary by state, as well as whether you are an existing OneMain customer or not. This is the only wedding loan company on this list that requires collateral (such as a fully owned car) for larger loans, and maximums for unsecured loans.
As of January 2021, APRs are 18% to 35.99% with loan amounts ranging from roughly $1,500 to $20,000 (for 24, 36, 48, or 60 months). One thing to look out for is the fees involved when you take out a loan with OneMain. Loans are subject to either a flat origination fee (from about $25 up to $400) or a percentage-based origination fee, which can range from around 1% to 10% of your loan value.
Best Peer-to-Peer: Prosper
Why We Chose It: Prosper stood out for its fixed loan and interest rates, as well as its goal to help consumers with their financial health.
What We Like
- Checking your loan rate does not impact your credit score
- Easy to use online tool to help select your loan options
- Monthly payments with fixed interest rates
What We Don't Like
- It may take a few days to receive funding
- Origination fees are between roughly 2.41% and 5%
- Only offers 3- and 5-year loans
Established in 2005, Prosper has facilitated over $18 billion in loans using peer-to-peer lending models with a mission of advancing financial well-being. It was the first peer-to-peer marketplace in the U.S. and currently provides unsecured loans through WebBank.
Prosper allows you to explore different loan options online without impacting your credit score and offer fixed interest rate loans with fixed monthly payments. As of January 2021, APRs range from 7.95% to 35.99% and from roughly $2,000 to $40,000 (for 3 or 5 years). Loans can take up to three days to receive after approval, which is a little longer than competitors and they also have origination fees, which add to the APR.
Prosper scored below average in the J.D. Power Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study. The reason for this difference may be in the limited number of options Prosper offers compared to others on the list, with three- and five-year loans, with limits up to about $40,000. Comparatively, Prosper has excellent reviews from clients on Trustpilot with a 4.5-star rating.
If you are looking to finance your wedding, a wedding loan is a good option to consider, especially if you have a good credit rating, or can find a loan with a low APR and no penalty for early repayment. The cost of a wedding loan and what APR you will qualify for depends on your credit score and other factors used by the lender to determine your eligibility for their best rates. The choice of the best wedding loan will be different for people with new credit, poor credit, or good to excellent credit. Understand where you fall so that you can find the best wedding loan options for your circumstances.
When comparing loans, read the small print for details with regards to how the loan process works. Beware of sites that will do a hard credit check to get you a rate. And, finally, watch out for fees and added costs to compare your options.
What Is a Wedding Loan?
A wedding loan is a personal loan which you use funds to cover the costs and expenses associated with your wedding. Unlike some loans, a wedding loan is typically unsecured, which means that you do not need to put up collateral to secure the loan. Instead, you are granted the loan based on factors such as your income, credit payment history, or the lender's perception of your likelihood of repayment.
A wedding loan can be used for anything related to the wedding; some people use it to buy an engagement ring, help finance part (or all) of the wedding, pay for wedding insurance, and even the honeymoon.
When Should I Get a Wedding Loan?
If you do not have the money available to pay for your wedding costs, and you do not want to wait (or have time) to save up before planning your wedding, then a wedding loan is a good option to consider.
A wedding loan is a good idea if you can find a reasonable interest rate and overall APR; you know you will be able to make the payments over the term of the loan without hardship; or you plan to ask for cash gifts for your wedding and think this might be enough to make a dent in the wedding loan.
How Do I Get a Wedding Loan?
You can get an estimate or pre-qualification for a loan online with many lenders who will only use a soft credit check. Once you find the loan that offers the best rate, you can usually apply online. Once approved, you will have access to the money within one day to start making your wedding-related purchases. Information required to get a wedding loan should include how much you want to borrow, your personal information (so that the lender can verify your credit score), education level (in some cases), and your income information. Some lenders may ask about your savings and investments.
Should I Get a Joint-Loan?
If you and your partner are co-signers for a loan, both your credit scores will be used. Although sharing the responsibility for a wedding loan is a good idea, being jointly named in a loan will impact both of your credit reports. If you plan to get financing for other purchases in the future, you may want to consider the strategy behind how you take out a loan (or if you should at all).
Will a Wedding Loan Impact My Credit Score?
Yes. Although inquiring about a wedding loan will not impact your credit score (in the case of a soft credit check for pre-qualifying), once you apply for the loan, this will trigger a hard credit check and will become part of your credit file in most cases. Having any kind of loan can impact your credit score because they weigh several factors, such as the amount of debt you are carrying.
How We Chose the Best Wedding Loans
To find the best wedding loans we researched over a dozen providers and evaluated whether they used soft or hard credit checks, fees charged, interest rates, APRs, loan terms, and payment options.
We also looked at each lender’s reputation by referencing the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study (which measures customer satisfaction in the application and approval process, loan management, offerings, and terms), researched online reviews, and searched for customer complaints and comments on various sites, including Trustpilot.