The Problem with Millennials Going into Debt to Splurge on a Big Wedding

There’s a popular quote that says ‘love knows no limits’, but does this mean the wedding budget shouldn’t either?

Millennials are known for their overspending, undersaving, and impulsive decision making, and millennial weddings are no exception. According to a recent article on The Washington Post, online lenders are issuing up to four times as many “wedding loans” as they were a year ago.

Yes, wedding loans are a thing, and they serve the sole purpose of picking up the tab for wedding expenses the couple can’t currently afford. Online lenders are directly targeting young couples with online ads promising low-interest rates on loans that can fund their dream wedding. The process is easy and can have money deposited into your account without needing to see a lender in person.

While the idea may sound like a fairy tale, there’s a big problem in taking out loans to fund the big day. Many financial advisors will say that it’s never a good idea to spend money you don’t have. Whether it’s an expectation from family or a lifelong dream you’ve always had to host hundreds of friends for a celebration, it’s important to keep your goals and values in mind.

A wedding loan can take about 3 years to pay off, and interest can reach as high as 30 percent. That means a loan for a single day can set you back for years to come.

Newlywed coupe sitting on a sofa angry at each other in a middle of an argument. Young couple problem concept outdoor.

Rising costs of American weddings might be to blame for the inability to fund weddings for millennial couples. Millennials are looking for additional amenities, activities, and entertainments on their big day. From photo booths, to open bars, dancers, and “Instagrammable” venues, it seems like it’s no longer acceptable to have a simple wedding.

Whether it’s reality TV, Instagram, or Pinterest envy, it’s clear that comparison syndrome is leaving millennials unhappy and broke. Can it be that we’ve forgotten what the meaning of a wedding truly is and have accepted the idea of stress, debt, and regret as the new normal?

Early in our relationship, my now husband and I decided that we wanted an intimate wedding. A celebration that included only the people whose opinion truly mattered in our lives. We eloped at a county courthouse and paid less than $100 in clerk fees. The process was simple, intimate, and everything we needed it to be.

While my chosen route might not be everyone’s idea of a dream wedding, the underlying takeaway is simple: do what will truly bring you joy.

It’s evident that there’s no one way to celebrate a marriage. Whether you’re looking to spend $200 for an elopement, or $50,000 for a lavish fairytale wedding, remember to keep your present and future at top of mind. What makes you happy today may cause regret later.