Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Get Married without a Financial Hitch; Can't Afford the Whole Wedding Deal Upfront? Then Follow These Guidelines to Make It All a Piece of Cake

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Get Married without a Financial Hitch; Can't Afford the Whole Wedding Deal Upfront? Then Follow These Guidelines to Make It All a Piece of Cake

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

POP goes the question: after Christmas and New Year's Eve proposals, January is the most popular month for wedding planning. But while picking the dress and scouting for venues is part of the post-proposal fun, there's one important part of big- day planning that is often overlooked in the early stages: the budget.

The average wedding in Britain now costs more than PS20,000 -- or PS2800 an hour for a 3.30pm-until-midnight wedding.

And some parts of the personal finance industry are preying on excited brides and grooms by offering expensive "wedding loans", which they claim are even available to those with bad credit ratings.

But often the interest rates are so steep that the debt will probably still be around on your 10th wedding anniversary, or even your 25th. If you can, it's better to save gradually, perhaps putting your wedding day fund in a higher-interest regular saver account such as those from First Direct, HSBC and M&S Bank, which pay out 6%.

If you can't wait long enough to save up, you may need to borrow. But steer clear of most specially promoted wedding loans. Like most nuptial services, mention of the word "wedding" results in immediate price inflation.

"Typically, these are just dressed up finance packages that are offered as a way to fund your big day," says Matt Sanders, banking expert at Gocompare.com. "These are similar to other finance options such as those offered by car dealers. They are not particularly different from taking out a personal loan to cover the cost of your wedding but typically charge a higher rate of APR, so it's well worth shopping around to find the best deal for your circumstances, and the most competitive APR rate."

If it's a little short-term borrowing you need, a credit card might be enough. Some offer interest-free cash worth thousands (depending on your credit score) for up to two years. …

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