Using a personal loan for a wedding

While cake tastings and visiting venues may be the most enjoyable parts of planning a wedding, figuring out how to finance the big day might be the trickiest. If you’re not using savings or receiving a financial gift from a relative, a personal loan can be a convenient way to pay for your dream wedding.

Personal loans offer quick funding and fixed, predictable monthly payments, making them an attractive option for couples planning their wedding. Let's look at how using a personal loan to pay for a wedding works.

How to apply for a personal loan for a wedding

Citi and many other lenders let you apply for a personal loan through a straightforward online application process. Before filling out the application, it’s a good idea to research different lenders, their rates and their policies to find the right fit. Once you’ve found the lender you want to work with, here’s how the process usually works:

Before you apply:

  • Check your credit score to make sure it meets the lender’s requirements. This can also be a good opportunity to check your credit report for any errors.
  • Determine how much you need to borrow – how much will the wedding cost? How much can you cover with your current savings and how much do you need? Have a number in mind before you apply.
  • Gather relevant documents, such as a government-issued ID (like a passport or driver’s license), proof of address (such as a utility bill or lease), proof of income (two or three recent pay stubs), and other documents related to creditworthiness as required by the lender

How to apply:

  • Fill out the application and attach the necessary documentation. Your application will usually authorize lenders to conduct a hard credit inquiry.
  • Be prepared to submit additional documentation if required to assist in your loan application process.

Once you’ve applied, wait for a response from the lender and, if you’re approved, wait for them to deposit your funds.

Who can apply?

Personal loan applicants will need to meet the lender's eligibility criteria to be approved. The exact requirements will differ based on the lender's policies, but most will consider these factors:

  • Income: Many lenders require proof of employment or income before they approve a loan application. Citi requires applicants to have an annual income of at least $10,500.
  • Creditworthiness: Every lender will have their own creditworthiness requirements. If you're not sure whether you meet a lender's creditworthiness criteria, look for pre-qualification options or reach out to a member of their team for more information.
  • Debt-to-income-ratio (DTI): Your DTI is how much of your monthly gross income goes toward paying debt, expressed as a percentage. Lenders will have their own requirements for DTI. They use this figure to help evaluate a prospective borrower’s ability to pay back debt.

The benefits of using a personal loan for a wedding

Personal loans can be either fixed- or variable-rate. Fixed-rate loans have an interest rate that doesn’t change over the loan term, while variable-rate loan interest rates can. Both variable- and fixed-rate personal loans can be either secured or unsecured.

Quick funding

Personal loans are usually much faster to secure than other loan options, like home equity loans. Most lenders offer quick approval and access to money. When you apply for a personal loan at Citi, you get a response within 60 seconds. Once approved, you can receive the funds via direct deposit the same day if you have a Citi account, and within two business days if you have a non-Citi account. Receiving a lump sum can also be particularly useful when planning a wedding, since you typically need to pay vendors around the same time.

Convenient application process

Most lenders have a short, easy online application process for personal loans. This can be especially appealing if you’re planning a complex event like a wedding, which requires balancing different tasks, deadlines and priorities.

The downsides to using a personal loan for a wedding

There are a few things to be aware of before applying for a personal loan, such as interest and creditworthiness criteria.

Interest payments

Unlike credit cards, which won’t charge you interest if you make your payment in full and on-time, and can offer 0% APR introductory rates, personal loans accrue interest. Your rate will depend on your lender and creditworthiness, and better credit can give you access to lower rates.

Credit requirements

Eligibility and credit requirements can make personal loans tough to secure for some borrowers. You may need to improve your credit to be eligible for a loan, or a better rate.

When to consider financing a wedding with a personal loan

A personal loan can be useful if you’ve already saved some money but not quite enough to cover all your wedding expenses – maybe you’ve saved enough to cover vendor deposits but will need a lump sum to pay for everything in full as the wedding approaches.

personal loan can also make sense if you need a lump sum – which is typical for a wedding – and you think you will easily be able to pay it back.  You might be making enough money to feel confident about the payments, or maybe you’re anticipating a financial gift from parents in a month or two and just need money to secure vendors in the interim. However, if you’re not sure you’ll be able to pay the loan back, you may want to consider alternatives. 

Alternatives to financing a wedding with a personal loan

Alternatives to personal loans include using savings, accepting funding from family members, using a credit card and planning a wedding on a smaller budget:

Use savings: In most situations, it’s ideal to use savings if you have them. But what if you don’t? If your timeline is flexible, you can postpone your wedding and save up until you have the funds you need. You can also save a little extra in the year leading up to the wedding – you could get a side hustle or cut down on discretionary spending – so you have what you need when it comes time to pay. 

Reach out to family: If you’re just starting to plan your wedding and haven’t broached the subject of paying for things with parents or grandparents yet, it may be worth asking – they might have plans to pitch in. While you can’t dictate how much people will give, this can help offset the cost of the wedding.

Consider a smaller budget: It’s possible to achieve a beautiful, memorable – and, importantly, cost-effective – wedding through DIY and savvy planning. From using your own backyard as a venue to thrifting or making your own decorations, you can find creative ways to organize an unforgettable wedding for less.

Use a credit card: In some cases, it makes sense to put your wedding expenses on a credit card – especially if you’re planning a budget wedding that you’ll be able to pay for in full by the due date, before the balance incurs interest. You might also consider a card that comes with a 0% APR introductory rate. If you can fully pay off the balance before the introductory rate ends, you can avoid paying interest.

Citi offers personal loans to both existing Citi customers and new Citi customers that meet specific eligibility criteria, including an established credit and income history along with additional factors determined by Citi. If you think you could benefit from a Citi Personal Loan, apply online today.

Disclosure: This article is for educational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and is not a substitute for professional advice. It does not indicate the availability of any Citi product or service. For advice about your specific circumstances, you should consult a qualified professional.

Additional Resources

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  • Learn how FICO® Scores are determined, why they matter and more.

  • Review financial terms & definitions to help you better understand credit & finances.