Loved-upped couples are waltzing up the aisle with a £20,000 ball and chain of debt strapped to their ankles, only to be marching straight to the divorce courts a meagre 11.5 years after they say I Do – leaving them paying off their nuptials long after the ink is dry on the decree absolute.
Research reveals that a whopping £113 million was borrowed during the first four months of this year to fund fairytale weddings and back in 2005 this figure was an eye-watering £467 million. With repayments of up to £26,000 (including interest rates) couples are left forking out for the big day for 16.5 years – 5 years longer than the marriage itself!
Poor credit rates and rising unemployment don’t seem to be deterring loves young dream either. Despite a national, personal debt of over £1.4bn, couples are continuing to splash the cash on grand weddings. Love must be blind if couples are borrowing up to £26,000 (including interest rates) to pay for their big day - it’s over £2,000 more than the UK’s national average salary. It’s a big price to pay for a pitiful 11.5 years of marriage that your Grandparents would be ashamed of.
Paying back the loan at a recommended rate of 5% per annum lumbers cash strapped couples with monthly repayments of £130, or £1,560 a year. Before the recession came along, a wedding loan was just another debt to add to the pile for a lot of credit-happy young Britons. With huge mortgages, shiny new cars and wallets crammed with credit cards, 5% repayments over a longer term were the only affordable option.
After 11.5 years when the love is lost and the divorce proceedings are well and truly underway, the marriage may be dust but the repayments aren’t so easy to forget. An outstanding balance of £8,060 is all that’s left of the nuptials, which will take a further credit crunching 5 years to pay off. All of this is ludicrous to think that a wedding certificate can be bought with the change in your back pocket - £3.50.
Divorces are also set to rocket this year as the recession tightens its grip and rows escalate over money. A third of current inquiries to lawyers by those deciding to break the knot are linked to the credit crunch - so much for ‘richer and poorer’!
Starting married life in debt places a strain on the marriage and the pockets of those involved, massively reducing its chance of survival. Wedding’s don’t have to cost the earth and can be enjoyed on a budget. Kensington Financial Management Consultants have some ‘penny pinching, perfect wedding’ tips to make your day glamorous and affordable:
· Reduce guest numbers and have an intimate day
· Get your dress on eBay. A second-hand wedding gown has only been worn once
· Shop around for bargains and make use of talented friends who can lend a hand
· Scrap unnecessary extras like favours or double them up as place settings
· Email invitations out. No stamps required
Stuart Parkin, Managing Director of Kensington Financial Management Consultants says: "We’re not trying to spoil couples’ perfect day, on the contrary, we love a good wedding here at Kensington! But what we are cautious of is people aspiring to the ‘footballer / WAG’ type of wedding seen in the glossy magazines and spending well beyond their means.
"Weddings don’t have to break the bank. You can still have your perfect day without the designer price tag and strain of a loan, after all a wedding is about love and commitment and not about being the next Cheryl and Ashley Cole! By cutting back where you can you will be glad of it down the line, especially when children come in to the equation. Think of the extra cash you could have available when you want to make your house a home, take a romantic break away, enjoy dining out together or decorate baby’s room."
At a time when one in three marriages end in divorce, just look at what else you could have spent £26,000 on for a happier marriage:
£26,000 mortgage down payment
£19,000 on a safe family car
£15,000 on a conservatory or extra bedroom
£10,000 on a new fitted kitchen
(Prices are based on 11.5 years)
The advice comes with no strings attached, unlike the loan. Spend wisely and enjoy your married life by taking on board some of the tips above.