If your son or daughter is about to get married, you’re probably wondering what your role and responsibilities are leading up to the big day. Specifically, what expenses are you supposed to be paying for the wedding, and how you are going to afford them? Even if you started a wedding savings account when they were young, it may not be enough to cover expenses. You may also want to consider a home equity line of credit or loan to help pay for the wedding.

Find out how much you can expect to pay and where your money is going According to TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding is about $27,800. This could vary depending on where you live, the number of guests you invite and how much you spend on vendors and decorations. This list will give you an idea of what’s included in wedding costs, but keep in mind, roles and financial responsibilities will change based on the couple and your future in-laws. Have an open and honest discussion with everyone to ensure that there’s a consensus on the most appropriate way to cover all wedding costs.

Historically the father of the bride has covered the majority of wedding costs, and while this isn’t the case as much anymore, the bride’s family may still be contributing a large sum. Often the groom’s family will pay for the rehearsal dinner and certain costs at the reception, and the couple will cover their rings and honeymoon. Of course, older or more independent couples may choose to foot the entire bill themselves.

No matter who ends up paying for the wedding, a new home equity loan can provide the lump sum needed to cover any of the following expenses:

  • Venue: You will need to pay for the ceremony and reception locations, catering and rentals, the officiant, bridal suite, food and bar services, as well as the wedding cake or other dessert.
  • Wedding dress and accessories: Don’t forget about the veil, special jewelry and shoes.
  • Reception entertainment: You’ll need to book a DJ, live band or both.
  • Flowers: You’ll have bouquets for the bride, bridesmaids and flower girl, as well as ceremony and reception decorations. Don’t forget boutonnieres for the fathers, groomsmen and ushers.
  • Photography and video: The cost will vary based on your photographer’s experience and the package you choose. Remember there may also be engagement photos, and you will need to pay for any prints or enlargements. 
  • Wedding consultants: Planning a wedding is complicated, you may want to hire a consultant full-time, for certain projects, or just to help run the last month leading up to the wedding.
  • Transportation: Consider the cost of a limousine rental or vintage automobiles for the bride, groom and wedding party.
  • Hair, makeup, manicures and pedicures: Keep in mind there’s usually a trial run before wedding week preparations, which may or may not be included in the final cost.
  • Stationery: Factor in the costs of save-the-date cards, invitations, postage, programs, the guestbook, place cards and thank you cards.
  • Gifts and favors: These include gifts to the wedding party, favors for the guests and tips for vendor services.

Pay for your child’s wedding with a new home equity loan or line of credit

Using this list as a guide, you can see where the expenses start to really add up. A new home equity loan can help cover these costs and make paying for a wedding more manageable. With a home equity loan, you make consistent monthly payments of interest and principal to pay back the loan at a fixed rate. Plus, home equity loans have competitive interest rates, usually lower than a personal loan or credit card. If you’re looking for a more flexible option, a home equity line of credit will allow you to borrow what you need at a low variable rate and make interest-only payments until the borrowing period ends. At that point you will need to make payments which include principal and interest on the outstanding balance. Talk to a home loan advisor to determine which loan structure is best for you.