Marry Now, Pay Later: New Services Put Weddings on Installment

Author: Yuvi September 22, 2022

Marry Now, Pay Later: New Services Put Weddings on Installment

Angela Millin, like many brides-to-be, quickly began planning her wedding after becoming engaged in April 2021.

At the top of the to-do list was choosing a date and a venue, and setting a budget. Both her parents and her future in-laws had offered to help pay for the event, but once Ms. Millin and her fiancé settled on wedding this December at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, they became sticker shocked by the various expenses.

“All the upfront costs are pretty staggering to see,” said Ms. Millen, who is 32 and a director of business development at a creative marketing agency. “Especially all at once.”

At the advice of their wedding planner, Annie Lee of Daughter of Design in Miami Beach, the couple decided to put their nuptials on layaway, so to speak, by using the financial services platform Maroo. Introduced in July 2021, Maroo gives couples the option to pay its network of vendors in installments over a 12-month period, similar to how “buy now, pay later” programs offered by companies including Afterpay and Klarna allow people to incrementally pay for clothing and home goods bought online.

“To break up the cash flow,” Ms. Millen said, “means I’ve been able to feel more comfortable with such a big overall spend.” For their wedding, the couple is using Maroo to pay Ms. Lee, their planner, as well as their photographer, videographer and hair and makeup artists.

The average cost of a wedding in 2021 was $28,000, according to a nationwide survey of 15,000 couples conducted by the wedding planning and registry website the Knot. The trade group the Wedding Report, in a separate study that surveyed 1,699 individuals, determined that the average cost of a wedding last year was $27,000.

But when it comes to paying for an event, marrying couples have historically had few options beyond covering costs upfront or with conventional loans or credit cards. “There has been no innovation,” said Anja Winikka, Maroo’s chief marketing officer. “You have a lot of cool planning tools, checklists and photos for inspiration, but nothing for the painful process of paying for it.”

The personal finance writer Nicole Lapin, who holds an Accredited Investment Fiduciary certification from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra, advises couples to be cautious about the lure of installment plans.

Their pay-later aspect can lead users to take on more expenses than they can afford, which is why Ms. Lapin says such plans are best for financially stable people who are able to pay the full cost of a wedding upfront, but would rather keep cash liquid to use or invest in other ways.

“A wedding is a special and momentous occasion, but at the end of the day, it’s a party,” said Ms. Lapin, who also hosts a financial advice podcast, “Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin.”

“I don’t love overreaching financially for a party,” she added.

Maroo works like this: When a couple hires a vendor in its network, that vendor can submit a bill through the platform. The couple then has the option to split up the bill’s total cost over the course of three, six or 12 months. Users can also opt for a more traditional plan and pay a 50 percent deposit upfront, with the balance paid in a second lump sum just before a wedding date.

Before setting up any payment plan, Maroo runs a credit check to determine whether users can fully pay off a bill in the agreed upon time. If a couple fails the credit check, they have two options: to renegotiate with a vendor to lower the cost of a bill, or to add contributors such as family members to the payment plan. (Credit checks are run on contributors, too.)

Once a payment plan is approved, the vendor is paid in full by Maroo via an interest-free loan that is underwritten through Sivo, a lending platform. That loan is what couples gradually pay back via installments, which are interest-free. There is no added interest if users default on payments, but outstanding bills may be sent to a debt collector, which can negatively affect a credit score.

Aside from the monthly payments, there are no fees to sign-up or use Maroo. Vendors in its network pay a fee of up to 10 percent of a bill’s total cost if it is put on a payment plan; The percentage charged depends on the length of the plan. Payments made using Maroo are covered by a limited form of wedding insurance, with additional coverage available for an added fee.

Phillip Van Nostrand, a photographer in New York City who uses Maroo, said the ability to offer clients the option of paying in installments benefits his business because “money talk” is often the most frustrating component when negotiating a contract. When clients have more payment options, it can reduce friction in the sales process. In that regard, “it’s a win for all of us,” he said.

In January, the wedding planning website Carats & Cake debuted its own installment-plan program. Currently relegated to payments for venues, it gives users the option to split bills into four payments.

Instead of using loans from a third-party lender, Carats & Cake, which has raised $29.9 million from investors to develop financial products, pays vendors in full; couples who use its plans essentially pay back Carats & Cake. Jess Levin Conroy, the website’s chief executive and founder, says this approach allows for more control of the process.

A so-called “soft pull” credit check, a less invasive review that does not affect a credit score, is required to initiate a payment plan. Installments paid through the service are interest-free; if a couple defaults on a payment, they are subject to any penalties stated in their contract with a venue. Participating vendors are charged a transaction fee by the company, which on average is 4.75 percent of a bill’s total cost, Ms. Levin Conroy said.

Ellen Christie, the director of sales at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard in North Garden, Va., signed the venue up for the Carats & Cake service as a beta user in the summer of 2021. Since then, she said the program has been particularly effective at reducing delays in receiving payments.

“Nearly all our deposits are paid early or on time now, which was not always the case before,” Ms. Christie said. “It reduces the work of chasing people down. That metric is important to us.”

Before their wedding last October in New York’s Hudson Valley, Rebecca Bell, 40, and Patrick Bell, 35, who live in Queens, signed up for Maroo when they realized that the majority of their vendors wanted final payment a month ahead of the event.

Though the couple had a budget from the beginning, Ms. Bell, a photography director, said that it would have been “overwhelming” to pay for everything all at once. She and Mr. Bell, who works at a social media company, wanted some “breathing room” for unexpected charges that might come up, and decided to adopt payment plan.

With just two installments remaining, Ms. Bell said, “We will have the wedding completely paid off, interest free, before our one-year anniversary.”

22 September, 2022, 10:05 pm

News Cinema on twitter News Cinema on facebook

Thursday, 22nd September 2022

More Stories
Paul Kelly addresses question about how long Australian Covid patients should stay home from work
Richa Ali Wedding: #RaAli celebrations begin, actress shares glimpse of her mehndi- pics
Worrying scenes as Tua Tagovailoa goes off on a stretcher four days after concussion scare
Sarah Jessica Parker seen for first time since sharing heartbreaking news that stepfather has died
Is the real scandal that financiers were able to risk so much of our pensions, asks GUY ADAMS
30-year-old model suicide note in Mumbai hotel!
Princess of Wales is dashing the hopes of a generation of photographers, snapper moans
Tua Tagovailoa Removed From Field After Second Head Hit in Two Games
Arizona sues Biden administration over student debt plan, becoming a seventh state to do so
Luxury sprees of Aussie fraudster employees after stealing $350million from employers
Australia SCRAPS mandatory Covid isolation rules in National Cabinet meeting
Father and Teenage Son Are Charged in Killing of Rapper PnB Rock
Hurricane Ian Leaves Behind a Staggering Scale of Wreckage in Florida
NASA May Let Billionaire Astronaut and SpaceX Lift Hubble Telescope
The Queen died at 3:10pm. So, why did it take more than three hours to tell Prince Harry?
Durga Puja 2022: This ‘St. Peter’s Basilica in Kolkata is a masterpiece of pandal
Deni Ute Muster: Brad Paisley, Jessica Mauboy and The Angels headlining Australia’s wildest festival
Judge Overrules Special Master’s Demands to Trump in Document Review
FEMA Chief ‘Adds a Human Touch’ to Disaster Response
Did Your Home Security Camera Document Hurricane Ian?
Fort Myers residents return to their homes under water by Hurricane Ian
PICTURED: Hero EMT, 61, stabbed to death while giving aid to patient
Judge Aileen Cannon rules that Trump does NOT have to vouch for the accuracy of DOJ’s inventory
Victims of Highland Park Shooting Sue Gun Maker and Retailers
Downpours From Ian Prompt Florida Treatment Plants to Release Waste
Inside the mind of Melissa Caddick before she vanished without a trace
Sandy Hook Parents Tie Years of Threats and Vitriol to Alex Jones
Leonard Cole, Who Detailed Secret Army Germ Tests, Dies at 89
Russian Oligarch and Associates Indicted on US Sanctions Charges
Biden administration scales back student debt relief for MILLIONS
Putin signs decree recognizing two Ukrainian regions as independent states after sham referendums
David Gottesman, 96, Wall St. Power and Warren Buffett Partner, Dies
Amazing images show £5m operation to move 2,000 animals away from deadly drought in Zimbabwe
Army Doctor and Spouse Plotted to Give Russia Medical Records, US Says
Spectacular 4-bed apartment in NYC’s iconic Dakota building where John Lennon died listed for $11m
Memphis heiress Eliza Fletcher died of a gunshot wound to the back of her head, autopsy confirms
‘Dead for a Dollar’ Review: How the Western’s Done
PGA Tour Accuses LIV Golf of Interfering With Its Contracts
The Story of ‘Gangsta’s Paradise,’ Coolio’s Biggest Hit
DeSantis, Once a ‘No’ on Storm Aid, Petitions a President He’s Bashed
Ginni Thomas Denies Discussing Election Subversion Efforts With Her Husband
FDA Approves ALS Treatment Despite Questions About Effectiveness