There’s no disputing that the cost of walking down the aisle has become exceedingly expensive over the last few decades. Consider that a recent survey of 16,000 brides-to-be by a subsidiary of TheKnot.com determined that the average cost of a wedding — without the honeymoon — sits at just over $31,000, while even those opting for a smaller ceremony will still more than likely have to shell out a considerable sum for food, music and wedding day clothing.

In recognition of this unfortunate reality, a least one startup has emerged to offer financially strapped engaged couples a much-needed loan with some very interesting terms.

Seattle-based startup Swanluv is offering up to $10,000 to engaged couples to use for wedding expenses with the only catch being that the amount borrowed must be repaid in the event of a divorce — whether this happens nine months or 20 years later.

How exactly does it work?

Swanluv officials indicate that they have established confidential criteria that they use to evaluate couples and, based on their overall compatibility, assign an interest rate.

As for whether the company profits directly from divorce, the officials indicate that the money derived from broken marriages will actually be funneled back into the pool of resources available to engaged couples and that their revenue will be derived largely from paid advertisements.

This naturally begs the question as to whether this is a sustainable business plan.

While Swanluv has thus far remained silent about its paid advertising partners, statistics from the Census Bureau do indicate that as many as 40 percent of all first marriages are still ending in divorce, and that this number spikes to almost 66 percent for second marriages and 75 percent third marriages.  

It will, of course, be interesting to see how many people opt for this service and, further down the line, how paying off this debt might factor into discussions about property division.

What are your thoughts?