LIFESTYLE

Wedding Website Offers Couples $10,000 To Get Married (But There's A Controversial Catch)

16/12/2015 13:35 GMT | Updated 16/12/2015 14:59 GMT

For those who believe they've found everlasting love, an American company is offering to pay $10,000 towards their dream wedding.

However, there is a catch: If the couples get divorced they have to pay all of the money back (that's roughly £6,650) - with interest.

According to CEO Scott Avy, the site is very much like a "casino for marriage", where couples can "bet" on their relationship. But dating experts have likened it to "bribing" people to stay together.

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The SwanLuv wedding website offers to pay couples a loan, which only those who divorce will have to pay back.

It is set to start handing out the loans to couples by February 2016, just in time for Valentine's Day.

In order to qualify for the loan, couples who apply now must get married within two years time. Those who appear to have a stronger relationship (based on a computer algorithm) are offered higher interest rates on the sum they pay back if they get divorced.

For those who end up on the rocky road to divorce, the company will offer free marriage counselling to try and help them work things out.

But if all else fails, couples could end up paying thousands back to the website.

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Dating experts have warned that the loan is going to put added pressure on couples to stay together no matter what the future holds - because if they don't, they might end up in serious debt.

Relationship counsellor Michael Kallenbach said: "This might seem very attractive to many people who want to plan a dream wedding, but I am not so sure it's a good idea, as the pressure it will place on couples to stay together is enormous.

"It's almost trying to bribe couples to stay together because of money - and that is not a good thing."

Meanwhile dating expert James Preece warned of the dangers of signing up. He told HuffPost UK Lifestyle: "Nobody enters a marriage thinking they will ever break up, so it can be tempting to take the gamble of a free wedding. Sadly, many relationships don't last for reasons that are impossible to predict.

"My biggest worry with this is that couples may rush into marriage purely to get a freebie. If you aren't ready then it's more likely to fail, saddling yourself with bigger problems and debts in the future.

"The only winner here is the company itself. Not only do they get the PR from paying for the event, but endless new stories for years to come when marriages fail."

SwanLuv's CEO told GeekWire that couples are given the chance to gamble on themselves and it's their choice whether they take the loan.

He added that most people will have a long, hard think about it and he expects many will decide not to take the money. However others will.

He said: "It really depends on where you are in your relationship. I’m betting on my relationship I’ve established with my soulmate. It’s going to be a no-brainer for the ones it makes sense for."

The company is in the process of adding other stipulations to users' contracts. For example, there is now a clause which makes one person responsible for paying the debt if a marriage ends because of abuse.

Would you gamble on your marriage? Let us know in the comments below.

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