How to Use a Credit Card to Pay for Your Wedding
Here’s everything you and your partner need to know when you pay for your wedding with a credit card.
How am I going to pay for my wedding? When you started your wedding planning, you probably got overwhelmed by this very thought. Considering the average American’s wedding costs more than $25,000 (that’s a down payment on a home!), it’s no surprise so many couples have to look for alternative ways to pay for their wedding, rather than out of pocket. The most popular choice, not surprisingly, ends up being via credit card charges.
Can you use a credit card to pay for your wedding? Of course! Unless your credit is so bad no one will approve you, there are going to be options out there to use for your wedding expenses. There is a right way and a wrong way, however, to doing so. If you don’t want to begin your married life with thousands in debt and a massive credit card payment every month, here’s everything you need to know.
Pros of using a credit card to pay for your wedding
There are a few obvious pros for using a credit card to pay for some, or all, of your wedding expenses. Here are a few of the biggest reasons you should:
You will have extra consumer protection on your wedding purchases. Perhaps one of the worst aspects of planning a wedding is all the waiting and feelings of uncertainty. After all, most couples put a deposit on their venue up to two years in advance. While we would all love to believe our wedding vendors will keep our money safe, the truth is that sometimes, sh*t happens. Contracts get lost, money disappears, and vendors can go back on their word.
Paying for your wedding with a credit card protects you and your finances in more ways than one. First, you’ll have a well-documented paper trail of everything you’ve paid for. Second, and most importantly, almost every single credit card on the market provides consumer protection. If you get stuck with a vendor from hell who tries to charge you for services you didn’t use, you’ll be able to dispute the charge on your credit card and most likely get your money back. That is a huge advantage.
You can get reward points, cash back, and more. This is an obvious plus of paying for your wedding, or other big expenses, with a credit card. It takes no time at all to find a credit card that offers the perks you and your partner are looking for. A card that offers airline miles can help you pay for the travel expenses of your honeymoon, or you can choose a cash-back option for a more straightforward money saver. Either way, these perks make a big difference when you’re trying to save everything you can for your wedding.
You only have to borrow what you need. When it comes to personal loans, chances are you’ll have to end up borrowing more money than you actually need. When you use a credit card, you never borrow more than you need (though you’ll have to be careful to stick to your budget and not go overboard when you have a credit card!).
You will have more time to pay. Unlike other large expenses people put on their credit cards, weddings are unique because you usually end up paying a deposit months (or years) before your event. Maybe you don’t have the money now, but you will have the money when your wedding finally rolls around. Putting payments on a credit card can help you continue saving for your big day while also chipping away at the price by making your monthly credit card payments.
Cons of using a credit card to pay for your wedding
You may end up paying high interest rates. Think your wedding is expensive now? Imagine how much more money you’ll end up spending when you get hit with insane interest rates that nearly every credit card has. Ensure you do your research to get the best interest rate and payment plan so you don’t get stuck paying thousands more just because you used a card.
You might not have the credit score needed to qualify. If you don’t have the money to pay for your wedding, your finances might not be in a great place. Most credit cards with awesome perks and low interest rates are going to require you to have excellent credit. Before you get used to the idea of being able to charge your wedding fees to a card, know what your chances are that you’ll be able to get approved.
You could end up hurting your credit. Did you know having a credit card can damage your credit, even when you make your payments on time? It doesn’t seem fair, but the truth is, if you max out a credit card, your credit is going to go down. You also get dinged when you first sign up. Be very wary that you don’t fully max out your credit cards if you don’t want your credit score to suffer.
You will start your married life with debt if you don’t pay it off immediately. Chances are, you probably already have debt racked up from student loans, car loans, and more. Even if you don’t, do you really want to create a debt to come home to after the best day of your life? Be honest with yourself about how much money you’re charging to your wedding credit card, and talk with your future spouse about how much you’re willing to go into the red for your big day.
How to be financially responsible when using a credit card to pay for your wedding
Just as it is true that there are right and wrong ways to use a credit card when making general purchases day-to-day, there are also some best practices you can follow to ensure you‘re being financially responsible when using a credit card to pay for your wedding.
Make a repayment plan… and stick to it! The best way to be financially responsible with your credit card spending is to create a budget and payment plan. Set a limit that you‘re comfortable to spend, making sure it’s a good amount away from the card maximum (you don’t want your credit getting dinged because you’re too close!). When you know how much you’re going to spend, sit down and create a repayment plan that ensures you won‘t rack up interest payments or miss payments altogether.
Be realistic. Be honest with yourself! You know what you can afford and what you can pay for in the months after your wedding. Be as harsh and realistic about what you can really afford as possible, and always stick to your budget. There will be room to splurge with the money you have now.
Shop around for the best credit card. Don’t settle for just any card to when it comes to paying for the biggest day of your life. Shop around and do your research until you’re absolutely sure you’ve found the best deal for you and your partner.
Which wedding expenses should be paid with your credit card?
Just because you use a credit card to pay for your wedding doesn’t mean you have to (or should) pay for everything with it. Being strategic with what you use your credit card for can save you time, stress, and of course, money. So, what should you use your credit card for?
Deposits. Since deposits have to be made months in advance, they are the perfect choice to use your credit card for. You’ll be able to gradually pay for your deposit while you prepare for your wedding, and you can then choose to pay for the rest in cash, or again charge your card.
Travel expenses. You’ll most likely get amazing deals on travel if you use your credit card. If you’re going to use it for expenses, make your card work for you and gain those airline miles!
Your dress. I would never wish bad wedding dress juju on you, but there is a rare chance something happens in the ordering, tailoring, and shipping of your dress. Though rare, there have been brides who don’t get their dress in time for their wedding. Paying for your dress, or at least the initial deposit, with a credit card will ensure you can get your money back, just in case.
Online supplies. I can’t count how many things I’ve ordered online that have gotten lost in the online ether. Making your payments for online supplies with a credit card makes it easy for you to see all your purchases, and you’ll be able to follow up with stores if you haven’t gotten your products.
Wedding planner/coordinator fees. There are no shortages of con artists in the world and, unfortunately, couples are conned out of thousands every year by fraudulent wedding planners/coordinators. Though you’re likely to find an amazing planner, paying for their services with a credit card ensures that your purchase is protected and well-documented, should you have to dispute it.
Best credit cards to use when paying for your wedding
Not all credit cards are created equal! When you’re choosing a credit card for your wedding, you want to find a product that will give you the most perks (i.e. travel miles, cash back, etc.) and have the lowest interest rate possible. You’ll also want to make sure to apply for cards you’ll get approved for. These are my favorite resources for finding the best credit card:
Credit Karma. Credit Karma is an online credit monitoring site. I love it because it lets you know when your credit changes, when new accounts are opened, and more. Better yet, once you make an account, it will make you a tailored list of the best credit cards for you, based off your credit, current loans, and payment history.
Credit card alternatives to pay for your wedding
Whether your credit just isn’t in a good enough place to get approved for the card you want, or you don’t want to take the risk of running up your debt, what are some alternatives you can use to pay for your wedding?
Save, save, save. It’s a no-brainer, but the single best way to pay for your wedding is saving up your money and paying for everything out-of-pocket. In fact, it’s a great idea to sit down with your future spouse and create a budget to help save for your wedding, whether you use a credit card or not. It’s a great way to make sure you are on track for a financially stable life with your spouse.
Get a personal loan. Personal loans are going to impact your credit just as a credit card would, but you might be able to find a loan with lower interest rates and higher approval odds. Better yet, your bank may offer personal loans that you can connect straight to your bank account so you’ll never have to worry about making payments on time.
Get help from a family member or friend. If the idea of debt, credit, and interest rates sounds like a nightmare to you, you might want to consider talking to your close family members for a loan. This can be a tricky topic, to proceed with caution. There are many parents and grandparents, though, that are already planning on pitching in for your wedding. If you need more help, perhaps you can set up a plan to pay them back if they help you out.
When it comes to paying for your wedding, there really is no right or wrong way. If you choose to use a credit card for your wedding finances, stay committed and keep on track with your repayment plan, and set yourself up for a lifetime of financial success. Good luck, wedding planners!