How to Pay for a Wedding Using a Credit Card
Key points about: paying wedding expenses with a credit card
You can earn rewards such as cash back or miles by paying for your wedding with a rewards credit card.
With a 0% introductory APR offer credit card, you may be able to avoid paying interest.
Paying for a wedding with a credit card is convenient but requires discipline and thorough budgeting.
Your wedding day may be one of the happiest days of your life, but there’s no denying that planning a wedding may be stressful at times. From hunting for venues and picking vendors, to funding the whole event with all the bells and whistles you want, there’s certainly a lot to do. And financing a wedding can be a matter of uncertainty for some people, but there are a few options available.
Some couples may opt for a personal wedding loan to fund their big day, while others may rely on credit cards, savings, or monetary gifts to pay expenses. Credit cards in particular have some advantages that other options can’t match.
Benefits of using a credit card to pay for wedding expenses
While you can certainly pay most vendors in cash or using funds from a personal loan, one of the key benefits of using a credit card is built-in purchase protection. The Fair Credit Billing Act allows consumers to dispute charges, and you may be able to have a transaction reversed. For instance, if the vendor supplying your cake doesn’t deliver the cake as promised, you may be able to dispute the credit card charge. Couples who pay cash may find it harder to navigate such a situation.
Credit card rewards
Many credit cards have a rewards program that could allow you to earn credit card rewards on the wedding expenses you charge to your card. These rewards could be cash back that can be redeemed for other wedding-related expenses, or you could have a travel credit card that lets you turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.1
If you take advantage of a new credit card offer with a sign-up bonus, that could significantly increase your rewards. A sign-up bonus may earn you additional cash back or miles every time you use your credit card for wedding expenses within the bonus time frame. For example, only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.2 Weddings typically require a high amount of spending and may be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of a credit card sign-up bonus.
0% intro APR credit cards
Along with a sign-on bonus, a new credit card may also offer the benefit of having an introductory 0% interest rate. This may allow you to slowly pay off your wedding expenses without paying any interest if you pay off the balance by the end of the promotional period. Once the promotional period is over, any pending balance will incur the full interest. To get the full benefits of a promotional offer, you should read the card’s terms and conditions carefully before charging anything to the card.
Disadvantages of paying for wedding expenses with a credit card
Going over budget
Without discipline and planning, you may spend more than you intended and take longer to pay off the balance. To avoid this, it can help to create a wedding budget beforehand and be diligent about sticking to it. You can also set mobile alerts to let you know when you’re close to going over budget.
Increasing your credit utilization rate
Weddings are expensive, and using a credit card to pay for expenses may take up a lot of your available credit. This may increase your credit utilization rate and consequently lower your credit score. This change is not necessarily permanent, and your score will gradually increase as you repay your credit card debt. But even a temporary decrease in your score may impact credit applications in the immediate future.
One way to avoid a high credit utilization ratio is to increase your credit limit. Alternatively, consider staggering your payments and paying them off quickly. For instance, if you’ve booked your wedding venue and made an advance payment, try to avoid making payments to your caterer and florist in the same month. Making gradual payments to different vendors and attempting to keep your card balance low may help prevent a big increase in your credit utilization ratio.
Paying high interest rates
Compared to a personal wedding loan, credit cards may have a higher interest rate. Even for those taking advantage of a promotional low interest rate, not repaying the balance during the promotional period will mean incurring interest at the card’s regular interest rate. The high costs associated with a wedding paired with high-interest rates may mean you start your marriage with high credit card debt.
The only workaround is to pay off the balance within the promo period. Consider using any cash gifts from your wedding to pay down the debt. Some credit cards let you apply your cash back rewards directly as a statement credit–this can be especially convenient when you’re running up large bills.
Wedding planning can be exciting and fun, but finances may sometimes be a hurdle. Credit cards may be a great way to pay for wedding expenses, since you can earn rewards and, with the right promotional offer and paying your balance in full by the due date, avoid interest charges altogether. But to avoid sinking into credit card debt, it’s important to maintain a strict wedding budget and keep spending within your limits.
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