How to Use Credit for Your Wedding
A wedding includes major decisions (like where to get married or who to ask to be in your bridal party) and minor ones (like what colors to choose for your tablecloths).
A decision many couples don’t consider? What kind of credit card they should use to pay for the wedding.
Using a credit card for your wedding can help you earn rewards, protect your large purchases, and build your credit. But how can you use that credit card responsibly - and which card should you choose? Read below for our tips on inviting credit cards to your big day.
Why You Should Use Credit for Your Wedding
One of the main reasons people use credit cards is to pay for big purchases. And what could be bigger than your wedding? The average wedding costs almost $30,000 and, by putting those expenses on a credit card, you could earn thousands of rewards points and sign-up bonuses.
One of the best ways to use credit cards responsibly is to utilize their rewards and sign-up bonuses. Unfortunately, many credit cards that offer big sign-up bonuses do so only if you can spend several thousands dollars over a ninety-day period. This is often impossible for people with normal spending habits. But if you’re planning and paying for a huge event - like a wedding - it can be the perfect opportunity to use a rewards card.
Not only will using these cards earn you cash back rewards and extra bonuses, but you can also buy yourself more time to pay off wedding expenses if you use a credit card. For example, if you owe your DJ a deposit of $500 next week but won’t have the cash to cover it until next month, a credit card could allow you to book the DJ now instead of waiting until next month - when he might have already filled that date.
Credit cards also offer purchase protection and reimbursement, so if your wedding photographer doesn’t send you the photos or if your caterer serves chicken instead of the steak you ordered, you may be able to dispute it with your credit card. There’s no guarantee that you will get your money back, but you have a better chance with a credit card than a debit card.
When It's Best to Use Cash for Your Wedding
But like any event, credit cards aren’t always the best options for paying for a wedding. For spendthrifts and those struggling with debt, getting a credit card for the wedding may prove to be more harmful than helpful. Using cash may be best if you have a hard time restraining yourself with a credit card.
If you want to get the benefits of a credit card and use it responsibly, track every wedding purchase you make in a spreadsheet and compare it to your wedding budget. Wait at least 24 hours before purchasing something so you can make a rational decision with your card.
Even if you can use credit cards responsibly, be aware that some merchants may also charge fees if you pay with a credit card compared to a check. Before you pay your vendors with your plastic, confirm that you won’t be charged any transaction fees. Ask if you can get a discount for paying with cash, since many credit card issuers charge merchants high fees for accepting credit cards.
Some companies, especially small businesses, refuse to take credit cards altogether, so confirm your vendor’s payment preferences before signing up for a card. You don’t want to take a hard inquiry on your credit report for a card whose sign-up bonus you won’t be able to earn.
Best Credit Cards to Use for Your Wedding
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
One of the most popular travel rewards cards around, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a favorite not only for its huge sign-up bonus of 50,000 points, but that you can redeem those points for $625 worth of travel.
You can redeem the points for $500 cash, but if you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you’ll receive an extra 25% benefit. Once you receive the sign-up bonus, you can continue using this card to earn even more rewards for your honeymoon and future married travels.
Each person can sign up for the card and use their points to book flights, hotels, or rental cards through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can book most major airlines and hotels with this card, so you won’t be stuck having your honeymoon at a lowly motel. This is perfect for couples who want to plan an amazing honeymoon, but whose wedding plans have left their wallets empty.
Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card, like its namesake, offers 2% cash-back on all purchases (1% cash back when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay it off). Everything you purchase, from wedding invitations to pillows for the ring bearer, will earn you 2% in rewards. There is no annual fee for this card, and no limit on how much you can earn in rewards.
This is a great card to use if you plan to make regular, in-full payments on your credit card balance and want to earn some rewards for all your wedding expenses.
Citi Simplicity® Card
Paying for a wedding in cash can seem almost as impossible as finding your true love. That’s why putting your wedding expenses on a credit card and paying it off after you say “I do” may be more practical for many.
To avoid paying interest fees during your engagement, use the Citi Simplicity® Card. It offers 0% APR for 21 months, which gives you almost two years to pay for your wedding. Perfect for those who need to pay off their wedding in small monthly payments instead of big chunks.
Bonus: If you have a balance on another card, you can transfer it to the City Simplicity® Card, which also offers zero interest for balance transfers. You should think about doing a balance transfer if your credit card has a high interest rate and you'll need some more time to pay it off.
Think about it this way: an APR of 25% can cost you more than $2,000 in interest fees on a $5,000 loan if you only make the minimum payments.But if you do a balance transfer, you'll pay a 3% balance transfer fee. If you do the math, which outcome works out better for you? Check out the table we have created below to help explain the payments you will have to pay on different balances.
Credit Cards: Different APRs on Different Balances
|Credit Card Interest Rates||15.99% APR on Purchases, 0% APR on Balance Transfers||0% APR on Purchases, 15.99% APR on Balance Transfers||15.99% APR on Purchases, 4.99% APR on Balance Transfers||15.99% APR on Purchases, 15.99% APR on Balance Transfers|
|Interest Charged on Purchase Principal||$65.71||$0||$65.71||$65.71|
|Balance Transfer APR||0%||15.99%||4.99%||15.99%|
|Balance Transfer Principal||$5000||$5000||$5000||$5000|
|Interest Charged on Balance Transfer Principal||$0||$65.71||$20.51||$65.71|
|End of Month Principal Owed||$10,000.00||$10,000.00||$10,000.00||$10,000.00|
|Total Interest Charged on End of Month Principal||$65.71||$65.71||$86.22||$131.42|
|End of Month Balance Owed||$10,065.71||$10,065.71||$10,086.22||$10,131.42|
|Total Monthly Payment||$500||$500||$500||$500|
|- Portion of Monthly Payment Toward Lowest-APR Balance||$165.71||$165.71||$186.22||$231.42|
|- Portion of Monthly Payment Toward Highest-APR Balance||$334.29||$334.29||$313.78||$268.58|
|New Purchase Principal||$4,731.42||$4,834.29||$4,751.93||$4,815.71|
|New Balance Transfer Principal||$4,834.29||$4,731.42||$4,834.29||$4,815.71|
|New Total Balance||$9,565.71||$9,565.71||$9,586.22||$9,631.42|
Using credit cards for your wedding isn't just a way to pay for your wedding. It can also help your credit history, teach you about managing finances as a couple, and show you how to budget for major purchases. It can be another great lesson to learn as you embark on the road to marital - and financial - bliss.