This year an estimated 2.4 million weddings will take place in the United States. That’s a whole lot of rings, bouquets and birdseed, and all of it has to be paid for. If you find yourself planning a wedding, you may quickly become overwhelmed with the cost of your big day.
The average cost of a wedding in 2019 was $33,931, according to a survey conducted by The Knot. To put that number into perspective, the average yearly salary in the United States is $56,516, meaning that a wedding in 2020 could cost over 60 percent of what the average American takes home in a year.
As time goes on, the cost of weddings will continue to rise as Americans spend more than ever on everything from flowers and dresses to picturesque venues. With this increase in cost, many consumers must find a way to finance the wedding of their dreams. Here’s our take on the best way to pay for your dream wedding.
As the name might suggest, a “wedding loan” is a type of personal loan that is available to help individuals cover the cost of a wedding. While loans given to individuals planning their weddings may be marketed as wedding loans, in reality, they are similar to any other unsecured personal loan.
If you’re considering using a wedding loan, you may be expected to show how you plan to use the money before you’re approved. Additionally, many lenders expect borrowers to have a good credit score and a reliable form of income before granting them a loan.
Benefits of a wedding loan:
- Wedding loans are a convenient way to get the money you need to pay for everything from food caterers and florists to the down payment on the venue of your dreams.
- If you pay back your wedding loan in a timely manner, it could benefit your overall credit score and financial standing to lenders in the future.
- On average, wedding loans charge lower interest rates than credit cards
What to consider when getting a wedding loan:
- Wedding loans can lead to couples spending more on their wedding than they may have if they had to have the money upfront.
- If you don’t pay your loan back in time and in full it can hurt your credit score and cost you even more money in added interest.
- Not all lenders are the same – make sure you fully understand the details of the loan before accepting any money. While there are legal protections in place to help curb unfair lending practices in the United States, an unscrupulous lender might use loopholes to charge predatory interest rates.
Another way that you can finance a wedding is by charging your bills to a credit card. This may not be an option for everyone as the amount individuals can charge to their card depends on their credit limit.
If you have a healthy line of credit, however, putting the cost of your big day on plastic may allow you more freedom to make the purchases you want without needing the money upfront.
Benefits of using a credit card to finance a wedding include:
- If you use a credit card to pay for your wedding upfront, you are only borrowing exactly what you need. In comparison, a wedding loan may give you more money than you actually need, further tempting you to spend more.
- If you have a credit card with a low interest rate (or even better a card with a long introductory 0% APR), then you may have longer to pay for your wedding without adding the burden of interest.
- You have the potential to earn rewards for all your wedding day purchases, which can translate to big savings down the road.
Here are our recommendations for the best credit cards to finance your wedding day:
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers an introductory zero percent APR period for 15 months on purchases (14.99% – 23.74% variable afterward) that could be beneficial if you’re looking for a long period to pay off your wedding expenses while avoiding APR. In addition to a generous introductory zero percent APR period, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns at least 1.5 percent cash back on purchases and gives you $200 cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months.
If you’re planning a destination wedding, Capital One’s flagship travel credit card may deserve a spot on your list of financing options. This card offers 2X miles per dollar on all purchases, which could add up quickly when paying for a wedding. Enjoy a one-time bonus of 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
If you’re using a mobile wallet app for wedding purchases, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa could help you earn extra cash back. During the first 12 months from opening your account, Apple Pay® and Google Pay™ transactions get a 20-percent bonus for a total of 1.8 percent cash rewards back rewards. This card offers a $150 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months. With this card, you will also have a generous 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (14.49% – 24.99% variable after, 3 percent or $5 minimum balance transfer fee for first 120 days, then up to 5 percent with $5 minimum).
What to consider when using a credit card to finance a wedding:
- By charging a wedding to your credit card you may be stuck paying the bill for your special day for years to come.
- If you can’t pay or your wedding in full in a timely manner added interest can increase your debt exponentially.
- As with wedding loans, charging wedding expenses to your credit card may lead to outspending your means.
Saving for your wedding and paying out of pocket
While your wedding may be the most magical day of your life, it’s ultimately just that – a day. Sure, you may want the donut bar and fondue fountain at your reception. But ask yourself, is having everything you want worth entering your new marriage in debt? If it is, that is perfectly valid. But if the thought of paying for your wedding for years to come fills you with anxiety, it may be beneficial to critically look at your budget and make strategic cuts.
One way to pay for your wedding out of pocket is keeping a strict and predetermined budget. Couples may also consider extending their engagement to give themselves more time to save money for their big day.
Regardless of how you choose to finance your wedding, making an informed decision about how you want to pay for your expenses and sticking to a budget will help to ensure that you enter a new chapter of your life free from the stress of overwhelming debt.