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How to choose the best credit cards for wedding expenses

Saying "I do" to the right card can help you manage your wedding costs.


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It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. The average cost of a wedding is $33,391, according to The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Study survey.

The cost today could be more or less, but either way, there is a good chance that you’ll need a large sum of money to pay for your big day. If you’re considering using a credit card to help cover the costs, read this guide to learn about your options and the key details you’ll need to consider when deciding if paying with plastic will work for you.

Benefits of paying for wedding expenses with a credit card

There are a few reasons why you may want to consider using a credit card to fund your wedding.

  • Earn cashback and rewards. With the right credit card, you could earn rewards and cash back on your wedding expenses to pay for your honeymoon. While some credit cards have cashback caps on some categories, there are unlimited cashback options that could help you accumulate rewards as you spend.
  • Spread out your repayments. If you think you won’t be able to fully pay back the cost of your wedding expenses right away, you could consider a 0% intro APR card. This will help spread the cost of large, upfront expenses over a longer period and with 0% interest rates.
  • Redeem rewards for flight and hotel. A travel rewards card that accumulates points could help you offset the cost of flights, accommodation and travel deals for your honeymoon. Some of these cards offer complimentary travel insurance as well as bonus points on sign-up that will boost your points balance quickly.

How to choose the best credit card for wedding expenses

Before deciding which is the right credit card for your wedding needs, here are some key factors you need to consider.

  • Types of rewards. No single card offers the exact same host of benefits. You’ll need to decide whether you prefer a travel-focused card that earns points with high redemption value on flights or hotel stays, or a cashback card.
  • Intro APR credit cards. For those who can’t fully repay their balances in a month, a 0% interest card, could help you afford a wedding. And if you use a rewards credit card for your spending, you can get a balance transfer credit card and move your balance. You can then pay off your balance with 0% interest.
  • Eligibility. Credit cards that offer a wider range of luxury privileges will typically charge higher annual fees and require you to have a higher minimum income and excellent credit score. If you don’t meet the criteria, you may not be eligible for the card.

Types of credit cards you could use to fund your wedding

Photography, venue hire, food and flowers are typical wedding expenses. Whether you’re using a low rate credit card so you can buy now and pay later, or a rewards credit card so you can honeymoon on the points, we look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of card.

Low or no interest credit cards

Low or no interest credit cards are characterized by either a low ongoing purchase rate of interest or low or no interest on purchases for a limited period of time. For expenses relating to a specific event, such as a wedding, you may want to consider credit cards with 0% intro APR on purchases for more than one year. This allows you to charge the cost of purchases like catering to the account when you need to and gives you time to pay off the balance without accruing interest.

Rewards credit cards

If you use a rewards credit card to pay for your wedding, not only could you earn points on your necessary wedding costs, you could then use the points to redeem rewards to pay for the cost of domestic and overseas flights, accommodation and travel packages for your honeymoon. Plus, some cards offer bonus points on signup, which could really help bolster your points balance.

There are four main types of rewards cards on the market: frequent flyer credit cards, hotel credit cards, cruise line credit cards and rewards credit cards. The first three let you earn miles or points that you can mostly use toward a specific brand of airlines, hotels or cruise lines, while a rewards credit card gives you points with a variety of redemption options.

Some of these cards also include perks such as complimentary travel insurance, which could save you money on purchased insurance for your destination wedding or honeymoon. As rewards credit cards tend to have higher annual fees and interest rates, it’s important to make sure that the value of the rewards you redeem outweighs this cost.

High credit limit credit cards

You can find credit cards with higher credit limits. Typically, these cards come with an annual fee and with higher interest rates than cards with low credit limits. Whichever card you choose, just be sure the credit limit is high enough to cover your expected expenses.

Note that the actual credit limit you get is based on your credit score, utilization rate and other factors.

Balance transfer credit cards

If you have already paid for some of your wedding costs with a credit card, you may want to consider a balance transfer credit card. This type of card can save you money on interest repayments by giving you a 0% intro APR for a limited period of time. Use your existing credit card to pay for your wedding expenses and apply for a balance transfer credit card so you can transfer the debt and get a lower interest rate.

The intro APR period starts from when you activate the card. The balance transfer rate of interest reverts to the purchase rate or cash advance rate of interest, which will be applied to any remaining debt at the end of the promotional period.

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Compare rewards credit cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
$150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
Earn a huge signup bonus for a no annual fee card with rewards of up to 5% cash back on popular everyday categories.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
This no-annual-fee cashback card is one of the most valuable on the market. It boasts a huge signup bonus and up to 5% cashback in multiple purchase categories.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months to pay off transfers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $1,000. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.

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Mistakes to avoid when using a credit card for your wedding

  • Spending more than you can afford to repay.
    Credit cards can make it easy to forget about debt, but charging more to the card than you can afford to repay is going to put you on the financial back foot down the track.
  • Late repayments.
    Late payment fees are the obvious consequence of late credit card repayments, but if you have a 0% intro APR period, you could lose it and incur penalty APR instead. You could end up owing more money than you could repay.
  • High interest charges.
    If you use your credit card to finance your wedding and carry a balance, you may end up with a bigger debt due to interest charges. Keep this in mind when considering your budget and comparing credit card options so that you can choose a card or other payment method that’s affordable for your circumstances.

Bottom line

A credit card is a short-term cash flow tool that could help finance your wedding. Features such as interest-free periods, rewards and balance transfers can help take the financial burden off your special day. But remember to consider the ongoing costs of the card and the standard rates and fees that could apply at the end of promotional periods.

Before choosing a credit card, make sure to compare your options to find the best fit for your financial needs. If you are looking for a personal loan, you may consider comparing wedding personal loans.Back to top

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