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Between the venue, the buffet, the flowers, a dress, the rings and all the various accessories – weddings are notoriously expensive.
Although the costs of marriage fell in 2020, largely due to the fact that many people had minor ceremonies during the pandemic, couples still spent $ 19,000 on average. In 2019, the average cost of the wedding was $ 28,000, according to The knot, and only time will tell whether the average cost of a wedding will return to pre-pandemic levels.
There are many ways to finance this very expensive event, even if you don’t have all that money on hand. There is point of sale financing through companies like Claim and Afterpay, you can sign up for a new cash back rewards card, or consider taking a personal loan if you need a good amount of money to pay for a part of the wedding.
It can be very difficult to keep track of, and if you don’t carefully monitor how you’re paying, you may end up using excess credit without having a clear sense of where all that money is going. Before you start getting into debt to pay for your big day, take a few minutes to make a clear plan.
Select talked to some financial planners about the best tips on how to pay for a wedding. Advice varies, but just as each couple has a unique wedding style, there is no single approach to financing their next nuptials.
Here are expert advice.
Alicia R. Hudnett Reiss, CFP
Money, credit or personal loan? Cash, or plan the loan in advance
In an ideal world, you must have saved enough money to pay for your wedding expenses, he argues Business of your life founder Alicia R. Hudnett Reiss.
“But, normally, this is not done,” she admits.
Most people take years to save enough to pay for a wedding out of pocket, so it is not uncommon for people to use credit cards to make up for the difference between their savings and the actual cost of the wedding.
But if you want to avoid debt, start saving well ahead of time. Whether you are newly engaged or know you want to pay for your child’s wedding one day, start analyzing the numbers now to see how long it would take you to save.
“Be realistic,” says Hudnett Reiss. Estimate the total cost and divide it into smaller monthly amounts that you can reserve until you reach this goal.
So, if you know you won’t be able to, look for ways to strategically borrow.
“Sometimes you can get a 0% interest promotion,” says Hudnett Reiss, either on a credit card you already own or on a new one you applied for. For example, the Discover it® Cash Back offers a competitive introductory APR of 0% in the first 14 months of purchases (after 11.99% to 22.99% variable APR). Sign up for Amex EveryDay® credit card, and you may be able to benefit from no interest in the first 15 months of purchases (so 12.99% to 23.99% APR variable, see fees and fees)
Just be sure to pay the balance within the introductory period to avoid charging interest.
Another option is personal loans, which may charge a lower interest rate than the credit card. But be careful, as not all personal loans are cheaper and, once you agree to take out the loan, you will be required to pay monthly payments for up to seven years.
“If you are unable to repay the loan, the lender will not be able to recover an asset, such as a car loan,” says Hudnett Reiss. You certainly do not want to be stuck looking at decorated wages or being sued for nonpayment, especially for something intangible like a wedding, which has no resale value after the money is spent.
Before applying for and agreeing to a personal loan, check the types of fees and payment plans you qualify for through lenders such as LightStream, Marcus and To discover. Or use a lending platform like Going up in life or LendingTree to see offers from multiple lenders at the same time.
Money, credit or personal loan? Credit
“I would not recommend taking out a loan for a wedding,” he says Financial Gym founder Shannon McClay. “Of course, I suggest that the customer definitely save money and have a budget. But then be strategic when using credit.”
For example, if a Financial Gym customer loves to travel and has good to excellent credit, McClay suggests opening a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and reap the generous rewards.
“You have to spend $ 4,000 in the first three months [to earn the bonus], which you are probably already spending on the wedding, “she says.” The two important people can get a travel card; that way, you can really maximize the bonuses. And then you get all those travel rewards that can pay for your honeymoon. You ‘hacked’ your honeymoon, just paying for the wedding. “
Some things to watch out for: Before sliding, check with the vendors what the credit card processing fees are. Some may charge an additional 3% to 4%, so you will want to pay these suppliers in cash when possible.
Also keep an eye on your budget if you plan on using credit cards. McClay’s strategy works best when you have money to pay your card (s) immediately, especially if you plan to open multiple cards in less than a year. The goal is to get a free honeymoon, not to spend the first year of your marriage drowning in debt.
Lastly, McClay also reminds couples who use credit to finance the wedding to keep enough money available for the big day.
“You want to have money to tip servers, bartenders, people like that,” says McClay. It is also common to tip hairdressers, photographers, delivery / assembly staff, on-site attendants, drivers, etc. Some suppliers may also require final payment on your wedding day, which is easier to make in cash.
Jeanne Fisher, CFP
Money, credit or loan? Money and credit
All has his own views on how to pay for weddings, says Nashville financial planner Jeanne Fisher. While some do not believe in borrowing money to finance a party, others consider weddings to be the most important day of a person’s life and, therefore, well worth the financial risk.
“Only you know what you don’t have,” says Fisher. If you don’t have the money to pay for the wedding expenses all at once, be honest about how much you can realistically put on a credit card so you don’t get in too much debt.
“I would not recommend taking out loans to pay for a celebration,” says Fisher. “You have to pay them back, even if the marriage doesn’t last.”
But on the other hand, “the role of a financial planner is not to say what your priorities are,” says Fisher.
So, if you know that weddings are a big deal for your family, get ready for them. Start saving and search for credit cards that will reward you for your expenses.
“I’m a huge fan of maximizing points and rewards. It’s a great thing to do, ”says Fisher.
Worried about overspending? There is a trick.
“You can set your own maximum amount on your credit card,” advises Fisher. Call the card issuer and ask them to lower the limit to what you think is reasonable. That way, you are not so tempted to add extras in all the excitement.
As for the budget, Fisher gives an ironic tip to keep wedding costs low: “I would also say that the longer you stay engaged, the more expensive the wedding will be.”
Keep engagement short, be decisive about which purchases really matter to you, and avoid putting too much weight on other people’s opinions.
Editorial Note: The opinions, analyzes, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Select’s editorial team and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by third parties.