At a Glance
You found your dream venue. And somewhere between putting down a deposit and looking into other necessities like a photographer, DJ, and parking arrangements, you realize you are going to need more money to pay for your wedding. So, what now? If relying on the resources and generosity of family members is not an option, you are left with two choices: Pull out your credit card or get a wedding loan (yes, those do exist).
Both of these solutions come with pros and cons, which we’ve broken down below to help you make the best decision for your situation.
Pros and cons of wedding loans
Steve Wilson, founder of Bankdash, a personal finance site dedicated to improving consumer understanding about banks, credit unions and the products they offer, says one of the biggest benefits of wedding loans is their accessibility.
“Many consumers have access to this type of loan,” he says. “If you have a strong credit score, you won’t require a guarantor.” When it comes to wedding loans, you also get to decide how much you want to borrow and the time period for paying back the loan. With fixed repayment terms, you will know precisely how much you must return over a given amount of time, so you and your spouse can come up with a plan ahead of time for paying back your wedding expenses. And you get complete control over your wedding with a lump sum of money in advance.
There are downsides to wedding loans too, of course. “To receive a better interest rate, you’ll need to borrow a certain quantity of money. Those with bad credit will have to pay a higher interest rate,” says Wilson. And you’ll have a wedding debt when you get married, which will go on top of any other monthly expenses – you can use a tool like this debt consolidation calculator to figure out what your repayment plan can look like.
Also, keep in mind that with a wedding loan, just like a credit card, if you don’t make your payments on time, your credit score may suffer. And just because you have access to a large sum of money doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a tight wedding budget. “If you borrow a large sum, prudent cost-cutting and planning may be abandoned,” according to Wilson.
Pros and cons of using credit cards to pay for your wedding
If you are planning on paying off your wedding debt fast, relying on a new or existing credit card may come with upsides. For example, some credit cards offer introductory promotional rates that you can take advantage of. “Some lenders may provide 0% APR on purchases for a year or longer. If you believe you will be able to pay off your debt before then, this may be the best option for you,” says Wilson.
When using an existing credit card, you won’t have to worry about new monthly obligations besides increasing your payments. Throw in cash-back and travel rewards and it may just be worth it. Plus, credit cards usually come with purchase insurance, so you may be covered by the Consumer Credit Act on those wedding purchases.
The major downside of using a credit card to pay for your big day is high interest fees. “If you don’t pay off your debt before the end of the first year, you’ll almost certainly end up paying far more interest than if you had taken out a personal wedding loan,” according to Wilson.
Not to mention any overdraft costs, late payment fees, cash withdrawal fees, balance transfer fees, or fees for using your card overseas.
When should you get wedding loans vs. using your credit card?
If you only need a small extra amount of money to cover your wedding costs and you are confident that you will be able to pay it off fast, using a credit card or signing up for one with an advantageous introductory interest rate might be a good idea for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to borrow a lump sum of money upfront, considering a wedding loan might be a better bet.
Whichever financing method you choose, it’s important to remain intentional about your costs and have a debt repayment plan in advance.