Figuring out how to pay for your wedding is a challenge in and of itself, from finding out whether your parents will be contributing to setting your budget. Then comes actually having to pay for things. And while it might sound easy enough to put it all on a credit card, that can wreak havoc on your payments or your credit score, and you don't want your wedding to put you into debt! So is a new card the right way to go? We turned to Julia Sonenshein, Senior Editor at DailyWorth, to make sure your wedding isn't something you're paying off for years.
"I'm very skeptical of opening a new credit card solely to pay for a wedding," says Sonenshein. "It tells me you can't afford the wedding in the first place." However, if you are able to pay off your balance immediately (i.e. you have a savings account dedicated to your wedding and will be able to pay off the full amount each month), you can use your wedding as an opportunity to score some rewards, as well as up your credit score by increasing your open lines of credit.
"If you do decide to open a new card, look for one with big rewards and no yearly fees, and go ahead and rack up some miles for your honeymoon. But I can't stress it enough: Only do this if you can pay off the balance immediately, and will remember to do so every month. Adding consumer debt will hurt your credit score, making it difficult to buy a home, rent an apartment, or even get a job. It's not worth it!" says Sonenshein.
To make sure you don't rack up a lot of debt, start by adjusting your expectations to match what you can afford. "This means knowing exactly how much you have to spend and, if you're getting help paying for your wedding, how much whoever is helping you out will be contributing," Sonenshein advises. Setting a thorough budget will also help keep you on track, and will make sure you know what costs are coming up. "If you're putting expenses on a credit card, make paying the balance each month part of your wedding to-do list.
Don't cross anything off until you've paid the balance (for example, you haven't actually taken care of the flowers until you've transferred the money from your wedding savings account to your credit card)," Sonenshein says. "It's easy to think that a credit card is free money, so it's critical to remind yourself that it's actually the opposite."
An itemized budget, clear payment plan, and realistic expectations that fit within your budget will help you come out on the other side married and without wedding debt.