Should You Use a Credit Card for Your Wedding?

Using a credit card to bankroll your wedding can be a smart move—as long as you do your due diligence beforehand and know you can take advantage of the benefits.

Written by Hilary Collins / September 29, 2022

Quick Bites

  • Using certain credit cards to pay for wedding expenses can be a smart way to borrow money at low interest rates for a short time while earning valuable rewards.
  • The right credit card could help pay for your honeymoon or protect important wedding purchases.
  • On the other hand, getting into credit card debt can lead to accruing interest, ballooning balances and years of payments that siphon up much of your discretionary income.
  • When looking for a credit card for your wedding, review the promotional terms, interest rates and benefits available while carefully calculating the total balance and monthly payment you can afford. In many cases, carrying no balance will be best.

Let’s say you’re planning your wedding. You’ve set your budget at $10,000, the amount you and your partner have in your savings account. But when you’re shopping for a wedding dress, you find the perfect gown—that’s thousands of dollars outside of that budget. What’s next?

Whether you don’t have enough money saved up for the wedding you really want, or you have no money saved up at all, you might start thinking about putting some or all of your wedding expenses on a credit card. That might not be a bad idea, as long as you take the time and effort to make sure you’re getting the right card and not spending more than you can repay each month.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of using a credit card to fund your wedding—and what to consider when you’re shopping for a wedding credit card.

Inside this article

  1. Pros of using a credit card
  2. Cons of using a credit card
  3. Alternatives to credit cards
  4. Credit card considerations
  5. Frequently asked questions

Pros of using a credit card to fund your wedding

If you choose the right card and make sure the total bill you’ll run up fits in your monthly budget, funding your wedding with a credit card can be a wise decision. “From purchase protection to signup bonuses, there are many perks to paying for wedding expenses with a credit card,” says Jessica Bishop, founder of the Budget-Savvy Bride. Here are some of the possible perks of using a card:

  • Rewards: Perhaps the biggest upside of using a credit card to pay for wedding expenses is that you could earn valuable rewards and bonuses such as travel points or cash back with your spending. With the right card, you could earn rewards to fund your honeymoon while purchasing what you need for your wedding. Many credit cards offer between 1% and 5% cash back on purchases, while others might gift you 60,000 airline miles or more for opening an account with them.

  • No interest or fees (for a while): The benefit credit cards have over personal loans and other ways of borrowing money is that some will offer 0% interest and no fees for a certain period of time. Say you get a card with 0% interest for the first 18 months and put $20,000 of wedding expenses on it. If you can put about $1,111 toward the credit card each month for 18 months, you can pay off your balance before a higher interest rate kicks in—effectively borrowing $20,000 for $0 fees and interest. You can use a credit card repayment calculator like this one from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to see what your payment plan might look like.

  • Purchase protection: A lot of credit cards offer purchase protection that can act as insurance for some of your wedding purchases. You might be able to recoup the cost of a canceled honeymoon flight, a stolen wedding dress or other expenses that fall within the parameters of your card’s policy.

What Are the Advantages, Disadvantages of Using Credit Cards?

What Are the Advantages, Disadvantages of Using Credit Cards?

Security, credit building and other benefits can be helpful, but only if you can avoid overspending.

Find out more

Cons of using a credit card to fund your wedding

While there are definitely benefits to using a credit card for your wedding price tag, there are downsides too. Here are some of the biggest negatives.

  • You’ll be paying the card off for months and possibly years to come. Even if you are able to pay off your credit card in a timely manner and the payments aren’t taking up too much of your monthly income, paying off past expenses can be challenging. You could be making payments on an event that has already passed rather than using that money to do things you want to in the moment, or making big purchases for your future.

  • Interest rates can be crushing and keep you in debt longer. “Paying interest is never in your best interest!” says Bishop. If something unforeseen happens and you can’t pay off your balance before the promotional 0% interest rate ends, you could get caught in a cycle of compounding interest where it gets more and more difficult to make progress towards zero balance.

  • You might be tempted to spend more than you can afford. Credit card spending may not feel as “real” to you as pulling money out of your savings. Spending more than you have on hand can easily go from an amount you can reasonably repay to an amount that will trap you in a debt spiral. If you’re going to use a credit card for your wedding expenses, make sure to set a hard limit on the total bill instead of just charging whatever floats your boat.

Alternatives to wedding credit cards

If you're now convinced that credit cards aren't the right option for you, don't worry—there are other ways to fund your big day. Here are four ways to finance your wedding without a credit card.

AlternativeWhat to knowProsCons
Personal loanPersonal loans usually have much lower interest rates than credit cards. You can apply for a personal loan with a bank, credit union or online lender.Stable interest rate and paymentsNo rewards or perks
Family loanThe days of the bride's family paying for everything may be mostly in the past, but it doesn't hurt to ask if this is something you think your family might be open to. Just be ready to hear "no," and if you get a "yes," put together a clear repayment plan that both parties agree to.No interest (probably)Money may cause friction within your family—and your family members might feel they get a say in your wedding planning now
Waiting and savingThis is a solid, smart approach to paying for your wedding. You and your partner could pick up gig work, cut extra expenses and use other tactics to get to your savings goal faster.No interestYou may have to push back your wedding date
Cutting back your budgetAnother very intelligent way to handle not having enough money on hand to finance a bigger wedding, paring back will allow you to marry the love of your life without going into debt. Trim the guest count, look for nontraditional venues and try your hand at some DIY projects instead of buying decorations.No interestYou'll have to compromise on some of the things you want, whether that's inviting your entire extended family or having a plated dinner

Credit card considerations

If you’ve done your research and think a credit card is the right choice for you, here are some things to keep in mind when looking for the right card.

  • Interest rate: Don’t just look at the promotional interest rate—take a look at the fine print to see what interest rate will kick in after the promotion period, and what that number is. Also, go beyond interest rate to consider APR, which accounts for the card’s base rate and any fees.

  • Promotional terms: Some credit cards will come with valuable sign-up bonuses. If you want to use credit card points to fund your honeymoon, search for cards that offer great travel perks as a sign-up bones. These promotional terms often include the above-mentioned lower interest rate as well.

  • Rewards: While promotional offers are a one-time thing, credit card rewards will continue to pile up over the lifetime of your card. Again, cash back offers, travel points and other attractive offers can be had with the right card.

  • Credit limit: Your credit line will be the total amount you can put on the card. It’s determined by factors such as your debt-to-income ratio and your credit score. Make sure you’re able to get a high enough credit limit to cover the wedding expenses you plan to charge (while confirming that you can still afford to pay off that amount). It can be worthwhile to wait a few months and boost your credit score first.

  • Expected total: Set a total amount you expect to spend on the card and stick to it. Take into account both your credit limit as well as the amount you can pay off in the necessary time frame, then carefully budget around that amount.

  • Monthly payments: Credit card monthly payments will fluctuate based on the balance on the card and the interest rate. Carefully review the terms of the credit card and do the math with a credit card calculator using your expected total balance to make sure you’ll be able to handle those bills.

How to Pick the Right Credit Card for Your Needs in 6 Simple Steps

How to Pick the Right Credit Card for Your Needs in 6 Simple Steps

Don’t just sign up for any old credit card offer you get in the mail. Here’s how to make sure you get the credit card with the most benefits for you.

Find out more

Especially if you have a good credit score and you know you can pay off your balance quickly, credit cards can help you cover the costs of a dream wedding without running up obscene interest amounts or fees. With a smart approach, you could pay for your dream wedding and get a handy discount on your honeymoon at the same time. With that said, consider all of your financing options before making a move.

Frequently asked questions

How can I boost my credit score?

Your credit score is important because it determines how much banks and other financial institutions will lend to you and what interest rates you’ll pay. You can boost your credit score by contesting errors on your credit report, addressing past due or maxed out accounts, making sure you don’t miss payments and more.[1]

How much does a wedding cost?
Article Sources
  1. “How to rebuild your credit,” Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_how-to-rebuild-your-credit.pdf.
  2. “The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study,” The Knot, Feb. 15, 2022, https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-data-insights/real-weddings-study.

About the Author

Hilary Collins

Hilary Collins

Hilary is an experienced finance writer with a passion for turning complicated topics into readable stories with real-world takeaways.

Full bio

Related Content