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by Elizabeth Aldrich | Updated July 27, 2021 - First published on Sept. 8, 2019
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Make sure you take advantage of 0% intro APR offers when paying for your wedding.
While you vow to take your partner for richer or for poorer, no one wants to start a new marriage with crippling debt. The joining of two lives shouldn't be kicked off by the joining of two massive credit card bills.
Unfortunately, many people caught up in the frenzy of trying to make their special day perfect end up putting their happily ever after nuptial expenses on a credit card. Considering that a recent CreditCards.com report put the average credit card interest rate at over 17%, those once-in-a-lifetime moments could land you in a lifetime of debt.
There is one way to pay for your wedding with a credit card without ending up in debt, but you should proceed with caution.
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A 0% intro APR credit card gives you a promotional period, usually between 12 and 21 months, during which you don't pay interest on purchases. They're a method of interest-free financing that allows you to make purchases and pay them back later without having to worry about sky-high interest fees.
However, that "honeymoon period" of 0% interest is limited, and if you don't pay off your balance in full by the end of it, you'll start accumulating interest fees right away. Also, it's crucial that you read and abide by all the terms and conditions of your 0% intro APR offer. A single late payment can cause the promotional period to come to a halt and the credit card's regular APR to kick in immediately.
A 0% interest credit card can act as a short-term loan to spread the cost of your wedding expenses out over a certain period of time and make it more affordable. However, you should only take this route if you plan to pay your balance in full before the promotional period ends and the regular APR begins.
For example, let's say your venue, catering, and wedding planner bills are all due at once, and altogether, they total $15,000. You only have $10,000 on hand at the moment, but you know that you'll earn another $5,000 in disposable income over the next six months. In this case, you could pay for the bill using a 0% intro APR credit card with a 12-month introductory period and then pay off that balance over the following six months.
The biggest downside of using your credit card for your wedding expenses is that you run the risk of missing a payment or not paying off your balance in time. Both of these scenarios are, unfortunately, very common, and leave people facing mountains of debt due to high interest fees.
Keep in mind that while you may think you can pay off the balance before the introductory period ends, you will likely incur many unexpected expenses for the wedding and as newlyweds. Even the best-laid plans can go awry and cause you to fumble on your payments.
In the end, paying for your wedding with any credit card, even one with a 0% introductory APR, is incredibly risky. It's a better idea to save money for your wedding beforehand. Pick up extra hours at work or consider starting a side hustle to boost your income temporarily. Ask family members to chip in or get them to pay for specific expenses like the cake or photographer.
If you still find yourself unable to pay for your dream wedding, maybe it's time to dial back and cut costs. After all, the true purpose of your wedding is sentimental in nature, not monetary.
You can dramatically cut expenses by foregoing some of the more traditional wedding options. Choose to plan the wedding yourself instead of hiring a wedding planner. The venue you choose can come at a huge cost, so consider having a backyard wedding or renting a facility at a state park or other low-cost venue. Host a cash or limited bar, or consider purchasing the alcohol yourself in bulk to get better pricing. Instead of providing a fully catered meal, you could set up an ice cream and candy bar. Many of the smaller details can save you money, too. For example, you could have your bridal party get together and make the flower arrangements and centerpieces while you sip on champagne and prepare for your big day.
The best way to set your marriage up for success, financially speaking, is to avoid high-interest debt. Your forever future with your new spouse shouldn't include being forever in debt in exchange for one day of celebration.
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