If you're paying for any portion of your wedding, you'll need to decide how, exactly, you'll be paying. Even those couples who have been dreaming about their weddings for years may not have been saving for them for nearly as long. As you plan the wedding you want, it can be very tempting to put a few of those charges — or, let's be honest, all of them — on a credit card. But should you?
In Defense of Cash
- Paying in cash can make it easier to track spending. If you check your bank account regularly, you'll see exactly how much you're spending, and in real time.
- You can arrange to have a set amount of your paychecks each month to go into a wedding savings account. That way you won't feel stretched thin when the bills roll in.
- You won't have to worry about going into debt to pay for your wedding. Of course, if you pay for your wedding in cash and then pay for your groceries with credit, that doesn't count! But staying debt-free as you begin your marriage is the biggest reason to pay in cash.
- There is no good reason to put a party — even a really good one that involves all your family and friends and loads of champagne — on your credit card if it means you'll still be paying it off when it's time to celebrate your first anniversary. And besides, there are ways to cut back and still have your dream wedding.
- The problem is that even if you have a solid plan for saving up for your wedding, the initial deposits can be big, and not every couple has thousands of dollars available to cover them. If you are hoping to book the perfect venue and buy your dress as soon as you get engaged, you may find yourself struggling to find room in your paycheck to cover the cost of the deposits.
And that's when your credit cards might start looking mighty tempting.
In Defense of Credit
- Using credit cards can protect you if things go wrong. Hiring people you know very little about to do things you know even less about has risks, and sometimes, vendors just don't work out. Putting deposits on your credit card will likely afford you protection in the event of a problem with a vendor.
- You can make off like a bandit with rewards. If you are able to put big wedding charges on your credit card and pay them off immediately, going that route with a rewards card can earn you some great bonuses. Hello, honeymoon!
- Using a single card can make tracking relatively easy. If you wait until the end of the month to check your statement, you may be surprised by what you see ("Did I really spend $100 at the post office? Oh right, wedding postage..."), but keeping charges to one card and checking your balance regularly isn't terribly difficult to manage.
Where We Stand
- When it comes to wedding budgets, it's best to figure them out once you've done some initial research, but before you've fallen in love with All the Wedding Things. So before you book anything, talk numbers and discuss the pros and cons of each way of paying with your significant other.
- No matter which method you choose, we recommend setting guidelines for paying for wedding items. If you decide to do a combination of cash and credit, agree on exactly how much you're comfortable spending with each, how you plan to save for the wedding, and when you'll write checks to vendors or make credit card payments. Without a firm plan in place and a way of holding yourselves accountable, it's too easy to lose track and go into some serious debt.
- While we certainly love gorgeous wedding details, we'd never suggest a couple should go into debt just to have a beautiful wedding. If you can afford to pay the charges off right away, using a credit card can offer certain benefits. But if you don't have the cash to pay off the balance in full each month, resist the urge to finance your wedding. (And don't let your parents or future in-laws go into debt to pay for your wedding, either!) Taking on additional debt at the onset of your marriage in order to keep up with the Joneses doesn't bode well for your relationship.
How are you planning to pay for your big day, Loverlies? Let us know in the comments!
A version of this post was originally published on Lover.ly on January 10, 2014. It was written by Rachel W. Miller and contributed to by Claire Aven.
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