As you’re planning your wedding, you should budget for unexpected wedding costs. Although no one can plan entirely for something out of their control, you can learn from the experiences of others and adjust your wedding budget to accommodate surprise expenses. Your wedding planning process should be a fun time filled with joy, laughter, and excitement. If you find yourself sweating the financial burden of a wedding, you’re far from alone. Still, that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to mounting anxiety at the thought of paying for your wedding.
Sometimes, paying for your wedding through credit or loans can give you some wiggle room for when you pay it all back. Instead of coughing up the average of $30,000 it takes to get married and throw a wedding party, you’ll be able to pay it down over time. This may make it more realistic for you to make the wedding of your dreams a reality.
Is It a Good Idea to Pay for Wedding Costs with Credit?
If you don’t have the amount of money it takes to have your desired wedding and reception, you may consider financing options like credit cards and loans. Although you should speak with your future spouse about what you want to do with your finances regarding the wedding, it makes sense to think about what your stance is on using credit to pay for some parts of your wedding. Some folks may be more comfortable paying for the entire thing in cash while others will pay for the whole wedding with credit.
Although there’s no right or wrong way to pay for a wedding as long as you’re following all of the related laws and regulations, you may find that paying for anything with credit comes with pros and cons. As a perk, you’ll be able to put money down on aspects of your wedding without needing to have it in the bank right now. Additionally, if you’re incorrectly charged for something, it may anecdotally be easier to dispute it with a credit card company than it would be with a bank.
Unfortunately, credit cards also have a few downsides. The interest rates and fees can make it so that you’re paying for the initial amount you spent several times over depending on what the terms of the card look like. It can also be all too tempting to overspend if you see the credit card limit as free money. You need discipline, wise financial advice, and a plan for how you’ll repay it to reduce fees or hits to your credit score if you take out a credit card for your wedding.
1. Most Wedding Expenses Aren’t Completely Expected
While you might think unexpected wedding costs are a rarity, the truth is that the majority of wedding costs will come out of left field. For example, paying for a wedding dress seems straightforward enough until you realize you have to pay for tailoring, accessories, and any modifications that strike your fancy. In a similar vein, paying for the food for the wedding might seem like you’re just paying for meals but you’ll end up paying for waitstaff, napkins, dinnerware, and other items that might not have been on your initial wedding planning list.
Before you can estimate the cost of a wedding, you need to think about all of the little details that might slip under the radar until you get the bill at the end of the wedding planning process. To avoid getting surprised with an unexpected charge on your card, you’ll want to ask for an itemized receipt from every vendor for your wedding. It may seem awkward to ask for this, but it can save you money if you notice charges that don’t correlate with your experience of what you received from them.
2. Inexpensive Venues Come With Hidden Costs
One of the easiest unexpected wedding costs to overlook is the little things that you supply by yourself at a cheap venue. As they say, sometimes, you get what you pay for. If something in the wedding industry seems too good to be true, it probably is! If you booked a venue for 50% or even 75% less than the going rate for event venues in a region, you may benefit from considering how you might have to make up the difference as a wedding planner.
If you choose a free venue like a relative’s backyard, you’ll still need to shell out money on some non-negotiable items. For example, you’ll need to look into event chair rentals if you intend to have somewhere for your guests to sit. This can stretch you beyond your initial budget and make it reasonable to take out credit to cover the expense.
3. Non-Traditional Venues Can Complicate Your Budget
Some folks may dream of booking boat rentals for a nautical wedding or getting married on the campground where they met. With strange or unusual wedding venues come greater challenges in budgeting for them. With a typical venue like a religious establishment or dedicated wedding venue, you won’t have as many unexpected wedding costs because they’ll walk you through all of the potential costs and fees associated with the venue.
This won’t be the venue owner’s first nuptial rodeo, unlike rodeo stadium owners you approach to see if they’d be open to hosting your wedding. When you have an unconventional venue, it can drive up the cost of the wedding. For this reason, you may need to plan for costs that exceed your resources and pay for it in credit.
4. Wedding Party Transportation Can Be Expensive
While you can cut down the costs of wedding party transportation by going through a discount car rental, it’s still not cheap to get your wedding party from the wedding to the reception and other places. To account for unexpected wedding costs associated with transporting your wedding party, you may want to use a credit card. If you use a credit card with travel rewards, it may benefit you more than paying for it in cash.
5. Outdoor Venues May Require Special Transportation Plans
As you navigate unexpected wedding costs, you may want to think of how you’ll get around your outdoor venue if that’s part of your wedding plans. If you have a wedding on a golf course or a large swath of grass, you can look into golf cart rentals. For those who have a destination wedding planned in a remote, exotic location, you may need to plan to arrive there by helicopter or another appropriate mode of transportation.
6. Backyard Weddings Come With Specific Requirements
While you might opt for a backyard wedding to limit unexpected wedding costs, no one is exempt from experiencing unanticipated expenses in their wedding planning process. Even if you have a cheap or free venue in a relative’s backyard or your backyard, you’ll still need to think about calling an event furniture rental to give your guests places to sit and relax during the wedding and reception. You’ll also need to look into permits in your city or town for events if they are required by local regulations. These costs can be easier to handle if you put them on a credit card and pay them off at the end of the statement period.
7. Don’t Forget to Plan for Rain
If the weather decides to rain on your parade (or, more accurately, your wedding in this case), you’ll want to have a plan for how you’ll stay dry and keep the wedding going. Some folks who are going to an outdoor wedding find it helpful to call wedding tent rental companies and get an estimate for how much a tent would cost. While your wedding may be the brightest day of your life, it doesn’t mean that unexpected wedding costs won’t be able to damper it a little if you don’t have the means to afford shelter from a downpour. If you didn’t expect to buy a tent or other covering for your outdoor venue, credit can help make it possible to pay for it until you figure out how you’ll pay that off.
8. Read Photography Contracts Closely
When you’re interviewing wedding photographers, you might get so excited that you sign the contract without looking over it. Some of the most common unexpected wedding costs that people put on credit are those related to fees that they didn’t notice in the contracts of professionals like photographers. Depending on the package of photos you choose and all of the little details of your photography experience at your wedding, you could end up spending more than you thought you would. Having a credit card ready can make these unforeseen photography contract-related expenses less devastating.
9. Inviting Pets Comes With Expensive Caveats
While you may want your favorite pooch or feline family member to attend your wedding, it comes at a cost. Sometimes, you’ll need to pay extra to get a pet-friendly landscape design for your venue. Another one of the unexpected wedding costs of a pet-friendly wedding would be the extra money it takes to cover a clean-up service that would be willing to scoop animal waste.
You might be able to offset some of the costs of having pets at the wedding by cleaning up after your pet. Even so, asking dog owners who bring their pups to bring their own food and water bowls and other measures can help you keep costs low but it won’t completely reduce the amount of money you’ll pay to have pets there. You might need to pay more for a venue that is okay with having pets on the premises during the wedding and reception since this increases the level of liability for the venue owner. This is where having a credit card can come in handy if you’re not expecting these costs
10. Don’t Forget About Feeding Your Guests
For most wedding receptions, the food plays a major part in whether your guests will leave the wedding satisfied or disgruntled. If you want to hire catering services to provide food for your wedding, it can eliminate a lot of the labor and hours you’d pour into cooking your smorgasbord for your guests. Unfortunately, catering services can also cost more than you anticipated. You’ll need to think about tipping them if the catering company has that as a feature and you’ll also want to consider added expenses like extra desserts or sides for your guests.
If you have alcohol at your wedding, this can also become an unexpected expense that may be easier to manage on credit. As a whole, if you agree to pay for the alcohol that your guests consume, it can lead to expenses you weren’t initially expecting at your wedding. If one of your guests becomes too intoxicated to drive, you may need to pay for a cab or other way to the hotel for them so they don’t cause an accident.
Depending on how you intend to finance your wedding, you may need to think about taking out a dedicated line of credit for your wedding. With this option, you’ll know how much you spent on your wedding and keep it separate from other expenses that you put on credit like emergency car repairs or pricey gifts for other occasions. Of course, if your family has agreed to pay for every aspect of your wedding, you may be lucky enough to get away with avoiding taking out another credit card for these wedding costs.
Alternatively, if you’re trying to afford a wedding on your own, you may find yourself resorting to putting the unexpected wedding costs on your card more often than you would like. As long as you have a plan for how you’ll pay off the debt, it’s reasonable to take it on for your wedding. Discussing how you’ll manage the debt with your new spouse can be a tough conversation, but it’s worth having if you intend to marry for the long haul.
When you combine your life with another person’s life, you’ll need to get comfortable approaching difficult situations. It’s good to speak about money habits even if it’s awkward or gives you anxiety. You’ll emerge from those conversations as a stronger couple.