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Wedding Costs on Credit

Interest charges are the real ball and chain.

Marriage – such a blissful time planning a wedding. Until… AHHH! It costs how much?!?

How much more would it cost for a wedding if you charged everything on a credit card? Well, we’ve broken it down for you. The cost of an average wedding is over $30,000, and that’s not including the honeymoon.

The average wedding dress is about $1,300, but since you’ve used a credit card and it has a 15% interest rate, if you just make minimum payments it would take over 6 years to pay off and you’d end up spending about $750 above retail.

Guys get off easy and only have about $250 to spend on their outfits. But with a 15% interest rate, making minimum payments it would be paid off in 11 months for a total of $273.34. Not too bad.

Invitations run about $440, but if you were to make minimum monthly payments the cost would be closer to $500.

A wedding ceremony, including the location, officiant and accessories costs about $2,200, but if you use a credit card with a 15% interest rate it could take you 10 years to pay it off and an extra $1,600.

On average, wedding décor and flowers cost about $2,000 but if you charge that amount it could take up to 10 years to pay it off and you’d pay an extra $1,500 above the original price.

Catering costs take the cake or, I should say, a big chunk of your money. Feeding your guests, on average, is the most expensive component of a wedding, weighing in at a whopping $9,803. Charging this on a credit card could leave you paying DOUBLE the original price and take nearly 20 years.

The memories from this special day will last a lifetime, but so might the debt you take on from capturing these memories. The average cost of photography and video is $4,350. This means you could be spending nearly 14½ years and it could cost double the amount of the initial price.

Music for the ceremony and reception comes in at about $1,700 and it could take nearly 8½ years and cost you $2,900 if you use a credit card with a 15% interest rate.

The average price for wedding transportation is about $770, but if you put this on credit and only make minimum payments, it could take you over three years to pay off the transportation costs and cost over $200 just in interest.

If after all this, you’re ready to elope, we understand. But we hope you have the best wedding you can afford without using high-interest rate credit cards to finance it.

So the video above broke down each cost and what it ends up totaling if you charge it to a credit card with 15% APR and make only minimum payments. Now let’s look at total cost.

  1. Let’s say you charge ALL of a $30,000 wedding and reception to that credit card.
  2. Using a debt calculator you can see that making minimum payments only on a standard 2% payment schedule mean you end up paying more in interest charges than the original $30,000 price tag of the ceremony
    1. It would take over 47 years to pay the balance off in full
    2. You’d pay $49,184.34 in interest charges
    3. For a total price tag of $79,184.34
  3. Even if you paid $1,000 every month – which is a huge burden for most people’s budgets – it would still take 38 months to pay off and you’d spend $7,835.66 in interest charges.

That’s the real problem with running up high balances on credit cards. The higher your balances go, the more interest charges eat up the majority of every payment you make, so you barely make a dent in the debt even though you pay on time as required month after month. And no one wants to just finish paying off their wedding as they approach their 50-year anniversary.

Finding ways to avoid charging your dream wedding

Ideally, you and your spouse-to-be (and one or both sets of parents if they’re helping foot the bill) should all start saving and mapping out costs right after the engagement. According to The Knot, the average length of an engagement is 14 months, so you have a little over a year to plan, cut costs and find ways to save.

Once you’re engaged – or if you’re the one proposing you can even start earlier – you should allocate a portion of each paycheck into a wedding fund. Then together you can start planning the ceremony and here is where you need to start being discerning. Not everyone cares if they arrive to their ceremony in a limo, and people have some pretty bad horror stories of waiting for premium transportation that never arrives and being late to their own ceremony. Or maybe you have a cousin who’s a DJ who will give you a good discount on music.

The moral is that if you get creative and start looking for ways to cut costs early, you’re less likely to end up charging the bulk of your wedding to a high interest credit card. Spread out big costs, so buy our dress early and reserve the location even earlier. This will allow you to use that wedding fund you allocated to pay in cash instead of charging everything.

You can also look into things like in-store credit and payment plans with vendors. Wedding shops often offer better credit on wedding clothes than what you’d get with a high interest credit card, so compare store credit and layaway options to your credit cards to decide on the best way to pay. With service providers like flower arrangements or caterers, see if you can set up a payment plan with them directly; this may help you avoid paying interest charges entirely.

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