Priya Malani, the founder of the financial planning firm Stash Wealth, was pretty blunt: “Generally speaking, it’s a very bad idea to put your wedding on a credit card.” She expressed her basic financial tenet: If you don’t have the funds to pay off the bill in full when it’s due at the end of the month, don’t do it. Malani even warns against people assuming they’ll receive the money back in gifts. But more often than not, gifts won’t cover the damage on the credit card. “Don’t bank on wedding gift money to pay back debt you racked up to ‘throw a party,’” she advises. Financially speaking, the damage of credit card interest can end up costing you way more than you wanted to spend on your wedding in the first place.
How should you think of a credit card? Malani puts it this way: “Think of a credit card as a smarter way to spend the money you already have, not as a tool to spend money you do not have.”
Let’s say you do have the money to pay off the card in full when the statement is due. In that case, Malani says you should use a card that provides two to three times the points on wedding purchases or high cash-back—around 3 to 5 percent. “If you are stretching to get the band or DJ of your dreams and need to borrow a small amount that you 100 percent know you can pay off with wedding money, you could consider one of the zero percent teaser cards like Chase Slate, which is typically interest-free for a longer time,” she recommends. (Rates, terms and conditions change, so read the fine print before you sign up for any card!)