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Whether you can already close your eyes and picture your wedding or are starting from scratch, you'll need to figure out how to pay for it all before you get to say your I dos.
Weddings can quickly become shockingly expensive, so creating a realistic budget is often the first step many couples take in planning one. Budgeting early in the process will help you control costs and gives you time to plan how best to pay your expenses.
While loans or cash payments are options, the right credit card (or cards) could lead to big rewards that can help offset the cost of your wedding or honeymoon. You may even be able to use the points or miles you earn to book flights or hotels that you wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.
With standard wedding spending and post-wedding travels in mind, here are a few of the best credit cards for wedding expenses.
Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards for Points and Perks
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program offers great flexibility and ease of use. You can earn points using different Chase credit cards, and redeem them for gift cards, cash back, merchandise and travel. If you have a Chase Sapphire card (either the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card), you can also transfer points to partner hotel and airline programs.
When putting down deposits, you may want to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards in conjunction with one another. You may also ask your partner to sign up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, depending on how much you expect to spend.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening, and you'll earn 3 points per dollar on dining and travel purchase. The bonus categories may align with your rehearsal dinner, catering and honeymoon expenses, and potentially your venue if your wedding or reception are at a restaurant or hotel.
Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which can get you and your new spouse into airport lounges around the world—but you have to enroll before using the benefit.
The card also provides a statement credit of up to $100 for the TSA Precheck or Global Entry application every four years, but you'll need to pay for the other person's application if you want to zoom through security together. It also doesn't have any foreign transaction fees, which could be helpful if you're planning a destination wedding or headed abroad after.
The $550 annual fee can be intimidating, but you'll receive up to $300 in travel statement credits each year, and up to $60 in DoorDash statement credits in 2020 and 2021. Also, as a cardholder, your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each if you redeem them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. With other Chase cards, your points are only worth 1 cent or 1.25 cents when booking travel.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® only offers 1 point per dollar on purchases that don't fit into a bonus category, which is why you may also want the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. This card doesn't have an annual fee and you'll get 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases.
Left in your Chase Freedom Unlimited® account, they're only worth 1 cent each. But you can transfer these points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® where they're worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel. Effectively, you can then get 2.25 cents per dollar if you use your Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards to make up for weak spots with your other cards.
Plus, there's an intro bonus of $150 when you make $500 worth of purchases within 3 months of account opening. The bonus gets added to your account as Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to increase their potential value to $300.
Combined with the intro bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and assuming you made the $4,000 worth of purchases in the dining and travel bonus categories, you'll have 77,750 points once you earn both intro bonuses. That's worth $1,166.25 when booking travel.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
You won't be eligible for a Chase Sapphire card intro bonus (from either the Reserve or Preferred) if you've already received an intro bonus from either card in the past 48 months. If you haven't, you and your partner can each sign up for the card and both get the intro bonus.
If one of you is getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the other may want to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers a larger intro bonus of 60,000 points if you make $4,000 in purchases within your first 3 months. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a lower $95 annual fee, but doesn't offer Priority Pass membership or statement credits.
You can transfer the points to your partner's Chase Sapphire Reserve® account once you're members of the same household, and then redeem them for travel at the 1.5 cents per point rate you get as a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder. Otherwise, your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal and have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Avoid Annual Fees With Wells Fargo
If you like the idea of earning bonus rewards and redeeming them for travel, but don't want to worry about an annual fee, consider getting the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card and Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card.
Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card
With the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card, you'll get 5 Go Far Rewards points per dollar on up to $12,500 you spend on gas, groceries and at drug stores during your first 6 months with the card. These may align with some of your wedding purchases, especially if you're preparing some of the meals on your own or want to stock up on toiletries for guests you may host at home.
You also get 1 point per dollar on other purchases. But the main reason you want this card is that your points will be worth 1.5 cents each if you redeem them for airfare, rather than 1 cent each when redeemed for cash.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is going to be your main point-earning workhorse in this combination. It has an intro bonus of 20,000 points if you make $1,000 worth of purchases within your first 3 months.
You can earn 3 Go Far Rewards points per dollar on eating out and ordering in, travel, gas stations and select streaming services and 1 point per dollar on purchases that don't fit into a bonus category. And the card doesn't charge you foreign currency conversion fees.
You can transfer your Go Far Rewards points from the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card to the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card before redeeming the points for airfare to increase their value.
The Wells Fargo setup isn't as rewarding as the Chase combination above and you won't receive any extra cardholder perks. You're also limited in only getting extra value when redeeming your points for airfare rather than multiple forms of travel. However, the lack of annual fees could make this an appealing option for some couples.
Maximize Cash Back With Citi and Capital One
If travel rewards aren't your thing, you may prefer to instead recoup your expenses in the form of cash back rewards, which the Chase and Wells Fargo cards above let you do at a rate of 1 cent per point. If you're going the cash route, a pure cash back credit card is likely a better fit compared with the travel cards above.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card is great on its own, but you can greatly increase your cash back earnings by combining it with the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card carries a $95 annual fee, but it's waived the first year. If you make $3,000 worth of purchases during your first 3 months with the card, you'll get a $300 intro bonus.
You'll earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2% at grocery stores and 1% cash back on other purchases. The dining category includes restaurants, lounges, bars, fast-food chains and bakeries, while entertainment includes movie theaters, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos and more. If the bonus categories align with your wedding plans, the 4% cash back rate could make this card a stand-out option.
If you'll only have a few bonus-category expenses, the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card might make more sense. It doesn't have an annual fee, but it also has a smaller intro bonus and only offers 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% elsewhere.
What Else Should You Consider?
With intro offers, bonus rewards categories and cardholder benefits, there are plenty of reasons to get new credit cards to pay for your wedding. However, credit cards (and particularly rewards cards) tend to have high interest rates and they may not be a good way to finance a wedding.
Some couples use a personal loan instead, which may offer a lower interest rate than credit cards. Or, they figure out ways to cut down expenses and avoid borrowing money altogether.
If you only plan on borrowing a little money and paying it off within a year or two, you could still look into a credit card if it has a 0% promotional APR offer. Many cards offer these types of promotions, which allow you to make purchases without accruing interest during the promotional period. You can compare offers in the Experian CreditMatch™ marketplace.
Even some of the cards mentioned above have no-interest promotions. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® gives you a 15-month promotional period before its 16.49% - 25.24% Variable rate takes effect. If you can pay off the balance before the promotional period ends, you won't pay any interest on your purchases.
The information related to the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® credit card has been collected by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.