You can plan a dream wedding while still avoiding the nightmare of credit card debt

BestCards explores how to plan a dream wedding while dealing with credit card debt.

Jeannyn Gomez

couple at wedding on the beach throwing bouquet // Shutterstock

Weddings can get real expensive, real fast. Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life. It's a celebration of love and commitment but can also come with a hefty price tag. As couples plan their dream weddings, the costs can quickly add up, leading many to credit cards to finance their special day. BestCards explains how to plan your dream wedding while dealing with credit card debt.

Data shows millennials prone to financial risk-taking

The average wedding now costs Americans around $33,000, according to wedding planning site Zola. At the same time, survey data from YouGov profiles accessed on Mar. 3, 2024 reveals interesting insights about different age groups' perspectives on weddings and financial risk-taking.

Approximately half of the respondents between 18 and 29 (48% of respondents) agreed that weddings should be large celebrations with plenty of friends and family. In contrast, only 34% of the overall respondents shared this view.

The data also indicates that the younger age group, 18 to 29, is more inclined to take financial risks than the national average. Over 50% of respondents in this age range (53%) agreed that they were willing to take risks with their finances, while only 29% of respondents aged 30 and above and 35% of all those questioned expressed the same sentiment.

While millennials are more likely to plan big weddings, they are also saddled with rising credit card debt. According to Experian, millennials have, on average, around $4,300 in credit card debt, with that number climbing yearly. It's worse for older Americans, with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers both saddled with more debt than younger Americans, with approximately $6,000 and $7,100 in credit card debt, respectively.

The impact of credit card debt

Before diving head-on into managing credit card debt, it's essential to understand what it is and the implications it can have on your financial well-being. Credit card debt is the amount of money you owe your credit card company based on your card usage. If not managed properly, credit card debt can accumulate high interest rates, leading to financial strain in the long run.

How to plan a wedding with credit card debt

Enough of the doom-and-gloom; here are some practical steps you can take to plan your dream wedding while burdened with credit card debt:

Assess your current financial situation

The first step in planning a wedding while burdened with credit card debt (or any debt for that matter) is to assess your current financial situation accurately.

Start by closely examining your income, expenses, and any existing debt. Calculate your monthly budget and determine how much you can allocate toward your wedding expenses without relying heavily on credit cards. By assessing your financial situation, you will gain a clear understanding of what you can afford and be able to set realistic goals for your wedding budget.

Create a realistic wedding budget

One crucial step in managing credit card debt during wedding planning is creating a realistic wedding budget. This budget is crucial for managing expenses and ensuring the event stays within financial limits.

Here are some tips on creating a realistic wedding budget when saddled with credit card debt:

  • Prioritize your expenses: Identify the key costs of your wedding, such as the venue, catering, attire, photography, and entertainment. Prioritize these expenses based on their significance to you and your partner.
  • Research the costs: Research the average costs of these items in your area and allocate funds accordingly. Remember to include additional expenses such as taxes and gratuities.
  • Consider hidden costs: Besides taxes and tips, think about other hidden costs of weddings. Plan for dress and clothing alterations, vendor meals, wedding insurance, and other expenses.
  • Contingency funds: Set aside a portion of your budget as a contingency fund to cover any unforeseen costs during the planning process, just to be safe.

By setting a budget and sticking to it, you can avoid overspending and accumulating unnecessary credit card debt. It is important to prioritize what matters most and allocate most of your budget toward those aspects of your dream wedding.

Prioritize expenses and cut costs

It's important to prioritize your expenses and find ways to cut costs without compromising the overall experience for you and your guests. Start by identifying which aspects of your wedding are non-negotiable and allocate more funds. For instance, if having a stunning wedding gown is a top priority, consider spending more on your attire and finding ways to save on other areas like decorations or wedding favors.

To reduce costs without sacrificing your vision, think outside the box, get creative with DIY projects, or explore alternative options. By prioritizing expenses and cutting costs where possible, you can avoid accumulating unnecessary credit card debt.

Strategies for managing credit card debt during wedding planning

Managing credit card debt during wedding planning requires strategic thinking and proactive measures. Here are a few strategies to help you stay on top of your finances:

  • Use cash whenever possible: While swiping your credit card for every wedding-related expense may be tempting, using cash can help you stay within your budget and prevent credit card debt from accumulating.
  • Consider a balance transfer: If you already have credit card debt, consider balance transfer options offering lower interest rates. This can help you consolidate your debt and make it more manageable.
  • Monitor your credit card usage: Monitor your credit card statements and track your expenses. This will help you identify unnecessary spending and keep your credit card debt in check.

Paying off credit card debt after the wedding

Once the wedding is over, it's time to tackle your credit card debt. Start by creating a repayment plan that fits your financial situation. Allocate a certain amount each month toward paying off your credit card debt, ensuring you make timely payments to avoid further interest charges. Consider prioritizing the credit card with the highest interest rate to save money in the long run. Additionally, avoid using your credit cards for unnecessary expenses and focus on paying off your debt as quickly as possible.

Seeking professional help: credit counseling and debt consolidation options

If your credit card debt becomes overwhelming, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. Credit counseling agencies can provide guidance on managing debt, creating a repayment plan, and negotiating with creditors. They can also offer debt consolidation options, combining multiple debts into one, making it easier to manage and potentially lower your interest rates. Consulting with a professional can provide you with a clear path toward financial freedom after your dream wedding.

Tips for avoiding future credit card debt

But what about after the wedding? Once your big day passes,keep an eye on debt into the future. To prevent future credit card debt, developing healthy financial habits is essential:

  • Create an emergency fund: Having an emergency fund can help cover unexpected expenses without relying on credit cards.
  • Track your expenses: Keep a detailed record of your spending to identify areas where you can cut back and save money.
  • Avoid impulse purchases: Before making a purchase, take some time to evaluate if it's a necessity or a fleeting desire. Avoid impulse buying to prevent unnecessary credit card debt.

Conclusion: Celebrate your dream wedding without the burden of credit card debt

Your dream wedding should be a special occasion that you can celebrate without the worry of credit card debt. To achieve this, it's important to understand credit card debt, assess your financial situation, create a realistic budget, and prioritize your expenses.

By using cash, monitoring your credit card usage, and seeking professional help if necessary, you can effectively manage your finances while planning your dream wedding. Following these expert tips will allow you to celebrate your dream wedding while also ensuring a financially stable future. Remember, your wedding day is just the beginning of a beautiful journey, and starting it on solid financial ground will bring you peace of mind and pave the way for a prosperous future together.


Results are drawn from YouGov Profiles accessed on Mar. 3, 2024. YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profile data for the U.S. is nationally representative of the online data and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race.