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Planning a wedding can be completely exciting, exhausting and expensive! Planning the honeymoon can bring about the same feelings. Did you know the average wedding costs MORE than $35,000? And that does not include the honeymoon! Now, if you are a little extravagant, like me this number can easily double or triple. I knew I wanted a destination wedding and destination engagement photos in the dreamy city of love – Paris. I had been to Paris multiple times for work, with my mother and with friends, but never with my Love.

I was determined to eliminate as much of the exhausting and expensive parts that I could while making my dream a reality, so I started researching. After a week of intense online research two things were clear. I needed a wedding planner and a way to dramatically reduce the estimated wedding expenses by at least half. After six interviews, I hired a wedding planner. Exhaustion. Check! I felt great about my planner and her limited clientele so she could take as much stress off of me during this process.

During my research I came across a Forbes article about how using a credit card could save you money and give you protection over a series of large purchases leading up to your big day. Now I know what you are thinking, “I don’t want to go into debt for my wedding.” Don’t! Stick to your budget and use credit responsibly by paying it off early and often with your wedding savings, but don’t overspend on items you can get for free either by being stubborn and refusing to make credit work in your favor! My eyes and heart were dead set on Parisian engagement photos, and my fiance was only down if it was FREE! I was up for the challenge and made it happen after reading this article. I know most people are probably more likely to use travel rewards on a destination honeymoon instead of destination engagement photos, hence this blog… BUT if you want to channel your inner Cardi B like me, hopefully this helps you look your fiance in the face and belt out “I CAN GET EM BOTH (for free). I DON’T WANNA CHOOSE!”

Expensive. Check! Enter Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. I applied after reading all the amazing ways this card was about to save us tons of money, foreign fees while traveling to Paris and on our honeymoon. First, the Chase Sapphire Card has a 50,000-point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Yassssss! BUT IT GETS BETTER! That is equivalent to $625 in travel rewards when redeemed with Chase Ultimate Rewards. #Winning! I knew we would knock this out in the first month, let alone 3, just from the deposit for our venue and wedding planner. I mean, this is seriously a no brainer. Think about how many things in your wedding add up to $4,000 during your first 3 months of planning and purchasing – wedding dress, venue deposit, photographer/videographer deposit, band/DJ deposit, catering deposit, engagement party. I could go on and on!

If that wasn’t enough, you earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining out and traveling, which is literally my whole life as evidenced by my IG stories, @TheFallonRice. Now you may cut back on eating out for wedding body prep, but if you are busy, on-the-go, and travel-obsessed like me, this was just icing on the cake. You also earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases, and if you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, their value goes up by 25%. PLUS, you can do a 1:1-point transfer to other travel reward programs you may already be a part of and score free flights, which will reduce the overall wedding budget or even allow you to splurge a little on first-class flights.

Now once we knew we had another round of $4,000 expenses coming up (my dress, wedding DJ, and multiple trips we already had planned over the first quarter of the year), we got my fiance a card too! Another $50,000 sign-up bonus AND 10,000 bonus points for referring a friend! At this point we had enough points for our free flights that we redeemed through Air France, but how were we going to pay for a photographer? Well, my sister, Alyncia Dennis, is a Houston-based, BOMB photographer and founder of Senae Photography who has always wanted to do destination weddings. You already know how that phone call went down.  Not only did we convince her that it would be great practice for her, memorable family time and a trip of a lifetime to come shoot us for free, but great exposure for her business. She reluctantly agreed to leave her hubby and my baby nephew behind for 48 hours. We got another 10,000 points for referring her for Sapphire card and also came along free. As a result of these stunning photos, she is now getting clients begging her to shoot their destination weddings and destination engagement photos, just like I predicted!

Maybe you’re not recently engaged or planning a wedding, but you love to travel or never have due to finances. This card may still be a great way to earn a LOT of points to get you to your dream destination. We chose to start using this card for everyday purchases to earn as many points and rewards during the entire year leading up to our wedding so we could cash out on our honeymoon by booking accommodations or flight or both for the freeski. Every time we buy groceries, gas, or visit the salon/barber shop, it goes on this card! I should mention our credit scores shot up because we were using the card for everything and paying it off every Friday. If you have $1,300-$1,500 in monthly expenses, you should be able to get to $4,000 on this card in 3 months as well, then use your checking account to pay down the card weekly or every time you get paid. If you know you are not responsible, just stop here and don’t even finish reading.

Brides, if you still aren’t convinced this is the strategy for you, you may want check out this article which details all the ways this card can protect you. For instance, what if that bakery files bankruptcy and shuts down 1 week before your big day? Or what if the wedding venue is damaged by a natural disaster and there was no clause in your contract or you neglected to get insurance? At least by using a credit card you can dispute and file a claim with the card company instead of having no recourse with cash you spent months prior. #Checkmate

Whatever you decide, – destination wedding or honeymoon, courthouse or simple church ceremony, elopement or extravagant ceremony – I hope you experience immense amounts of excitement! Stay focused on #ThatPart instead of the expensive and exhausting that is seemingly ever-present during wedding planning.

If you’re already married, GO TAKE A TRIP to celebrate your union! If you’re single, GO TAKE A TRIP and celebrate being alive…plus, you may meet the one 30,000 feet in the air.

 

I want to hear from YOU! Comment below what your dream honeymoon/travel destination is so I can blog about it next!

If you want to start earning YOUR FREE VACAY with the Chase Sapphire card click this link to sign up for your card today.