An overseas wedding is typically planned in three ways:
- Hiring a professional wedding planner that specializes in overseas weddings, like Sarah Haywood.
- Hiring a wedding planner in the country the wedding will be held in.
- Do-it-yourself style planning armed with nothing more than an iPhone.
Regardless of which method you end up selecting the odds are pretty high that you will need to make some international payments (aka foreign transactions). In this guide, we’ll break down two of the most used methods of payment when it comes to an overseas wedding. We will also take a closer look at their pros and cons.
Using a credit card
People often default to their credit card out of habit and convenience. Making a foreign transaction with a credit card will typically get you charged in two ways.
- An international transaction fee, which is usually between 1% and 3%
- The currency conversion rate itself
This cost can add up quickly, particularly for payments under $1,000 but some people are willing to dismiss it for the convenience.
Paying directly into a bank account
If the amount you’re sending is above $1,000 it’ll generally be cheaper to transfer the money directly into a bank account.
When you take this approach you can use your bank or a money transfer specialist. Both banks and money transfer specialists will charge two types of fees. One is simple whilst the other is a bit more complicated.
- Transfer Fee. The big four banks in the US charge between $35 and $45 dollars but offer a lower fee if you do it online instead of going into a branch. Money transfer companies charge around $5 to $10 and many of these companies (including OFX and HiFX), don’t charge a transfer fee if you are sending more than $5,000.
- The Exchange Rate Margin. This is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate (like on xe.com) and the actual rate you are receiving.
One need not be a mathematician to realize the exchange rate margin can make an enormous difference on large transactions.
Reducing the cost of your overseas wedding by getting a better exchange rate
As we’ve noted, paying for wedding expenses via bank transfer or credit card can be expensive. OFX has a solid track record for these types of payments. They offer a fee-free service, bank-beating exchange rates and have excellent customer service. Click here to find out more about our review on OFX.
Whether you’re paying a deposit or the whole wedding at once, controlling the fees and getting a good exchange rate are keys to paying for it successfully.