3 Smart Ways to Use Credit Cards to Help Offset Wedding Costs

This might sound like the worst idea, but sometimes putting some wedding costs on a credit card can actually make good financial sense. You just need to be careful with how you use it.
08/15/2014 06:57 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2014

This might sound like the worst idea, but sometimes putting some wedding costs on a credit card can actually make good financial sense. You just need to be careful with how you use it.

Most people think of credit cards as a slippery slope when it comes to big purchases, with interest rates and fees adding up to put you in debt. The problem is, most people don't realize that if they pay the balance of their credit card off every month on time, they won't be hit with those interest rates or fees.

This works perfectly for wedding spending. If you already have the money to pay for the wedding, using a credit card for the rewards can have huge benefits if you plan to pay off the balance right away. Here are three ways to use credit cards to help pay for your wedding.

Get Cash Back Rewards to Help Pay for the Wedding

If you need some help paying for the wedding, a cash back credit card can be a huge benefit. These credit cards will give you cash back for every dollar you spend and, in some cases, up to five percent cash back, depending on what you use the credit card to buy. Some credit cards offer higher rewards for spending on grocery stores or gas, while others will give you more rewards for shopping online. Regardless, you will at least be getting cash back for every dollar you spend.

The key to making the most cash back from your purchases is knowing your rewards. Pick a card that will give you the most cash back for what you will be buying. While most credit cards won't give you extra cash back for charging your catering or DJ, some cards will give extra cash back on department store purchases (for rehearsal clothing or wedding party gifts) or online purchases (for invitations or party favors). Some store-branded credit cards, like the William Sonoma card, even offer great cash back rewards on your registry. Do some research and find the credit card that will work best for your wedding.

Get Travel Rewards for Your Honeymoon

If you have big plans for your honeymoon, using a travel rewards credit card to charge some of your wedding costs can pay off. The best travel credit cards will offer 2x the points for every dollar you spend, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Plus Elite MasterCard. Putting a large balance on your credit card from your wedding costs can rack up a huge amount of points, which can translate into possible free flights or free hotel stays for your honeymoon.

If you already know your honeymoon plans, you can also apply for a loyalty credit card like a United Airlines card or a Starwood hotels card. These usually offer more points for buying flights and hotel stays within the brand. The only problem with these cards is there are usually restrictions when it comes to using your points, where general travel cards like the Barclaycard allow you to use your points to pay for any travel expenses already on your card, which means no black-out dates or restrictions. As with the cash back cards, you should make sure that you are able to pay off the balance immediately, otherwise the fees and interest that you might accumulate could outweigh the benefits of the rewards.

Get a 0% Intro APR Card to Pay for the Wedding Later

Not sure you can afford your dream wedding now? If you plan on postponing paying for part of your wedding, getting a 0% intro APR credit card might be a good idea. A 0% intro APR basically translates to no interest charged on your balance for a period of time. These credit cards let you pay for a big balance without generating interest for up to a year and a half. As long as you are paying off the minimum balance each month, you won't be charged interest for as long as the 0% intro APR period is in effect. Discover it card now offers a 0% intro APR for 14 months, so that might be a good card to consider.

If you've already put a lot of your wedding costs on a current credit card, you can also apply for a balance transfer credit card with a lengthy 0% intro APR so you can stop paying interest on those wedding costs. If you are going to transfer a balance, the same Discover card also offers a different version of their it card that gives you a 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers. Just keep in mind that most balance transfer credit cards charge a balance transfer fee, which is based on how much money you are transferring. As long as the balance transfer fee is less than the interest you would accrue by not transferring, a balance transfer is still a good idea.

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