Ways to save money on wedding cakes
I, like many jump with joy at the mere thought of one of the best aspects of a wedding…the cake! However, I understand that you may not yet have the ability to share in my joy due to sticker shock. As one of the final checks on the list, choosing a wedding cake can prove to be a daunting task. You may have reached a point of exhaustion with the planning process, and perhaps have become even more exhausted with the spending process. With that said, let’s make you jump for joy with some money saving wedding cake tips.
- Are you ready to save approximately 20% per cake slice? To do so, simply speak with your caterer and make the request for a display cake. These cakes are typically just one or two tiers, and will serve as the show piece for awesome photo ops. This will be the cake to cut in front of guests, while a sheet cake patiently waits in the back to be served.
- Don’t go nuts with your cake design. In other words, don’t be afraid to keep it simple. Labor costs can kill your budget if you decide to go with an elaborate design. Invest time in to finding a design you truly love without all the extras. Remember, sometimes less is more (emphasis on sometimes. you shouldn’t serve the guests one asparagus spear and a fish stick with the logic of less being more).
- Ditch the sugar flowers. These pretty little flowers may look cool, but the amount of time needed for these creations may not be so cool. Remember, extra labor will mean extra money. Just one sugar flower can take anywhere from a half hour to more than two hours for construction. If flowers are a must have for your cake, then consider fresh or artificial flowers instead.
- Don’t be afraid to serve smaller slices. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, everyone will likely be full from the h’ordeuvres, drinks, and main course long before the cake is served. Therefore, no one will notice the smaller slices, and you can pretend to not notice either!
- Use yummy buttercream. Butter cream is typically a less expensive alternative to the labor intensive fondant. Although you are using a less expensive option, be very careful with cake finish requests. For example, a request for an appliqué finish will yield little savings. Be sure to speak with your caterer/baker for clarity on the costs associated with various finishing options.
- Dare to go bare. “Naked cakes” are becoming an increasingly popular trend. These cakes take far less time and less buttercream than traditional cakes. Simple math problem…1 cake—time—buttercream=more money for the honeymoon!
- If your caterer does not offer the wedding cake at a discounted price, or as part of a package; consider the local boutique bakery instead of a more expensive/popular bakery. The smaller bakery may offer better prices, especially if wedding cakes are not their norm.
- Go for a cake slicing station. This option allows guests to choose from a plated presentation instead of the traditional served presentation. Slicing stations produce an average savings of 10 percent.
- “Fake it ’til you make it”. Hey, I’m sure you’ve done this before in some regard, so why stop now?! Ask your caterer/baker to create artificial cake tiers. This can be done with styrofoam or other materials. Doing so will make your cake appear to be much larger in size, but not in price. After all, the cake visible to the guests is just for show. Remember, you can always have the handy dandy sheet cake in the back!
- Bigger is not always better—don’t be afraid to try a small cake. According to Ramona Osirka, owner of “Perfect Wedding Cake” in Marietts, Georgia; “most couture cakes are small.” Well, there you have it…any phrase with the word couture in front works for me.
- Deconstructed cakes can be fun and surprising to the guests (and of course, less expensive than a traditional cake). Bakers tend to charge for the stacking of cake layers. Opting for a deconstructed cake can yield a savings of approximately 25%.
- It’s ok to be a little square. These cakes typically feed more guests as the cutting style associated with square cakes produces a larger number of servings per tier than its round counterpart.
- Watch your shape (of the cake). Funky cake shapes are more expensive as they require more sculpting work than traditional shapes. Again, more labor=more money!
- Never mind those premium flavors. You will certainly save by sticking to standard flavors for filling and frosting. Hopefully; vanilla, chocolate, and lemon don’t seem so boring now.
- Let’s say standard flavors are just not your thing. Well, choosing standard flavors for larger tiers and premium only for the smaller, will still yield a savings of 10-40%.
- Ribbon isn’t just for presents. Wrap that ribbon around those cake layers for a fast, inexpensive, and really pretty accent. Be creative with color and patterns for an extra flair.
- Don’t go bonkers searching for the perfect cake topper online or in the mall. It can be super fun to make your own, and (drum roll please), much less expensive than purchasing one from Cake Toppers R Us!
- Aprons are cool, so you may want to purchase a new one. Don’t panic, but baking your own cake may prove to be both inexpensive and fun. Enlist the help of loved ones and get cooking Chef!
- Cake shmake…who needs a cake?! Don’t forget that you and your partner can do whatever you wish for the big day, so consider throwing out the cake all together. Talk about saving money on the cake! Pies, cupcakes, and even cookies are all great options as well. Go nuts here, and be creative with desert options. Hey, even nuts are an option.
Also, feel free to hang a photo of the cake you would have chosen with an unlimited budget. Then, tell the guests thank you in advance for contributing to the purchase of your dream cake for the one year anniversary!
Congrats on your big day, and know it will be beautiful no matter what you decide.