|Belles On A Budget: A How-to Site for Weddings on a Budget||
Let Them Eat Cake
Photo: Richard Prenger
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t find a good deal on a cake. There are plenty of ways to have your cake and eat it too! (Sorry- we just can’t resist!)
1. Ask around for small local bakeries and independent bakers. You can often get more bang for your buck with smaller businesses like this. That woman your aunt knows from church that makes wedding cakes could actually be a good option, and for a fraction of the cost. Just make sure to see pictures and have a tasting, cause you wouldn’t want to miss out on that!
2. Mix and match to find the best price. Once you’ve fallen in love with that bakery, play around with the flavor combinations that you want to find that perfectly yummy budget friendly combination. One or two flavors or fillings may be significantly cheaper than several, and sticking with classic flavors (versus premium ones) could let you save big as well.
3. Go for a Friday. Some bakeries give discounts for weekday weddings too! If you are having a wedding during the week, as your baker for a discount- this means they can sell multiple wedding cakes in a week, which is good motivation to offer you an incentive!
4. The sheet cake trick is always an option. We know you’ve heard it before, but it still works- an easy way to cut costs on a cake is to have a small decorative cake for cutting and then have caterers serve slices of a sheet cake. This is definitely a good way to cut costs, but no judging here if you just can’t give up that show-stopping cake- it is still possible on a budget
5. Size Matters: Opt for a slightly smaller cake. Look to see where the price breaks are, and then choose the less expensive one. Is a cake serving 125 significantly cheaper than 150? Then go for it! No really- it’s okay! Not all of your guests will eat the cake anyway, especially if you have another dessert option, and some people will share one slice of cake. (And if you are worried, you can always tell your bridesmaids and good friends that they need to get their cake last!).
6. So does shape…Ok we know you love stars, but your cake probably does not have to be in the shape of one. Sticking to classically elegant round or square layers will be much cheaper than special designs and shapes. (Also ask your bakery if square or round will be cheaper and consider serving size! Square layers typically serve more than round ones.)
7. Lose the trimmin’s (they really don’t matter that much anyway). Sticking to simple and elegant decorations can save you loads of that hard-earned cash. Sugar flowers? Expensive! Going with some fresh (pesticide-free) flowers or a cute cake topper (that you got on sale, of course) will cut down these decorative costs. Same with intricate icing decorations and fondant stripes and patterns. These will make the price of your cake skyrocket, so go with a classically simple but stylish look.
8. Be creative. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, try small cakes at each table. Select a simple white or chocolate cake, decorate it with a few pesticide-free flowers, monogram cake topper or both, and place it on a cake stand in the middle of the table. Having 10 or so of these small cakes could actually be cheaper than a large bakery made cake, especially if you option for an inexpensive but delicious ready made cake like these from Safeway, Whole Foods, or Costco. There are also some added budget-friendly benefits- Having each table cut their own avoids any cake cutting fees charged by your reception venue and the cakes on a pretty stand serve as table centerpieces, eliminating centerpiece costs.
9. Serve cupcakes instead. We’ve all seen the recent wedding trend of beautiful and delicious looking cupcake trees, platters, or centerpieces instead of a traditional wedding cake. Besides being trendy, selecting cupcakes can also be a cheap alternative to that big cake! Talk to your baker about cost per person for cupcakes versus cake, or buy cupcakes from the bakery department of your local supermarket or wholesale store and appoint a creative friend to arrange them the day of your wedding.
10. Check local grocery stores and supermarkets. Think Whole Foods, which makes some of the best cake (and cupcakes!) ever and costs less than specialty bakeries or food clubs like Costco or Sam’s- they also make some wedding cakes, but are especially good for cupcakes.
11. Communicate! Love that first baker but she’s a little over your price range? Talk to your baker, express your love of her work, but explain your budget restrictions. Maybe she has the perfect solution!
12. Go amateur- Ask around for names of friends/family members/friends of friends who can make special occasion cakes or delicious cupcakes or see if you know someone willing to take a cake decorating class to learn (they are offered for free or cheap at stores like Michael’s and A.C. Moore) and have them make it for you at cost or as a wedding gift to you.