Wedding cakes are a traditional part of most wedding receptions, but they can definitely put a strain on your budget. Specialty cake shops can create masterpieces with simple ingredients, but they charge masterpiece prices as well, often as much as $3-$5 per guest. Many couples planning a wedding on a budget won’t be able to foot that bill.
Below are some ideas that will help you get a cake that looks and tastes great, without busting your budget.
- The easiest way to keep costs down is to keep it simple. Whether your cake is made by a specialty bakery or by your Aunt Susie, a simple cake will be much easier to make and therefore cost less. Avoid labor-intensive decorations, too many tiers, intricate lacing or multiple fillings, all of which drive up the price.
- Most bakeries that do specialize in wedding cakes will charge a premium for their services, so instead check with your regular local bakery. They might not specialize in wedding cakes, but they can often create what you’re looking for and give you a better price. Bakers who aren’t wedding cake specialists usually cost less, and home bakers who don’t have the added expense of a storefront will usually be the best deal. Just be sure to ask for references and see their portfolio. That way you’ll know what to expect.
- If your local grocery store has a bakery, get a price quote from them. One of the best wedding cakes I have ever tasted came from a grocery store bakery. Supermarkets can offer very good cakes for much less than a traditional bakery. While you’re there, check the prices of non-wedding cakes (sheet cakes) as well, and consider that as an option.
- Do something different! My roommate’s sister got married and made her own cake out of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Instead of using traditional cake, she stacked the donuts in tiers and then iced the whole thing. It looked like a regular wedding cake on the outside, but the filling got everyone excited. She got so many compliments on her creative idea.
- Consider using a fake cake as a centerpiece on the cake table. Fake cakes are becoming increasingly popular because of the cost savings. A baker can create a styrofoam cake and then decorate it with real icing and make it look however you want. It looks just like a real wedding cake, but it will cost a lot less. You can pose next to it for pictures and then have the caterer serve your guests from sheet cakes that are plated in the back kitchen. I had some friends who used a fake cake for their wedding and nobody knew the difference.
- If you don’t want to use a Styrofoam cake, you can always have a small, decorated cake for your cake cutting, and then serve a pre-plated sheet cake.
- Have a friend or family member bake you the cake. This is always a tempting option, but don’t expect professional results unless the person baking and decorating is really good.
- If a cake just seems like too much, you can just skip the cake all together and offer a dessert buffet.
- Cake toppers can also be expensive, so consider asking for your topper as a shower gift. You can also go the non-traditional route and try making your own topper by using action figures, modeling clay, or any other method you can think of.