Who knew wedding cakes were so expensive! … I still remember my jaw drop the first time I got a quote for mine … needless to say, it was a small fortune!
Wedding cakes are an important tradition, so it’s always a good idea to have one on your special day. The cake cutting is often one of the most magical parts of a wedding, and is both a crowd-pleaser and happy photo opportunity.
So you need a cake! ... but if you don’t want to have to sell your right arm to finance one, we’ve come up with a few handy tips on how to get a wedding cake on a budget!
1. Do any of your friends of family make cakes – Ask around .. there’s often a long lost aunt or a retired friend of a friend, who bake cakes as a hobby. While you don’t want to impose anything on them, they can often feel honoured to help you out. Depending on who they are, they may even offer to make it for free, but it’s always nice to offer to pay something, even if it’s only a token amount to cover the ingredients. Off-course if you go for this option, you have to remember they are doing you a favour so you can’t be too fussy about the details of the cake, as they may have limited time and experience. It’s probably best to give them an overall idea and then let them come up with what they can!
2. Use a local bakery – Local bakeries often have highly skilled cake makers in them. This is a step up from asking friends and family, however you will still be restricted on the types of designs and patterns that they can create. They tend not to do a high volume of wedding cakes, so are unlikely to demand exorbitant prices when they do get the odd order.
3. Add it to your catering - The more you buy from your caterer, the more bargaining power you have. Use the cake as a negotiating point, and see if they will chuck it into the food package for free or at a significantly reduced price.
4. Have a small display cake – Order a one or 2 tier wedding cake, and supplement this with trays of sheet cake which is then served to your guests from the kitchen. This can bring the cost of the cake down by 25-30%.
5. Use dummy tiers on your cake – You can ask your wedding cake maker to build dummy tiers of cake (often made of polystyrene) in particular the large layers at the bottom.
6. Simplify your design – extra tiers, sugar flowers, detailed icing & extra piping all add significant labour time and your supplier will naturally charge extra for this. You can still get some fancy looks for less, but its best to discuss this with your cake supplier and let them suggest what they can do for you rather than impose your ideas on them. They all have their own tricks and time saving tips and will have different creative ideas to help deliver a show-stopping cake on a budget.
7. Use fresh flowers instead of sugar flowers – Sugar flowers can take a huge amount of time and will add cost to your design. Your florist should be able to provide some safe fresh flowers that can be used to decorate your wedding cake.
8. Use Buttercream in your cake – The two main choices for cake frosting are buttercream or fondant. Buttercream is the cheaper option as fondant is more difficult to work with & takes a lot more time and effort to get right! It’s worth bearing in mind that buttercream’s softer texture means that it won’t appear as flat as a fondant cake and is also a bit more delicate than fondant which means that it should be kept away from heat and humidity. Flavour wise, buttercream has a richer creamier texture & will melt in your wedding guest’s mouths!
9. Serve smaller Portions – It’s an obvious point but we have a couple of great suggestions that will help you get away with this without looking stingy! You can ask your caterers to cut a small piece and leave alongside a plate of deserts they are serving. Alternatively, why not box up a small piece with your favours bag. You could put some chocolate coins or sweets alongside it
10. Naked Cakes – Why not go for an unfrosted wedding cake and skip the icing! These are called ‘naked cakes’ and have actually been a new dessert trend for the last few years. Naked wedding cakes omit the outside buttercream layer to reveal the rich textures, detail and colours underneath what would have been white icing. Give them a try – naked cakes will save you money as well as being unique and mega cool!
Hopefully we have given you some great tips on how to save money on your wedding cake so you’ll have a bit more money in your pocket for those beach cocktails you will be enjoying on your honeymoon!
Check out our tips on picking your wedding cake