Trying to land a cheap wedding cake for your nuptials is nothing that should make you feel ashamed. The cost of many weddings is astronomical, and couples are wise to try to save wedding money in any way they can. The price tag on a professional wedding cake usually runs from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but it doesn't have to. By using a few key saving strategies and being open to compromise, you can rack up savings on a cake instead of racking up extra debt.
Budget-Friendly Wedding Cake Ideas
Before you try to cut corners on a cake, be honest with yourself about what you really want in the dessert. If you won't be satisfied with anything less than an elaborate, professional themed cake with lots of custom details, it might be wise to seek other areas for savings and splurge on the cake of your dreams. However, if you're content to go with something simpler, you have a lot of options for saving.
A "homemade" cake is usually made by a friend or family member of the bride or groom and provided in lieu of a wedding gift. Homemade cakes can be risky business unless the baker is a professional decorator, but you can't beat the price of a free cake. The amount of design and flavor input you'll have with a homemade cake can vary widely. Some bakers can only promise success with certain parameters in place, but others might be open to suggestions and challenges from the bride and groom.
To guard against any last-minute cake-baking catastrophes, have a backup dessert option ready to go if necessary and ask to taste samples of the cake and frosting recipes ahead of time.
If you think you're up for making your own wedding cake, give it a try. The added responsibility of putting together and decorating a cake right before the big event actually helps some people stay calm and focus on the task at hand rather than feeling stress because of everything else that's happening.An even easier DIY option is buying a pre-made wedding cake from a big-box retailer or large grocery store and embellishing the cake yourself. Add balls of white buttercream frosting, rose petals, edible flowers, homemade toppers, or fresh fruit.
Simple Cake Decorations
It follows that the more special requests and details a cake has, the more expensive that cake will be. Therefore, keeping decorations simple can shave hundreds of dollars off a cake's final cost. In general, buttercream costs less than fondant or ganache, and basic flavors such as vanilla and chocolate cost less than fancier options. A tiered cake with vanilla buttercream and fresh flowers or simple frosting accents and borders won't take a decorator nearly as much time to complete as a custom design, so it will be far more affordable.
Multi-level tiered cakes almost always cost more than flat sheet cakes. Although they may not be as pretty to look at, sheet cakes can feed just as many people as taller cakes, and they can also feature many of the same decorations for a fraction of the cost. If you're having a large wedding and can't stand the thought of displaying a sheet cake at your reception, consider ordering a small, simple tiered cake for presentation purposes and for the wedding party. For the rest of the guests, ask the baker to make a sheet cake or two from the same recipe. Most guests won't care that they're not eating the tiered cake as long as their slice tastes the same.
Cupcakes or Small Cakes
While the price for one large cake can be staggering, the quote for cupcakes or a group of small cakes is usually much friendlier. Using small, cheap wedding cakes at a reception can actually be more advantageous than serving slices of a huge wedding cake because it allows couples a chance to experiment with more flavors and decoration styles. Cupcakes also have a leg up over the competition because they're self-serve, eliminating any potential plating, cutting, or serving fees.
Inexpensive Wedding Cakes Can Still Be Pretty
Cutting cake costs can help keep the overall wedding budget in line while still providing a traditional dessert for the bridal party and guests. With a little imagination you can have a lovely cake and still stay within your wedding budget.