When it comes to choosing your wedding cake, there are SO many options to choose from. Do you dress it up in fondant, layer it with buttercream or strip it down and serve it naked? Luckily for us, having so many types of wedding cakes to choose from means you can definitely find a wedding cake that fits within your budget! While you can always opt for wedding cake alternatives such as cupcakes, cake pops or macarons, when it comes to tradition, the wedding cake takes the cake. These tips will help you to find the perfect wedding cake for your budget without sacrificing those super sweet bites.
1. Go Easy on the Sugar Flowers
Most bakeries and cake decorators will charge by the amount of labor required for the cake design. Elaborate designs (such as those stacked with sugar flowers) will definitely provide the drama you’re after, but will also drive up the cost. If you’re looking to save money on your wedding cake, get a similar effect by simplifying the design. If there’s a ornate or difficult wedding cake design you’re lusting after, consider asking your baker to modify it to help reduce the price. For example, choosing one large statement flower as a focal point can really make an impact. Or, ask for a few larger flowers such as calla lilies or hydrangeas, which will be a less expensive alternative to smaller, time-consuming blooms. These require less work, and therefore less money!
2. Fewer Tiers
If your guest count is in the hundreds, you may have thought you need to go all out and display a six-tier cake at the reception. However, remember that each tier requires more time and will add to the price per person. If you’re looking to cut back on costs, reducing the amount of tiers will definitely help your budget. You can display a smaller version of your favorite design, and use that for the cake cutting. In the back, your caterers will have secret sheet cakes with all the same flavors, which can then be served to supplement the main cake. Read more about how much a wedding cake costs and how many tiers you’ll need here!
3. Fondant vs. Buttercream
If you’re looking for a perfectly smooth wedding cake, the answer is most commonly fondant. Most bakeries prefer to use fondant as it’s pliable, easy to design with and produces an elegant finish. You can achieve a similar look for a little less money by choosing to ice your cake in buttercream. Most skilled bakers can work the buttercream so you still have that perfectly refined look. Though it may be a little more rough around the edges, your cake will for sure have it’s own character. Plus, in our opinion buttercream actually tastes better than fondant (and you have more flavor options), so you’ll not only save money, but your guests will enjoy a more delicious cake as well. A win-win!
4. Go Naked!
Naked cakes (or cakes without an outer frosting) are a recent trend within the wedding industry that are becoming more common, particularly at rustic weddings. Not only are they something new and a point of conversation for guests, but they are just as tasty (and we think gorgeous!)! If you’re open to all options, consider stripping your cake of its frosting. Doing so will save your baker time and money, and the savings will be passed on to you. If you are choosing a naked cake, you can still have traditional tiers with layers of buttercream or filling in between. And guess what? Your guests won’t be left feeling like they missed out on the frosting. It’ll just be neatly tucked away inside instead!
5. Smaller Portions
By the time your cake cutting rolls around, your guests may have already enjoyed a cocktail hour, first course, second course and entrée. Plus, you may even have another plated dessert waiting at their seat. In other words, your wedding guests are NOT starving. Cut back on costs by serving portions one half or a third of the standard size. Many guests won’t even notice the difference, and they will still get a taste of those wedding cake flavors you spent so much time picking out.
6. Dress it Up!
Picking up a plain white store-bought wedding cake might sound boring, but once you realize how many things you can do to dress it up, you might be running out to your nearest Kroger or Publix to buy one. By adding real or faux/dried flowers (such as lavender) or greenery to a plain white cake, you can make your wedding cake look way more expensive than it actually is. Just think of it like throwing on a sparkly top and heels with your favorite pair of jeans! This would be a perfect solution for a rustic barn wedding or even a dressy garden or estate wedding venue.