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How To Save Money On Your Wedding Cake: 6 Tips That Are Friendly to Your Budget (And the Planet!)

Wedding Tips

Today is Pi Day and while it seems blasphemous to talk about anything but pie, we want to chat about one of the classic wedding traditions. The wedding cake.

Unless you have a major sweet tooth like us, most clients invariably ask “Do I have to have a cake?”. Team, it’s your wedding day and you don’t have to do anything you want to do. Most of the time, clients want a cake but the biggest objections (short of not wanting to get cake smeared all over their face) are the cost and the possibility of excess not getting eaten.

Wedding cakes can carry a higher price and no one wants to see beautiful cake leftovers thrown away – including us! Making wedding cakes is an art and generally requires more labor than other dessert options. We know the value of a wedding cake bakery’s services, so while we don’t suggest asking your baker to discount their services or their cakes here are a few mindful ways you can save money and on your wedding cake while considering the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle – I know you remember that from elementary school).

Ask your baker if they charge less for sheet cake.

If your not committed to having your tiered cake serve your guests see if your baker can make a small cutting cake and having the remainder be cut from sheet cakes of the same flavor.  Not all bakeries offer the option of charging less for sheet cakes, but it’s always worthwhile to ask.

Similarly, it pays to be conservative when ordering cake quantities. Depending on your family and friends you may not need to order cake for your whole guest count – especially if you’re offering other dessert options. This is the easiest way to make sure your beautiful confection doesn’t end up thrown away at the end of the evening.

Leave the cake decor to nature.

Not interested in a custom cake topper?  Ask your florist if they can provide a few extra flowers for the cake, or use fresh fruit as decor.  If you go the floral route have a clear plan for who is going to decorate the cake. Sometimes the florist has departed before the cake arrives – so make sure to ask!

If you know you want a cake topper – consider something eco-friendly instead of plastic. Reuse a cute vintage topper, DIY something from sustainable materials, or check out this adorable polaroid topper.

Keep it simple.

Adding on custom decor, fondant and multiple flavors add on to cost.  Unless you have a flavor that you love or set on a fondant cake, keep it simple with vanilla, chocolate and traditional buttercream frosting.

When selecting your bakery – shop local and support your community. Even if you opt for a simple cake instead of fondant or gold accents – it’s always a good to invest in quality vendors and quality ingredients. Ask your baker where they source their ingredients. Opt for natural dyes and all-natural ingredients.

Photo by Christina Bernales / Cake by Mezze Catering

Photo by Christina Bernales / Cake by Mezze Catering

Before committing to a cake check in with your venue to see if they charge a cake cutting fee.

If your venue provides wedding cakes and you choose to bring in a cake from another vendor, a cake cutting fee may be applied for the labor of slicing your cake.  Some venues charge this fee regardless of who makes the cake, and some don’t charge this fee at all. It’s important to ask up front to avoid any surprise fees later on!

In talking with your venue (and/or caterer) ask what they do with leftover food – including cake. Ask to have any leftovers packaged for you. If you’re not able to take leftovers – ask for them to be donated! Having a cute to go option like these compostable cake to go boxes are a great addition to make sure your guests get a slice of any leftover cake!

Ask your venue or event planner if they own a cake knife and spade for you to use to cut your cake.

Most do (I personally keep two sets in my car). This will save you from having to purchase a set if you’re not interested in keeping them as a keepsake, reducing costs and resources.

Have a dessert station in addition to cake!

Wedding cakes are an art and involve a lot of labor – which is why they often cost more than other dessert options.  If you’d like to have cake but can’t afford cake for 200 you can always purchase a smaller cake and supplement a dessert station with cupcakes, donuts, pie, you name it!

Don’t feel like budgeting for a cake makes sense for you? That’s okay! Remember – it’s your wedding. You’re not required to adhere to tradition if it’s not something that matters to you or you’d rather spend the money elsewhere.  If you’d prefer to cut a ceremonial pie or have cupcakes or a self-serve candy station – it’s all good! It’s important that your choices – including your dessert – reflect you and your (sugary) preferences. With these tips in mind you may be able to save a little money, and make sure your celebration includes Mother Nature.

Shannon Cruise Ramon

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