How to Maximize Your Wedding Cake Budget


Weddings can get expensive quickly.  Unless you know the tricks for every trade you could be missing out on some money saving facts.  Working in the industry, I had an idea of a realistic budget for our wedding and it is amazing how quickly and easily that budget can be met.  That perfect five tier wedding cake you have pinned more than once on Pinterest could send your budget flying out of the window.  Don’t worry though!  There are a few tricks that some bakers will offer that can significantly reduce the cost of your dream cake!


Diamond vs. Cubic Zirconia

Let’s talk about that beautiful tiered wedding cake you have your eye on.  A typical three tier cake with tier diameters of 6″, 9″, and 12″ (like the cake shown above) feeds 91 people (assuming you want to save your top tier).  The more tiers you add on the more people you feed and you can watch the cost go up exponentially.

Trending now in cake decorating are giant tiers called double barrel cakes (shown above) as well as cakes with lots of tiers – the more tiers the more canvas for some beautiful flowers *swoon*.  Unfortunately, these types of cakes are expensive to the max!  Bakers spend so much more time and ingredients on these designs which rack up the charges.

So how can you achieve your perfect cake within your budget without sacrificing design?  Well, a lot of bakers offer fake cake tiers.  Yes, FAKE cake.  Most of those perfect cakes you see trolling around on the internet are actually fake.  This allows bakers to participate in style shoots without spending countless hours on the baking process since the only thing published is the outside of the cake.

Fake cakes, like the one above, look JUST like real cakes except inside is a styrofoam dummy cake.  They can be decorated with icing or fondant and sometimes even allow bakers to create designs that are impossible to achieve on real cakes.  If your wedding cake baker agrees to replace a tier (or two) with dummy cakes you could be saving so much money.  Your cake will look just like a diamond but at the CZ price!

Fake cakes completely remove the entire baking portion of those tiers which, in turn, saves the baker time and money.  So, when you reach out to your baker, ASK!  It never hurts to throw an idea out there… the worst they could say is “no”.

What They Don’t Know…

Does that three tier cake spark your eye but you quickly realize it won’t feed all 150 guests?  Adding another tier would be a simple solution but also a costly solution.  So, what can you do?

Purchase a sheet cake.  It sounds so simple but then you think “wait, I don’t want a sheet cake sitting out at my wedding… this isn’t a birthday party”.  Don’t worry!  Coordinate with your caterer or venue and have the sheet cake in the kitchen… out of sight, out of mind.  Once you cut the wedding cake, that boring sheet cake will be sliced in the back of house and brought out to your guests.  Your guests will have no idea their slice didn’t come from the tiered wedding cake.

There are quite a few advantages to sheet cakes.  One, you can have multiple flavors.  When couples mention they want more than one flavor combination I usually suggest they get more servings than  people.  This allows cake lovers to have a slice of each flavor (aka Cake Heaven!).  The sheet cake instantly adds the ability for another flavor and feeds tons of people.

Secondly, your cake can be dispersed to your guest quickly.  The servers can already have the cake plated and ready to serve while you cut your cake allowing service to begin immediately.  I mean who doesn’t want their cake quicker?

The down side of a sheet cake?  Some bakers hate this idea.  It takes them just as long to bake a sheet cake as an extra tier but they charge less for it.  If you have an amazing wedding cake baker that doesn’t make sheet cakes don’t turn up your nose.  Order your beautiful and perfect cake from them and find a bakery that makes TONS of sheet cakes daily and order just the sheet cake.

Icing vs. Fondant

If you are looking for that perfectly smooth cake and think fondant is the only way to achieve this then watch your wallet empty right away.  Fondant is expensive.  Not only is the product itself expensive, but working with fondant is time consuming for every baker.

When brides send me pictures of the cakes they love they are shocked to learn that over half of them are icing cakes.  They were positive every cake they picked out was fondant.  If a baker has been icing cakes for a while they know the struggle of the perfectly smooth and sharp edged icing cake but with lots of practice it becomes second nature.

Icing cakes cake look just as smooth as fondant in most cases and is significantly less expensive.  Make sure when you show your baker pictures of your favs ask them if that cake can be made with icing instead of fondant.  Most of the time it can!

Which of these tips will you use?


Are you hungry yet?