Budget-Friendly Cake Tips
When it comes to iconic wedding elements, the cake is right up there with the rings and white dress. But just like those classic wedding it can also feel just as pricey. If budget is a concern, check out these sweet suggestions for cutting costs.
Have Your Cake
Is your heart set on a traditional stack of tiers?
A cake’s design is what increases the cost most, says Janell Brown, founder of Salt Lake City-based One Sweet Slice, a winner of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” To the point, a simple, sleek and solid-color silhouette will be far more affordable than an elaborate recreation of the towering royal wedding cake, lots of intricate details (think everything from lattice work and cut-outs, to luster-dusted fondant sequins or a frenzy of tiny sugar flowers), and hand-painting or airbrushing. Luckily, streamlined design also is quite chic and current, especially if you incorporate a non-edible statement topper or on-trend paper accents.
At popular and prolific Palermo’s Custom Cakes & Bakery, which serves New Jersey, New York City, Eastern Pennsylvania and Western Connecticut, they strive to work with every couple, whether the budget is $300 or $3,000. “We love to make beautiful cakes, no matter what price,” says owner Jerry Bruno. To help out budget brides, the bakery put together a list of ways to save. At the top? Buttercream frosting is less expensive than fondant. You might find this a happy accident, as most people think buttercream is tastier. Just keep in mind that if your wedding takes place during the warmer months, a buttercream-covered cake will be better off in an indoor venue or kept in a cool place until right before its cut. You also won’t be able to get the same pristine finish as fondant, so consider more rustic-inspired designs.
In addition, while any time-consuming details will bulk up the bill, Palermo’s notes that handmade fondant flowers easily are the priciest. Consider fresh blooms instead – orchids, Billy Balls and succulents can offer a similar clean and sculptural effect.
Back to Basics
Palermo’s suggests going with a smaller guest count when deciding on the size of your cake. Be honest with your baker, but the reality is that some guests may leave early or opt not to eat cake. Delivery charges also can add to the cost, so pick a vendor who’s located close to your venue.
“If cash is tight, like it was for me and my husband when we got married, I would suggest getting a simple one- or two-tier cake for the traditional look but then add basic cupcakes or sheet cakes as the way to feed the guests,” says Brown. “The cost per serving should drop by over 50 percent.”
Cupcakes could make for a beautiful presentation, but keep sheet cakes in the back and have the caterer serve slices. You also could augment a cutting cake with personal favorites like old-fashioned candy, cookies, brownies, pies and filling cheesecakes. All the rage right now, dessert tables look lavish, but can cost less overall.
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