Since I have reconverted as a wedding cake maker, I have been talking to and helping many brides and grooms to create their dream wedding cake. Sometimes money is no object, sometimes the budget is flexible. Other times, brides ask me to work on a strict budget, which is understandable when you consider that the average cost of a wedding in 2016 is around £25,000, according to Money Saving Expert.
Speaking from experience, from my corner of West Sussex, here are my 5 top tips, which might help you saving money on your wedding cake:
1- Use fresh flowers to decorate your cake. It’s a big wedding cake trend for 2017. This year, in my enquiries I have already had about half of my customers asking for eucalyptus (on natural buttercream tiered wedding cakes), and also blue shades flowers. Blue is big for wedding cakes this year, so big. Oh and peach too.
Your cake maker and your florist will likely work together on arranging the flower mix that’s needed, and often your florist will provide the fresh flowers as part of their service, for less extra than your wedding cake maker sourcing them. An added bonus choosing this option, is the peace of mind that all your flowers will tie together as one theme. I find with roses in particular, it’s otherwise tricky sometimes to be sure that the petals or full roses i might use are really matching the ones used for table decorations and the bridal bouquet. Fresh flowers are also a lot less expensive as time consuming sugarpaste ones, or even chocolate modelling paste flowers, if you are happy the finish and style they will give your wedding cake. Personally I love them. Just make sure you either ask your cake maker or your florist they have checked that all the flowers and foliage they will be using on the cake are not toxic (whether it’s the flowers, leaves or even stems).
2- Ask your cake maker what style of cakes they are making for other brides getting married around your wedding date. Of course you want your wedding cake to be bespoke and reflecting your event. At the same time, if you want to save a little money, opting for a cake with similar details than other wedding cakes your cake maker will be working on at that time, might mean he or she can trim the cost a little as they will be making more of the same/similar details and therefore making the cost per unit lower. Why? Other wedding cake makers might disagree, but I find that it’s less time consuming to make 100 of the same flower for example, than 20 units of 5 different styles. Each time you change decoration style (and even more if you change ingredient- for example sugarpaste to tempered chocolate), you need to spend time putting away your supplies and tools, cleaning, setting up and prepping again. Time is money. I know that if I work with a bride or groom who’s got a set budget, one way to give them a cake with a little more wow factor whilst still making commercial sense to me, is to suggest at least one design closer to another one I am making the same week or so.
3- Keep your cake recipes and flavours simple. You can have a wonderful, delicious and tasty tiered wedding cake with classic flavours that everyone is likely to enjoy, such as a classic Victoria Sponge, a lemon drizzle or a chocolate ganache cake. The more complex and different the recipes you choose for your tiers, the more processes, ingredients, steps, time and therefore money. What I mean is, you don’t have to opt for 1 flavour for all your tiers- of course you can do this, and this too should really trim down costs. But it might not offer you the opportunity to give your guests, and even you and your other half, enough choice to make everyone happy…But if you choose tiers all with buttercream based fillings for example, rather than some with buttercream and some with ganaches, and some with praliné paste, it should keep the cost of your cake on the less expensive side.
4- Go Naked. I am not personally a fan of the truly naked wedding cakes. I find them a little too informal in their style,even for a rustic countryside barn wedding, and more importantly, especially in summer, havaing a tiered wedding cake without any protection around its sides is tempting faith and the risk of a dry cake. What I do like, a lot, are semi naked cakes. A tiered cake with smooth sides, where you can still see the sponge through, and at the same time a very thin coating of buttercream that keeps your wedding cake from any drying risk. Now, semi naked wedding cakes are at the more simple end of wedding cake designs, compared to complex sugarpaste or chocolate creations, and therefore less expensive. There are many, many ways to jazz them up, from adding a dripping effect to touches of metallic gold or silver leaf, fresh flowers, cascading fresh fruits, macarons, colourful mini meringues….
5- Try to choose a local wedding cake maker. Yes, of course, you think i would say that. Let me explain why…I was talking to the event manager of one of the venues I work with regularly in deep Sussex recently. She told me how one of their customers ordered her cake from London. I can understand. The bride lived in London, felt more familiar and reassured by a London supplier. However….Upon realising how much that London cake maker was going to charge her for delivering her wedding cake down to West Sussex, she decided she’d save money and pick up the cake and bring it to Sussex herself. The cake collapsed during the journey. The pastry chef at the venue did an amaxing job to rescue it, but it wasn’t the same. Now it might not have happened. This was an unfortunate incident. And I am totally on the side of the cake maker costing the delivery journey fairly but also so it was commercially viable for them. Again, time is money. My point being, the bride could have opted for a local wedding cake maker. I don’t know about all counties, but down here in Sussex there are plenty of very talented, reputable wedding cake makers offering a wide range of styles and price range. A local cake maker would most probably deliver the cake themselves and set it up as part of their service, at a fraction of the cost, avoiding unecessary stress, high delivery costs and complications.
Hope this helps with your wedding planning. If you have any questions related to your wedding cake, feel free to get in touch and ask me. I am alway more than happy to help if I can. You can find me on Twitter @lauremoyle on a daily basis, pop a comment on my Facebook page (PuddingFairy) or drop me an email at email@example.com . Happy wedding planning!