Wedding cake is a much-loved tradition, and the cutting of it provides a great photo opportunity. If you want an amazing cake but have a tight budget, here’s everything you need to know about cutting the cost of the cake, from making your own to decorating and displaying shop-bought cakes to fabulous effect.
It’s traditional to have a wedding cake and these days, anything goes. So, if the usual tiered fruit cake doesn’t float your boat, there are plenty of other options. Consider cupcakes, or a vanilla sponge cake, rich chocolate fudge cake, carrot cake or a mixture of all three with a different flavour for each tier.
Cutting the Cost of the Cake
If your budget is tight then there are several ways you could cut corners, from ordering a smaller or more simple cake from a specialist to making the cake yourself. There are halfway measures too, where you could buy a pre‐iced cake and decorate it, either using bought decorations or by making them yourself.
Serving your wedding cake as dessert will also save on wedding breakfast costs. There are so many good things about making your own wedding cake or having a close friend of family member make one for you. Not only will it save you money but you’ll be able to do it your way. You could make it organic or gluten-free and personalise it any way you choose.
To save on the cost on a table centerpiece, place cards and dessert, you could make your own cupcakes which you decorate with each guest’s name, either in icing or by placing a pre‐written or printed piece of card on top. Display them on a pretty cupcake stand in the centre of each table and serve them as dessert with cream to pour over the top during the wedding breakfast.
It may seem a bold step to take but with a good recipe and a practice run (or two) you can make an impressive looking wedding cake all by yourself, or with the help of your mother, fiancé or best friend. Making your own cake can save you hundreds of pounds and imagine the sense of pride and achievement you’ll have when you tell your guests that you made the wedding cake yourself! The first step to making your own cake is to decide what kind of a cake you would like – whether you’d prefer a traditional fruit cake, a simple sponge, a tasty carrot cake, chocolate cake or individual cupcakes.
If you’re not a seasoned cake maker then it may be best to choose an easy recipe for your first attempt so check out wedding cake recipes online at sites such as BBCGoodFood.com. Make sure you find a recipe for a cake big enough to feed all your guests ‐ each guest should have at least one slice, either to eat at the wedding or to take away with them. Leave yourself enough time to make and decorate it without rushing – getting up early on the morning of your wedding to make a cake is a definite no‐no!
A wedding cake looks best when shown off to full effect on an elegant cake stand to give it height and presence. Pretty cupcakes look impressive and pretty piled onto a tiered cupcake stand displayed in the centre of each table, removing the need to buy separate centerpieces – another saving.
If you’re planning to make one big cake then you’ll also need a cake board to sit it on ‐ the mirrored ones look lovely and come in round or square shapes. If you’re making individual cupcakes then you’ll need enough cases to bake them in and some ribbon or cupcake toppers to decorate each one. Sparkly butterfly trims look beautiful on top of little cupcakes dressed in pretty decorative wrappers.
This is where you can get seriously creative! If making your own sugar flowers doesn’t sound quite up your street then there are other options when it comes to decorating your masterpiece. Add a cute bride and groom cake topper: these are seriously retro cool and you can get amusing mini‐me style toppers like the “Oh no you don’t!” cake topper depicting the groom trying to get away or mix and match to find a blonde haired bride to go with a dark haired groom or vice versa as needed.
If a cake topper is not your style then fresh, silk or paper flowers, pearl beaded hearts or sparkling diamante butterfly trims are a simple decoration which will also match your colour scheme. Jewels and beads or more unusual little white dove trims can be used to great effect. They can also be added to invitations, napkins and favours to continue your theme. Satin ribbons can really make a wedding cake look special so look out for a ribbon in your colour scheme to tie around the base or around each tier.
When your cake has been displayed to your guests and the time comes for you and your groom to take a silver cake knife together in your hands and cut the first slice, there’ll be a cheer from your guests and the sparkles of camera flashes as all your nearest and dearest capture the moment forever.
Don’t forget to send a slice of cake to any guests who couldn’t make it and have cake bags or boxes for any extra cake that guests may want to take away with them. There are special post it cake boxes for sending cakes to friends and family.
Helpful points to remember when choosing a wedding cake supplier! Photo courtesy of Shaw Shots Selection and presentation What kind of cake would you like - traditional fruitcake, sponge cake, etc? How…
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.