Because of my recent engagement, my mind has started processing ways to have an engagement and wedding on a tight budget. While I’m willing to forgo several traditions to have a cheap and unique wedding, there are a few things I’d still like to incorporate into my own big day.
One of the main wedding traditions is the cake. Unfortunately, this can be very expensive. While wedding cake experts do beautiful work and should be paid for the time and talent they put into these creations, not everyone can afford these elaborate, extravagant cakes.
Even for small weddings, the cake is one of the most important parts of the celebration. Whether it’s because of the tendency to celebrate with food or the simple strength of tradition, it’s one that most brides (and grooms) seem reluctant to ignore. Luckily, there are several frugal alternatives to high priced wedding cakes. Here are five ideas that that may help you keep with tradition without going broke.
1. Buy from a local chain store bakery -Though you may want to use a local bakery, you’ll find that their costs are much higher. If you can’t strike a deal with a local cake maker, don’t hesitate to see what the chain bakeries like Wal-Mart or Dillons/Kroger offer in the way of cakes. They’ll often make large sheet cakes at a fraction of the cost of a professionally made one that will still look elegant and taste great.
2. Make Your Own – Even if you don’t bake often, you can still make your own cake with just a little patience and a few ingredients. There’s nothing wrong with buying a box mix and ready to eat frosting from the store. If you want something from scratch, find a recipe and practice before the big day. Even if you have to make three practice cakes before getting it right, you’ll still spend less than you would on a professionally done wedding cake. Making it yourself will add something special for both you and your guests.
3. Have a “Cupcake” Cake – This is my personal favorite and the one I plan to use for my own wedding. Cupcakes are cheap and easy to make, and they lend themselves to a lot of creativity. Make and decorate them yourself or invite the wedding party and friends over to help. Not only can you pick and choose a variety of flavor combinations between the cakes and frosting, but when it comes time to serve it up at the wedding, there will be a lot less hassle and mess as guests can just grab and go.
4. Ask for a wedding cake gift – A relative of mine who makes cakes will often only ask for the cost of the ingredients and will offer labor as part of the bridal gift. The ingredients may seem costly if it’s going to feed a lot of people, but keep in mind that the labor can run into the hundreds of dollars. If you have a friend or relative that does cakes, let them know that you’re working with a tight budget, and they may be willing to make you the cake of your dreams at a discount price or even for free as a wedding gift.
5. Find a local baking college or class – Not everyone feels comfortable putting their wedding cake in the hands of a novice baker, but if you’re feeling wild and crazy, this could be an inexpensive way to have a great cake. Contact a local college or culinary class to see if there are any students willing to take on the project. There may be a small fee, but since professionals aren’t doing it, you’ll save a lot of money. Keep in mind that this could be risky, so get some references and reassurance from the instructors before putting any money down.
Be creative! Don’t stress about changing up the tradition, and you can find a wedding cake that won’t eat up your full wedding budget.