How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 02/16/24
How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want

How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 02/16/24
Groom Hacks

Part of the Groom Hacks

How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want

By  Mac Molli
Updated on 02/16/24
*We are grooms helping grooms and love to share our favorite products and hacks with you. If you choose to make a purchase through a link, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Whether you have a lower wedding budget or you’re simply not interested in spending a fortune on desserts for one day, take peace in knowing that there are tons of ways to cut your wedding cake budget in half (pun totally intended). And, if you’re worried individual wedding desserts won’t meet your expectations, we’ve concocted a list of ways to help you decrease the price of your wedding desserts while still allowing you to have exactly what you want.

Inexpensive Wedding Cake Hacks

How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want
So you got your budget, but the traditional wedding cake you are imagining is just a little too much. Instead of biting the bullet and spending more or not getting your dream cake, let’s dive deeper into how to save money on a wedding cake.

Some fantastic budget-friendly wedding dessert ideas include:

  • Order fewer slices than the number of guests. Wedding cakes are priced by the number of pieces, but typically about one out of five guests won’t eat their slice. Meaning, if you’re going to have 100 people there, you can comfortably order a cake for about 80 people, instead of 100 and stay budget friendly without worrying if everyone who wants cake can have some.
  • Ask for smaller slices. You can have the baker show you what atraditional cake slice looks like in comparison to a half slice or even a three-quarters slice before you place your order. Getting smaller slices means you can order a smaller cake. So if you have 100 people coming and you’re planning on getting a cake for 80 people, by ordering three-quarters slices, you can order a cake for 60, bringing the cost down even lower.
  • Have a sheet cake in the back. A common wedding cake hack is to have a small display cake for the cake cutting and pictures while having a plain sheet cake in the back to actually serve to the guests. This can save you about 20% per slice. Guests don’t notice the difference and you get a cheaper option that allows you to have your dream cake–we call that a win, win!
  • Go with the basic flavors. Chocolate and vanilla are not always the most desired flavors compared to honey lavender and caramel apple cider, but they’re certainly the cheapest wedding cake option. 
  • Keep it simple. The most expensive part of a cake is the labor spent on decorating it so try going with more similar options. Pinterest-trending naked cake. Pinterest trending and all the rage right now, naked cakes are almost as simple and easy as it gets. Basically, it’s a cake that has frosting between the layers of cake, but no frosting or fondant on the outside, or a thin layer of frosting on the sides. You’ll often see these kinds of cakes decorated with one or two flowers or figs, rosemary, and pistachios.
  • Talk budget with your baker. The best thing you can do is talk with your baker about your budget and ask what types of decoration they can accomplish in your price range. Discussing what you can afford with your baker ahead of time will help you avoid any surprise costs.
  • Negotiate the cake-cutting fee. Many wedding venues will charge you a cake-cutting fee if you use an unaffiliated baker that’s typically between $1-$3 a slice or you can get a baker associated with the venue to avoid paying extra.

Wedding Cake Alternatives

How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want
Traditional cakes are a great choice, but whether you want to be more unique or you’re really just searching for the best price, exploring a wedding cake alternative can help with all of that. So look into wedding dessert ideas other than cake. Sometimes, depending on location and the bakery, cupcakes, pies, cake pops, rice krispie treats, or doughnuts can be cheaper than getting a wedding cake and they can be just as aesthetically pleasing, especially with a donut wall and fancy hand-made pies on the dessert table. You can also get other desserts to supplement a smaller cake. For example, you can order nicer cookies, such as ones from Levain Bakery. They ship nation wide and are made fresh to order.

Get A Friend Discount

Get a friend discount and ask your friend that likes to bake (and who you know will provide satisfying results) to bake your wedding cake. This is a great alternative to spending a lot of money at a bakery and it instantly becomes more special since you know the person who is making it. Some friends will offer for free, but in most cases compensation for their time and ingredients can be helpful, though still way less than if you were to buy through a bakery.

Forget About The Groom’s Cake

If you’re from the south, you have likely heard of a groom’s cake, which is an extra wedding cake typically served and presented at receptions in honor of the groom. This kind of cake is designed to reflect the groom’s favorite colors, hobbies, sports teams, and so on. Skip the groom’s cake and save all the hassle and money.

Slices of Cake as Wedding Favors

How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want
Instead of shelling out additional money on party favors that no one ever reuses, think about giving your guests a piece of cake to take home with them as they leave by labeling them with guests’ names and seating assignments before passing them out.

Don’t Have Any Kind Of Cake At All

How To Save Money On A Wedding Cake And Desserts Without Sacrificing What You Want
Most brides and grooms don’t even have time to sit and eat their cake on the big night and if it’s really not important to you and your significant other then an expensive wedding cake might not be your thing. Yes, wedding cakes scream traditional, but if you want to save a couple extra hundred dollars and you’re only looking at cakes because your grandma told you to then maybe consider not having any kind of cake at all. 

Cake alternatives are also starting to grow increasingly popular for modern weddings, and instead of a typical wedding cake, you may serve guests cupcakes, doughnuts, pies, and even less conventional desserts like pancakes or an ice cream sundae bar. For instance, the cost of a dozen doughnuts may be around $25, meaning if you needed to buy enough for your full wedding of 150 people, that would come to a little under $325. Now that’s what we’re talking about!

Wedding Cake FAQ:

What is a good budget for a wedding cake?

The average U.S. wedding cake costs about (on the lower end) around $125 and on the higher end, they typically spend upward of $700 or even over $1,000 depending on the size and bakery.

How big of a wedding cake do I need to feed 100 people?

The average 12″ wedding cake serves about 40-60 people while the 10″ cake serves 30-40 people and the 8″ cake feeds around 20-25 people. So a classic 3-tier cake with 12, 10, and 8-inch layers serves about 100 people. Though, depending on your budget, you can do a simple 2-tier cake of 12 and 10 inches and have just enough to feed everyone for a cheaper price.

Why are wedding cakes so expensive?

You’re paying for artistry and experience. Since there is a lot of labor involved with making an elegant cake it can become very pricey. A large, complicated cake design can take months in advance and take days to decorate.

What has the largest impact on the cost of a wedding cake?

The biggest and most expensive part of the wedding cake cost is the number of guests you’ll need to serve. So the more guests you invite the bigger the cake and the more you’ll have to spend.

Who traditionally pays for the wedding cake?

Traditionally, it’s the bride’s parents who pay for the wedding cake, along with the rest of the wedding reception costs, but this doesn’t mean you have to follow this historical precedent as many couples in today’s society choose to pay for their own cake or allow the two families to split costs for the cake and other desserts.

In conclusion, wedding cakes can be very expensive and with so many options and bakeries, so stick to your budget. If you’re struggling with finding a cake or dessert in your price range that you actually want, try making a list of the top most important things you desire in your wedding desserts and go from there, weeding out the ones that are less important until you can get the best cake for your budget. Still stressed? You can find more wedding day advice and tips on our site, The Groom Club, to make sure your special day goes smoothly and in-budget.

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