A cake is the stunning centrepiece of your wedding – and cutting it is a magical moment for any couple. A fabulous cake doesn’t have to break the bank, and even if you're on a tight budget, you can you still add a delicious slice of luxury to your day.
Wedding cake worries
Wedding cakes are rarely seen as an optional extra on the big day, and many couples worry about being charged over the odds for a suitably elegant cake. Of course, you can absolutely blow the budget on confection; at last year's Dallas Bridal Show a display cake worth $1.3 million, decorated with clusters of sapphires and 1,200 carats of diamonds, was reported to be the world’s most expensive wedding cake. And even closer to home, cakes can be costly. A luxury cake by one of the UK's most popular designers could cost you in the region of £1,500.
Couples can also stress over transporting the cake and serving it to their guests.
Cutting cake costs
Sponge and chocolate cakes tend to be less expensive than fruit, so always look at every option when choosing your cake. Cupcake towers are incredibly popular and can cut costs dramatically. Most cake designers can give you a quote on cupcakes, or why not consider baking your own, adding romantic or personal designs to the topping.
If you want the look of a tall, impressive cake but don’t want to spend the earth, you can also consider dummy tiers - polystyrene blocks cleverly disguised as lower cake tiers. Or, reduce the cost of your cake by baking your own sponge or fruit cakes, then having them iced professionally.
Buying basic tiers and decorating them yourself is another way to make a saving. Rather than splashing out on expensive decorations, consider fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries look fantastic on a chocolate plated cake) or flowers (freshly cut roses on top of a white tiered cake look beautiful in the summer months, and holly and ivy work brilliantly in winter).
Buying a cake from a high street retailer, rather than a specialist cake maker, also saves money – and you don't have to compromise on quality. M&S have a fantastic range of affordable cakes including the classic Chocolate Rose Cake (£199), a three tiered cake available in white or milk chocolate with a double layer of chocolate flavour icing and a cascade of soft icing roses. You can also build your own traditional wedding cake with prices ranging from £8 - £56. Order your own combination of tiers, available in four sizes, to suit the size and style of your wedding. You can mix and match or even have just one tier for an intimate occasion. Personalising each tier with colour coordinated flowers or decorations will make your M&S wedding cake unique and unlike any other.
If you're ordering a wedding cake, ask about transport as your cake designer may charge extra for delivery and set-up at the venue. You can save money by transporting the cake yourself - and it doesn’t have to be daunting. As long as the cake is constructed on a sturdy base, transportation should be straightforward. If the cake is a standard size, you may be able to buy cake boxes to make life even easier.
Stacked cakes can usually be assembled before they are transported, but if the cake is on pillars you'll need to assemble it at the venue. Rather than carrying the cake from the car to the venue, use a trolley and make sure the venue is prepared for your arrival so you can take the cake straight inside.
Make sure you have a repair kit to hand, just in case anything does go wrong, including extra icing and decorations, and if you need to store the cake at home before it travels to the venue, store it in a cool, dry place in clearly marked boxes to avoid any confusion or disaster.
Once you've cut the cake, a great way of keeping your wedding costs down is to serve it as a dessert during the wedding breakfast. This works particularly well if you choose a Croquembouche or profiterole cake - or anything involving chocolate ganache! Cut the cake after your main course, giving guests the chance to take photos and relax after their meal. As well as keeping the cost of your catering down, serving wedding cake for dessert will also mean that you’ll save money on cake boxes or bags for guests to take home.
Another more unusual option is to switch cake for cheese - and M&S offer a gorgeous Cheese Wedding Cake to serve 100 for £150. Featuring Goulds Cheddar, Farmhouse Red Leicester, Farmhouse Double Gloucester, Blacksticks Blue and Ravens Oak Goats Cheese, this cake looks sensational, particularly stacked with crackers, freshly sliced apple and grape. It’s easy to serve and will give your guests a unique, savoury treat on the big day.
Click here to view hundreds of inspirational wedding cakes – all featured on the hitched.co.uk wedding cake inspiration gallery.