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How to Trim Wedding Cake Costs Without Compromising Elegance

a beautiful white wedding cake from a recent Rhode Island wedding hosted at Kirkbrae Country club

You’ve exchanged vows and shared your first kiss. But your wedding day still has several beautiful moments to come, including your cake-cutting. Let's explore some wedding cake ideas without having to break the bank

Like all expenses at a wedding, cakes can come in a full spectrum of prices – and they aren’t always cheap. But that doesn’t mean you need to compromise or cut back to have a gorgeous wedding cake – you just need to think outside the box.

Below, find budget-friendly and unique wedding cake designs to save money.

What does the average wedding cake cost?

According to The Knot, the average wedding cake costs around $540. This is up 6% from 2022’s average of $510. But, of course, several factors can influence the overall cost of your cake, including:

  • The size. A large multi-tiered cake will cost more than a single tier or smaller tiers
  • The ingredients. Cakes with multiple flavors may cost more than single-flavor cakes since the baker will need to use more ingredients. Specialty recipes, like vegan or gluten-free cakes, may also use more expensive ingredients.
  • The decorations. Cakes with more elaborate decor styles, like ombre frosting or sculpted cake, will require more hours to complete. So, they generally rack up a higher price tag than simple wedding cake designs.

Unique wedding cake ideas to save money

If you need to save money on your wedding cake, the following ideas and tips could help you design a gorgeous dessert, for less.

DIY your wedding cake

If you or a close friend are comfortable in the kitchen, try rolling up your sleeves and baking your own wedding cake. The overall cost can vary based on the size, flavors, and decorations you want. But you can get by with around $43 for basic ingredients for three 9x13 cakes. In other words, you can bake a cake yourself for around 1/10th of what the average professional cake costs.

Go for frosting over fondant

According to Wedding Wire, a professional baker charges around $4 per slice for frosting, while fondant starts at $5 per slice. A dollar per slice may not seem like a big difference, but it could save $50 on a cake for 50 guests. And, the savings only multiplies for larger cakes!

Use alternate decorations

Beyond foregoing the fondant, you can also save money on the overall cost by choosing decorations that require less time and effort from your baker. For example, instead of covering your cake in dozens of hand-piped frosting flowers, ask your baker to use fresh flowers instead. Not only could this improve your bottom line, but it could also coordinate with the rest of your wedding decorations since you can use the same types and colors of flowers.

Have a display cake

Your wedding cake is more than just a sweet treat, it’s also a centerpiece at your wedding reception. But no one says the whole cake needs to be decorated. Instead, consider only having a small “display cake” for your cutting moment. Your guests can eat slices from a plain sheet cake hidden in your venue’s kitchen.

Stunningly gorgeous wedding cake on a bed of flowers at Kirkbrae country club in Rhode Island

Choose cupcakes

Instead of using a multi-tiered cake, you can save money by opting for cupcakes. Wedding cupcakes can start as low as $3 per serving. If you’re feeding 100 people, you have the potential to lower your wedding cake cost down to as little as $300. Plus, you have the opportunity to design a fun cupcake display that looks great in pictures!

Again, you can always have a smaller “cutting cake” if you want to partake in the tradition.

Serve smaller slices

Lots of wedding guests only want a bite or two of cake. So, consider serving your guests “half servings” instead of full slices. In other words, if you have 100 guests, only purchase a cake meant to feed 50. If your guests want more sweets, consider having other options at your reception to choose from.

Go for an alternate wedding cake idea

Speaking of other sweets: Cake isn’t the only dessert that can feed a crowd. Think donuts, crepes, profiteroles, pastries, brownies, cookies, and more. The cost for these treats can vary, depending on the bakery or vendor you use. But since they often have less complicated designs, there’s a good chance you could give your guests a sweet treat without the same overall price of a cake.

Contact a culinary school

Try contacting a local culinary school to see if any student bakers are interested in baking for your wedding. A student baker will likely offer a lower rate than a pro, allowing you to enjoy a budget-friendly wedding cake while helping a new baker build their portfolio.

Go in-house for local wedding cake ideas

Instead of outsourcing your wedding cake to another baker, look for wedding venues that can bake your cake in-house. Often, wedding venues charge “cake-cutting fees” to bring in a wedding cake from a third party. By going with your venue’s in-house bakery, you can bypass this hurdle and save time, since you won’t need to coordinate with another wedding vendor.

Connect with Rhode Island wedding planners for an affordable wedding cake

If you’re ready to find your dream wedding cake and get married in Rhode Island, Kirkbrae Country Club is ready to help.

Not only can our RI wedding venue accommodate ceremonies between 35 and 385 people, but our dedicated wedding planners can also help you choose your dream wedding cake – or any other dessert you have in mind. Contact us today to learn more or tour one of the best wedding venues in Rhode Island.