cutting wedding cake
Kamra Fuller Photography

If you’re considering how to save money on a wedding cake, know that you don’t have to sacrifice taste or style remain under budget. In fact, professional cake bakers know all the best tips and tricks to trim costs while still delivering a final product you’ll absolutely love.

The key to a beautiful wedding cake without overspending? It all comes down to finding a cake baker who understands your budget limitations and will work to find creative solutions. Whether it looks like simpler design elements or more cost-effective ingredients, there are so many ways to make a budget cake work, and we’ve got the insider ideas to get you started.

For couples feeling sticker shock on their dream cake design, here’s exactly how to save money a wedding cake, straight from the experts.

Skip elaborate design elements. 

The most expensive part of a wedding cake? Custom designs, according to Dawn Kappelman of Dawn’s Couture Cakes in Ottumwa, Iowa. “The more elaborate a cake; the more time is spent decorating; hence a higher price,” Kappelman said. Think design elements like multiple tiers, fondant flowers, metallic detailing, hand painting, or unique shapes, which all can contribute to a much steeper price point.

If you have your heart set on a work-of-art wedding cake, make sure to keep expectations in line with your budget and allow your designer to scale back the vision if necessary.

Embrace simplicity

When thinking about how to save money on a wedding cake, take a less is more approach. This can be done by sticking to a smaller-scale buttercream frosted creation or opt for a minimally or unfrosted confection, also known as the “naked cake.” Both options will likely trim back costs significantly compared to a spendier fondant frosted option.

To gussy up your sweet and simple dessert, Kappelman suggests ordering some extra blooms from your florist. “Couples can order a gorgeous simple buttercream iced cake with fresh florals, which is very on trend,” she said. “They can have their cake and eat it too!"

Nix the groom's cake. 

Most popular among Southern weddings, a groom’s cake is an additional wedding cake displayed and served at the reception. Often decorated to express the groom’s favorite colors, interests, or even sports team, these quirky cakes can add up in costs with their custom theme design elements.  While they’re certainly a fun way to honor the man of the hour, feel free to skip this cake tradition if you’re tight on funds and simply focus on one cake instead.

Be savvy with sheet cake.

When considering how to save money on a wedding cake, one of the easiest tricks is to order a small tiered display cake and serve sheet cake to your guests. This genius workaround gives couples the opportunity to have the classic cake cutting moment during the reception without breaking the bank. Worried about the guest experience? Keep in mind those sheet cakes will be tucked back in the kitchen so your guests will only be able to see the plated final product.  

Opt for slimmer slices.

Not surprisingly, smaller cake slices will allow your dollar to stretch further. Don’t be afraid to ask your cake baker to serve a standard slice alongside a half or three-quarters slice so you can visually see the difference. Some couples decide slimmer slicing is the way to go—especially if they’re planning on an additional dessert bar—and there’s no doubt they’ll save on cake costs in the process.

Ask about accessories.

When interviewing a potential cake baker, make sure to inquire whether they’ll provide all the “extras” like a pretty cake stand, a cake topper, and cutting utensils. All these accessories can quickly add up and should be considered in your overall cake budget. However, even if your baker doesn’t provide them directly, they should be able to suggest where to purchase those accessories at a great price.