This One Trick Saves Lots of Money On Your Wedding Cake, According to a Wedding Planner
It’ll ensure your cake is freshly made, too. And nope, we’re not talking about buying an extra sheet cake.
Whether you’ve had a wedding cake Pinterest board going for ages, or you’re just starting to chew over the matter, there are a lot of sweet and sticky questions you might be asking yourself. We’re here to answer them with the help of veteran wedding designer Brita Olsen, owner of Brita Olsen Creative, who’s been in the biz for twelve years and has seen every sort of trend come and go (cake pops, cupcakes, pies, naked cakes, geode cakes — you name it). One thing that’s timeless though: saving money. Brita shares the ins-and-outs of how wedding cake costing works, plus what to ask your cake designer for to save some major dough (and score an extra freshly-made cake in the process). Read on for answers to some biggie wedding cake-related questions.
How Does Wedding Cake Pricing Work?
Instead of charging for the entire cake, most cake designers charge a base per-slice cost. And we’re not talking about a large slice like the one you’d serve yourself at home. Typically, they’re small portions called tasting slices. Then, based on the artistry and flavors you want, the price per slice goes up, explains Brita.
How Much Wedding Cake Should I Get?
A general rule of thumb? Buy a cake that’ll feed 2/3 of the people at the wedding. “I advocate for less cake than a cake designer will tell you to get,” Brita says. “Having been a wedding guest and a planner, someone who sees the cake at the end of the night sitting on plates, I tend to say that if you have 150 guests, you should plan for 100 guests to eat cake. I’ve never recommended 2/3 and had people say, ‘Where’s the cake? I miss the cake.'”
And if you’re into the idea of freezing the top layer for your one-year anniversary? A lot of bakeries will bake you a fresh “top layer” for your one-year anniversary, included in the price of your cake. That way you don’t have to take up freezer space.
What’s the Best Way to Save Money On My Wedding Cake?
Ask for a plain white buttercream frosted cake — skip fancy details like sugar flowers or trendy decorations that’ll date your photos — and ask your florist to decorate it with fresh flowers (and/or fruit). “A lot of my clients are spending money on a good florist,” Brita explains. “The florist can come up with some really beautiful flowers for the cake that’ll go with your event design, and they often won’t charge you for that service (or it’ll be a very nominal fee).” That’s because florists often end up with leftover flowers with short stems and are happy to put them to use. “A white cake with real, seasonal flowers from your wedding is timeless. It’s always going to look good.”
For inspiration, check out the photos throughout this story from Lael Cakes, a Brooklyn-based cake studio owned by pastry chef Emily Lael Aumiller specializing in vegan and gluten-free wedding cakes (and fresh decorations galore).
With regards to food safety, make sure your florist wraps the stems in floral tape, and have the flowers removed from the cake before it's plated.
Another benefit of this money-saving tip? It also ensures you get a super fresh cake. It’s easy for bakeries to whip up a plain white buttercream cake, which means they won’t have to plan way ahead and make it days in advance. Plus, most bakeries can make one, meaning you also don’t have to go to the fanciest, most expensive designer in town.
Should I Get Other Desserts?
We’ve all seen the pics of the dessert boards and walls. But a lot of caterers will already give you a passed dessert, Brita says. “I’m a big supporter of passed dessert. I don’t think anything should be sitting on the table because you should be out of your chairs dancing at that point,” Brita says. “And I think that’s part of why people don’t eat cake, to be honest. Because it’s not a pop it in your mouth thing. You have to use two hands to eat and it’s that point in the night when frankly two hands is too many.” Think about the passed dessert as a way to accommodate dietary restrictions: consider choosing a gluten-free or vegan option.
And if you want to go big? Instead of something trendy, think about bringing in a night disrupter like an ice cream truck. After an elegant meal, a good old-fashioned Drumstick is cheeky and cool. People will race outside, which will infuse the night with a boost of energy.