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Cheap Wedding Cakes

Updated on June 30, 2009

Wedding Cake. Or is It?

Fake Wedding Cakes by bre pettis via Flickr
Fake Wedding Cakes by bre pettis via Flickr

While not usually the most expensive item on the wedding budget the wedding cake can set you back some. What started out as a simple loaf of bread has now become a multi-tiered extravaganza of pastry. The wedding cake dates back as far as Roman times. The cake was broken over the brides head and eaten by the bride and groom as a symbol of fertility. The practice continued in various forms long after the fall of the Roman empire. Different cultures have different cake traditions, in some places they are more like fruit cake, in some countries sticky buns or pastry piled in tiers form the wedding "cake". This is thought to be the origin of the wedding cake as we know it. What most Americans think of as a wedding cake is a fairly recent invention, only as far back as the 19th century as is a lot of our wedding tradition. A lot of it is a hodge-podge of different traditions brought to America from other countries, some of them are strictly American (or American marketers of the wedding business). So when you decide on what kind of wedding cake you want you can have a traditional looking cake or something unique and still save some money.

Frugal Wedding Cakes

If you're looking to get a wedding cake for cheap, the first thing to do is obvious - shop around. You can find cakes in some of the unlikeliest places. Did you know that Walmart supercenters make wedding cakes? It's true, I swear! A lot of grocery store bakeries also make wedding cakes. Publix a grocery store chain in the southeast is well know for making wedding cakes that rival specialty bakeries. There's no reason not to try specialty bakeries though, many times they will work more closely with you and can get you a cake for much less than you'd expect. What about a friend that bakes? I used to go to church with a friend that did cakes, and worked with a woman who also made wedding cakes as a sideline. How about not having a wedding cake? There are some non-traditional pastries popping up these days to take the role of the wedding cake.

Wedding Cupcakes

by clevercupcakes via Flickr
by clevercupcakes via Flickr

Assemble Your Own Wedding Cake

Finding a Cheap Wedding Cake

When finding your cake for that cheap wedding here's a little trick used by a lot of brides these days. A fake wedding cake. You can get fake wedding cakes made of styrofoam and have only the top layer be real. Then the caterers will take the cake in the back to "cut" it for guests. In the back you can have cheap sheet cakes with the same color icing to give out to the guests. Just remember even thought the cake is styrofoam, it will still have to be decorated which will take time.

How About Wedding Cookies or Wedding Cupcakes?

You can also have a non-traditional wedding cake at our wedding we used black and white cookies from a local supermarket bakery. Black and white cookies are cake like cookies, about 5 inches across and decorated with two colors of icing. We had our cookies decorated with the colors of our wedding and stacked on tiers. The cost was about $1.50 per guest. Your average supermarket or bakery cakes will cost from $2.50 to $5.00 per guest. My mother made a cake and decorated it for us to use for the cake cutting ceremony.

Another non cake idea used by brides these days is cupcakes. It's becoming more and more common to use them in lieu of a traditional cake. You could have a small cake baked for the cake cutting and use the cupcakes to give to guests. One of the benefits of cupcakes is that they cost less, and if you wanted to you could make them yourself. Of course you'd probably want your friends to make them and decorate them for you. It will take time to do it, but if you don't have money then time will have to be your replacement.

Make Your Own Wedding Cake

If you have a friend that can bake maybe you could convince them to make you a wedding cake. There are books and websites out there that can show you how to make cakes and decorate them. I obviously would practice on one before I made the real one. Wedding cakes are scalable. If you can make a small cake then you can make a large cake and it isn't any harder. You could make three small ones and put them on tiers. It would be best to outsource this to someone because you'll have enough to worry about besides the wedding cake.

Some people forgo the wedding cake altogether and have a candy or dessert bar. They have jars of different types of candy and the guests get little bags to fill up with the candy. You could probably use this as a favor too, the wedding favors are something most guests don't want or need anyway. You could also have different types of desserts although if you don't watch out it could get to be as expensive as a wedding cake. How about an ice cream sundae bar? It wouldn't cost as much and who doesn't like ice cream? In many countries the wedding "cake" is simply puff pastries or some other kind of sweet layered or stacked on tiers. It would be easy to do the same thing. You could make your own and it would be easier than making a cake, because you wouldn't have to decorate, just stack them.

There are wedding messageboards that have all sorts of ideas for cheap wedding cakes or wedding cake substitiutions. If you looking to save money doing something non-traditional or creative can not only save money but provide a more memorable experience at your frugal wedding.


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    • HealthInsuranceCA profile image


      9 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      thank you for this. Trying to find anyway to save.

    • natalieclooney profile image


      9 years ago

      i have some great ideas for cheap wedding cake grab it on my hub and just visit the links for more great ideas if you want....

    • Julia M profile imageAUTHOR

      Julia M 

      9 years ago

      Thanks! We actually used black and white cookies from a local supermarket, they frosted them in our wedding colors, guests really liked them. I should put that on here!

    • JosefS profile image


      9 years ago from Lisa Wellington from Canada

      Great ideas to save some money when it comes to the wedding cake. Any bride can take something away from this hub. Thanks for sharing.


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