Brides On A Budget

Decorating By Lenette Updated 30 Mar 2009 , 11:31pm by Franluvsfrosting

Lenette Posted 22 May 2008 , 3:54pm
post #1 of 63

What do you all suggest to brides on a budget?

Do you go the sheet cake route? Do you have a min number of servings before you will do sheet cakes?

Do you have other tips and suggestions for them to have a nice cake but still maintain their budget?

I get some brides on a reasonable budget and I totally understand that and try to work with them. A lot of folks have no idea what a non-grocery cake costs too. But then I get some who want cake to feed 220 people with a small "cutting" cake and mostly sheet cakes in the back.

I got one lady today who hung up on me when I tried to ask her what her budget was so we can see what could be done. I try to offer suggestions but she didn't give me the chance! Sorry, a little sore about that one.

So anyway, what do you all do?

TIA! icon_smile.gif

62 replies
ccr03 Posted 22 May 2008 , 4:55pm
post #2 of 63

Personally, my sheet cakes are the same price as my regular - a slice of cake is a slice of cake no matter what shape it's in. Also keep in mind though that my sheet cakes are all double layer.

I've learned from indydebi (she's great, isn't she?), that the best way to stay within a budget is to CUT THE GUEST LIST. For some strange reason I had never really thought about that, but after the numerous times she has said it, it was like duh?!

KHalstead Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:08pm
post #3 of 63

I charge less for non tiered my suggestion to "brides on a budget" is to order double layer round cakes of varying sizes and display them on stands of different heights to add interest and it comes out cheaper for them. So far they've just bucked up and got the tiered cakes....but it is out there for the ones that can't afford a tiered cake. One bride has opted for a 3 tiered cake and a couple satellites and a sheet kitchen cake to help offset the cost of serving 200 guests. But I agree, if money's that tight........cut the guest list!!

diane Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:20pm
post #4 of 63

dummy cake for the wedding cake and simple iced sheet cakes. icon_wink.gif

Amia Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:21pm
post #5 of 63

Sometimes cutting the guest list isn't really an option. I know with our families alone our guest list is already at 80, plus long time family friends we're looking at 150 and that was cutting out anyone we hadn't seen/spoken to in years. A wedding day is about sharing with family and friends and I don't agree that a bride should have to sacrifice her dream wedding because of budget constraints or a huge guest list. I know I'm not (that's why I'm doing almost EVERYTHING myself icon_lol.gif).

My advice is to do a small cake for cutting and have undecorated sheet cakes in the back. I wouldn't charge the same for a slice of undecorated sheet cake because it's just that, undecorated, so you don't have to charge as much for your time. Part of pricing includes your time, so I disagree that a slice of cake is a slice of cake. Now I do agree that a decorated cake is a decorated cake, whether it's a sheet or a tiered (I classify carved cakes in a whole other category), so I would charge the same in that case.

ccr03 Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:26pm
post #6 of 63

amia1024 - I can totally see your point.

And I guess really, it comes down to what you feel comfortable doing.

leah_s Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:32pm
post #7 of 63

Frankly, the bride's budget is not my concern. I design a cake she either buys it or not. If she wants to take off some of the detail to get away from the extra cost for handwork, fine. I would not offer an option that take money out of my pocket. And I do not do sheet cakes. I'm in business. If a bride can't afford me, fine. I've sent several to WalMart.

A "dream wedding" is not a right, its a privledge. If someone can't afford it, then don't have it. Or buy a cheaper dress, or have it at a time of day where a full meal isn't required, or don't have an open bar. There are reasonable ways to have a nice wedding without breaking the bank. That said, the average - yes average - wedding in my part of the country is $18K for 150 guests. Oh and I'm in the least expensive part of the country for weddings.

KHalstead Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:32pm
post #8 of 63

in that case I guess you have to choose family over cake..........but some brides are really weird about their cakes lol

FromScratch Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:34pm
post #9 of 63

Dummies are nice, but they are no cheaper than just getting a cake. Same work.. same price.

I charge the same for sheetcakes as I do for anyother shaped cake. I would discount a kitchen cake (just iced with no borders or anything) a little, but not to the point where it would make a HUGE difference. And kitchen cakes are only an option if you order 100 servings.

I do suggest cutting your guest list or finding another baker. We didn't invite our ENTIRE family to our wedding.. you don't have to, and there was too many of them. And I think the whole "the entire church community is invited" is just crazy. Not a jab at religion in any way shape or form, but if you aren't family or a REALLY close friend.. I don't want you at my wedding anyway.

wgoat5 Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:40pm
post #10 of 63

I think someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.. huh Jeanne? LOL (j/k)

I haven't done kitchen cakes...don't plan on it.. in fact I am not doing wedding cakes.. don't plan on it... (Not specializing in them anyway, I do have one for August but for 75 ppl...) Weddings are too stressful for me icon_sad.gif

FromScratch Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:40pm
post #11 of 63

Yes a wedding day is about sharing with loved ones.. but I don't necessarily agree that you have to invite everyone in your family. It nice that you can do it all yourself.. but for the average person that's not an option. I am with Leah.. either they want a cake from me or they can go elsewhere and that a dream wedding (you know the kind I'm speaking of) is not going to happen for everyone.. it's not up to me as a cake decorator to advise them on their budget. I think that I would be put off by my decorator if they started suggesting I cut back on things so I could afford the cake.

FromScratch Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:49pm
post #12 of 63

Are you saying I'm being beeotchy Christi??????

Cuz if you are.. I'm going to take the filling out of ALL of your oreos!! icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif

wgoat5 Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:50pm
post #13 of 63

See now how fun are Weddings..

I see my conversations with brides becoming very.. VERY hairy LOL

wgoat5 Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:51pm
post #14 of 63

LMAO are you just now getting that J?

minorfan Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:54pm
post #15 of 63

I am here on cake central because I wanted to learn to do a cake for my daughters wedding. Ended up being able to do it all and now doing 100-120 cakes a year for a local children's charity, all donated so keeping the cost down is something I do well. Buy supplies in bulk or with coupons.

Bartering is big for me. I do trade for a lot of items. Getting my car window fixed for a cake. I only do it as a hobby but able to do some great trades.

Since I was MOB and others liked the cakes I do, I was able to trade a wedding cake for the DJ, a cake for a keg of beer. Ended up actually selling a couple of cakes to the place we held the reception because they knew me and I have done a few emergency cakes when some one drops a cake or the cake person goes awol at the last moment.

I even use free cycle to get items for free, (pans, plates, etc) collecting cake toppers from free cycle also.

To save money on the wedding besides bartering/trading we decorated with free items, wild flowers, leaves, fruit, candles. Plan and be flexible if something falls into your lap.

Have helped out a few brides recently have a nice wedding but with limited budget. I know that is not what those on here who own businesses want to hear but it is unforunately the economic climate we are in.

Getting them to go green, recycle as much as possible, barter/trade, and focus on the having fun instead of the major fantasy waste of money.

aswartzw Posted 22 May 2008 , 5:57pm
post #16 of 63

I agree that to be on a tight budget does not mean cutting the guest list. Quite frankly, my family is extremely tight and we will do anything for each other. Not to invite them to my wedding would be not only a slap in the face to them but I would regret not having them there to share the moment.

However, you do not need an expensive dress, new shoes, rented tuxes, formal dinners or even appetizers. I've been to many weddings where the only thing they had was cake and punch.

There are ways to cut the budget without sacrificing family and friends.

aswartzw Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:03pm
post #17 of 63
Originally Posted by minorfan

Bartering is big for me. I do trade for a lot of items. Getting my car window fixed for a cake. I only do it as a hobby but able to do some great trades.

I think this is a cool idea but I would definitely make them do their end of the bargain before you provide them with a cake.

However, I also agree with Leahs. You shouldn't be adjusting your price or going out of your way to accomodate them. You are doing yourself a huge injustice. They can go and get a decent grocery store wedding cake that will be more than sufficient.

Amia Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:04pm
post #18 of 63
Originally Posted by jkalman

And I think the whole "the entire church community is invited" is just crazy. Not a jab at religion in any way shape or form, but if you aren't family or a REALLY close friend.. I don't want you at my wedding anyway.

There are people who do that?!? icon_eek.gif If I invited my church, there would be like 1,000 people at my wedding! And I'm talking family, not relatives...there is a huge difference. My family is super close, we all live within 15 min. of each other. Not inviting them would be a deadly sin. icon_lol.gif Some people have HUGE families (my uncle has 9 brothers and sisters ALL with at least 3 kids, so you can imagine that guest list...), but I do understand not inviting that 3rd cousin twice removed. icon_rolleyes.gif

indydebi Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:07pm
post #19 of 63

Ok, I have to get this out of my system.....

Originally Posted by amia1024

.... and I don't agree that a bride should have to sacrifice her dream wedding because of budget constraints or a huge guest list.

So if my dream car is a $70,000 Cadillac Escalade, I shouldn't have to sacrifice and NOT get it just because I don't have $70,000? That the dealership should lower their price because I shouldn't have to "sacrifice" my "dream" car??? icon_confused.gif

Ok, now that it's out of the way ..... icon_lol.gif

What I council my brides to do get CONTROL of their headcount. Getting real with the numbers. The 60% Rule is the first step. Sure, you can INVITE 200 people, but you don't PLAN for 175 to show up! Realistically, you are only going to have 125-140 people actually show up. The difference of 50 people at $3/head is a savings of $150.

If you have CONTROL of your headcount, then other things are put into cost perspective. Figuring 8 people to a table, if you have 120 guests, then you need 15 tables, ergo 15 table linens and only 120 linen napkins. Compared to 175 guests = 24 tables = 24 table linens and 175 napkins. There's another $75 or more that you've just saved. Have JUST a table cloth and not the colored linen table topper ... saves another $100. Geesh, I probably just saved her enough to get her freakin' cake for free!!

Since I don't charge for design, there is nothing to deduct if they get a plain or simple cake. The big ornate cake with lots of roses costs the same as the cake with just a ribbon wrapped around the base. THAT'S why my sheets are the same as my wedding cakes.

As usual, leahs hit it right on the head .... I'm in business. If you can't afford me, that's ok .... not everyone can ... and walmart is 3 minutes behind my shop. Here, let me give you their phone number.

But don't insult me by telling me you shouldn't have to sacrifice your dream wedding just because you can't afford it. Pul-lease!!!!!!!!!!

DoniB Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:08pm
post #20 of 63

Sometimes, as one poster said, you HAVE to invite the whole family, or none of them. My father's side of the family goes ballistic and it causes all sorts of drama. And you can say 'they'll get over it', but you've never met my family! icon_razz.gif There are a lot of families that are like that, and it's much easier to cut back somewhere else, than to worry about offending someone that can make life heck for either you or people that you love. (I had one relative I did NOT want, but the years of guilt-tripping I would have had from not inviting her would NOT have been worth it!!!)

That being said, when we were planning our flip-flop wedding (couldn't afford shoe-strings), we put it to our families and told them straight up what our financial situation was, and what they'd LIKE for us to do. It was decided (by the families, mind you) that we would just do a pot-luck reception. I'd make the cake. I found the perfect dress at Walmart, of all places, for $20. icon_razz.gif Another aunt, who didn't get enough from planning her daughter's wedding and who loves me very much, stepped in at the very last minute and got us a few nice things to add to the day.

Bottom line, a bride CAN find ways to cut her budget, if she tries. But it's the same as being IN a marriage... you have to pick your battles. You give up something you want to make it possible to have what you feel will make the day perfect. When it came down to it, we decided what would lessen the day for us, and focused on those things, instead of worrying about all that we couldn't have. icon_smile.gif

And I made my own very huge wedding cake. icon_biggrin.gif That saved a bundle!

Amia Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:18pm
post #21 of 63

Dream does not equal expensive. My BFF dreams of eloping. And if you want that Escalade, save up for it, and yes a car dealership SHOULD lower their price, they mark up for that reason (I have several car salesmen in my fam). Anything is doable. It is not insulting to have a budget and I do totally agree that you should not sacrifice your profit to help a bride on a budget.

mayamia Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:30pm
post #22 of 63

Budgets are always good , but also you have to tell your brides hey you only get married once(hopefully icon_rolleyes.gif ) so you do not want to look back one day and realize that you skimped on your cake or what ever else, what me and my husband did was, go all out on the wedding, and cut from the honey moon, anyway, we will have a lifetime to go on vacations, we had a great wedding, and we have had awesome vacations since, so yes I do agree with some of you if you can't have it all you have to cut her and put there icon_wink.gif

CakeDiva73 Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:35pm
post #23 of 63

Brides who want the dream cake but don't want to actually pay for it really pi$$ me off........ Part of having a budget is to actually "b-u-d-g-e-t'. Meaning, if you want a huge 6 tiered fondant cake, budget for it. That means you call around, set aside the money it will cost or change your design to suit your budget.

A budget is a the brides problem - not mine. The problem is all this wedding advice carp about saving money and not getting ripped off on your wedding cake....'Order sheet cakes and a dummy cake' (do they think either of those is free or something?) 'Order cupcakes' (but no one seems to understand that that is C-A-K-E and therefore costs money and time to make).

Everything has gone up, from ingredients to cake boards to laundry detergent. We all have to pay more but apparenlty there is this misconception going around that a cake fairy is dropping my supplies at night and sending a little helper during the day!! wth?

People are seeing all these amazing cakes but still have Wal-Mart in the back of their mind. I just had to tell someone yesterday and I cannot compete with Wal-Mart. She wanted a gift wrapped cake for 40-50 people and was working with $60. Meanwhile, she was calling from my friend's place (a beautician) and mentioned highlights....which means she just paid $120 for 2 hours worth of work but wanted to pay me half that for 3 times as much.

Order less cake or order cheap cake......there you have it. There is no shame in cheap cake, the shame is when you expect me to make cake for cheap!!

Kitagrl Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:38pm
post #24 of 63

I agree with the ones who are saying "You can either afford me or you can't". Obviously I'll put forth some varying ideas, like buttercream vs. fondant (IF both work for the design they want) or sheet cakes for a very large cake only. Otherwise though its my time I have to take from my four boys, so its kind of a yes or no question for me.

As far as budget...I'm definitely budget....suggest the bride have an afternoon wedding so she can have "tea" or something instead of a full five course meal. Cake and finger sandwiches or something. I never have understood why a wedding means you are required to buy everybody a $200 plate of food! Or find a secondhand dress instead of buying one for $5000. There are SO many ways to cut corners for a wedding and still do things nice.

Its like Indy said...people want everything perfect and think they deserve it whether they have the money or not. We need to make sure we don't cater to that as we do our cakes.

Ladybug6509 Posted 22 May 2008 , 6:45pm
post #25 of 63

I work on both ends of this topic. I am a certified wedding specialist and a cake designer. Currently I am also a bride. We have a limited budget and so we've had to cut some things out but we are going to do what matters to us. Close family only. We've had to make the sacrafice of some things to get other things we want. Neither of us are spoiled brats and having worked this industry for a few years now, I know how to cut cost. I think many girls on a budget are simply the spoilled little girls who want it all but don't want to pay.

wgoat5 Posted 22 May 2008 , 7:28pm
post #26 of 63

YOu know .. If I could do it all over again.. I would of had hamburgers and hotdogs.. and then had a 2000.00 cake icon_biggrin.gif

aswartzw Posted 22 May 2008 , 7:33pm
post #27 of 63
Originally Posted by wgoat5

YOu know .. If I could do it all over again.. I would of had hamburgers and hotdogs.. and then had a 2000.00 cake icon_biggrin.gif

You're giving me ideas.... icon_wink.gif

wgoat5 Posted 22 May 2008 , 7:35pm
post #28 of 63


I'm serious..

My wedding cake actually said

"this is my wedding cake " LMAO

aswartzw Posted 22 May 2008 , 8:35pm
post #29 of 63
Originally Posted by wgoat5


I'm serious..

My wedding cake actually said

"this is my wedding cake " LMAO


indydebi Posted 22 May 2008 , 11:13pm
post #30 of 63

CakeDiva, I just luv you! thumbs_up.gif

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