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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Parkinson

Wedding cake prices – Can you work with our budget?

I recently shared a blog post about wedding cake prices – how much you can expect to spend on a cake with me and why.

After posting I realised I had left out a really important section, but it was already very long, so rather than adding to it I thought I’d do a little follow up. So this is the question –

We have a strict budget, can you work with us on that?

This is such a great question, and one that probably applies to the vast majority of people planning their wedding. There are so many elements to consider, and I know from experience that budget spreadsheets can feel like they are spiralling out of control when you start to get the quotes rolling in!

I totally get that not everyone wants to apportion a significant part of their budget to their cake. Everyone has different priorities when planning their wedding and cake isn’t at the top of everyone’s list. For others, it’s one of the most important features of their planning, and they’re happy to push the boat out on something really spectacular, no matter the cost.

But from my experience most people fall into the third camp – they really want a beautiful wedding cake but the budget will only go so far. If this is you, then this blog post will hopefully persuade you to get in touch with me!

When you enquire with me on my website, I have a drop down message that asks for your budget. This isn’t me being nosey I promise. It just helps us both stay on the same page right from the get go. I don’t want to start sending you crazy quotes for elaborate cakes if it just won’t work with your budget – it will just scare you off! When we chat I will talk you through the ways that we can keep costs in check, but I’ve outlined them here too. Before we get to them though, a quick note on the things I can’t do:

What can’t you do to fit our budget?

  1. Alter my minimum spend – While I will always strive to work within a couple’s budget, I am not a ‘budget’ wedding cake maker. My minimum spend is £450 and no cakes will be less than this, regardless of size or decoration.

  2. Starting prices – My starting prices don’t change. I won’t reduce the quality of my ingredients or rush a wedding cake to keep costs down. Every cake I make will always meet my minimum but exacting standards.

  3. My service – My wedding cake starting prices include consultation, design work and samples. These are standard and can’t be taken away to reduce costs. In fact consultation and design work is often more important where a strict budget is in play because I often need to do more clever thinking to make things work.

  4. Delivery – My delivery costs and setup fees are fixed. I can’t drive over the speed limit, get cheaper petrol or rush the setup of your cake. I also don’t offer collection for wedding cakes.

  5. Use fresh or fake flowers – I’ve got an upcoming blog on the reasons for this, but if you want flowers on your wedding cake (which you don’t have to of course!) I only offer sugar flowers.

So now for the positive news!

Ways to keep the cost of your wedding cake in check

  1. Size – Generally speaking, size will be our limiting factor. If you want to serve 100 people, I need to make a cake that will feed 100 people and the cost of that doesn’t change depending on budget. That being said, if you have a read of my cake sizes blog you can see that adapting serving sizes can make a difference here. If you want dessert servings, you’ll need a bigger cake, but if you are happy for smaller servings then the cake can be smaller and the starting price will go down. You could even go as small as bitesize servings (as long as your guests won’t mutiny!). It’s also worth remembering that most wedding cakes won’t be eaten by all your guests. I always recommend serving 80%, so if you think that you need 100 servings, you might only need 80. I hate waste, so won’t ever recommend a cake bigger than I think you need!

  2. Finish - Opt for buttercream over fondant. My buttercream cakes have a slightly lower starting price than fondant. There will be times of year when I don’t recommend buttercream (high summer), but for the rest of the year, it’s a good way to reduce the cost.

  3. Decoration – There are lots of variables here, and I am really happy to suggest ways to achieve the look you are going for in a simpler and more cost effective way. If you’ve seen a cake you love that is covered in sugar peonies, I might suggest we switch some of those out for roses for example (a rose from me is £30, while a peony can go up to £75). I can also suggest ways of placing flowers so that we don’t need as many. Or maybe we don’t have flowers at all! By sharing your budget with me, I can make sure that the designs I suggest fit within it where possible, as long as the final design meets or exceeds my minimum spend.

  4. Dummy cakes* – This is a controversial one. You’ll see lots of cake makers saying dummies don’t reduce the cost of a cake because the decoration is the same. While it is true that the decoration costs will be the same as real cake, the fact is there is a huge amount less work and expense in getting a dummy to the point of decoration than there is with a real cake. So I do take off a significant amount for them. If you want a four tier cake, but only need to serve 100 people, it will cost you a lot less to add a dummy than an extra tier of real cake which will just be wasted. But that’s just me. *A note on dummies – Dummy cakes are made from polystyrene. They are terrible for the environment as they just end up in landfill and I have become uncomfortable using them for wedding cakes. I will soon be amending my policy to ensure dummy cakes are returned to me after the wedding so they can be reused. If you are enquiring now and are considering dummies just bear this in mind.

So in summary, as long as you are willing to meet my minimum spend of £450 and the starting price for the size of cake you need fits in your budget, we can probably come up with something that works. It might not always be quite what you initially had in mind, but it will taste exquisite and look stunning. And hey, if things shift while we’re working together and you decide to push the boat out for the dream cake, that’s fine too. As long as we are both on the same page, we’ll get it perfect.

Ordering a wedding cake should be fun and stress free. If you think I’m the woman for the job, please get in touch now and we’ll see what we can do!

Charlotte x

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