If you’re going to have your wedding ceremony in Nigeria and asking “how can I save money on my wedding cake’, I am going to show you 10 different ways to cut down cake cost and not look cheap at all. Overspending of their wedding cake budget is one of the biggest regrets we hear from newlywed Nigerian brides when we asked about things they wished they did differently during wedding planning. Well, it’s easy for anyone to make the same mistakes because there are just so many shiny extras to want when one enters a cake shop. In this article, I’ll reveal to you the 11 different cool ways to save money on your wedding cake without looking cheap. Oh, and they are not new tips at all, just that they are not talked about openly. Who does that in Nigeria? No one goes around revealing their cheap wedding secrets after their wedding guests thought their cakes looked expensive. So, let’s get right into it (scroll down).
11 Clever Ways to Cut Down Cost on Your Wedding Cake Without Looking Cheap
Good quality wedding cakes are expensive, but if you have a tight budget, there are a few things you can do to have a decent wedding cake that looks great and tastes really good. Here are 10 cool ways you can spend less money on your wedding cake and still have a presentable cake to display in the reception venue.
#1. Do Double Duty with Two Cheaper Cakes (A Small Decorated Display Cake PLUS A Plain Cake to Feed Guests)
If you’re going to have a lot of guests as with typical Nigerian weddings, you’ll need a very big wedding cake to feed all those guests, and that will be expensive, maybe even more than your cake budget. If you don’t have a lot of money to play around with, a great way to cut down on wedding cake cost is by having a small decorated cake (with few tiers) to display at the reception and a separate plain (non-decorated) cake to serve the guests. This is not a new idea at all; many brides have done it and many will continue to do it.
Buying or baking ‘plain or naked cakes‘ yourself are a lot cheaper than decorated cakes because there is no extra cost from icing, multiple tiers or flavour; they are plain without decoration, fillings, or multiple colouring. Talking about taste, these basic cakes look and taste exactly the same as the insides of decorated wedding cakes. They are tasty and have the flavour your guests are already accustomed to – no one wants to be served a strange cake flavour at a party. When cut into slices and served, your guests won’t know the difference because plain cakes look and taste the same as any wedding cake.
The wedding guests’ cake should not be kept at the reception, but instead stored somewhere else. This cake should only be brought out after it’s been cut into slices and ready to serve guests. Think of it, many adult Nigerian wedding guests do not eat wedding cake icing because they consider it too sugary. Do you think it is wise to waste money on what no one will eat?
Extra Money-Saving Tip: This type of cake can easily be purchased at most supermarkets, bakeries or pastry shops near you, and are way cheaper than if you ask a cake vendor to make them custom-made for you. You can even save more cost by having this plain cake done in-house. If you know how to DIY, you can further cut down costs by baking the plain wedding guests cake by yourself or have a friend or relative do it for you as a wedding gift to you.
#2. Order a Smaller but Elegant Wedding Cake
Go for a two or 3-tier decorated wedding cake to display at your reception venue and for cake-cutting. Smaller cakes are also cute, and cheaper, and there are simple hacks to transform any cheap wedding cake to look more expensive and bigger. If you’ll have a few wedding guests, that should be enough to feed them all. On the other hand, if you’re going to have very many guests, have the small display wedding cake and also spend a few extra cash to get a separate but non-decorated cake just to feed your guests. That’s not bad at all, and doesn’t look cheap – two cheap cakes that cost much less than one huge decorated wedding cake.
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#3. Have Fewer Wedding Cake Tiers
A very tall, decorated wedding cake with 5 or 7 tiers is nice and so is a 2 or 3 tier cake. The more tiers you ask for, the more expensive the wedding cake will be. A few cake tiers can look equally look elegant if you keep the colour to classic neutral. Some 2 to 3-tier wedding cakes have been known to ooze of more elegance than some 6 to 7-tier cakes.
#4. Tone Down Dramatic Decoration Elements: Get a Toned Down Version of An Elaborate Wedding Cake Design
If the wedding cake design that caught your eyes is a big, expensive one with an elaborate design and decoration, you can still get something close to it, but a cheaper version, from the same baker. You can cut cost on your own by getting a toned-down version of it. Reduce the size and number of tiers; reduce the number of flavour and go for cheaper yet nice flavour; simplify the decoration in your own cake. Your cake will look almost the same but a lot cheaper.
What makes cake decoration and design are expensive is that they are handmade and time-consuming. If a cake has more delicate design details, it will take longer to decorate, hence the more costly it will be. With that knowledge, another way to cut down cost on your wedding cake is to tone down design elements of an elaborate, over-flashy wedding cake you found on a magazine or internet. Some cake flavours are very expensive, as you’ll discover when you go cake-tasting and sampling cake vendors. When choosing your wedding cake flavour, go for a simple but-still-tasty cake flavour that won’t blow your budget. When choosing your wedding cake flavour, remember to pick one that your guests too (not only you) will like, and is already familiar with.
Here’s an example to illustrate how you to tone things down when choosing a wedding cake design details: Let’s say you saw a picture of a 6-tier cake with 3 colours, all-round sugar-flower decoration and a mini husband and wife sculpted image as the cake-topper.
For your own cake: You can a cheaper version of that same cake by asking your baker to make the same cake with everything trimmed down – go for smaller diameter/ size, only 3-tiers, one colour and a small corner of sugar flower. Alternatively, you can ask to have your own cake decorated with real, live-flowers instead of the more expensive handcrafted sugar flower. For your own cake, you can ask your baker to skip the mini-man and wife sculpture, which would cost more and take a long time to make by hand. That’s how you can save money on your wedding cake, and still have everything the cake of your dreams has, only a toned-down version of the original one. Not bad at all.
#5. Buy a Ready-Made Supermarket Cake
Many big supermarkets and big hotels in Nigeria have their own bakery or pastry departments where their decorated and naked (plain) cakes and other pastries are made afresh and sold off-the-shelves as ready-made. They are handmade, and not mass-produced cakes. Supermarket ‘ready-to-buy cakes’ are known to be a lot cheaper than branded, custom-made wedding cakes. They are pocket-friendly and also taste very delicious. The only difference is that, unlike custom-made cakes, supermarket cakes are already made and you pick from what you see. Don’t be deceived – some supermarkets and big hotels stock some beautiful cakes; you just need to look around for them.
Usually, supermarket or hotel cakes don’t come in very tall tiers. But then wedding cakes with a medium number of tiers are also elegant. One way to make it look like a wedding cake is to place a cake topper on it and also place it on an elegant cake stand. Cake toppers are cheap, and you can buy it yourself, way in advance, before your wedding date. Also, you can rent or buy a cake stand yourself, to use on your wedding day.
Extra Tip: Now, if you feel like revamping your supermarket-bought cake to make it look different and more like a wedding cake, by all means, do that.
#6. Keep Your Wedding Cake Simple: Skip Expensive, Shiny Extras (Less Is More)
Size is just a small part of what makes bigger wedding cakes cost more; lots of decoration and extra flavour also cost more money. You can pay less money on your wedding cake by keeping it simple. If you take the ‘less is more’ approach and keep your wedding cake details simple, it will cost you less. Go for s simple design or decoration and a simple flavour. Also, keep your wedding cake colour simple and not more than two, if you don’t want to go for the classic neutral wedding cake colour which combines well with any reception venue decor colours.
Ask your baker to do a few layers, one or two flavours, and one or two colours, less decoration. With a minimal cake design combo, you will be able to cut cost and still have a decent cake to display.
When choosing a wedding cake design and other details, it can be tempting to want to ask for shiny extras (icing or other types of toppings, multiple flavours, decoration, fillings, many colours, multiple tiers). Know that the more elaborate your cake design is, the more it will cost. That’s because the process involved with making cakes are done by hand, and so intricate details and artsy decoration works on a wedding cake are very time-consuming to make. That is why the price of a wedding cake goes up with more layers of cake tiers, more flavours, complex decoration or colour combination.
Fun Fact: Most Nigerian brides are not aware that some of the most beautiful wedding cake designs are very simple and also elegant. Some simple three-tier white wedding cakes look more classy than some with six or seven tiers.
#7. Square Shaped Cakes Contain More Slices
One of the choices you’ll make during wedding planning is to choose your wedding cake shape: square vs round shape. Every baker knows that a square-shaped cake can get out more cake slices per layer than a round one. Meaning: square-shaped wedding cakes are more cost-effective for a bride planning a low-budget wedding. That’s a good reason to choose a square wedding cake. They are also easier to cut and less time-consuming to decorate.
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#8. Avoid Choosing an Irregular-Shaped Wedding Cake
Cake makers determine how much to charge by how time-consuming it would require to make the shape and decoration. So, if you choose wedding cakes beside round and square, it will cost more because it will take the baker more time and effort to achieve the shape and also to decorate it. It is for a similar reason that complex cake decorations also cost more. Therefore, if you keep your wedding cake simple, you will be able to pay less and use the extra savings to beef up other things such as hiring a better DJ or beefing up your catering budget.
#9. Know What You Want Before Going Out for Wedding Cake Shopping
The easiest way to overspend on your wedding cake is to start meeting cake vendors without an idea of what type of you want as a wedding cake. That’s how many brides get shown all sorts of flashy and expensive cake decoration and design elements that shoot up their wedding food budget. Advice: Know what you want before meeting your baker. Make a cake list of your cake wants – how many tiers, colours, shape, decoration – and have a picture to show what you want. Just keep it simple and classy, and also save money doing so.
#10. Hire a Tried and Tested Cake Baker
Please do not hire just anyone to bake your display wedding cake. Many brides who made that mistake regretted their choice of cake vendor because they received a wedding cake that did not look or taste like the one they chose. Imagine being in that position on your wedding day, when you can do absolutely nothing. That’s the kind of disappointment you could get if you do not choose a professional vendor to bake your display wedding cake, or if you left it in the hands of the roadside baker or your friend or Aunty. The memory of a failed wedding cake will stay forever – because that wedding cake will be there in almost every photograph from your wedding day. Therefore, don’t hire a learner to bake your wedding cake.
You can put your cost savings to good use by hiring a professional cake vendor who has the level of experience and skill required and has repeatedly baked the type of wedding cake you want. Finally, if you keep things small and simple, you should be able to afford one, and still, have some change.
#11. DIY or Ask Talented Friends/ Family To Bake Your Wedding Cake
If you’re not an expert at baking decorated cakes or don’t have friends who are, please skip this tip. However, if you are very good at baking cakes, and can squeeze out time to do it, why not? Some brides did it to cut down cost. Wedding planning is very stressful already and finding time to make your own wedding cake may add to the stress for some people.
Even if you can bake, but have some friends or relatives who are very good at it, why not ask them to consider baking your wedding cake as their gift to you. Only ask from someone you are sure will not disappoint you by either not completing the cake before your big day or their finished cake is not what you’d be proud to display in your reception venue.
Conclusion: Great Wedding Cakes Don’t Have to Cost a Fortune
Finally, be realistic with your wants when choosing your wedding cake. You can’t have a small budget and be bent on having a mighty cake that has 50 tiers and 10 flavours and the most complex decoration. A small wedding budget is nothing to be ashamed of. We have seen many low-budget weddings that looked better than expensive weddings. It’s all about knowing where and how to cut cost.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post? There you have it on the 10 different things you can do to cut cost on your wedding cake in Nigeria. So, you can see that it won’t cost you a fortune to have the wedding cake of your dreams. They say ‘you can’t eat your cake and have it back’ but if you follow the above tips and advice, you can eat your wedding cake, save more money and still have more cake left to save for your first wedding anniversary celebration.
This post is part of our wedding planning mistakes awareness series. Other articles in this series include:
- 7 Fun Ways to Transform a Cheap Wedding Cake
- Costly and Common Wedding Reception Planning Mistakes in Nigeria and Tips to Avoid them
- Wedding Cake Budgeting Mistakes Nigerian Brides Often Make
- Wedding Gown Budgeting Mistakes that cause Nigerian Brides to Overspend
Your turn – if you like what you read in this post, comment to let me know. Is there any wedding cake money-saving tip you think I should have added? If so, add it in the comment area down below. Also, kindly help share this post on social media, to benefit anyone that needs it. Thanks for reading, and let’s continue the conversation with your comment.