Costly Wedding Cake Mistakes to Avoid: 3 Clever Hacks to Save Money Without Looking Cheap

Hey brides! Have small money but dream of tall wedding cake tiers? No problem – it can be done. In this article, I’ll reveal how you can spend less money on wedding cakes and how to have tall, multiple-cake-tiers to impress guests, without spending a lot (it’s a secret used in the wedding industry and at many big, celebrity weddings and yet not expensive). By the way, do you know that one of the biggest regrets many newlyweds have is that they lavished more money on things they now think they could spent less on (such as cakes), and also regret that they spent less on wedding things they could have spent more on (such as a quality photographer or DJ).  In this article, you will also discover the top mistakes brides make about their wedding cakes (and we don’t want you to repeat them).  If you are about to book a wedding cake vendor, stop, read this article and use the smart-brides-hacks we reveal to save money on flashy cakes and still wow guests and your Instagram followers. Scroll down to read more.

picture of nigerian bride flashes beautiful white bouquet

It’s true that every bride dreams of a big, tall wedding cake but not many can afford it, as you’ll find out here. You don’t have to spend too much to have an impressive, picture-perfect wedding cake.  After their weddings, most newlywed brides regret spending too much money on a wedding cake, especially after seeing that their guests cared less about it.   Before I tell you how to save costs on wedding cakes, and the secret way to have a tall wedding cake with less money, I want you to avoid some common mistakes newlyweds regret making regarding their wedding cakes. Read on.

MISTAKE #1: Very Big Wedding Cake

In our “top wedding mistakes to avoid” eBook, wedding cake regrets is the first we touched on. In this Cakes edition post, we’ll elaborate on things to do to avoid mistakes and regrets. Here’s what a bride told us: “I regret spending so much money to have a very tall wedding cake and our guests did not even care about it – they left all the expensive cake-icing on the table. I wish we ordered a moderate size wedding cake and spent the extra money on a better DJ, live band or even on video coverage (all of which we ignored)”.  Read on to find out cool things to do to have a big, tall and fancy wedding cake without spending plenty money. It’s the secret used at many big Nigerian weddings, and all over the World. It’s better to cut costs on wedding cake and spend money saved on a good photographer, because photos that capture your big day will last a lifetime, while the cake will soon be forgotten.

MORE: Bride Shares How Her Wedding Photographer Ruined Her Wedding Memories Forever

Many brides make the mistake of putting so much money on their wedding cakes, in order to show off on social media and also impress guests.  They order a very big, tall wedding cake with expensive assorted flavour per layer and complex-design icing.  Then manage on their remaining budget to get a not-good-enough DJ whose music selection bores their guests and leaves their reception cold and dry.  They spend minimally on food with the left-over wedding budget.  Imagine, huge cake,  average quality every-other-thing!  On top of that, they only serve guests a small portion of that expensive cake, and take the rest home to preserve for their wedding anniversary.  What a waste of money!  And the guests leave the wedding feeling used (because they bought the bride’s asoebi and brought gifts for the couple).

That’s the kind of wedding that looks cheap, no matter how much was spent in organizing it. In some of those to-impress and out-do type of weddings, you may find that food and/ or drinks are not enough to serve all the guests. Being stingy to guests you expect gifts from make you look cheap and cheesy!  Don’t do that – instead, spread and balance your budget across your wedding expenses, cut down your guest list to match your catering budget and take good care of your guests (they don’t care much about the cake, but they do care about entertainment – good music/ DJ and good food).

simple white wedding cake nigeria img02

2 Wedding Cake-Money Saving Tips: Secret Hacks from Big Nigerian Weddings

Sure, a big, tall cake looks impressive but a small cake can be equally cute, especially with minimal colours and elegant design – check out our wedding cakes lookbook on Pinterest for simple but glam wedding cake ideas you can ask your caterer to make for you.

Yes, we know that colourful icing on wedding cakes make elegant decor, and it’s one of the things guests want to see. Sure, you should make an impressive wedding cake, but there are ways to go about it without spending too much. If you do not ice all the cake, you will spend less.

ALSO: Over 100 Beautiful Wedding Cake Designs to Inspire You

a.) A Separate Cake for Display: Make two different cakes – one multi-tier fancy cake to display and a cheap (but tasty), plain cake made to serve the guests (don’t display this at the reception).  The display cake is the fancy wedding cake tiers you will display in the reception venue for guests to see and admire and to make your pictures look cool on Facebook and Instagram.  When it’s time to serve cakes, cut and serve the plain cake.

With cakes, the more flavours, the more cost; and the more tiers you ask for, the more money it would cost. Besides, most guests do not like cake icing – they peel it away to eat the inside, plain cake.  You can save costs by doing a few layers, asking for a few cake flavours and toppings (those add up to the cost of a wedding cake).  You may or may not choose to cut and serve this cake at the wedding venue, but some newlyweds choose to take home the display-cake intact, to later admire it post-wedding, and share it with with close friends and family at a convenient time.  By the way, if you love big, tall wedding cakes and can’t afford it – you can hire or purchase fake, decorative dummy cakes to add on top of your main cake and make it look taller – that’s what most people do (see details on that below).

b.) A Separate Cake to Serve Your Guests: This is the cake you’ll cut and serve guests. Since, cakes with icing are more costly and most guests do not like it, why waste money – simply ask your baker to make you a plain cake with no icing, they will charge less than when you ask them to bake a wedding cake – be sure not to mention that it’s for a wedding, else they would charge more.  There’s no need to spend too much on icing and extra flavours when wedding guests are known to peel away the icing on cakes served them.  Focus on serving your guests what they want – plain cakes (with no icing). You don’t need to display this cake at the reception hall – leave it somewhere, to be cut and served at the right time.  No one will know they were not served the beautiful iced cake that was displayed – but all your guests will leave happy that everyone ate the wedding cake, and not given annoying tiny sugar-cube sizes.

TIP: Before the cake cutting time, have the plain wedding cake behind the scenes, and cut and serve when it’s time. The small, plain wedding cake should be simple but also tasty.

Extra Money-Saving Tips: A smart idea is to bake this plain cake yourself, or have a friend do that, or even buy them cheap at any cake store, bakey or supermarket (because tagging “wedding’ when ordering a cake, always makes the vendor or shop to price it higher).

How to Get Big Wedding Cake with Small Money: 3 Clever Tricks to Wow Guests

If you dream of having a huge, gigantic wedding cake, there are 3 ways you can save costs and still display a big cake:nigerian wedding cake mistakes

    1. Use Fillers to Make Cakes Taller: Ask your cake baker to fill in-between cake tiers with flowers – the fillings add height to a wedding cake, so that just two or three layers of cakes look a lot taller – after adding fillers.  Look at this wedding cake picture here – can you see the plenty flowers used to pad and fill in-between the cake tiers? Imagine the same cakes arranged without those flowers in-between? You can see that without those fillings, that wedding cake would have been smaller (shorter).  You too, can use that same trick to make your cake as big and tall as you desire. For inspiration on wedding cake designs, check our Pinterest page (NaijaGlamWedding) to find more beautiful, smaller and big wedding cake design samples.
    2. Increase Cake Height by Adding Tall Topper – request your baker to do that.  Another way to spend less when looking to have a tall cake is to have your cake baker place a big cake topper on top of the cake, to add height – some people even think the toppers are part of the cake. In case you didn’t know what a cake topper is, it’s the pretty ‘small people’ or flowers that you usually see on top of wedding cakes.
    3. Dummy Cake Tiers (they look very real): There’s a wedding industry trick to make a small wedding cake look grand – FAKE CAKES! If all you can afford is two cake tiers, buy 3 or 4 fake, foam cakes to layer on the real cakes, and display at your reception,  Many people are doing this and no one would know (unless you tell).  Also known as Dummy Cakes, fake cakes are used to increase a cake size, by adding more height or number of tiers, while cutting costs.

It is now a popular trend among brides to stack several tiers of fake cakes at weddings, leaving just one or two real cake layers for cutting.  Some brides like to have everything big, and so fake cakes make that possible without overspending. These Faux cakes, usually made of foam.  You can even buy them on Amazon, rent some from a cake store or do it yourself (DIY).  Layering some fake/ dummy, foam cakes on, and in-between your REAL CAKES, you can achieve beautiful tiers of big wedding cake without spending a lot. Shh! It’s a secretmany big Nigerian weddings on Instagram and BellaNaija flaunt giant, fancy cakes, but you can hardly tell that some of the cake-tiers are layers of fake, foam/ dummy cakes.

One way to use fake cakes is to have the bottom cake layer be the real cake (for cake-cutting realness), and have some or the rest layers be dummy cakes. That way, when it’s time for you and your groom to cut the cake and snap pictures, you’d be cutting a real cake.  At the end of the day, you’ve wowed your guests with a big, tall impressive wedding cake of your dreams.  By the way, if you don’t know what a  fake or dummy cake looks like, see many pictures of them online by Googling for “ fake wedding cakes for display” – they look very real.  To see with your eyes, visit a cake store at your city or in a big hotel – that’s what most of them display on the counters as big, fancy birthday or wedding cakes – ask if they hire them out. 

So, you see, it won’t cost you a fortune to have a wedding cake of your dreams, or one that looks like the picture above.

SEE: How to Cook a Wedding-Worthy Sweet Nigerian Jollof Rice (PLUS Secrets to that Burnt Aroma)

Your Turn: Any Wedding Mistakes You’ve Seen at a Wedding You Attended?

Now you know 3 smart ways to make a big, tall wedding cake on a small budget.  You don’t have to use all the 3 methods, but I’m sure you can find one or two that rocks your boat.  Either way, we guarantee that you’ll wow your guests by using the above clever-brides’ hacks and tricks to save money on your wedding cake.

Do you have any personal stories of wedding planning mistakes you made already or saw at a wedding you attended? I’d love to hear it in the comment area below.

This post is part of our wedding mistakes awareness series. You can read Part 2 here (more costly wedding planning mistakes to avoid) – for more insights of costly wedding blunders brides commonly make (and you can avoid).   You can also read the other articles in this series here (top wedding regrets brides say they made).

About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.

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