For many, the excitement of putting your wedding dreams into play is rapidly curbed when faced with budgets. Unless you have a very talented baker and icer in your circle of friends, chances are you’ll turn to a professional for your cake. After all, it needs to look fantastic, taste incredible and be of a size that will cater for all your guests.

I was often faced with a look of dismay when I gave couples a price for the elaborate cake they’djust described. “Really? That much? It’s just a cake!” They fail to take into account that to feed 120 people, the cake needs to be of a certain size – and most cake designers will work out a cost based on a per-slice basis – depending on how you choose to serve your cake. You will need larger serves if your cake is going to be the dessert, and smaller serves if the cake is served later with coffee.

Substituting the wedding cake for a dessert may sound like it should save you the cost of catered desserts; however, because you will need larger serves you will need more cake. These serves are often accompanied by a crème fraiche and a berry coulis, which your caterer may charge for. Some venues will also charge a plating fee, similar to a corkage fee for BYO wines.

The couples also often fail to recognise the man-hours involved in creating those handcrafted sugar flowers they’d like, or just how long the designer will spend detailing those piped lacey trims and the intricate design work they’ve envisaged. It might be time to create something less detailed, yet equally as gorgeous, to stay within your budget.

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