Eat, Drink & Save Money
Cut bubbly out of your budget; let guests toast with whatever they’re already drinking.
“Offering a choice of several entrées at the table is more expensive than selecting a duet plate (a combo of two items such as filet mignon and lobster tail, for example) for every guest,” says Barness.
Lombardi suggests the three-course meal instead of the more usual five-course one. She adds, “An afternoon tea or dessert reception can be a great personal touch and a money-saver at the same time.”
“Fondant on cakes is expensive because it requires extra labor,” explains Elaine Ardizzone, a partner in Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. in National City, California. “Go with buttercream or cream cheese.”
Instead of a cake, serve mini cupcakes. They save money because they don’t require much product or decoration, says Ardizzone.
Instead of a huge confection, purchase a small cake for cutting and supplement it with a sheet cake, served from the kitchen.
When it comes to fruit fillings, go seasonal. Strawberries can cost 10 dollars a flat or 30 dollars a flat depending on the time of year.
If your baker charges more for multiple cake or filling flavors, limit yourself to your absolute favorite. However, if she calculates the price by averaging the costs of different flavors, plan your cake carefully. “Having the most expensive flavor on the biggest section—the bottom layer—will bump up your price,” says Ardizzone.
“For a vineyard wedding, we might put the cake on a wine barrel,” says Ardizzone. “It can be inexpensive but have a big impact.”
Traditionally, couples save the top layer of wedding cake for their first anniversary. Don’t think you’ll end up eating it? Forgo the extra layer and save some dough.
Have a small ceremonial cake and “do a delicious dessert buffet with lots of mini pastries, cakes and other sweets,” says Ardizzone. The least expensive minis are those made in sheets and sliced (as opposed to each one being crafted individually). Think brownies!
“Classic cheesecake is less expensive than traditional wedding cake,” says Ardizzone. Arrange the cheesecakes on pedestals of different heights and put out a selection of sauces, like chocolate, kiwi, mango and so on.
Trim your bar tab by serving beer, wine and a signature cocktail in your wedding colors. If you serve a signature cocktail, negotiate with your venue to get it at a reduced price.
See if your venue allows you to bring in wine. If so, negotiate to nix the corkage fee, which can cost $10 to $25 per bottle.