This can cost an absolute fortune. Apparently as soon as you tag wedding on to anything it triples in cost! So here are a couple of ideas to help cut wedding cake costs:
- Stick to the DIY wedding theme and ask friends and family to contribute a layer each and build it yourselves (or ask a competent person to do it for you)
- Buy a ready made iced wedding cake i.e from M&S and ask someone to ice it for you or ask a local bakery to make you a wedding cake at a fraction of the cost
- Have cake of cheese instead (i.e stacked cheeses) and also use this as the dessert course of your wedding meal
- Keep it simple with a naked wedding cake without all the fancy icing and sugar work
(an odd name as it’s never a fry up and never served at breakfast time) – basically day time wedding food
Most of my friends have told me this is the part that ate up (ahem) a massive part of thier wedding budget, but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. I don’t think people expect or want a formal three course meal at a wedding these days. People aren’t going to judge your choice of food, or actually remember what they ate and I honestly couldn’t tell you what I ate at most of the weddings I’ve been to. So really as long as people get fed with something to soak up the alcohol and it keeps them seated during the speeches then everyone’s happy.
So whether you decide your DIY wedding is going to have a buffet, BBQ, jacket potatoes or a pot-luck supper, remember simplicity is key. For our wedding meal we’re going to have a ploughman’s lunch (as we’re both big cheese fiends) and provide the main parts (bread, cheese, ham) ourselves then ask people to bring a quiche or salad to top it up. You can save on staff costs by asking friends/family and bridesmaids to help lay out the food on each table or have a buffet style table where people can help themselves. If you are using a marquee, you can save on the cost of a field kitchen by sticking to cold food or a BBQ.
It’s worth finding out if you are tied into a bar provided by your venue as this will control the tariff and drinks available. So if there’s a favourite cocktail, wine or ale you want, make sure you arrange this with them as soon as possible so they can order it in. We also know friends who were charged upwards of £5 corkage per bottle – yes per bottle – for the toast so be aware of additional costs.
We’ve been to a huge range of weddings with a lots of different style bars from a professionally run bar from the local pub, a rustic bar with barrels of cider and beer, a quirky cocktail caravan and those who allowed guests to bring thier own. So in keeping with the DIY wedding theme, we’ve decided to run our own bar and put the profits towards our honeymoon and this is surprisingly easy to do. We will have paid bar staff from the local pub but buy all the alcohol form a local wholesalers on sale or return and keep prices reasonable and simple i.e £2 for a pint of cider or beer, small glass of wine or spirit and mixer.
If you are selling alcohol make sure you apply for a Temporary Events Notice. Only £21 – you can do it online here
Other areas where we’ve made savings:
Bridesmaid & Groomsmen – Nowadays people expect to buy thier own dresses and suits for weddings so this will save you around £50 – £100 per person.
Napkins – Between 60p – £1 each that’s £60 – £100 saved. You can also get some really pretty paper napkins these days – see these gorgeous vintage style napkins only 12p each
Wedding favours – Around £2 per person you’re still looking at £200 saved. Plus most people just leave them behind and you’re spending enough on people already without giving them presents for attending your wedding.
Chair covers – Around £1.50 each to hire that’s £150 saved. Once everyone is sat down then these really are pointless.
Chair Bows – Even the cheapest organza ones come in at around 75p each to hire so that’s another £75 saved.
Photo Booth – You can spend upwards of £500 on a photo booth but why not do it yourself? There are some great ipad apps you can use and along with some wedding photo booth props, backgrounds and a couple of cheap frames from the charity shop you can create a great photo booth. I’ll write a full blog on how we’ll be doing this closer to the time.
See the previous post in the series A Guide to Planning a DIY Wedding on a Budget | Setting a Date & Booking the Ceremony